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15 Secrets From The Set Of 'The Bachelor' And 'The Bachelorette'

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With more than 20 seasons and a number of popular spin-offs, The Bachelor is one of reality TV's biggest hits of all time.

But how real is the search for love on this modern version of The Dating Game?

Past leads and contestants have spilled behind-the-scenes details about the show that prove you shouldn't believe everything you see on TV.

1. The bachelor/bachelorette is paid

The other contestants dig into their own pockets to be on the show (more on that later) while the leading man or lady gets a salary.

The exact amount is reportedly based on how much the lead would make in a year. So it can range from around $100,000 to a whopping $250,000 for Emily Maynard (allegedly).

2. The house is cut off from the outside world

That means phones and computers were banned, along with magazines, books, and even music.

From time to time this causes some problems, like when a contestant was reported missing during last year's season.

Contestants also have to find a way to pay their bills while they're gone for up to two months filming the show, and are sometimes forced to quit their jobs.

3. Auditions for the show take days

A year before the season starts filming, applicants are cooped up in a hotel for three days of auditions, which include psychological tests.

A casting call for 'The Bachelor.'Allie Jones

But if they're chosen, they find out just a few weeks before filming. Then things move very quickly.

“You spend so little time with the person you choose before the final rose ceremony," bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky remembers.

"I would say you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person you wind up choosing, and 12 of that is spent ‘sleeping’ in the fantasy suite.

You can't really get to know a person in that time frame.”

4. A family lives in the Bachelor mansion

Marshall Haraden, his wife, and their young children call the show's 9,000 square foot mansion Villa de la Vina their home.

They leave for a hotel nearby twice a year for filming.

The biggest change inside the house is it's repainted for each season. The Haradens guess their walls have been changed 44 times since the show began.

5.  Names and faces

Ever have trouble telling the contestants apart? So do the show's leads. During the rose ceremonies, they rely on flash cards with photos and names to remember who's who.

6.  Birth control

While things get hot and heavy in the fantasy suites, the leads say sometimes they just like to chat and relax away from the cameras.

Besides, they say no condoms are provided inside the suites. Although producers do ask the women if they take birth control pills during the auditions.

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7. The women provide their own wardrobe

Yes, those fancy dresses they walk around in don't come free. The show only pays for an outfit for the two women in the season finale.

Even bachelorette Jillian Harris says she spent $8,000 on her wardrobe for the show. The women also do their own hair and makeup for every night except the first and last episode.

8. Banned words

A lot of discussions on set don't make the final show, including topics that are too serious like religion or personal finances.

Contestants are also forced to re-tape scenes if they use less romantic words about the show. For example "the process" becomes "the journey."

9. The odds are not good

After dozens of seasons, just seven couples from the show are together. The bachelorettes seem to have better luck, because they make up five of the seven lucky pairs.

10. The leads don't plan their dates

No matter what the bachelor/bachelorette says, they don't arrange their special dates with the contestants. The producers do.

In fact, the leads don't know what's in store until the day before - or even the morning of - the date.

11. The fix is in

Some contestants say the show is awkward and weird but mostly real, while others insist it's downright staged.

Bachelorette winner Jesse Csincsak said the entire series seemed to be planned from the first episode.

ABC

"Producers orchestrate the entire thing, sitting contestants down with the star, then directing others to kick them out," he explained.

"Then they tell the lead, ‘Pick four people you would like to get to know better.'"

Another contestant alleged the producers “call you names, berate you, curse at you until they get you to say what they want you to say."

12. They waste a lot of food

When contestants sit down to enjoy a fancy dinner in the fantasy suite, you'll notice that they never finish it.

In fact, the contestants eat at a hotel before their date, because their microphones would pick up the noise from their food.

The dishes in front of them are just for show.

13. Being in the mansion is a lot of work

There's no hired help: the contestants do all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for themselves. But what's a little work for the chance to meet your soulmate?

14. The ring has a return policy

You'll be happy to know the bachelorette never gets an ugly ring she won't like, because the producers ask her for input on the design.

But if the couple split up less than two years after they leave the show, they're required by contract to hand back that Neil Lane sparkler.

The ring also can't be sold after the time limit without permission from NBC.

15. Don't plan on an extended stay

Since contestants can be sent home on the first night, they're told to only bring two suitcases. But they need to fit a lot of necessities in there.

The women on The Bachelor are instructed to bring "clothing for both cold and warm weather, athletic wear, bathing suits, heels, tennis shoes, sandals, cocktail, long, and casual dresses, and heavy coats."

Did these secrets change the way you see the show?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com