Will you accept? The first impression rose on The Bachelor is usually seen as a huge indicator of which contestant will be the frontrunner for the season. On The Bachelorette, it’s even a pretty safe way to predict who will win. You may be surprised to learn that not one single first impression rose receiver on The Bachelor has gone on to get engaged during the finale. Maybe the ladies just have better judgment? Sorry, guys!

The coveted stems have been given out during nearly every premiere night over the years. Season 4 was the first time the gesture was made. Although the season 6 leading man opted not to give one out, there were two lucky contestants to receive a first impression rose on season 7 (more on that below). That’s not to say the first impression rose doesn’t hold any weight. A handful of runner-ups and top four contestants have received one … but there was also a woman who was sent home during week 2 despite her instant spark with the reality stud.

The closest a past Bachelor came to giving his future spouse the first impression rose was Sean Lowe. The Texas native switched things up during season 17 and gave 12 women red stems before the first elimination ceremony, one of which was his now-wife, Catherine Giudici. “There was something really quirky and funny about her, which I also liked,” he said about the Seattle native after she stepped out of the limo.

The pair got hitched in 2014 and share three children, but they almost didn’t make it through The Bachelor because Sean doubted their connection. “While we were chatting I put my hand on her knee to send a message: I’m interested in you,” Sean wrote in his book, For the Right Reasons, about Catherine on his roller derby group date. “However, she didn’t reciprocate. She acted nervous and — to be honest — kind of weird. ‘Does this girl even like me?’ I wondered … Catherine was really hard to read, which left me with a lot of questions.”

Even later in their journey, he wondered if they were compatible enough to make it for the long haul. “I really liked Catherine, but she was a Birkenstock-wearing, vegan food blogger from Seattle,” he explained. “I was a meat eater who’d worked in the oil and gas industry. She came from a Filipino culture. My family was a bunch of Texans. How could that possibly work out?”

When it came down to the final rose, Sean followed his gut. “I could see myself saying good-bye to [Desiree Hartsock], but I was not ready to say good-bye to Catherine,” he said.

The heart wants what it wants, right? Keep scrolling to see every first impression rose winner through the years!


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Tyler Cowan