Colton Underwood will need all the help he can get as ABC’s latest leading man on The Bachelor, but if he needs advice on navigating the dating pool as a virgin Bachelor, there’s one man he can turn to.
Sean Lowe, a former football player who starred as The Bachelor in Season 17, was in a similar boat when he helmed the ABC dating show back in 2013. Lowe wasn’t technically a virgin at the time, but at age 24 he made the decision to stop having sex outside of marriage. Lowe held out during his reign as The Bachelor, even adapting the show’s overnight Fantasy Suites for his situation.
Lowe, who is now happily married and a father to two sons with wife Catherine, his final pick on The Bachelor, told Entertainment Tonight he understands why producers cast Colton, a 26-year-old virgin with no shady past, as the franchise’s new Bachelor after Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s controversial season.
“He has an All-American feel to him, he’s likable and a good-looking, athletic guy. Given those tangible attributes, it’s going to be good for the women there; they’ll be attracted to him and it’ll build a lot of buzz and create a lot of drama as well. … They also want to build Bachelor in Paradise, and by choosing someone who was on Bachelor in Paradise, that helps give a little credence to that show as well.”
Lowe went on to compare his season of the ABC dating show to Colton’s, admitting that when he was first announced as The Bachelor five years ago, the critics came out in full force because they thought he would be a boring lead. But Lowe reiterated that “nice guys” like Colton have “typically done pretty well for the franchise… especially when a love story starts to develop, people really root for the nice guy.”
Sean Lowe’s reasons for abstaining from sex were different than Colton Underwood’s. Colton, a football player like Sean, has said he devoted his life to sports and let his dating life fall by the wayside. The 26-year-old says he is not waiting for marriage to have sex, but instead for the right “heart.” While Sean’s reasons for abstinence were completely faith-based, he still has some advice for the incoming Bachelor star.
“I was met with countless interviews where that’s all anyone wanted to talk about. It was kind of frustrating, because on the one hand it’s something you’re proud of, and on the other hand I was thinking, ‘I just got engaged to this amazing woman and I’d rather talk about this than how weird it is in this day and age to be waiting.’ My advice to Colton is be who you are, stand up for what you believe in and don’t take anything personally!”
As for those potentially awkward Fantasy Suites which are used for overnight dates with the final three contestants on The Bachelor, Lowe revealed he talked with production ahead of time to make it clear what his intentions were.
“I talked to production before those evenings started and said, ‘I want to make it clear to the women that this isn’t about sex. I don’t want to have sex, but I think that time alone without cameras is important.’ I wanted them to capture that on TV, which they did. I wanted the people at home to not have any bad ideas about what I was doing. I wanted it to be clear to the women and the viewers at home that this wasn’t about sex, it was just about having that time.”
Sean also revealed that it helped him to remember that his family would be watching the show, another reason that it was important that he remain respectful as The Bachelor.
“That’s my advice: just keep in mind that Grandma is watching!” Sean said.
Sean Lowe said he hopes Colton’s Bachelor contestants will sit down with him and hear his side of his slow romantic life instead of judging him ahead of time.
“At the end of the day, if a woman has a problem with it, she’s not going to be the one for him,” Sean said. “Hopefully, he finds some good women who really support his decision and those are the contenders in the long run.”
Many Bachelor fans are already pegging Colton Underwood as Sean 2.0. Spoiler king Reality Steve tweeted that Sean Lowe has been the franchise’s “only successful Bachelor” and that producers “must feel Colton is the closest thing they’ll get to Sean,” a guy with “character, morals, [and] no shady past.”
Indeed, out of 22 seasons of the ABC reality show, Sean Lowe remains the only Bachelor to ever marry his final pick. Maybe Colton Underwood will make it two.
The Bachelor returns to ABC in January.