Even Off-Season, Bachelor Nation Is Delivering the Escape We Need

From new feuds to new hookups, Bachelor Nation is still delivering the escape we need even though it's off-the-air
By Tierney Bricker May 02, 2020 10:00 AMTags

We pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United Nation of The Bachelor, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under Chris Harrison...

While it was expected and the right call, Bachelor Nation fans were left pretty bummed out when production on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette was officially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, joining a long list of Hollywood projects impacted by the outbreak.

With Clare's season hold, that meant Bachelor in Paradise, everyone's favorite guilty pleasure in the summer, would also be postponed. Summer bummer, indeed.

But thanks to the ABC franchise's stacked roster of alum and their love for documenting their lives, Bachelor Nation has been busier than ever since early March, with a seemingly endless stream of news to keep us entertained. 

Even if The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart wasn't filling the void every Monday night for six weeks (which, like, it's good?! And not just quarantine-good, but good-good!), Bachelor Nation has been relentless in terms of updates, with shocking couplings and surprising feuds.

It's not reality TV; it's just reality and we get to watch it all play out on social media 24/7...

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All of the Men Who Were Almost the Bachelor

So let's break down all of the happenings since Peter Weber's s--tshow (is there any other word for it, truly?) season came to on March 11, with the After the Final Rose going down as one of the last live pop culture events before the social distancing protocol was put into place.

Consider it your state of the union address...

E! Illustration

The Hookups: 

Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan: Is it not the most Pilot Pete thing ever for Pilot Pete to end up with the woman he met before his season even started filming? All it took was a broken engagement, a short-lived second shot with his runner-up and a social distancing order.

Peter and Kelley, who the Bachelor sent home ahead of hometowns, are now officially dating after his splits from Hannah Ann and Madison and quarantining together in Chicago, where Kelley lives.

"They have been pretty inseparable this last month and Peter is still quarantining with Kelley in Chicago," our insider revealed. "Peter had an idea that things would play out like this. He knew what he was doing when he first flew to Chicago. He was very interested in Kelley from the start, and after spending a lot of time with her, he decided he wanted to be exclusive."

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Chris Soules and Victoria Fuller: No, that isn't a Bachelor mad-lib, it turns out the former Bachelor and the polarizing contestant from Peter's season are sparking romance rumors.

Victoria F. has been dropping hints about the wildly unexpected romance, including posting a photo of herself on Instagram and listing the location as  Arlington, Iowa, which is where Chris lives. "Farm life," she captioned the snapshot, another hint as Chris was known as "Prince Farming."

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Bachelor & Bachelorette Status Check: Find Out Who's Still Together!

While neither have officially commented on the rumors or their relationship status, Us Weekly reported that Chris and Victoria connected on social media, naturally. 

"Chris slid into Victoria's DMs," a source told the outlet. "He apparently DMs a lot of people." Well, then!

Hannah Ann Sluss and Mason Rudolph: Peter who? After earning praise for the way she handled the end of her engagement to Peter, Hannah Ann teased she was enjoying a new relationship with a "mystery man," describing it as "just a nice little quarantine fling" on the Off the Vine podcast.

But the mystery was solved pretty quickly, with TMZ publishing photos of the influencer with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

While that was reportedly the third time the pair had been spotted together recently, a source told E! News that Hannah Ann isn't "serious" with anyone at the moment and isn't looking to settle back down after her failed engagement. 

ABC/Mark Bourdillon

Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron: OK, we know they both claim to be single, but we can't help but root for these two to get back together. It's the love story we need, so we're cool with waiting.

"There is definite chemistry between Hannah and Tyler," a source previously shared with E! News of the duo, who were social distancing together in Florida before Hannah traveled home to Alabama. "They both have expressed they are not in a position to date right now but do care about each other."

The Feuds

Peter Weber vs.Madison Prewett: It's hard to believe it was less than two months ago that Peter and Madison announced via their respective social media accounts that they had decided not to pursue their relationship...just two days after taking a stand against his mom Barb during the After the Final Rose special.

