See How Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner's Granddaughter Helped Him Get Ready to Date Again

Get exclusive details on how Golden Bachelor's Gerry Turner got ready for night one of the new series. "The last time I was dating was in the late '60s," he said. "I'm a bit scared."

By Alyssa Morin Sep 25, 2023 11:30 PMTags
Watch: "Golden Bachelor" Gerry Turner on His Search for Love

The support Gerry Turner received from his family is as sweet as a bouquet of roses!

The Golden Bachelor star—who hopes to find a second chance at love on the new Bachelor spinoff series following the 2017 death of his wife Toni—enlisted the help of his granddaughter Charlee before handing out roses to the 22 women vying for his heart.

"Dating has changed a lot," the 72-year-old said in E! News' exclusive look at The Golden Bachelor, premiering Sept. 28. "The last time I was dating was in the late '60s."

He continued, "I'm a bit scared because I'm so out of practice and I don't know what's going to happen this evening."

Luckily, Gerry's granddaughter Charlee showed up to help him get ready to date again. As she told her grandfather, "You think I was going to let you go on your first night alone?"

"I want to be here to help him," she later said to the cameras. "Pick out his suit, help him with things that he might not know how to do."

The Golden Bachelor: Meet the Women Vying for Gerry Turner’s Heart

With Charlee's help, Gerry selected the perfect outfit to make his debut on the show, wearing a navy blue blazer layered over a white button-down shirt and fitted denim jeans.

"My granddaughters have been extremely supportive of me being the Golden Bachelor," he gushed. "They've been in my corner 100 percent."

However, the retired restaurant owner revealed that his family members had just one tiny request.

"They just said, 'We don't want you kissing anybody on TV,'" he teased. "And I go, 'Well, that's gonna happen.'"

ABC/Brian Bowen Smith

As for what Bachelor Nation fans can expect this season? While Gerry noted sparks will fly the first night, the person who gets his final rose isn't who you'd expect.

"If people were to watch that first night and try to pick favorites based on my reactions or based on things that happen that first night," he told E! News' Francesca Amiker on Sept. 20, "they would be far away from what the end result is."

He offered additional insight into his happily ever after, sharing, "It took me a long time to get to where my final decision was."

"As more information was absorbed and processed, it led me down a certain path," he continued. "It wasn't like I had a hard time finding my way. I really had good clues, but I had to be awake and alert to see them when they happened."

The Golden Bachelor premieres Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, with Bachelor in Paradise returning for a two-hour premiere starting at 9:01 p.m ET.

But before the season kicks off, keep reading for everything you need to know about the new show.

What to Expect

While the lead and contestants may be older, ABC teased that The Golden Bachelor—which was delayed for several years due to COVID-19 after it was announced in January 2020—will follow a similar format to the OG show. 

"The women arriving at the mansion have a lifetime of experience, living through love, loss and laughter, hoping for a spark that ignites a future full of endless possibilities," the network's May 16 press release read. "In the end, will our Golden man turn the page to start a new chapter with the woman of his dreams?"

But host Jesse Palmer shared that the stakes will be different on The Golden Bachelor because of the "emotional maturity" and life experiences of the older cast

"The way that they decipher problems, the way that they think about some of the situations that they're in—whenever they face adversity, it's pretty interesting," Jesse told E! News. "It's a very, very resilient group of people. That's probably been one of the more surprising things for me."

And while it will be—say it with us—dramatic, the spinoff will also be uplifting, according to Jesse.

"The vibe of the show up to this point has been very different from the other shows that I've been a part of in the last two years," he noted. "There's really this sort of overarching theme of hope on this show. If it doesn't work out between the lead and one of the women, it's not so much heartbreak but it's more, 'You know, I wasn't sure I could put myself out there again and give love another try. You and this experience have given me the courage to do that moving forward, and I believe I'm gonna find my person.' And it's beautiful."

When It Premieres

The Golden Bachelor will debut Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, with Bachelor in Paradise returning for a two-hour premiere starting at 9:01 p.m ET.

The Lead

Sorry future Bachelor Joey Graziadei, but America is all about Gerry Turner, who was announced as the franchise's first senior citizen lead on July 17.

The Golden Bachelor will follow the 72-year-old Indiana resident as he embarks on his journey for a second chance at love six years after the death of his high school sweetheart and wife Toni. The retired restauranteur has two daughters, Angie and Jenny, and two granddaughters, Charlee and Payton, and, according to ABC, he enjoys getting outside on a four-wheeler, hosting barbecues and playing pickleball.

"He has just been so incredible," Jesse told E! News of Gerry. "He's so personable. He's so loving. He was the perfect person to do this. Just really sweet, just humble, appreciative, grateful for the opportunity, amazing family. When I first talked to Gerry, I talked to him with his daughters and his granddaughters, and you can just kinda see it."

Gerry's Lost Love

There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Gerry and Toni's love story was shared during The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All special on Aug. 14. 

"I married my high school sweetheart Toni in 1972," Gerry said in the clip. "We had 43 wonderful years together. We had two daughters, and I now have two wonderful granddaughters. We had a real typical but beautiful life—full of love, full of activity."

After Gerry and Toni retired, they purchased what he called their "dream house" in May 2017, but the couple's plans for the future were tragically cut short soon after.

"From June 6 on, it didn't go according to plan at all," Gerry recalled before tearing up. "She became ill, and her situation got worse over a couple of weeks. And so, we went to the emergency room, and she had a bacterial infection that infected her kidneys and infected her liver. And so, I took my wife to the emergency room on July 7. She passed away on July 15."

What Gerry Is Looking For

"I really want to find my person who can put me in my place when I need it and make me smile at it," Gerry said in a clip that aired during the Aug. 14 episode of The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All. "The person who can lay down beside you at night and not have to say anything and you feel it. That's love. That's what I want, and I know that person's out there."

Being active is also a plus for anyone interested in dating Gerry.

"I'd love it if I found a partner who was high-energy," he revealed during an interview with Good Morning America. "Someone that maybe plays pickleball, someone that maybe plays golf."

The Women

ABC unveiled the 22 contestants that will be embarking on the journey to win Gerry's heart on Aug. 30, and the line-up included a familiar face: Patty James, the mother of The Bachelor season 25 star Matt James. After Patty's casting was announced, Matt celebrated his mom's new gig on his Instagram Story by posting her official photo and writing, "i ccc uuu mama" with a heart emoji.

The women's ages range from 60-75 and their professions include pro-aging coach and midlife speaker, wedding officiant, therapist and fitness instructor. 

The First Night

Along with a lot of sequins, viewers can expect to see the women sporting self-esteem when they arrive at the Bachelor mansion to meet Gerry, according to Jesse.

"One of the things I've really enjoyed about this group of women? They are so much more confident getting out of the limo on night one—unlike anything I've ever seen," Jesse told E! News. "It's always the limo entrance arrival, the nerves stepping out, cameras, the mansion, all of it. Because they've lived life [and] they've had experiences, they are rock stars—and all throughout this season. On group dates, on one-on-one dates, traveling, they just shine."

But don't expect Gerry to call it an early evening.

"The night does not end at 10 p.m. like I thought it might—only because people were a little bit older, maybe they wouldn't be able to stay up as late," Jesse shared. "People know that first night at the mansion is the longest night in television—period. I mean, normally that goes from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., and it is an all-nighter and they are rollin'. And I'll say this—having been on it now for a couple years—a lot of these young kids, they talk a lot of game but inevitably you see them on the couch passed out taking little naps here and there."

Not this year's stars though. "There were no naps taken on The Golden Bachelor," he added. "They partied hard, and they went from sundown to sunup."

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