It’s finally his time to shine. Arie Luyendyk Jr. is, at last, the Bachelor. The handsome race car driver, who first found franchise fame as the runner-up on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette, ultimately lost the final rose to Jef Holm back in 2012.
Despite the heartbreak, Luyendyk–who’s racing royalty–was the front-runner to be the season 19 Bachelor in 2015. The Bachelorette alum, who was dubbed “the kissing bandit” on Maynard’s season, turned out to be the runner-up with that opportunity too. Luyendyk lost the opportunity to “Prince Farming” Chris Soules.
“I was at home, it was pretty recent. We kept in touch over the years,” Luyendyk, who’s turning 36 in a few weeks, said on Good Morning America on Thursday, September 7. “I was a little skeptical because we’d been in talks… I went in with an open mind, open heart. It just hit me right now that I’m here.”
WATCH: Arie Luyendyk Jr. discusses becoming the new Bachelor with @michaelstrahan.@ariejr @BachelorABC #TheBachelor pic.twitter.com/9d6KYLZz6y
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 7, 2017
Former Bachelor Sean Lowe, who befriended Luyendyk on Maynard’s season, previously revealed what exactly happened with the gaffe. “From what I understand, the show, the producers that make the show, they wanted Arie,” Lowe told the Dish Network. “[Executives] were getting nervous. Like, Arie hadn’t been on TV in two years.”
Luyendyk had even filmed introductory segments at the time. “They actually told Arie he was gonna be the Bachelor,” Lowe added in the same interview. “They flew down, had a camera crew, filmed him telling his family he was gonna be the next Bachelor–then pulled the rug out from underneath him and made Chris the Bachelor.”
It’s now been a five-year saga for Luyendyk, but he finally gets his time after all. He told Michael Strahan on GMA that he’s looking for someone who’s “independent, strong and still, gentle. A little mix.” He added that he believes it’s time to settle down and meet the love of his life.
“I feel like I’m the last one to take that step,” he noted, sharing that his 24-year-old brother recently got married.