Talk about a blast from the past.
Five years after making it to the final two on Emily Maynard‘s season of The Bachelorette, Arie Luyendyk Jr. is officially back in a big way, being named the star of The Bachelor‘s 22nd season in a move that shocked Bachelor Nation.
But longtime fans know Arie, 35, has been this close to becoming the Bachelor several times before (Sean Lowe and Chris Soules both beat him out for the job in seasons 17 and 19, respectively), and he always seemed to be on the peripheral of producers’ minds when it came time to casting; it just seems like season 22 finally ended up being the right timing for the race car driver/real estate agent.
A source tells E! News, “Arie has wanted to do The Bachelor since before Chris Soules and now he’s single again, so why not?”
Arie seemed to echo the timing sentiment during his debut as the Bachelor on Good Morning America on Thursday morning after he was asked about when he was approached for the job.
“We kept in touch over the last few years, but this just fit perfect,” Arie said on Good Morning America of being contacted by producers. “The timing of this really fit for me.”
When it comes to Arie’s post-show love life after his time on The Bachelorette, our source reveals he has continued to hook up with Courtney Robertson after their brief romance in 2012, which came just one week after she ended her engagement to Ben Flajnik, season 16’s Bachelor. (She later detailed their relationship in her tell-all book, I’m Not Here to Make Friends, and wrote he was “the best sex I’ve ever had.”)
“He was hooking up with Courtney Robertson for a while and he also dated another girl, but for less than a year, and they broke up over a year ago,” our source explains, adding, “The girl he dated wasn’t on the show.”
While we’ve seen several contestants return for another shot at love in later seasons (Hi, Nick Viall!), our source says Courtney coming back isn’t likely.
“I doubt Courtney would go back on The Bachelor for Arie. She’s been asked to do Paradise multiple times and she always turns them down so I’d be surprised if she agrees to go on for Arie…but you never know in Bachelor world.”
Another bonus when it came to choosing Arie? The shock value, something a source told us producers were looking to do after pulling off quite the surprise last summer when Nick was announced as the next Bachelor.
Arie’s season of The Bachelor will premiere January 2018 on ABC.