Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor hasn’t even started yet and already his cast of contestants is being called into question. There has been a bit of controversy regarding the 36-year-old Bachelor star his much younger pool of wannabe wives. According to Refinery 29, out of the 29 women vying for Arie Luyendyk’s heart this season, the oldest is 33-year-old years old, with only five other women in the cast over age 30. The rest of the women are in their 20s, with one of them, Rebekah, reportedly just 22-years-old.
Arie, who first appeared on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette back in 2012, is one of the oldest leading men ever to star on The Bachelor, and some fans think the “Kissing Bandit” could be robbing the cradle. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arie downplayed the age issue on his season of The Bachelor. Luyendyk told THR he is more concerned with whether a woman is ready for a serious commitment than he is about her age.
“I think it’s more about the person and if they’re ready for marriage and how mature they are,” Arie told THR.
“Some women are far beyond their years and some women are very immature in their thirties — I’ve dated younger, older.”
Arie Luyendyk also insisted that he does not have a “type” and that he was open to anything when it came to his supersized Bachelor harem. While he admitted that that age “definitely plays a theme throughout the season,” Arie made it clear that age is not the most important factor when it comes to finding his soulmate.
“It’s more about being ready,” Luyendyk said.
“I was open to a variety, and that’s something that the producers knew.”
Arie Luyendyk Jr. is one of the most controversial Bachelor leads in recent years. It has been five years since viewers have seen the race car driver on an ABC reality show, so newer fans to The Bachelor franchise may not recognize him.
After Arie Luyendyk’s leading man role was announced earlier this year, Emily Maynard’s former Bachelorette fiancée, Jef Holm, had some harsh words for the ABC casting department.
“Oh the stories I could tell,” Holm tweeted when Arie’s role as The Bachelor was announced in September.
Jef also posted another tweet teasing why his friendship with Arie Luyendyk Jr. ultimately ended. After a fan posted a comment about a 30-something Arie allegedly hanging out with young college girls at sorority houses, Holm tweeted: “I stopped being friends with him years ago because he’s disgusting.”
But longtime pal Sean Lowe told Entertainment Tonight that Arie Luyendyk Jr. is a good guy and that he is getting a bad rap.
“He’s such a respectful guy, he gets a bad rap,” Lowe told ET. “I guess he probably dated some girls that are younger than he should’ve been dating… but I talked to him before they selected him as Bachelor and [back then] he was talking about how it was so surreal to attend his younger brother’s wedding, how he was kind of jealous of his brother and wanted to move on to that next chapter of life and have a family.”
You can meet The Bachelor star Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s women below.
The Bachelor Season 22 premieres Monday, Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.