The untold truth of The Bachelor

It goes without saying that the men and women on ABC's The Bachelor have their fair share of secrets, but they're not the only ones trying to hide something. The producers of the show have things to hide as well. Here are just some of the things that they don't want viewers to know.

Producers and some contestants have relationships

Season 16 contestant Jamie Otis told Women's Health, "There are more of these producer/contestant relationships than viewers realize—they're always kept hush-hush." She bases this on the fact that she bumped into another contestant, who she did not name, with one of the producers. This occurred as Otis was on her way to conduct one of her interviews for the show. According to Otis, the other contestant's face "turned bright red — total giveaway that something scandalous had gone down!"

Contestants are tested before they can be on the show

According to Dr. Catherine Selden, resident psychologist on The Bachelor, all 50 finalists must complete a lengthy psychological evaluation. She explained, "We want to make sure that people are going to be OK with coping with the stress involved, and make sure that they are going to be offered the help that they need if it's the case." So if you think any of the ladies are crazy, know that a psychiatric-health professional has verified that they are not.

Season 16 winner Courtney Robertson revealed in her tell-all book (via NY Post) that she was even given an STD test and was "asked point-blank if she was on birth-control pills." After this battery of tests is complete, each girl is then taken for camera tests to see how photogenic she is.

Contestants do play roles — or, at least, they're portrayed in them

Every show needs a hero, a villain, a side-kick, a damsel in distress, and whatever other stock roles are needed in order to make a compelling story. Cosmopolitan reported that The Bachelor is no exception: "Once on the show, contestants are surrounded by what Bachelor director Ken Fuchs calls his "army" — teams of cameramen, lighting techs, soundmen, and production assistants — staying vigilant for anything approximating drama."

Cosmo further revealed that only once the show's editors start combing through months of footage, the season's juiciest storylines become evident. They assess, "who will capture the heart of the star? Who will go home in tears? Who will be this season's villain?"

The girls are plied with alcohol

Many of us know that alcohol makes people more talkative and emotional. That must be why the producers of The Bachelor make sure that the girls on the hit show have plenty to drink. Season 17 contestant Leslie Hughes revealed to The Daily Beast, "When I came in for the producers' weekend, I remember it was like 12 noon, and they were like, 'You want some champagne, wine?' And I was like, 'It's 12 p.m., noon!' And they're like, 'Welcome to the Bachelor family.'" We hope they, at least, give the girls good stuff to drink.

The roses are fake

Don't panic — we're only talking about the roses at the front of the mansion. But don't worry, Courtney Robertson from season 16 confirmed to Women's Health that "the ones they hand out at the rose ceremonies are real." Phew!

Rose ceremonies are not entirely up to the bachelors

The producers don't stop at just deciding who does and does not appear on The Bachelor. In addition to that, they have a say in how the rose ceremony is presented. Former Bachelor Sean Lowe's new book For the Right Reasons details just how much Bachelor producers meddle. While it's not as much as you might think, Lowe revealed (via Bustle) that the show "likes to put the most obvious choices first so that drama builds towards the end of the ceremony with the rest of the women who are unsure of their status."

While the bachelor seems to be the one to ultimately decide who stays and who goes, the producers step in if a girl needs to be sent home for serious infractions — like when season 14's Rozlyn Papa got sent home for her relationship with a staff member.

The rose ceremonies take a long, long time

If it ever seems like some contestants leave while there's still light out and others leave after the sun has gone down during the same episode, that's not your eyes or your mind playing tricks on you. Sometimes, filming those ceremonies takes forever, or at least it seems like it. In one instance, season 17 bachelor Sean Lowe revealed in his book (via Bustle) that one of his rose ceremonies didn't end until six o'clock in the morning. Being awake and having to wait that long, it's no wonder the girls cry when they don't get a rose. It's not all bad though. Lowe revealed that Chris Harrison went the kitchen to make breakfast burritos for everyone.

Bachelor director Ken Fuchs revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that all rose ceremonies (especially those first few) go into the wee hours of the morning. "There's a lot of women that the bachelor needs to meet," he explains. "Forget about doing a TV show, if you were in some situation where you were going to meet 25 women and at the end of the night select a handful to go home, you want to sort of get a sense of who's who and what's what, so that takes time."

He goes on to say: "It's a long, long night," he said. "It's always been quite an accomplishment to get through it, since it's inevitably sunlight by the time you drive home."

Someone is in charge of the crying

Tears equal drama, and drama equals good television. So it's not that surprising to learn that producers want to make sure tears flow. Former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro revealed in The New Yorker that her job was to get the contestants to open up to her, and then give them terrible advice, as well as to deprive them of sleep. She said that she sees it now as a "complicated manipulation through friendship."

Before the final rose ceremony, Shapiro described how she would raise the hopes of the ultimate loser. "The night they were going to get dumped, I would go to the hotel room where they were staying and say, 'I'm going to lose my job for telling you this, but he's going to pick you—he's going to propose.'"

