Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Is the Season 22 Lead: 10 Things to Know About the Former Indy 500 Driver

Arie Luyendyk BachelorArie Luyendyk Jr. was announced as the season 22 lead of The Bachelor on Thursday, September 7. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage)

Who? It was likely the reaction that many franchise fans initially had when Arie Luyendyk Jr. was announced as the season 22 Bachelor on Thursday, September 7. While many outspoken critics wanted the lead to be one of Rachel Lindsay’s finalists–Peter Kraus and Eric Bigger were a few of the names consistently mentioned–producers and executives decided to return to the show’s roots. Former franchise leads and longtime fans of the ABC series, some who’ve since tapered off, are excited about the return of the season 8 Bachelorette runner-up, who is finally getting his turn at handing out roses. The Knot introduces (er, re-introduces) Luyendyk below.

He’s Racing Royalty and a Professional Himself

Luyendyk’s father, Arie Luyendyk, is a two-time winner of the famed Indianapolis 500. Arie Jr. eventually followed his father’s lead as a professional driver, and has since won the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, and competed in the A1 Grand Prix World Cup—basically, the biggest auto racing event in the world. Following Luyendyk’s first stint on reality television, a new crop of fans emerged at his races.

“I do have a lot of fans that come to the racetrack. I think that the cool thing is that since being on the show people can follow my career and my partners and see what I am up to,” he told PopSugar in 2015. “It’s fun because they know what races I’m at, and it has brought a lot of new fans into racing, which, you know, I enjoy just because sharing my passion is what I love to do with everybody.”

He’s now living in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is working in real estate, but he’s certainly pursued driving with a passion.

He Was Bachelorette Emily Maynard’s Runner-Up

Luyendyk first found franchise fame in 2012 on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette. While he was confident that he had secured her final rose, Luyendyk was sent home a day before the final rose ceremony when Maynard ultimately decided to go with Jef Holm. In a heartbreaking franchise moment, Luyendyk simply kissed Maynard on the cheek and said, “Don’t say anything. I’ll go.”

On his way home, a still-stunned Luyendyk was barely processing the split. “I still believe she is the love of my life. It’s so painful. I can’t believe this is it,” he said at the time.

He Hasn’t Been in Love For Quite Some Time

Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss, who’s been teasing the news for weeks, shared some big clues about Luyendyk the day before the announcement.

He Was Supposed to Be the Season 19 Bachelor

Luyendyk was the frontrunner for the coveted role back in 2015, but ultimately, “Prince Farming” Chris Soules nabbed the title instead. “They actually told Arie he was gonna be the Bachelor,” season 18 Bachelor Sean Lowe told Dish Nation two years ago. “They flew down, had a camera crew, filmed him telling his family he was gonna be the next Bachelor—[and] then pulled the rug out from underneath him and made Chris the Bachelor.”

GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff of ABC's "The Bachelor" are guests on "Good Morning America," 3/10/15, airing on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ida Mae Astute) CHRIS SOULES, WHITNEY BISCHOFF

GOOD MORNING AMERICA – Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff were engaged in March 2015. 
(ABC/Ida Mae Astute)

He Is Known as the “Kissing Bandit”

Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan brought back Luyendyk’s monicker as the “kissing bandit” as the announcement was made on Thursday. Luyendyk expressed on the morning show that he’s willing to bring back that title… if he finds the right match. “Obviously, there’s got to be that chemistry there,” he said. “Emily and I had it previously and I’m hoping to find that type of love. For sure.”

He Is Bilingual

Luyendyk, who was born in the Netherlands, can speak Dutch, a skill he displayed during hometown dates on Maynard’s season. The Bachelor served as a translator between his parents and Maynard during their meet-and-greet.

He Watches the Franchise

While it’s unclear whether Luyendyk has been following the most recent seasons, he told PopSugar two years ago that he was watching Kaitlyn Bristowe’s round of The Bachelorette—even after his split from Maynard. “I got addicted after watching that season preview,” he said of the switch-up on season 11. “I am hooked! I want to know how that all went down, and I am interested. I think it’s Shawn if I had to guess.” He guessed right—so be on the lookout for that first impression rose.

Kaitlyn Bristowe Shawn Booth

(ABC/Todd Wawrychuck)

He’s Relatively Low-Key

Luyendyk previously dated a local reporter, as well as several members of Bachelor Nation (we’re looking at you, Courtney Robertson). However, he’s not big about hitting the scene. “I would love to tell you something crazy exciting,” he said of a typical date night to PopSugar. “But, you know, we love to go on trips together, which is a lot of fun. We do enjoy driving down to California a lot; we love to be on the road and on the move.”

He’s Feeling the Family Pressure

Luyendyk revealed on Thursday that his younger brother just got married—and his sibling is 24. The Bachelor told Strahan on GMA that he’s now looking for someone who’s “independent, strong and still, gentle. A little mix.”

He’s Feeling the Friend Group Pressure Too

Luyendyk still remains good friends with Lowe and others from his season. The majority of his inner circle, Bachelor Nation included, is now paired off. “I feel like I’m the last one to take that step,” he expressed on Thursday.

Sean and Catherine

Sean and Catherine Lowe wedding. (Todd Wawrychuk/ABC via Getty Images)

The Bachelor will premiere in January 2018.

About the Author

Esther Lee
Esther Lee
Esther is the Senior News Editor at The Knot. A self-proclaimed pop culture enthusiast, she appreciates a good celebrity interview just as much as she adores Nancy Meyers movies. You can find her kicking off her mornings with barre and a green juice, traveling and exploring new cultures, and rapidly scrolling her feed for the latest and greatest news. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @theestherlee.