A popular gig! Chase McNary — who vied for JoJo Fletcher’s love on The Bachelorette season 12 but was sent home as the second runner-up — came closer than you might have realized to becoming the franchise’s season 21 Bachelor. McNary spoke exclusively with Us Weekly at a recent charity event benefiting SheLift and Globe-athon, where he revealed that he had actually signed paperwork to become the ABC dating series' leading man.
McNary, who had been widely seen as a front-runner for the coveted role that ultimately went to Nick Viall, says that producers had led him to believe he would be the season 21 star. He adds that he didn't find out he wouldn't be the Bachelor until the day before ABC announced Viall as the pick on After Paradise on Tuesday, August 30.
"I went through the negotiations, I accepted the offer, I signed the contract," McNary tells Us. "I talked to my family, friends, about being the Bachelor. It was the Monday before they announced it that they told me I wasn't the Bachelor. So I found out with the rest of the world that it was Nick."
McNary reveals that he had thought his primary competition would be fellow Bachelorette season 12 standout Luke Pell. "Inherently, I thought it was going to be Luke," the Colorado-based medical sales rep says. "When I found out I wasn’t the Bachelor, I thought it was going to be Luke. I think Luke thought it was going to be me. And we both at the same time found out it was going to be Nick."
But in the end, perhaps everything turned out the way it was supposed to. "It’s one of those things where I opened my heart and my mind and my thoughts [to] being the Bachelor, and I was ready to try it, and I was ready to do it," McNary says. "And now that I’m not, I’m actually glad. You know? I’m glad that I can find love in a more organic, natural way."
Pell previously told Us exclusively that he underwent a very similar experience, as he had talked with producers and "agreed to the contracts, and everything was moving forward" for the war veteran to land the gig. According to Pell, the show's staff called him to reject him on Sunday, August 28, just 11 hours before his planned flight to Los Angeles to appear on After Paradise.
As for his current love life, McNary says he is currently on the market. He confirms that he and conservative pundit Tomi Lahren were close for a short time, but that things didn't ended up working out.
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The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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