Home Featured Why Is Leslie Not the Golden Bachelorette? Why Did ABC Pick Joan?

Why Is Leslie Not the Golden Bachelorette? Why Did ABC Pick Joan?

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Why Is Leslie Not the Golden Bachelorette? Why Did ABC Pick Joan?


She was a fan favorite, narrowly missing out on the final rose for Gerry Turner’s heart. But with the news that Joan Vassos is getting another chance at (televised) love, everyone wants to know the reason why Leslie isn’t the Golden Bachelorette.

Leslie Fhima, a 64-year-old fitness Instructor from Golden Valley, Minnesota, was the runner-up on the first season of The Golden Bachelor, a spin-off of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette featuring single men and women aged 60 and older. Season 1 was led by Gerry, a 72-year-old retired restaurateur and widowed father whose wife, Toni, died in 2017 from cardiac arrest. 

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On May 14, 2024, ABC announced (via Deadline) that Joan Vassos, who had to leave The Golden Bachelor in week three due to a family emergency, would get another chance and this time, she’d be calling the shots. So why isn’t Leslie the Golden Bachelorette?

Why Leslie isn’t the Golden Bachelorette?

In an interview with Bachelor Nation, Leslie explained that she’s not really looking for love at the moment. “I haven’t really had that many people ask me out or try to set me up. I thought it would be a little bit more abundant, but that’s ok,” she said.

“I’ve been really busy. I’ve been traveling, teaching more, working at a music venue, and being with my kids. So dating has fallen on the back burner. I am not really seeking dating out either, so it’s not really a priority for me at the moment. I do want to find somebody though!”

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She did say that being on the show has helped her narrow down what she’s looking for in a partner, though. “Being on the show has shown me that “I shouldn’t be looking for someone that checks every single box. I more so want someone that I can get along with, is active, loves my family, I love their family, and things like that,” she said.

“I just want the same moral compass and values as someone rather than wanting someone who likes all the same things I do. That’s not as important anymore. I just want to grow old with someone. I want that partner and best friend.”

She did, however, tell the Playing The Field podcast that if ABC asked her to be the first Golden Bachelorette, “I would do it.” As for Joan, her premature departure from The Golden Bachelor left her feeling like she had unfinished business

Why Joan Vassos makes sense as the new Golden Bachelorette

Joan Vassos was married to John Nicholas Vassos for 32 years before he passed from pancreatic cancer. “Some days it seems like it just happened and I can’t catch my breath, still feeling the shock of it,” she wrote on Instagram, commemorating her third year without him in January 2024. “Other days it feels like he’s been gone a lifetime, those days are worse because I’m afraid the memories are fading. I think that’s what scares me the most.”

White woman with blonde hair posing in a black dress. Joan Vassos is the first Golden Bachelorette.

Joan and Gerry share a similar past with the deaths of their significant others, so it’s possible ABC was looking for a Golden Bachelorette that would tug at similar heartstrings. “Dating is still hard! I haven’t figured out the formula yet. I don’t love online dating. I don’t think people are super truthful. I had an online date where I walked into the restaurant to meet this man for a drink,” Joan told the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast in May 2024, shortly before being announced as the Golden Bachelorette.

“I looked around and thought he wasn’t there yet, so I sat down at the bar and I see this man waving from across the bar at me. I look at him and he doesn’t look anything like his picture, he looks completely different. I just feel like that is kind of typical of what happens when you do online dating. What else do you do?”

While the air date for the first Golden Bachelorette hasn’t been set, ABC teased the latest series would debut sometime in the fall on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET.