For many viewers, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are guilty pleasures with Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise filling in during the summer months. Anyone who has watched the last few seasons will be familiar with Chris Bukowski but they may not be aware of how being on the show changed his life – for the worst. The reality television star shared an open letter detailing his experience and what it has cost him.
Emily Maynard was a contestant on The Bachelor and was, ultimately, chosen by Brad Womack. Unfortunately, their relationship did not last and she returned in 2012 as The Bachelorette. During that season, one of her suitors was Bukowski. Of his first foray into Bachelor Nation, he explained: “My first go-around on The Bachelorette was an amazing experience because I had no expectations. I met a great girl, made friends, traveled the world, and put myself out there for people I’d never met before…I was 25 and on top of the world.”
Rather than return to his normal life, like most former contestants, Bukowski accepted a spot on Bachelor Pad 3 and it was, literally, a game (and life) changer.
Bachelor Nation Veteran
Bukowski has appeared on, at least, five Bachelor Nation shows but the 28-year-old says that he’s done with the franchise. While appearing on Bachelor Pad 3, he displayed behavior that made him seem like a villain and it affected his personal life.
He explained: “My competitiveness got the best of me and with that came some serious consequences. I will NEVER forget the feeling I had when I woke up in the Bachelor mansion knowing every single person in that house hated me. I’d never felt that before and honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to leave but quitting is not in my vocabulary…It almost completely ruined me, my family, and my career.”
The saddest part is that viewers from Emily’s season will remember the close relationship Bukowski shared with his father. His participation in Bachelor Nation shows took a toll on their bond. “I’ll never forget going to my parents’ house and witnessing my dad obsess over all the stuff being said about me,” Bukowski shared. “That show ruined my relationship with my father at the time and created distance between me and my mother…I went months without talking to my dad because he simply didn’t want to talk to me. He even said, ‘That wasn’t my son.’ He was right.”
Leaving his native Chicago behind, Bukowski moved to Washington, D.C. and opened a bar but the initial success began to wane. In 2014, he felt pressure to revitalize his image. “As my popularity fizzled, I felt the pressure from my business peers to get back into the spotlight. People weren’t showing up at the bar just to see me anymore. I was old news…and believe me I was okay with that,” he said. “But constantly being told that I was irrelevant played a major role in my unexpected arrival during Andi’s season of The Bachelorette.”
That’s right. Fans will remember that Bukowski showed up unexpectedly on the first night of Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette but he says that he had encouragement (although, he didn’t specify from whom). He was, ultimately, turned away.
“At this point [in] my career, I had officially become the biggest joke on reality TV. Attempting to fix my reputation had ultimately made it worse,” he admitted. “My obsession with television had completely taken over my life. I had to fix this; I needed to show everyone the true me. But how could I? I thought to myself, ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.’ I was on the brink of giving up. I struggled daily. Literally, every single day.”
He then went on to appear on the first season of Bachelor in Paradise where he met Elise Mosca, a woman who had vied for the attention of Juan Pablo Galavis on The Bachelor. While their romance seemed promising on the show, it didn’t last. Elise was a sweet girl who didn’t have a single mean bone in her body,” he blogged. “I was never as miserable before as I was on Bachelor In Paradise. Yet, I kept coming back. I kept trying to fix my reputation and I again continued to make it worse.”
Indeed. In August 2015, Bukowski appeared on the second season of Bachelor in Paradise and it was disastrous.
Struggling with Anxiety
Rather than continue to pretend he’s happy with being a villain, Bukowski is opening up about his experience. “We all have our battles,” he wrote, “but my TV obsession had taken me down a dark road. I was battling anxiety that led me down a road where I couldn’t find happiness. I compounded the problem by getting addicted to my anxiety medication. How was this happening? How did everything go from perfect to complete crap? It didn’t matter how much money I had or how many women wanted to date me. I was just a hated, desperate person.”
Rather than gloss over his latest appearance, Bukowski chose to shed light on that also by writing: “What you saw is me at my absolute weakest moment, masking everything in my head behind ounces of alcohol. I returned to Bachelor in Paradise in hopes of finding a date to my sister’s wedding. I left without a single memory of my time there.”
Hopefully, Bukowski has learned his lesson and will focus on his life off-camera. Of his decision to try leaving Bachelor Nation, he wrote: “I won’t miss it. I can’t wait for my television career to be over. I miss being me. And after today, I get to be me again. The best part is, this is the last apology I’ll have to write. I’ll never have to be sorry for being myself.”
“I’ve made great friends through this journey and for that I will be forever grateful to The Bachelor franchise,” he continued. “I’ll never say I regret being a part of it because at the time I always had a reason for doing what I did. At this point, it’s all in the past. I want to be Chris again…I want to make my parents proud, my sisters proud, and my friends proud. And I will.”
It sounds like he’s got a good attitude despite how negative things have been. Perhaps, he is ready to jumpstart a new, more private life. May he find the happiness that he seeks!