Former 'The Bachelor' star Jason Mesnick recalls falling victim to producers' demands, claims Ellen DeGeneres was "harsh"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/26/2017
Former The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick had a twisted route to finding lasting love on the show, and now he's revealing issues he had with producers and one talk show host in particular at that time.
Mesnick -- who starred on Season 13 of The Bachelor and famously dumped his fianceeMelissa Rycroft for the runner-up Molly Malaney during After the Final Rose -- explained in an excerpt from his upcoming book published by the Huffington Post that after being shamed for his change of heart on TV thanks to the producers, he didn't like how he was portrayed in the media.
Mesnick took a lot of heat for the way he handled Rycroft's rejection on national television, and he regrets allowing producers to make decisions for him.
"The biggest thing (producers said to me prior to filming After The Final Rose) was, 'Jason, we (now) want Melissa to be the next Bachelorette. Because we're going to let you ask Molly out, and you can't do that away from the camera because you're under a five million dollar contract (to not make contact with the runner-up), we need your help to have America feel for Melissa in the same way they felt for you when [The Bachelorette star DeAnna Pappas] dumped you... Work with us and we'll let you have Molly.' That's what they told me," Mesnick wrote.
"And they said, '(At this time) We've asked Molly to be the Bachelorette and we're going to be giving up a lot. So we just need you to work with us in return.' In my gut I knew it was the wrong thing to do."
Producers apparently encouraged Mesnick to not be upfront with Rycroft about his feelings until they both appeared on After the Final Rose.
"[Melissa and I] had broken up before all that, but the only thing they had asked me not to do was not to mention anything about Molly. And so I didn't do that. I never told Melissa about my feelings about Molly. Melissa and I were just getting to know each other. It had only been a few weeks since we were done filming -- about six weeks. If I would have listened to my gut and my heart I would have never listened to any producer," Mesnick revealed.
"And I actually told Melissa never to trust a producer, they are only in it for themselves; they're only looking to make a good show. Yet, what I did was I listened to the producers. I went against ever moral, every bone, everything in my body."
Mesnick, 40, recalled having to face the press afterwards, and his 2009 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show stands out in his mind.
"I don't know [Ellen DeGeneres] at all; I've been on her show a few times because of The Bachelor. Ellen was kind of harsh... She had to lash into me... but when the camera stops rolling she says, 'Don't worry, it's all for TV.' It was just one of those things where I thought, 'Why can't we have an honest conversation where the truth is the same when the cameras are rolling as when they're not rolling?'" Mesnick claimed.
"There are things that people think are truths that just don't happen. I'm not sure why. Maybe they don't sell as well in the media. Maybe it's because ABC and Ellen and all these people are part of the same conglomerate that are trying to sell the same product. There's a piece of all that I'm not clear on."
But Mesnick said Jimmy Kimmel is "such a good guy" who actually warned him DeGeneres would probably be a tough interview after The Bachelor finale.
"We sat backstage [of Jimmy Kimmel Live!] for an hour and he gave me advice. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, 'Ellen is going to really attack you because she needs to do it for her audience... Here's what I would say if I were you... just because you don't want people to react and you're not a bad guy. I can see that.' And so I took his advice," he wrote.
Mesnick said it's hard to have any regrets since he's been happily married to Malaney since February 2010 and they welcomed a daughter, Riley, together in March 2013. (He also has a son Ty from a previous relationship).
But to this day, Mesnick wonders why he succumbed to pressure against his will.
"I never stood up to them; I don't know if I was afraid of the producers. You know, it's not just one person. There's a team of like a hundred people all saying the same thing.... and it's like, how can a hundred people be wrong?" Mesnick wrote.
"When I go back to it, I wish I would have stood my ground and never did anything that was against my morals or hurt anyone."