Season 15 of The Bachelorette is set to debut this month. However, ahead of Hannah Brown’s journey to find love, fans will get a nostalgic look back at the previous 14 seasons of the ABC reality show in the form of a reunion special.
But with 14 bachelorettes on the books before the Alabama beauty queen, why are only a dozen of them shown in promotional materials for the ABC special? In an interview with ET Online, longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison revealed that two of the earliest Bachelorette stars were unable to attend the taping.
Former bachelorettes Trista Sutter (Season 1), DeAnna Pappas (Season 4), Jillian Harris (Season 5), Ali Fedotowsky (Season 6), Ashley Rosenbaum (Season 7), Emily Maynard (Season 8), Desiree Hartsock (Season 9), Andi Dorfman (Season 10), Kaitlyn Bristowe (Season 11), JoJo Fletcher (Season 12), Rachel Lindsay (Season 13) and Becca Kufrin (Season 14) all participated in the reunion. However, early franchise stars Meredith Phillips (Season 2) and Jen Schefft (Season 3) were notably absent from the reunion festivities.
Harrison told ET that the two missing women had other plans, and couldn’t make the taping schedule.
“Unfortunately Jen and Meredith couldn’t be there because we had to settle on a date. At the end of the day, we had to shoot this thing. So, we just picked a day where we could get as many as we possibly could, but unfortunately, schedules, vacations, was one of them, just couldn’t be changed. And we just had to pull the trigger and do this thing. I was grateful that we had as many as we did, which was 12 of the 14.”
The Bachelorette host added that both missing women will still be “represented” in the reunion, and that they will always be part of the Bachelor Nation family.
But while it would have been quite a feat to land all 14 previous bachelorettes for the reunion special, the two missing ladies didn’t have the best history with the show.
Bachelorette fans may recall that Meredith Phillips ended the second season of the rose-filled reality show with an engagement to Ian McKee, but they broke up the following year. Phillips, who admitted that her relationship ended when her alcoholism spiraled out of control, also later came forward with allegations that she was assaulted by a masseuse while filming her season of The Bachelorette.
During an episode of the Reality Steve podcast last May, Phillips alleged she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a female masseuse during the production of the ABC dating show in late 2003. Reps for ABC and Warner Bros. had no comment on Phillips’ allegations, which were made nearly 15 years after her season had wrapped.
'Bachelorette' alum Meredith Phillips claims she was sexually assaulted by show's female masseuse https://t.co/zQDoHE05IY— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) May 24, 2018
And Jennifer Schefft ended her season of The Bachelorette without picking a final man, which was something producers allegedly weren’t happy about. Schefft — who is now married and has two kids — made history in 2005 by not picking either of her final men to be her husband at the show’s end. But in the 2018 book Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, writer Amy Kaufman revealed that the Season 3 star was allegedly convinced by producers to at least pick one of the guys to “continue dating.”
“The producers basically told me that I was coming across as a horrible person on television — a really cold, (expletive) person,” Schefft told Kaufman, per USA Today.
Schefft ultimately picked Jerry Ferris to keep “dating,” but by the time the live After the Final Rose special aired, she rejected his proposal. Their relationship had already ended.
Schefft later revealed that Bachelorette producers lied to her about Ferris’ real job. Jen was told Jerry was an art gallery director. He actually worked at an L.A. mall, and was an aspiring actor. However, producers allegedly kept this reality a secret so it wouldn’t look like he joined the show to boost his acting career. According to Life & Style, Schefft told the Reality Life with Casey podcast that producers made her look like the bad guy in the breakup.
“I will say he proposed to me again at the After the Final Rose, and I was shocked that that happened because they must have put him up to it. I don’t know,” the Bachelorette star said. “He misrepresented himself, or they misrepresented him… but it kind of ended with me looking like the bad guy. Things are a lot different than they make things seem to be.”
The Bachelorette reunion airs Monday, May 6 at 8 p.m. on ABC.