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Lorenzo Borghese from The Bachelor
Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for MAC International

The ‘worst Bachelor’ in history might become your fave when you learn why he’s proud of it

The disturbing behind-the-scenes drama of ‘The Bachelor’ will have you look at one of its unsung leads in a totally different way.

Imagine coming into The Bachelor as a contestant to actually find someone who could potentially be your future wife, but when your season is criticized for not being “dramatic enough,” fans respond by ranking you as the “worst Bachelor in history.”

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Lorenzo Borghese doesn’t need to imagine that, because he lived it. On the premiere season of the Vice TV docu-series Dark Side of the 2000’s, episode 7 offers a jaw-dropping look at the early years of The Bachelor, and it’s not a lovely sight.

“I was voted the worst Bachelor ever and I’m ok with it,” the mild-mannered Lorenzo Borghese claimed, and by the time you reach the end of this article, you will almost certainly start to consider him as the best Bachelor.

It all starts with understanding the manipulation of the women behind the scenes by producers of the show, who spend most of the Dark Side episode admitting their own dark side on The Bachelor.

The behind-the-scenes nightmare

Everything is covered is the disturbing 45 minute episode, including the tactics used by producers to make women cry, talking the Bachelor into giving a rose to who they wanted to stay and not necessarily who he wanted to stay, and their editing portrayal of contestants in a “false light” — a phrase specifically stated in the contestant’s contracts explaining what producers are legally allowed to do.

Michael Carroll, producer on The Bachelor, explained, “You just find a way to make what you want of the edit by chopping up all the things they’ve said because we own every word they say no matter what order we put it in.”

Mike Fleiss, the show’s creator and second cousin of controversial Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, is portrayed as the king of manipulation who spends his workday drinking, and encourages his employees to do the same. It’s no surprise that his decisions were extremely suspect.

Of course, it was all motivated by ratings and money, and definitely not true love.

Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was on both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, describes Mike Fleiss as someone who “hates women,” and also eloquently adds that he’s a “piece of sh*t.”

Finally, in 2023, Warner Brothers conducted an investigation on Mike Fleiss after numerous employees complained about him. The investigation resulted in Fleiss’ resignation. Of course, he was already a multimillionaire, and his questionable behavior was allowed for two decades.

Enter the Prince

ABC approached Lorenzo Borghese as the lead for season 9 of The Bachelor for his fairytale backstory; he was a prince from Italy (more accurately, the son of a prince) living in New York.

Borghese, who appeared in the Dark Side episode, explained, “I never watched one season. I watched maybe a couple minutes of an episode and I couldn’t stand it.”

Borghese’s gentlemanly scruples made it difficult for ABC to convince him to come on for the 2006 season, but he decided to give it a try after producers painted a misleadingly kind picture of the show’s aims. Borghese stated, quite plainly, “I went on there searching my wife,” which future leads on the show would also say but, unlike Borghese, their actions spoke differently.

Shortly after taping began, Lorenzo Borghese began feeling awkward in front of cameras all the time, and was rarely comfortable. He also realized that the show wasn’t exactly what was pitched to him. “I wanted to get out of it. I really did,” he stated. “If I could have gotten a release, I would’ve signed it but I knew I was doomed.”

The manipulation from the producers made it worse. “I felt like I wasn’t in control of my life. So, I was in a mental prison because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.”

Jason Carbone, Co-Executive Producer & Director of The Bachelor, defended the show, saying, “We’re making content. We’re making entertainment. At the end of the day, everybody knows what they’ve signed up for.”

Borghese survived his fairly drama-free season, which was heavily criticized by fans for being “dull.” He also did not propose to his final rose recipient, Jennifer Wilson, which only made people extremely disappointed.

Things ultimately didn’t work out with Wilson, and he was often named the worst Bachelor ever for years afterwards, despite a whole lot of seasons of the show. Since then, however, the series has ended up with some horrible leads, including a couple of horrible people often described as “creeps” who have rightly taken over the title for the worst Bachelor ever.

”People love watching the train wreck,” Borghese accurately noted.

He also adds that fans could take things too far, resulting in hate mail. “People can be really ugly about things. I’d get physical letters and the majority of it were really negative saying, like, ‘I’m a disgrace to my family.’”

From worst to best?

The producers interviewed for the Dark Side were all pretty happy about their success while defending the shady work behind the scenes.

Carbone offered a curious take about the show he directed. “Did I feel conflicted on The Bachelor? Not really. Would I want my daughter to be on the show? Hell no.”

Perhaps Lorenzo Borghese was named the worst Bachelor because he was there for all the right reasons and the show, especially at that time, existed for all the wrong reasons.

Several years later, he tried to return to television despite his concerns but not on a dating show. He became a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother UK.

In regards to his time on The Bachelor, perhaps Borghese himself sums it best, concluding, “If I’m the worst Bachelor, I accept that with a smile because it just means I’m really bad at lying to girls and dating 25 at one time.”

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Curtis Roberts
I write, therefore I am. It’s my passion and my love and has gifted me many things, though I hope it gifts my readers more.