With all the drama that unfolded merely in the first episode, Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise looks to be its best yet. But what makes this cycle even more exciting, the prodigal return of Bachelor Nation’s Chris Bukowski. After penning a lengthy “retirement letter” from reality TV in 2015, he’s back on the franchise’s dating series for a record sixth time to try and find love.
Speaking with Bukowski during ABC’s Annual Summer TCA press tour at Soho House in Los Angeles, the business entrepreneur, who now runs four successful bars and restaurants throughout Chicago and D.C. area, didn’t appear nervous to step back into the spotlight. Bukowski said, “I think I’ve been through it all. The absolutely highs and the absolute lows. It killed me early on– the negativity. But now, it’s just like bring it. I really don’t care what people I don’t know say about me. Anybody that means anything to me, supports me either way. So, I’m not worried about anything.”
Bukowski first appeared on Emily Maynard‘s season of The Bachelorette when he was just 25 years old, and after being dubbed “the villain” during Season 3 of Bachelor Pad, he cut his ties with the franchise after his second appearance on Paradise turned out to be a regrettable affair.
Now, returning to reality TV four years later, Bukowski said he’s matured, is in a great place career-wise, and after his two-relationship ended, found himself to be single when the option to return to Paradise arose. “They reached out to me in the winter to film The Bachelorette Reunion special, because I was on the show like, a record amount of times. That’s when they brought up if I would consider going to Paradise and I said, ‘I’m not going to say no to you guys.'”
He Kept His Return to ‘Paradise’ a Secret
Bukowski didn’t exactly jump right in with his decision to return to reality TV. “It took me a few weeks to actually commit and say, I’ll do this.” After officially accepting the offer to join Season 6 of Paradise, marking his third stint on the summer spin-off, “I was just like it’s time to hit the gym! Time to eat healthy,” but he also didn’t tell anyone of his return.
“It was my decision,” Bukowski explained. “I didn’t tell my friends, and I didn’t tell my family until the very end that I was going to on and do this. I didn’t want anyone to alter my decision.”
However, in his much publicized retirement letter, Bukowski explicitly mentions his love and respect for his family as the main reason he could no longer be involved with reality TV. In 2015, he wrote:
“It almost completely ruined me, my family and my career. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t believe the hate towards me. The tweets, the Facebook messages, the media, etc. — I couldn’t handle it. I’ll never forget going to my parents’ house and witnessing my dad obsess over all of the stuff being said about me. That show ruined my relationship with my father at the time and created distance between me and my mother. What did I do!? Why did I do this!? It was so not worth it. I hated myself even though you couldn’t see it.”
Bukowski explained, “I’m 32 now, and it was just a good time where I felt like I knew who I was person and a good point in my career and everything. So, for me to do this, I was so sure that I was doing it for the exact reason of why I should be doing it.”
Being his sixth time on a reality dating show, Bukowski said he wasn’t nervous, but shared the nerves of any single person looking to start dating. “Of course, everyone is nervous about being rejected, being turned down and not accepted.”
He Didn’t Online Stalk Any ‘Paradise’ Cast Members Prior to Filming
“I didn’t really know anybody coming into it,” Bukowski said, “and I knew a lot of people wouldn’t really know who I was because I’ve been so disconnected for it for so long. I didn’t really pay attention [to the show] for the last few years. A big thing for me was that I didn’t want to have any opinions on anybody prior to the show,” which he described as being the best thing ever.
While most people would go crazy without their phones, getting to know the cast of Paradise sans social media was actually his favorite part. “Even if there wasn’t a specific girl, this entire cast was so amazing. Even if there wasn’t a connection, everyone made you feel like you were wanted there. It was so cool going to this beach and getting to know them, and them getting to know you.”
Bukowski Is Willing to Relocate For ‘The One’
Even though he currently resides in in Denver, Colorado, he said, “I’m all over place. I’m very nomadic. I don’t stay in one spot for too long. I love Denver, but I also love Chicago, LA, New York, D.C. is great. But in Denver, I feel very at ease.”
As to whether or not he’d be willing to relocate based on how things end on Paradise he said, “Yes. Of course. I’m not married to Denver at all. If there’s a person, I’ll be married to a person, and wherever that person wants to be.”
This is a spoiler-free article, but if you can’t wait to watch and see what happens with Bukowski this season, click here.
Is Anything Staged on ‘Paradise’?
Bukowski’s second appearance on The Bachelorette was short-lived, as he was never an official contestant on Andi Dorfman’s season. He showed up to the mansion and begged producers to let him meet Andi, but she declined his entry, and host Chris Harrison sent him home. While Afterward, Bukowski claimed it was all a staged event.
When asked if there were any staged moments in Paradise, Bukowski said that certain produced moments can arise, but cast members always have the choice to say no, and not engage. “At the end of the day, everything we do is our decision. So yeah, there are things that are set up where there’s a situation where you’re like of oh, we might’ve not created that situation ourselves, but everything we do, we do on our own.”