No BS With Bukowski: My Retirement Letter From 'The Bachelor' Franchise and My Apology

By Chris Bukowski
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Disclaimer: If you haven’t already seen, I appeared on this season of ‘Bachelor in Paradise 2’ but now I’m moving on.

I’m 28 years old. I’ve been on five ‘The Bachelor’-related TV shows and it’s finally time to hang up the roses. I’ll be honest. I won’t hold anything back. I became obsessed with being on TV. That might not seem normal to some, but for me — in the moment — I always convinced myself I needed to go back.

I never watched the show prior to being first cast on ‘The Bachelorette.’ My life was perfect in every aspect; I had a great family, friends and simply put, I was happy. That being said, the longing for a significant other led me to the spotlight. Looking back on it, some of the stuff I did in preparation for these shows was absolutely crazy. Television became a disease, an obsession, a sickness.

My first go-around on ‘The Bachelorette’ was an amazing experience because I had no expectations. I met a great girl, made friends, traveled the world, and put myself out there for people I’d never met before. What did I have to lose? I was 25 and on top of the world. Following my positive experience on ‘The Bachelorette,’ I was immediately cast for ‘Bachelor Pad 3.’

After being a likable character on ‘The Bachelorette’ I was thrown into the lions den of ‘Bachelor Pad.’ My competitiveness got the best of me and with that came some serious consequences. I will NEVER forget the feeling I had when I woke up in the Bachelor mansion knowing every single person in that house hated me. I’d never felt that before and honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to leave but quitting is not in my vocabulary.

It’s funny how the opinions of those around me truly influenced how I acted. During the airing of BP3 I was in quite the conundrum with Jamie and Blakely. The crazy part is I really liked Jamie and what was holding me back was other people’s opinions about her. I learned the hard way: Taking others’ opinions into consideration over your own usually doesn’t work out for the best. I don’t think I’ve ever said it before, but I am extremely sorry for the way I treated Jamie during ‘Bachelor Pad.’ Blakely, on the other hand, is a different story…for another time.[comments id=”93043″]

‘Bachelor Pad’ was the pinnacle of my Bachelor career to say the least. 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.

I can honestly say that the only people who were helping me keep it together were Jaclyn Swartz and Sarah Newlon, and I thank them both for that. I went months without talking to my dad because he simply didn’t want to talk to me. He even said, “That wasn’t my son.” He was right. But I continued to move forward. On the surface I was fine; I opened my dream bar out in DC and life seemed great. Things couldn’t have been more opposite.

I needed to fix everything because I honestly could not handle all of the negative notoriety. As my popularity fizzled, I felt the pressure from my business peers to get back into the spotlight. People weren’t showing up at the bar just to see me anymore. I was old news…and believe me I was OK with that. But constantly being told that I was irrelevant played a major role in my unexpected arrival during Andi’s season of ‘The Bachelorette.’

I liked Andi and truly felt there could be something there. I reached out to a few producers and was told that it was too late. Well, that obviously didn’t stop me — or them — from creating the fiasco that was night one of Andi’s season of ‘The Bachelorette.’ If for one second you thought I pulled that whole night off on my own, you’re absolutely insane. Do I regret doing it? Yes, only because it took away from what was supposed to be a special night for Andi and the 25 contestants. I selfishly wanted to be a part of that again because I wanted to repair my image. I didn’t know at the time that sometimes walking away is the best thing to do. I did not think that night would go the way it did, and I sincerely apologize to Andi and the gentlemen there.

At this point of my career, I had officially become the biggest joke on reality TV. Attempting to fix my reputation had ultimately made it worse. My obsession with television had completely taken over my life. I had to fix this; I needed to show everyone the true me. But how could I? I thought to myself, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.” I was on the brink of giving up. I struggled daily. Literally, every single day.

We all have our battles, but my TV obsession had taken me down a dark road. I was battling anxiety that led me down a road where I couldn’t find happiness. I compounded the problem by getting addicted to my anxiety medication. How was this happening? How did everything go from perfect to complete crap? It didn’t matter how much money I had or how many women wanted to date me. I was just a hated, desperate person.

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Then, I was asked to be on ‘Bachelor In Paradise.’ I thought to myself, “Here’s my chance.” This is my opportunity to fix everything. I’ll find my dream girl and I’ll show America exactly what they want to see every Monday night. On ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ I met Elise. I actually really liked Elise. She even met my family, and they liked her too. Just as things were evolving, I listened to my castmate’s opinions of her and decided I didn’t like Elise. What the heck is the matter with me? At this point, I’d asked myself this many times.

Elise was a sweet girl who didn’t have a single mean bone in her body. I was never as miserable before as I was on ‘Bachelor In Paradise.’ Yet, I kept coming back. I kept trying to fix my reputation and I again continued to make it worse.

Why can’t I fix this?  I’ll never be able to fix this.

Well, guess what. You just saw me again on this season of ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ What you saw is me at my absolute weakest moment, masking everything in my head behind ounces of alcohol. I returned to ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ in hopes of finding a date to my sister’s wedding. I left without a single memory of my time there. That’s why I didn’t watch that episode, as much as I would have liked to. I don’t remember being there and I don’t want to watch the version of me on TV.[comments id=”50507″]

As you can see, I’m fighting demons. I’m far from perfect. All I’ve ever wanted is what many would call a “fairytale ending.” I honestly thought that was realistic for me. And I honestly thought those involved in my television career were “looking out for my best interests.”

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From my experiences, I’ve learned the only people who look out for your best interests are your family. My problem is I trust everyone. And that backfires on me. I want you to know that you’ve never experienced the real me. I’m okay. I have problems just like you and I’m working my way through them, just like you. I wish I could tell everyone face-to-face how I really feel, but this is the best I can do. I apologize that you’ve had to witness my struggle publicly over the last three years. Thankfully, I’ve finally realized my life outside of television — my real life — is spectacular. My family, my friends, business, etc. Everything is good.

I can’t fix my mistakes but I can learn from them. I’ve now learned it’s time to let go.

I won’t miss it. I can’t wait for my television career to be over. I miss being me. And after today, I get to be me again. The best part is, this is the last apology I’ll have to write. I’ll never have to be sorry for being myself. I’ve made great friends through this journey and for that I will be forever grateful to ‘The Bachelor’ franchise. I’ll never say I regret being a part of it because at the time I always had a reason for doing what I did. At this point, it’s all in the past. I want to be Chris again. I want to be the “grown ass man” I was before I was a reality television star. I want to make my parents proud, my sisters proud, and my friends proud. And I will.

It’s amazing how much better I instantly feel while letting this out. I’ve had these emotions bottled up for some time. It feels good. It feels good to apologize. I could continue on for pages upon pages, but this will do for now.

My hope is whoever reads this realizes the impact opinions can truly have on others. I also want to express the importance of friends and family. Answering the phone when someone calls or returning a text message goes a long way. We’re all busy, but you can always make time for those you care about and they will do the same for you. Never be too busy for your family or friends. They’ll be there for you in the end.

I’ll probably get in trouble for this article, but I don’t care. This is the most honest thing I’ve ever written and it feels incredibly good to let it all out. I have more to tell at another time. Thank you to all of the people out there who continue to support. I truly appreciate it. Mom, Dad, Renee, Teresa…I love you all so much. Time for this chapter to end.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me by filling out the form below.

Be sure to check back next week when Chris answers your questions right here on RantNOW.