Bachelor Bad Boy No More! How Arie Luyendyk Jr. Firmly Shed His Player Image
Who could forget the shade ex-girlfriend Sydney Stempfley tossed Arie Luyendyk Jr. ‘s way when he was named as ABC’s choice to dole out the roses on the 22nd season of The Bachelor. And for one moment last March, that was presumably deliciously satisfying for her, it kind of seemed like she was right. His feet cooling off mere months after he told perky publicist Becca Kufrin he wanted to “choose you every day from here on out,” he ended their brief engagement in an agonizingly long breakup captured by cameras and aired in it’s secondhand shame-inducing entirety.
As his now-prescient seeming ex had predicted, choosing just one final suitor at the end of the eight-week process was, indeed, quite difficult for the race car driver and after agonizing over his choice since the end of filming, he felt quite sure that he’d made a mistake in letting reserved saleswoman Lauren Burnham go.
Not that any of that was enough for the cynics who began placing bets on the duo’s longevity. Sure, let’s see how long this one lasts. (For the record Kelly Ripa set the over/under at 100 days.)
Take that, haters!
For the record, this is the dramatic ending they had always envisioned. Yes, he’d screwed up he readily admitted to anyone that would listen, but didn’t he get points for trying to right his wrong? His biggest crime was making a decision at all, when it can feel next to impossible to commit to a lifetime after just a handful of outings that in no way represent what real life would be like. The day after his final date with Kufrin, who unlike the more camera-shy Burnham “was so herself, on and off camera,” he described to GQ earlier this year, “Production woke me up at seven in the morning, and they were like, ‘Okay, who is it?'”
“I felt like I was trying to be logical,” he explained. “I tried to think like, ‘Okay, I know who Becca is, and she’s a great person. In the moment, I felt like I was making the right choice.”
As for the wandering eye a few former paramours had accused him of having, that simply wasn’t the case. Sure he’d had some fun in the years since he got his heart broken by 2012’s Bachelorette Emily Maynard—in her 2014 memoir Courtney Robertson said he’d been dating another woman throughout the whole of their fling—but as he posed it to GQ, “What 36-year-old man hasn’t dated around if they’re single?”
His romance with Burnham, 27, was different, though. He was different when he was with her. Even his Indianapolis 500-winning dad Arie Luyendyk Sr. marveled about seeing his son in love like this. “It’s like there’s one person, almost, between the two of them,” he told the mag. “They’re so connected.”
As the weeks wore on and they hopped from the Bachelor mansion to Lake Tahoe to Paris to Tuscany, he fell harder for her sweet personality, her connection to her family and the fact that they shared the same goofy sense of humor.
So even though he picked Kufrin, he liked Kufrin, he couldn’t shake the reminders of what he’d given up. So with his fiancée’s permission, he reached out to his runner up, sliding into her DMs on New Year’s Eve and setting up a time to chat the next day. “As soon as I heard her voice,” he recalled, “I knew that I had to end things with Becca.”
Luyendyk Jr., she told GQ, promised to “spend the rest of his life making it up to me.” And that started with the long-awaited on-camera proposal. “She’s always giving me slack that it’s obviously long overdue,” he explained to THR, “and so I wanted it to be perfect.”
Really, his goal was to make their entire life picture perfect, starting with their road trip from her parents’ place in Virginia to his Arizona condo. After a seemingly endless vacation that saw them traipsing around Iceland, Spain, Australia and Hong Kong, capturing each moment for posterity and Instagram likes, and viewing some 70 potential homes they put an offer down on a $870,000 four-bedroom Scottsdale home with high, vaulted ceilings and the walk-in closet of Burnham’s dreams. “As soon as we walked in,” Luyendyk Jr. declared, “we knew this was our home.”
“I kind of had a feeling that I might be pregnant,” Burnham told the mag of learning she was expecting this fall. “So my friend insisted on bringing a pregnancy test over.” Giving her man the honor of reading the results, “Arie came out with the test in his hand and tears in his eyes. He was like, ‘You’re pregnant!'”
Just to be really sure, they rushed to the store for extra insurance tests, each of the six they chose returning with the same result. “We weren’t trying,” he admitted, “but we are so excited. It’s going to be a whole new chapter in our lives.”
Much like their relationship, the initial passages were rough, with morning sickness leaving Burnham confined to their home for much of October. “But over the last week I’ve started feeling a lot better,” she noted, “so it’s nice to have my energy back.”
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Their next task will involve preparing for their little girl, due to arrive this June. And in true Bachelor fashion, the early months of pregnancy have provided their share of twists. “We actually did the early gender test online, so we took our test at 10 weeks,” Burnham recently revealed to Us Weekly. “We got the results back from that, and it was that we were having a boy.”
But Team Bachelor was less stoked. “The phone call back to the producers was hilarious because they’re like, ‘Arie, you’re always making things difficult!'” he shared. “We all had a big laugh about it.”
Because while their journey was certainly one of the most dramatic ever, they’ve fully embraced their origin story. “The fact is, I’m really happy with Lauren,” he summed up in his profile with GQ. “So for me, it was all worth it.”