All grown up! Over the years, single parents have looked for love on The Bachelor or Bachelorette, often giving Bachelor Nation a glimpse at their lives with their children through the ABC show.
Jason Mesnick was the first single dad to hand out roses as the season 13 Bachelor. He won over the hearts of fans after finishing as DeAnna Pappas’ runner-up on season 4 of The Bachelorette in 2008. Mesnick’s son, Ty, from a previous marriage, briefly appeared on the show.
“I just knew that there was no way that I could truly fall in love with somebody unless they saw my son,” Mesnick said during the 2009 season.
In the end, the real estate broker proposed to Melissa Rycroft but ended their engagement while the show was airing. During After the Final Rose, he reconnected with runner-up Molly Malaney and they wed in 2010. Mesnick and Maloney went on to welcome daughter Riley in 2013 — but couldn’t escape their Bachelor past when Netflix started streaming the season in 2019.
“Let’s pretend YOU were The Bachelor and your 15-year-old son just discovered your season on @Neflix…” Mesnick wrote via Instagram at the time. “Do you: A.) Let him watch it? B.) Ship him off to Switzerland for a few years until it comes off Netflix.”
Emily Maynard later became the first single mother to lead the franchise when she was named the eighth Bachelorette after winning season 15 of The Bachelor (and splitting from Brad Womack). The North Carolina native gave birth to daughter Ricki months after her then-fiancé, Ricky Hendrick, died in an airplane accident in October 2004 at 24 years old.
“I wish that I would’ve kept [my time on The Bachelor and Bachelorette] totally separate [from Ricki],” Maynard said in a 2017 podcast interview. “At the time, I thought, ‘This is it,’ and I never would’ve brought her into it had I not thought that. So I wish that I maybe would’ve taken a step back. Maybe sheltered her from that a little bit more.”
Maynard didn’t find The One on The Bachelorette, but she married Tyler Johnson in 2014 and welcomed four more kids: Jennings, Gibson, Gatlin and Magnolia.
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It hasn’t only been leads who have opened up about their kids on the show, however. Scroll through to see then and now photos: