The women who didn’t find love on The Golden Bachelor aren’t giving up on the prospect. After Gerry Turner sent home Jeanie Howard and Natascha Hardee on the second-ever episode of the ABC series, ET spoke to the women, who opened up about believing in and hoping for love in their golden years.
“As far as looking, that has not doused my hope,” Jeanie, a retired project manager, said of getting eliminated from the show. “I would go out with my friends, and when I go out with my friends, the focus was on my friends. I really wasn’t looking… I think it was more that I didn’t think love was out there. But after meeting a guy like Gerry, I’m open, and I’m hopeful. I really believe it can happen.”
Likewise, Natascha, a pro-aging coach and midlife speaker, told ET that “the show has improved my outlook on dating, my approach to dating.”
“I feel like I know more of what to do on a date or questions to ask… I realized there needs to be a checklist,” she said. “My approach to dating is a lot different than it was before going on the show, in an improved way.”
Natascha noted that she’s had “some interest” since wrapping up her time on the reality show, and said that she’s made herself “available for dating.”
“Listen, I’m convinced I’m gonna find love,” she said. “Don’t be surprised in the next six months to a year if I got it going on or hooked up with somebody.”
As for why the women signed up for the show in the first place, they both simply decided to take the leap for themselves.
“I’ve been divorced since probably around 2008, 2009,” Jeanie said. “I’ve tried the dating apps. I’ve tried meeting people through meetups. I’ve tried meeting people through friend groups. Nothing seemed to work for me, so I thought, ‘Why not?'”
“My relationship history has been very uninteresting for about the last five to seven years, because I was raising my granddaughter and now that she’s in high school, I decided, hey, this is a great opportunity for me to get back into my adult life again,” Natascha said. “… [It was] an opportunity for me to say yes to things that are out of my comfort zone, that I might not normally say yes to.”
Twenty other women made the same choice, but one of them, Marina, exited the series after the first night in Bachelor Mansion. ET previously reported that the 60-year-old contestant chose to step away from the show due to an urgent family matter.
“I was surprised not to see her there the next day. We were told that she left. I wish her all the best. She was a lovely woman. I totally enjoyed talking to her,” Jeanie said, with Natascha adding, “We were told that she had a family situation and we were all very concerned… [We were] praying for each other, hoping the best for each other, and wishing folks well to handle the business. For Marina, we want her to be well and be with her family members to be well.”
The women who remained in the mansion after night one developed a special bond, something that was made possible, in part, by bunking up together.
“I didn’t mind the rooming situation. It was awesome,” Natascha said. “… It was seven of us in our room and we were happy to be in there. That night, we talked, we gossiped. We were in like a giggle thing for about two hours. Who’s doing that at 60, 70, 75? Who’s doing that? No one really does that. For me, it was like a transport back to high school and I just loved it.”
That sisterhood continued throughout the experience, with Jeanie telling ET, “We all got along. We talked about visiting each other afterwards. There was a community in that room. We just bonded.”
“My experience was fantastic,” Natascha added. “… We cooked together. People would do each other’s hair and makeup and help each other pick clothes for the day or the night. It was very girlfriend and togetherness. It was a blast from the past in a positive way that I totally did not anticipate.
The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays on ABC. Follow along Gerry Turner’s journey for love with ET’s coverage of the show.