So after the news of Peter spending time with Kelley in Chicago broke, Madison weighed in on the Off the Vine podcast, admitting she was "hurt and thrown off" for a few reasons, like Kelley being her best friend in the house and her claim that Peter had just approached her about giving their relationship another chance.

"To be honest what was really confusing for me is that two days before [Peter] was spotted in Chicago, he was calling me and texting me being like, 'I miss you; let's get back together,'" she revealed.

The tea? It had been spilled. 

But it didn't take long for the pilot to sound off on his ex's comments, writing in an Instagram post, "You'd think you'd have a little more respect for this situation given we both know there's more to the story...," Peter replied, even tagging his former flame.

Madison has yet to respond.

Nick Viall vs. Madison Prewett: So after Madison claimed Peter had wanted to rekindle their romance just before he was hanging with Kelley, former Bachelor Nick shared his thoughts about the situation on his Viall Files podcast, saying Madison has a reputation of being "a liar." The shots? They were fired!

"We also know Madison to be a little bit of a liar," he said, bringing up the fan theory that she ran her own fan account. "People want to forget—I know Madison wants to forget it—but her Instagram…It's a fact she did that. And, listen, it is silly and trivial and there's a logical explanation for it that, you know, she wanted people to like her. It's a totally relatable thing."

While admitting he had defended her in the past, Nick went on to say, "If you're going to be righteous and you're going to be pious and you're going to, like, talk about your relationship with God and how you want to be example to young women, blah, blah, blah, I hold you to a higher standard, so don't be a liar.

Finally, he added, "I don't like that if you're going to be super pious. I've talked to producers and they like Madison, but they also think she can be a little manipulative and a little bit of a liar."

Madison has yet to respond.

Shutterstock; ABC

Clare Crawley vs. the Men on Her Season: While her season has yet to start filming, with production being postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Clare is already putting her foot down when it comes to the behavior she expects from her suitors. 

The Bachelorette took to Twitter to call out some of the guys who had initially been cast, tweeting, "If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season... you are in it for the wrong reasons... #dontwasteyourtime." 

Many immediately believed she was shading Matt James, Tyler C.'s best friend, who had been doing interviews, including one with us, ahead of the NEOU Fit-A-Thon, a 12-hour fitness event on Instagram Live that raised money for healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clare then clarified her comments after social media users rushed to Matt's defense, writing in response to one person, "You weren't supposed to deduce babe, it was about MULTIPLE men and a general thought I was having while we sit here in a real life crisis where someone's (everyone's) time + sincerity hold so much weight and value."

The plot? It has thickened!

Jessica Clarke/Instagram

The News

Ben Higgins Is Engaged: Arguably the most beloved Bachelor of all-time is engaged to Jessica Clarke, proposing to his girlfriend of almost two years in March while the two were quarantining together. 

"I proposed and her family and mine were watching from a distance, and then we all celebrated together," he told Entertainment Tonight. "I was super nervous. She's my best friend, my partner and I love her. I was nervous to kind of do this whole thing in front of her. I wasn't anxious, it's just a big moment!"

Blasts From the Past: To help satisfy their fans' appetite for all things Bachelor, ABC is turning to its 18 years of Bachelor Nation for The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable—Ever! a new 10-episode retrospective series launching in June.

In the new show, Chris Harrison will guide viewers through some of his favorite seasons, highlighting the devastating rose ceremonies, proposals, unexpected arrivals, meltdowns, breakups and romantic moments all captured on camera. The weekly retrospectives will also include virtual catch-ups with Bachelor Nation veterans.

Ch-Ch-Changes to Clare's Season: Following the announcement that filming on her season would be postponed, it was reported that the show would likely have new men cast as Clare's suitors, which pleases many fans fan given some of the men's ages (23 being the youngest).

According to a recent report by Variety, producers are cautiously eyeing a fall premiere date for The Bachelorette, meaning the show would go back into production this summer. The season would likely be filmed in just one location, with all contestants and crew being tested before entering the private area and then remaining there throughout the entire shoot, per the publication.