Shapiro did whatever it took to get a contestant to cry in the limo after being eliminated. "I'd have arranged with the driver to have the song play just until I got a shot of her crying—then cut the music so I could start the interview," Shapiro explained. "They'd often tell us to drive up and down the 405 until the girls cried—and not to come home if we didn't get tears, because we'd be fired."

Season-five contestant Jessica Holcomb corroborated other parts of Shapiro's New Yorker interview that referred to a "memory of a lawyer who was rejected." Holcomb is that lawyer, and her recount of the details in an interview with Cosmopolitan is sickening.

Contestants bring their own clothes

If you ever wonder where one of the girls on The Bachelor gets a certain outfit she has, the best person to ask is her directly, because the girls have to come prepared. Apparently, the ladies are told to bring fancy clothes, athletic wear, and clothes for any other possible occasion, for both warm and cold climates.

Mic reported that the third episode of the 20th season opened with one contestant whispering to another on the patio of the Bachelor Mansion: "Olivia said she spent, like, $40,000 on clothes. It's insane." While fashion and television blogger Dana Weiss, better known as Possessionista, told Mic in that same article that she doubts Olivia spent that much, the point is that all the contestants have to buy their own clothes. Weiss has relationships with ABC, stylists and even the contestants themselves, who will send her breakdowns of their outfits.

Weiss told Mic that all contestants must provide their own outfits. The only women who get any clothing perks are the two finalists, who each get a dress provided by the network for the finale episode. It's also worth noting that even though a contestant can be sent home after the first night, she must have packed enough clothes to last the entire length of the show. This means investing in a variety of outfits to prepare for various travel destinations and climates — from icy winter gear to tropical beachwear.

Jillian Harris, the former Bachelor contestant turned Bachelorette, confirmed this on her blog, writing "The girls do have to bring all of their own clothing and of course, they want to be wearing the best clothes EVER to be seen on TV in!!! I had re-mortgaged my house and I spent something like $8,000 on clothing." She addressed whether she thought a contestant could have possibly spent $40k on clothing, saying, "now that designer labels are even more important, I can see how someone can spend that … easily!!!!!"

Spending all that money just to get on the show… we'd be upset if we didn't get a rose too!

There's no workout equipment on the set

No one can really fault the ladies on The Bachelor for wanting to look as good as they can all the time. Not only are they vying for the love and affection of the "man of their dreams," they have to do so with millions of people watching them every week. So it stands to reason that they'd want to stay fit.

This is a little difficult to do though, since, as Andi Dorfman from season 18 revealed to Women's Health, "There isn't a workout room or any kind of equipment in the mansion." Luckily, the girls can be pretty good at improvising. They run throughout the grounds of the mansion and use anything with a little heft as makeshift free weights.

Producers don't allow the contestants to eat

…well, kind of.

When contestants sit down over elegant dinners for some one-on-one time, they're not allowed to touch that food. Sean Lowe, the Bachelor from season 17 revealed in his book (via Bustle) that "this was just for show. No one looks good eating, and microphones pick up all kinds of chomping." Who looks good with a mouthful of food in his or her face?

Don't worry though. Contestants do get to eat. Lowe said, "Before we went on the date[s], the producers sent food to our hotel rooms. We ate in our rooms and then went out for dinner."

The rings are pricey

And in this case, pricey is a bit of an understatement. According to Us Weekly, the ring Jef Holm gave to Emily Maynard cost $68k. Sean Lowe revealed in his tell-all book (via Bustle) that Catherine's ring cost $75k. The ring Chris Soules gave to Whitney Bischoff, the one with the 3.6 carat diamond, cost in the neighborhood of $92k, according to Us Weekly.

Bustle reports, "the exact details of the ring have always been shrouded in mystery. It's not known for sure whether Neil Lane "donates" the rings in exchange for the promotion, or if ABC foots the bill, but one thing is for sure: the contestants definitely don't have to put any money down." If Neil Lane forgoes the cost in exchange for product placement, that meant The Bachelor is essentially a prolonged commercial for the jeweler… which wouldn't be all the surprising.

There have been allegations of racism against The Bachelor

According to season 17 contestant Leslie Hughes's interview with The Daily Beast, she was the first ethnic female to be cast on the show, or at least one of the first. Someone who had watched the show before being on it, Hughes has said, "From watching it from day one, there wasn't a lot of diversity, [contestants] were always Caucasian, blonde, blue eyes … It was always the same."

And she's not the only person to notice this. In 2012, two black men named Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed a lawsuit against the show, alleging that its creator "knowingly, intentionally, and as a matter of corporate policy refused to cast people of color in the role of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette."

The lawsuit has since been dismissed, but it's a claim that's not without merit. We've yet to see a non-white bachelor on the show. When asked if she thinks the show will ever cast a bachelor of color, Hughes said, "I would love to say yes, but I don't see it being anytime soon … I feel like they did make this big transition into this season [season 17], but it would have to be an even bigger leap to put an ethnic person as the main person."

