This week on Bachelor in Paradise, a very familiar face turned up: Chris Bukowski, who was back for the fifth time after embarrassing himself on The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelorette again very briefly, and Bachelor in Paradise season 1.
After a 24-hour-ish stint on the show, Chris got blackout drunk, gave his date card away, and left. He then showed up on After Paradise Monday night, publicly apologizing for his “obsession” with TV fame and officially “retiring” from the show. “Every day has been a group date with my own demons,” he said with a smile, as Chris Harrison chuckled behind him. “I returned to Bachelor in Paradise in hopes of finding a date to my sister’s wedding. I left without a single memory of my time there.”
However, it seems that wasn’t the whole story. RantNOW published Chris’s much longer and noticeably darker full apology today. “I’ll probably get in trouble for this article, but I don’t care,” he wrote, painting an ugly picture of addiction, public humiliation, and familial disputes as a result of his time on the show—a picture of the steep emotional pitfalls of reality fame. His stint on Bachelor Pad “almost completely ruined me, my family and my career”:
I couldn’t believe the hate towards me. The tweets, the Facebook messages, the media, etc. — I couldn’t handle it. I’ll never forget going to my parents’ house and witnessing my dad obsess over all of the stuff being said about me. That show ruined my relationship with my father at the time and created distance between me and my mother.”
Chris, a bar owner, wrote of the pressure he felt to get back in the spotlight to attract customers. “Constantly being told that I was irrelevant played a major role in my unexpected arrival during Andi’s season of ‘The Bachelorette.’” Chris showed up on night 1 of Andi Dorfman’s season and was told it was too late to join the show; he had to be escorted out by security. “If for one second you thought I pulled that whole night off on my own, you’re absolutely insane,” he wrote.
Eventually, he became addicted to his anxiety medication (and to a certain extent, one assumes, alcohol).
As you can see, I’m fighting demons. I’m far from perfect. All I’ve ever wanted is what many would call a “fairytale ending.” I honestly thought that was realistic for me. And I honestly thought those involved in my television career were “looking out for my best interests.”
This letter is a huge dig at the entire Bachelor franchise, which has recently come under scrutiny for the exploitative situations dramatized on Lifetime’s UnREAL, written by a former Bachelor producer.
Even though Chris Bukowski is, as a BIP cast member referred to him, kind of a “toolbag,” this is fairly sobering—while it’s immediately clear to most viewers that some very insidious shit is going on behind the scenes (a reality producer’s job, after all, is to manipulate cast members into making personal choices they wouldn’t otherwise make) it’s rare for members of the “Bachelor family” to actually come out against the show.
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Image via screenshot/ABC.