Peter Weber is cool, but does anyone else remember The Bachelor‘s OG pilot?
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Jake Pavelka took flight and went on a journey to find his happily ever after on ABC’s hit reality show.
After competing on Jillian Harris‘ season—and being eliminated before hometowns—the pilot became the lead where he ultimately proposed to Vienna Girardi and said goodbye to runner up Tenley Leopold.
As viewers continue to watch Pilot Pete’s journey at finding love every Monday night, it got us thinking: What did The Bachelor look like 10 years ago?
“Ten years ago, social media really wasn’t that big. Now, these Bachelor contestants are these big reality stars with all their followers,” Vienna shared with E! News exclusively. “You’ll see me post once in a blue moon. I feel like it’s a lot of ads like they are always trying to market and promote themselves, which has kind of diluted the brand. Now I don’t really know if people go on it for the right reasons.”
Tenley added, “I heard more talk in the house like, ‘If we don’t fall in love with Jake, there’s always the opportunity for The Bachelorette.’ But that was probably the max. Melissa Rycroft had just done Dancing With the Stars and that was kind of fresh 10 years ago. There were some outside opportunities, but that was not the main idea to being on the show.”
While the lavish dates and dramatic rose ceremonies remain the same, Jake and Vienna’s public breakup proved to be a turning point in the franchise.
Unlike previous seasons, tabloids started to treat the couple like true stars. As a result, media coverage was extensive and often times unfairly critical.
“I remember one of the producers saying they were blown away by how big the media was exploiting us,” Vienna shared. “She had never seen contestants being on the cover of the magazines the way that it was. They were talking about my family.”
The realtor continued, “I think since my season, there has been a lot more crazy and wild things. I look back on my season and I don’t even think there was anything that crazy or whatever that even happened. It was more or less creating stuff out of nothing but now I feel like people try to create that.”
Today, Vienna is focused on working in real estate and trying to keep her personal life more private. As for Tenley, the blogger and certified nutritionist is happily married to Taylor Leopold and “setting our lives up for hopefully a future family someday.”
And to this day, both ladies still get recognized from members of Bachelor Nation who want to know: Is the show real?
“My answer for me is it was very real,” Tenley admitted. “I had no expectation so it was a very real experience…I’m very much in control and I have ownership of my own thoughts, words and actions…Every eye roll or gasp can be used in context or out of context.”
To hear more memories from the show, take a look back in our gallery below.
The Bachelor airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. only on ABC.