Jr. has been named The Bachelor's
upcoming Season 22 star.
ABC announced Arie will star on The Bachelor
next season during Thursday's broadcast of Good Morning America
, on which the professional auto racing driver turned real estate agent from Emily Maynard
's season of The Bachelorette
made a live appearance.
"It's been a little surreal," Arie, 35, said
of producers' decision to cast him on the show's 2018 edition. "I was a little skeptical just because we had been in talks for a few years about doing it... It just kind of hit me right now that I'm here."
Arie competed for Emily on The Bachelorette's
eighth season in 2012 and finished as the runner-up
behind winner Jef Holm
. Emily, at the time, thought Arie was incredibly "hot" and noted that he has "a heart of gold."
Arie revealed that he had received the invitation to become the Bachelor when he was at home in Scottsdale, AZ, and the process so far has been a bit of a whirlwind for him.
"It was pretty recent," Arie said of the moment producers approached him about the big opportunity. "We had kept in touch over the last few years, but this just fit perfect. The timing really fit for me."
Because Arie seemed to take on the role last minute and talks had fallen through
in the past, he hesitated to share the news with friends and family until ABC was ready to make its official announcement.
"I really kept this under wraps because I didn't know how things would turn out. It's really been a quick turn of events, and my family doesn't know, so now they know! They know right along with you guys," Arie admitted.
Arie previously said he was set to star on Season 19 of The Bachelor
; however, Chris Soules
unexpectedly landed the gig after getting his heart broken by Andi Dorfman
and winning America's heart as the down-to-earth farmer from Iowa.
Arie disclosed to Us Weekly
around this same time last year that he had signed contracts, showed up for suit fittings and even booked a flight to Los Angeles to begin filming before the rug was pulled out
from beneath him.
But Arie -- who also later ended up dating The Bachelor
Season 16 winner Courtney Robertson
-- chose to enter negotiations with ABC and producers again this year all the while maintaining "an open mind and open heart."
RELATED LINK: COURTNEY ROBERTSON: 'THE BACHELORETTE' BACHELOR ARIE LUYENDYK JR. WAS THE BEST SEX I'VE EVER HAD
Now that Arie is definitely the next The Bachelor
star, he said on GMA
that he's looking for a woman who is "independent, and strong but then still gentle," adding that he wants "a little mix" of qualities.
"I'll be 36 in a few weeks so for me it's time," Arie said of finding love on the show. "All my friends around me, you know, have kids and have grown up, so for me, I feel like I'm the last one of my friends to really take that step. And now my little brother got married. He's 24."
Arie earned the nickname the "kissing bandit" on Emily's The Bachelorette
season, but he insisted he'll only live up to that name if he finds "the right woman."
RELATED LINK: FORMER 'THE BACHELOR' BACHELORETTE COURTNEY ROBERTSON: I STILL MAKEOUT WITH ARIE LUYENDYK JR. FROM TIME TO TIME
"Obviously there's got to be that chemistry there," Arie explained. "Emily and I had it previously and I'm hoping to find that type of love, for sure."
Arie also revealed on GMA
that his skills on the racetrack will help him be decisive and make quick choices throughout The Bachelor's
But until then, the handsome reality TV star is going to be reaching out to former The Bachelor
star Sean Lowe
for advice. The pair became friends on The Bachelorette
and Sean is currently happily married to Catherine Giudice, the woman he selected during the Season 17 finale.
Arie was chosen as The Bachelor's
next leading man shortly after show creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss tweeted that Rachel Lindsay
's The Bachelorette
runner-up, Peter Kraus
-- who was rumored to be the fan-favorite and frontrunner for the role -- would probably not be
the next Bachelor.
RELATED LINK: COURTNEY ROBERTSON REVEALS "INCESTUOUS BACHELOR DRAMA," TWO-TIMING ARIE LUYENDYK JR., AND "WOMANIZING BASTARD" JEF HOLM
Along with Peter, Mike suggested that Eric Bigger
was also being considered for the position, as well as Ben Zorn
, Wells Adams
, Chase McNary
, and Ben Higgins