The untold truth of Bachelor in Paradise

The first season of Bachelor in Paradise premiered on August 4, 2014, forever changing both summertime television and the entire Bachelor franchise. Filmed on the sunny beaches of Mexico, the spinoff promised to feature "new twists, shocking surprises, unexpected guests, and some of the most unlikely relationships in Bachelor history." Multiple seasons later, it's safe to say Bachelor in Paradise has exceeded even our most dramatic expectations. 

Perhaps best described as equal parts Bachelor and Survivor, the reality dating show features multiple fan favorites from previous seasons of The Bachelor and Bacheloretteeach hoping to find love — or at least make the most of their Bachelor Nation fame. For early castoffs, victims of the villain-edit, and brokenhearted former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants, Bachelor in Paradise serves as an island of opportunity, possibility, and second chances, surrounded by a deep, blue sea of drama and disillusion — and there's even more drama happening behind the scenes. Here's the untold truth of the show that gives a whole new meaning to "trouble in paradise." 

Bachelor in Paradise has beat out The Bachelor

Bachelor in Paradise may be a show about an island of misfit former contestants, but its track record of introducing and producing successful couples far surpasses that of the show that started it all — The Bachelor

At the time of this writing, only four couples who met on The Bachelor are still going strong — and two of those men pulled nationally televised switch-a-roos before riding into the sunset with their true loves (looking at you, Jason Mesnick and Arie Luyendyk, Jr.). 

With only five seasons under its belt thus far, Bachelor in Paradise is responsible for bringing together seven successful Bachelor Nation couples — Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert, Carly Waddell and Evan Bass, Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk, Kendall Long and Joe Amabile, Kevin Wendt and Astrid Loch, Krystal Nielson and Chris Randone, and Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon. With three marriages, two engagements, and promising futures ahead for each of these couples, it's clear that Bachelor in Paradise has cracked the code to finding true love on TV — and making it last.

Contestants essentially sign their lives over to Bachelor in Paradise producers

According to New York-based entertainment attorney, Nicole Page, the contract that Bachelor in Paradise contestants are required to agree to essentially strips them of their ability to control their own image. After analyzing the contract, Page told CNNMoney that the agreement says, in a nutshell, "[Bachelor in Paradise producers] can basically take your image and do whatever [they] want with it and [they] own it and you have no recourse."

During the second and third seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, contestant Ashley Iaconetti was painted as being lovesick and slightly obsessive over longtime crush (and now fiancé), Jared Haibon, often full-on sobbing to the camera, her friends, Haibon, and even to the spirit of her recently deceased dog. While it's safe to say Iaconetti would have preferred that her every emotional breakdown not be shown on national television, the terms within the Bachelor in Paradise contract are clear: "Actions and the actions of others displayed in the Series may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature and may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation, or condemnation." Sheesh.

Bachelor in Paradise filming is super hot… like, literally

When you gather a bunch of single, bathing suit-clad, reality TV stars in a romantic resort nestled within a tropical paradise, things are bound to get steamy. However, when said paradise happens to be Sayulita, Mexico in the middle of summer, things are going to get more than just steamy — they're going to get uncomfortably hot. SayulitaLife.com reports that summer months in the tropical haven average around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity levels that often make it feel even warmer.

According to Glamour's Jessica Radloff, who took a behind-the-scenes tour of Bachelor in Paradise's filming location, the humidity is the real enemy of the contestants. "There's nothing like the humidity one experiences in Mexico," Radloff revealed. "It was so humid that my sunglasses would fog up every time I walked outside."

Radloff also revealed that contestants have to suffer the unbearable heat, all in the name of made-for-TV drama. "Playa Escondida does have AC in many of the huts, but all of the ones that the contestants stay in do not," Radloff reported. "That's one way the producers make sure the contestants are either in the pool or at the beach at all times."

Bachelor in Paradise is a Bachelor Pad spinoff

If you're a more recent fan of the franchise, it's possible you've never been introduced to the beautiful, made-for-TV mess that was Bachelor Pad. First premiering on August 9, 2010, the Bachelor spinoff was far more competitive than romantically charged. Of course, that was probably due to the grand prize waiting at the finish line for one lucky couple — $250,000. 

Each week of Bachelor Pad featured an elimination-style episode, in which the men and women living in the famous Bachelor Mansion would privately vote for a member of the opposite sex to send home. Week by week, contestant numbers dwindled, until two people were left having decide between splitting the money with their partner — or keeping it all for themselves. The show's third and final season ended with underdog contestant Nick Peterson opting to keep the prize money, completely blindsiding his partner, Rachel Truehart. Peterson revealed to E! News that, while he'd promised Truehart he'd split the winnings with her, he changed his mind upon realizing she'd been "trash talking" him. 

