The 36-year-old is a familiar face to fans of the reality TV franchise. He first appeared on Season 8 of The Bachelorette (Emily Maynard’s season) back in 2012, where he was first runner-up.
His casting as the bachelor was a bit of a surprise; many thought the most recent Bachelorette runner-up Peter Krause would be selected (although Krause’s inability to commit likely took himself out of the running).
Here’s seven things to know about Arie Luyendyk:
Luyendyk was born in the Netherlands to Mieke Luyendyk and Dutch racing legend Arie Luyendyk. Other foreign-born bachelors include Jesse Palmer (Canada), Lorenzo Borghese (Italy) and Matt Grant (Britain). Juan Pablo Galavis was born in New York, but moved to Venezuela as a child.
He followed in his father’s footsteps
Luyendyk is not only his father’s namesake, but his also followed in his racing career. He competed in the Indy Lights Series and had a number of top-three finishes. He’s now a real estate agent in Scottsdale, AZ.
Krause was so widely believed to be the next bachelor that blogger Reality Steve, who reports extensively on the series, refers to Luyendyk as “Not Peter.” In fact, when Luyendyk recently returned to racing following filming, one of his opponents put a #NotPeter sticker on his car.
— Arie Luyendyk Jr. (@ariejr) December 16, 2017
Luyendyk is also known as “The Kissing Bandit” for his smooching skills, which is probably a more appropriate nickname.
He had his heart broken
During a press conference, Luyendyk revealed his heart was broken after Maynard picked Jef Holm over him. He told reporters, “I think it’s taken some time for me to recover from that relationship,” adding “I really realized the last time I was really in love and really ready to get engaged was on the show. So, for me, the timing of everything worked out really well and I just felt like it was the perfect fit. So, I decided to give it a shot.”
He’s the second oldest bachelor ever
He falls in love … with two women!
Spoiler alert! Luyendyk told reporters he does fall in love with two women this season, and hinted that he proposed to one. “I actually fell in love with two people,” he revealed. “The toughest part about being the Bachelor would probably be the end, making tough decisions toward the end. I mean, that’s the hardest decision of your life, really. It’s a forever decision, so it’s not taken lightly.”
He’s up against the odds
Only one of the previous 21 bachelors (Season 17’s Sean Lowe) is still with the woman he proposed/made a promise to at the end of filming. In fact, Luyendyk turned to Lowe — whom he competed against on The Bachelorette — for help. Lowe’s advice: be present in every moment.
Luyendyk’s journey for love begins New Year’s Day on ABC.