The host thinks some of the bachelors made the wrong choice

When asked in an interview with Us Weekly if he ever thought any of the bachelors made the wrong decision, Bachelor and Bachelorette host Chris Harrison said, "You bet." In elaboration, he cited season 10 Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, who split from fiancé Josh Murray just five months after the world watched them get engaged. Harrison said, "She was happy for a while, but obviously I think she ended up probably with the wrong guy."

Another match that was certainly not made in heaven was season 14's Bachelor Jake Pavelka and his now-ex-fiancee Vienna Girardi — they had a famously tumultuous split. "I'm trying to think who was number two that season — I already forgot. But obviously they were a little bit like oil and water," Harrison said. "They did not get along very well together."

According to Ali Fedotowsky of season 14, "You spend so little time with the person you choose before the final rose ceremony. I would say you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person you wind up choosing, and 12 of that is spent 'sleeping' in the fantasy suite. You can't really get to know a person in that time frame." We have to say that we agree.

The mansion is someone's actual home

Lest you think that the mansion where the Bachelor and Bachelorette receive their suitors was a set created by ABC, you were wrong. It turns out that the palatial house outside Los Angeles belongs to an actual family who rents their home to the producers twice a year, when they move everything out so the show can turn in it a singles' paradise. The family, whose last name we don't know, stays in a hotel during taping.

According to Good Morning America, fans occasionally show up at the mansion hoping to catch a glimpse of the cast. Marshall, the husband and father who owns the house, is a contractor who designed the house along with his wife. He has even been known to let fans take a swim in the family's pool.

No, you can't keep the ring

What happens to that enormous Neil Lane diamond ring if you decide the person you picked isn't the one for you? According to Entertainment Tonight, if you break up before the two-year mark of your engagement, the ring goes back to production.

"I make rings hoping that people stay together forever, but after they get the ring, I don't have a say in it, and what happens after that, I don't know," Lane, who designs six rings a year for the franchise, told StyleCaster. "Where the ring goes, I have to say, I don't really know. I just say it goes to ring heaven."

Successfully paired couples, such as Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, whose season didn't feature Lane rings, have asked the designer to create anniversary bands for them. "They want to be part of a club when they go to these reunions, " said Lane.

Never, ever use the word "process"

If there was one word that Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants were forbidden to use, what do you think it would be? The answer might surprise you. It's "process." Bachelor Sean Lowe told Glamour in 2015, "Any time you call it a process, they will make you re-tape it and say journey." The reason for hating the word so much isn't clear, but "journey" does have a more romantic connotation, as opposed to "process," which sounds like something that might involve math.

Safe sex is encouraged... probably

Fans of the Bachelorette went bananas in 2015 when Kaitlyn Bristowe admitted to sleeping with then contestant Nick Viall (as if she were the only contestant ever to do that), and questions arose about the show's attitude towards sex. What do we know about the nature of the sex being had in the Fantasy Suite? Is it safe?

The answer is: probably. A 2016 Buzzfeed piece declared that there were "no condoms in the Fantasy Suite," a statement made by Bachelor alum Courtney Robertson. "Everyone gets tested before the show and I was on the pill," said Robertson. "Maybe we were a little bit too in the moment. If I had known I was the last one [to get a fantasy suite date], I would have definitely thought about it more."

Times seem to have changed, though. The show's host, Chris Harrison, told the Huffington Post in 2015 that, "It's always safe, yes. Anything you need to have safe sex, we definitely promote that."

Ali Fedotowsky, the sixth Bachelorette, said to Entertainment Tonight in 2017, "I think maybe they give [condoms] to the guys, which is crazy.They should give [protection] to the girls, too, but I think they just [give condoms to the guys] to make it not awkward." In the same conversation, Chris Soules told the network that "the condoms are in the room already," along with "stuff like [lube] probably, stuff that some people use."

There is so much downtime

One season of the show takes around three months to film, according to Leslie Hughes, a contestant on The Bachelor during Sean Lowe's season. The cast is cut off from all forms of media, social and otherwise, and also aren't able to have books, cellphones, computers, or music. Hughes: "The only things I was allowed to keep were my journal and my Bible." In other words, your only entertainment in Bachelorland is you, your castmates, and lots of alcohol.

"We were so bored all day," Olivia Caridi, a contestant on Season 20 of The Bachelor, told Allure. "There was so much downtime. We were always doing beauty routines because that was literally all we had time to do."

What else do the contestants do to pass the time? Daniel MacGuire (from Season 12 of The Bachelorette starring JoJo Fletcher, and Season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise) told The Verge that on The Bachelorette, "three or four guys brought guitars… but [the producers] often didn't want them to do that… they want everyone to engage with each other, they want everyone to be talking…. They want dialogue and talking and discussion and that kind of stuff, they don't want people to go off and listen to music." There's no gym in the mansion, but, according to Molly Mesnick (The Bachelor Season 13), "there's a hill in the back that girls would run up to exercise." Brian Osbourne, from The Bachelorette Season 10, told Wet Paint that contestants played games, like Cards Against Humanity, checkers, and chess.