"She didn't want to be my partner, so I didn't owe her anything," the Bachelor Pad champ told the publication.

Bachelor in Paradise contestants are compensated

Fortunately for Bachelor in Paradise contestants, compensation is provided for appearing on the hit summertime show. While the exact amount is unknown, notorious blogger Reality Steve revealed in 2014 that contestants are paid anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000. "Not everyone makes the same amount," he noted. 

Outside of Bachelor in Paradise, contestants on The Bachelor and Bachelorette are rarely doing their finances any favors (in the short term) by appearing on the show(s). According to Amy Kaufman's book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure (via CNNMoney), Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants aren't compensated at all — and they're expected to cover their own costs. 

Taylor Nolan, a contestant on Season 21 of The Bachelor and Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, told CNNMoney that she regretted the amount of money she spent on makeup and clothes for her time on The Bachelor, but that it all balanced out following her appearance on Paradise. "I definitely felt more like there was a balance of how much I put in versus how much I was getting out [of Paradise] — not only with my relationship [...] but also being able to make money," Nolan revealed.

Bachelor in Paradise was almost cancelled

During filming for Season 4 of Bachelor in ParadisePeople reported that ABC was considering shutting down production on the reality series for the foreseeable future. Production had recently been suspended amid allegations of sexual misconduct between contestants DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, and Warner Bros. was conducting an internal investigation to determine whether or not Jackson was guilty of any wrongdoing. Interestingly, a source told People that the sexual misconduct allegations were only part of the reason behind the potential cancellation. 

"The main reason it will likely not be back is that the majority of the bill for the show is footed by the Mexico Tourism Board," the source revealed. "They pick up the tab for practically everything in exchange for all the free publicity the show gives them — but it's not a good look and is not likely to be something Mexico Tourism wants to welcome back."

However, on June 20, 2017, Warner Bros. announced that no instance of sexual misconduct was found during their investigation, and filming for Season 4 resumed without Jackson and Olympios. Mexico Tourism has continued to host production since the incident. 

You can stay in Paradise, too!

If the scenic, tropical backdrop of Bachelor in Paradise has you craving a Mexican vacay with your best pals — you're in luck! Playa Escondida, the Sayulita, Mexico resort where the bulk of Bachelor in Paradise is filmed, isn't reserved for reality TV romantics. Anyone can stay here (as long as your bank account agrees, of course).

In August 2016, Glamour's Jessica Radloff took a tour of the resort, getting an up-close-and-personal view of some of the most notable Bachelor in Paradise staple spots. "It's like walking into a real-life Pinterest board," Radloff said of the resort. "While the show does utilize a set designer to make Playa Escondida TV-ready, it's basically perfect as is."

According to Radloff, while contestants stay at Playa Escondida, the fancy one-on-one dates actually take place at the Vidanta Resort Nuevo Vallarta — which is nearly an hour-long drive from the beach featured in those cheesy Bachelor in Paradise intro credits. Host Chris Harrison also stays at the Vindanta Resort during filming, presumably so he can soak up the sun while keeping a safe distance from all the drama. We like the way you think, Harrison.

A lot of Bachelor in Paradise contestants talk before the show

Since the first season of The Bachelor premiered in 2002, the franchise has evolved into a universe all its own. Once you appear on The Bachelor, Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise, you instantaneously become a part of Bachelor Nation — along with an ever-expanding number of previous Bachelor franchise stars. Mixing and mingling among various seasons' contestants is inevitable, and, even if cast members don't personally know each other, they almost definitely know of each other. 

According to Wells Adams, former Bachelorette contestant-turned-Paradise bartender, it's not uncommon for Bachelor in Paradise contestants to get to know one another before coming on the show. Revealing that Season 5 contestants Kendall Long and Leo Dottavio had talked before the show, Adams told Entertainment Tonight, "In Kendall's defense, everyone talks before the show. And as you should, because the odds of really finding someone to get engaged are pretty small if you don't know anybody, so if you have the opportunity to kind of feel people out beforehand, it's a good idea."

There's a drink limit while filming Bachelor in Paradise

According to former Bachelor in Paradise contestant Lauren Himle, producers often heavily encouraged contestants to let loose by being very generous with the booze. "They're like, 'OK, tequila shots for everyone.' And of course you're gonna take the shot; you're not gonna be the only person that's not," Himle told Inside Edition. "When you're fed alcohol, you really have less of a filter, which in the producers' eyes is good for them."

