[This story contains spoilers for the “Women Tell All” special of The Golden Bachelor.]
Gerry Turner was looking forward to getting closure with one woman in particular at the “Women Tell All” episode of his inaugural season of ABC‘s The Golden Bachelor.
The special that aired Thursday brought amicable reunions with the previous contestants from his season, but the most anticipated moment for him was his sit-down with Faith Martin. During last week’s hometowns episode, viewers saw Turner tell both Martin and Leslie Fhima that he loves them, but only Fhima and Theresa Nist remain in the mix for the final rose, with Martin sent home on Thursday’s installment.
In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Turner discussed why he doesn’t regret telling Martin he loved her, his reaction to the “zip it” debate, his use of the phrase “knockin’ boots” ahead of the overnight dates, why the fantasy suites were the cause of two “watershed moments” for him and why he is “indeed so happy” about how the end of his season plays out.
What was it like to reunite with everyone from your season?
It was like a pendulum swinging quite violently. I was extremely happy to see all the smiling faces of the women who had left in earlier episodes, but then obviously it was very impactful upon me to see Faith and to hug her again and hear what she had to say. So that was a difficult moment.
There was discussion from viewers about you having assured both Faith and Leslie during their hometowns that you love them. How do you feel now about expressing yourself in that way?
There are traditions in the Bachelor franchise, and one of them is for the Bachelor to totally screw up and use the L-word quite copiously. But seriously, I would say that I wouldn’t back down from those statements with each one of those three women. At the moment that I told them that, I loved them very much and had so much respect for them. But the important thing to remember is that I wasn’t at the end of the journey yet, and by the time I got to the end of the journey, it was pretty clear that I had only one woman of those three that was right for me.
Faith has mentioned not getting closure with you when she was sent home. Do you feel that you’ve now been able to give her that closure?
I would a hundred percent agree with her about not having closure at the moment she left the show because I felt the same way. It was abrupt, and I really looked forward to the “Women Tell All” specifically to be able to see her again and listen to what she had to say and say a few kind words to her. So that was really huge for both of us.
You’ve spoken about how much you care for the two remaining women. What goes through your mind as you’re having to decide which of those two is right for you?
You have to remember that when I first looked at the two women who were left, I had not had the opportunity to speak to them without cameras and without microphones. And that opportunity was presented in the fantasy suites. I began marking time to the fantasy suites from the moment it was down to two people because I knew that the information that was going to be exchanged in the fantasy suites would make up my mind for me.
The overnight dates can be an emotional time and allow you to see new sides to a person. Did the fantasy suites involve emotional moments for you?
With Leslie’s situation, she had three grandchildren, and in Theresa’s situation, she had six grandchildren. And in both of their cases, there were many times that they thought they were carrying on a conversation with me about love and long-lasting relationships and so forth, literally right in front of their grandchildren because that’s what it was. And there’s a certain self-censoring that happens in those situations. You’re protective of your children and your grandchildren, and once we got to the fantasy suites, that protectiveness went away.
Do you consider the hometowns to have been pivotal in your development of these relationships?
Here’s a news flash for you. You get this first: There was a watershed moment in those fantasy suites, and the watershed moments happened twice, one for each fantasy suite. And up until that point, if I had not remained open-minded, I might have made a mistake. Who knows how it would have ended.
When the show’s producers spoke with THR last week, they discussed the phrase “knockin’ boots” getting used in anticipation of the fantasy suites. Do you remember saying that?
I said that phrase just one time, and it has really taken on a life of its own. It was a euphemism for an intimate moment that I didn’t want to present in an embarrassing way, but literally, I made the comment one time.
I guess the internet never wants to forget. The “Women Tell All” included Kathy [Swarts] and Theresa, who had a tense exchange this season. How did you feel about that situation?
My opinion is, the reality of it was that it was just two women who were very focused on a goal, but they were sort of speaking a different language, and they were missing each other. In retrospect, I think I was confirmed in that. I do know that Kathy was very apologetic to me and contrite at the “Women Tell All.” I think the world of all those women, and Kathy just as much as any of them.
We got to see Sandra [Mason], who caused a stir among viewers after missing her daughter’s wedding for the show. Given that your relationship with her didn’t work out, how have you felt about her choice?
That’s a personal choice that Sandra made, and I would respect all of those women’s personal choices. I’m not even going to weigh in on that. She felt like that was the right thing to do. I think her daughter was supportive of that decision, and I guess I’ll leave it at that.
There were a lot of reactions from fans about getting to see your lion tattoo when you went in a hot tub this season. How does it feel to deal with comments like that?
There’s a lot of funny stuff on the internet. I actually like the negative comments way better than I like the positive ones because they’re funny. I remember people thinking that I’d been subjected to spray tan early on, and then I remember when people saw me with orange juice, they thought I was a recovering alcoholic. So this one, I don’t know how to respond to that.
What makes you happiest when you think about viewers soon getting to experience your finale?
Once we get through the final episode and everyone understands the source of why I am indeed so happy, it’ll be a relief because keeping a secret this long is really not in my nature. I like to talk, and I have a terrible poker face. Being able to talk about things after the final episode on Nov. 30 will be a great relief.
The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.