Another Bachelor couple fairytale has come to an end. Yesterday, Bryan Abasolo announced his separation from Rachel Lindsay, the first ever Black Bachelorette, in a post on Instagram, after four years of marriage.
Almost immediately after the couple wed in 2019, divorce speculation began circulating. Despite having written about the success of some celebrity couples that reside on opposite coasts or choose to live in separate homes, in their case, her living in Los Angeles serving as an Extra correspondent, and him living in Miami where his chiropractic practice was, gave people cause for concern.
As recently as November of 2023, Rachel had been discussing the fact that they’d been trying to start a family, expressing they were having difficulty.
"It's something that we want, but it's been harder than I thought it would be. We're trying. You think, 'Oh yeah, when I'm ready, I'll make it happen.' But it's just been a little bit more difficult for us. But we're definitely starting the process,” she told E!
You can’t help but wonder what took place in the two months since that interview that would bring them, or her, at least, from openly discussing wanting to have a family to…divorce. It could be anything from those same difficulties with starting a family that she cited, to their cultural differences, something she also touched on.
“I think it's creating our own family unit and starting our own memories, our own traditions, that both Bryan and I had in our family. We have two different cultures, so I'm so excited to bring my culture — Bryan, he's from Colombia — and to create this unit together. I'm really looking forward to that."
Either way, it’s presumed that he was the one to initiate the divorce, and word on the street is that despite his own success as a CEO, he’s seeking spousal support from Rachel, who serves as an attorney outside the many side hustles she has going on, thanks in part to her being a former Bachelorette.
As the first Black Bachelorette, ABC really made sure to keep Rachel in the public eye as much as possible, particularly because they were getting a lot of heat for their shows being notoriously white. Up until her season, there hadn’t been a Black main squeeze at all. Her association with the franchise went far beyond what it does for most former contestants, with her landing hosting gigs, podcast spots, and reappearance cameos on future seasons for years to come until announcing her departure from the franchise in 2021, the year before she became an author, writing a book entitled Miss Me With That: Hot Takes, Helpful Tidbits, and a Few Hard Truths in 2022.
So yes, it’s obvious that she leveraged the notoriety she gained from the show and created amazing opportunities for herself, but I absolutely think ABC had a helping hand and directly benefitted from having her, a stunning, successful, articulate, educated and well-rounded former contestant be seemingly everywhere, helping to promote the franchise’s different shows and essentially being the face of it. A Black face, for a change.
The thing about this specific fairytale ending, though, is that it completely shatters the image of “forever” and “happily ever after” that ABCand the entire Bachelor franchise tries to push through their shows. I mean, have you seen the dates on this show? Fireworks, private performances by musical guests, helicopter rides, you name it. This is a franchise that, for a point in time, had proposals at the end of nearly every season, sometimes even televising the subsequent wedding. This is the franchise that gave us our first ever Golden Bachelor, who also wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. There was also that time the Bachelor in Paradise series literally offered up fan favourite couple Brandon Jones and Serene Russell the opportunity to get married right there and then on the finale of season 8 – knowing what it would do for ratings.
Despite Rachel’s success, though, her marriage has been a failure, at least in the eyes of the public. And that is the takeaway from all of this. The takeaway is that the sole reason she applied, went through the vetting process (which, again, after the Golden Bachelor fiasco must not be that thorough), and taped an entire season to find love and choose her forever person, did not make her immune to it coming crashing down just a few short years after the fact, as love and marriage does for so many couples on and off the show. And that right there really puts things into context.
That’s one of the strengths of the show – it gives the illusion that these couples are protected from the everyday realities that lead to divorce. And during filming? They are! They’re cooped up in private villas, swanky hotels, stripped of their phones, social media, treated to fancy dinners and cocktail ceremonies. But when they step outside of that bubble, they are just as much at risk for divorce as the rest of us.
Very rarely does the successful contestant who gets the final rose also get the first rose, which was the case for Bryan. He was clearly one of her very first picks, her very first attraction, and she followed through with that, choosing him over Peter in the end, much to the dismay of some fans who thought he would’ve been a better choice for her. I think her love for him was deep, and despite the lack of details surrounding their split, I can’t imagine the feeling of betrayal of him not only initiating the divorce, but asking for spousal support despite the pair not sharing any children together and him having his own success.
It's anyone’s guess where Rachel will go from here. And I highly doubt she’ll end up back in the franchise again, looking for love, because I really do believe she’s past that point in her life and career. But considering we’ve seen women like Rachel Recchia back on the beach despite competing for Clayton Echard’s love and having an entire season dedicated to helping her and showmate Gabby Windey look for their forever person, there’s no telling what ABC will do to try and leverage this as an opportunity to score more ratings.