However, following the since-dismissed sexual misconduct incident between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios (which Olympios admitted being too inebriated to remember), the show announced (via People) it would be implementing a strict two-drink maximum per hour to "enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants." However, according to contestant Robby Hayes, some cast members managed to sneakily avoid the rule. "If it was two drinks an hour, we'd grab one at 3:50, one at 3:55, then [it was a] new hour at 4:00. We'd grab one at 4:00, and one at 4:05, then you have four drinks within 15 minutes," Hayes revealed to People.

What happened to Bachelor in Paradise's Jorge the bartender?

One of the most beloved Bachelor in Paradise cast members was never technically a cast member at all. He was, however, a comforting voice of reason for contestants, as well as the source of many a nice, tall glass of liquid courage. 

Of course, we're talking about Jorge Moreno, better known to Bachelor in Paradise fans as Jorge the Bartender. Moreno was a Paradise staple for the first three seasons of the show, but, ahead of season four, former contestant Ashley Iaconetti told Us Weekly that fans would no longer being seeing his friendly face behind the bar. "Jorge's not coming back as the bartender in Paradise because Jorge is doing his own thing," Iaconetti revealed. "He has his own tour company… so he's building his own company and he won't be here this year."

However, while Moreno may be gone, he's certainly not forgotten. Wells Adams, who took Moreno's place as bartender in Season 4, revealed that the cast still celebrates the former bartender every summer. "Everyone really [likes] the Jorge special, a drink Jorge taught me," Adams told Entertainment Tonight.

Does Bachelor in Paradise serve as an audition to be the next lead?

While drinking and flirting on the beaches of Mexico certainly sounds like a fun time, being named the Bachelor or Bachelorette is the highest of Bachelor Nation honors. After all, who wouldn't want to be wined and dined across the globe while a bevy of eligible singles compete for your affection?

Since Bachelor in Paradise airs during the summer — months before The Bachelor's January return — it's not a crazy idea that male contestants would use their time in Paradise to prove to both fans and producers that they're worthy of serving as the next Bachelor. According to Robert Mills, ABC's Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night Programming, the launch of Bachelor in Paradise was the catalyst for ABC executives considering potential leads that they otherwise would have never given a chance. "You saw the villains get redemption and those are sometimes the best stories that we tell," Mills revealed to E! News. "I think that's when we started to say nobody can ever be discounted."

So far, both Nick Viall and Colton Underwood have scored Bachelor gigs after appearing on Paradise. We can't wait to see who will be next! 

This was the hardest part of Bachelor in Paradise

The resort is gorgeous, the drinks are free, and those oceanside views are certainly hard to beat, but that seems to be where the list of Bachelor in Paradise perks ends. Don't get us wrong — we'd love to spend a few weeks on a beach in Mexico with our group of pals. But if former Bachelor in Paradise contestants are to be believed, appearing on the show couldn't be less of a vacation. And if the heat doesn't take a toll on your body, the drama will definitely take a toll on your emotions.

Mikey Tenerelli and Tenley Molzahn, who both appeared on Bachelor in Paradise's second season, revealed in an interview with Flare that breaking up was the hardest thing to do while on Paradise — as well as the hardest thing to watch. Discussing the moment Kirk DeWindt blindsided Carly Waddell by breaking off their relationship, Molzahn told Flare, "I still get tingles," noting, "That was hard to watch back."

Tenerelli echoed Molzahn's statement, saying, "The brutal honest breakups that you have are tough to do in private, let alone doing it and watching it over and over again."

Are Bachelor in Paradise engagements forced?

In the real world, no one would blame you if you didn't feel comfortable proposing after only knowing a person for a few months — and they certainly wouldn't encourage a proposal after only three weeks of dating. However, Bachelor in Paradise is far from the real world — even if it is a reality show.

According to Amy Kaufman's book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure (via Elle), producer Elan Gale tried to force Chris Bukowski to propose to Elise Mosca during Bachelor in Paradise. Bukowski told Kaufman that, even though he "couldn't stand" Mosca, Gale attempted to convince him that a proposal was the only chance Bukowski had at being well-liked by fans, allegedly telling him, "You've got to do it. This is going to fix your image so much. America's going to fall in love with you guys." 

Ultimately, Bukowski and Mosca left Paradise without getting engaged — and the former contestant claims that he lost touch with Gale after refusing to go along with the producer's proposal plans.