Golden Bachelor break-up shocks nation, or not

Published May 2, 2024

By Celia Rivenbark

Show of hands…Who thought the “Golden Bachelor” couple would be getting a divorce just THREE MONTHS after their splashy televised wedding ceremony?

Whoa. That many. OK, that’s a little surprising to this natural born cynic. After watching every episode even I assumed they would probably stay together. He’s 72, she’s 70 and they seemed happy.

I fought it hard, of course. I deducted points (as I do in real life) every time either one of them said the “soulmate” word to the other. Blech. But, as someone in the “golden” demographic myself, I honestly thought they were, if not in love, very much in like. Common interests, similar values, supportive adult children…what could go wrong? Even the morning-after scenes from the “fantasy suite” weren’t gross.

I’ve been to a lot of weddings over the years and I’m scary good at predicting which marriages will go the distance. Not this time. I figured Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist would spend their old age showing up on future shows being paid to dispense slightly cringey advice to the younger Bachelors and Bachelorettes and dozens of exaggerated winks to the future “Goldens.”

Brand experts say by walking away, not only will Theresa have to return the $40,000 engagement ring to ABC (who will then propose to that skank Freevee?) but also the couple will forgo at least a couple of million dollars in various endorsement opportunities.

Doug Eldridge of Achilles PR told Fox Digital News “Most brands would rather deal with people charged with crimes than get involved with them” at this point. Ouch.

Which brings me to the dark but inevitable conclusion Gerry and Theresa must really hate each other. In public, Gerry remains upbeat, telling a reporter Theresa will have to return the ring “but you know what? We don’t have to give back the memories.”

Oh, stuff it Gerry. If that’s even your real name. You don’t get to blow up the franchise and then act like no biggie. This is huge! You were America’s frisky, fun grandparents and now…pffffttt. Hope that doesn’t make you cry but it probably will. Gerry’s famous waterworks made him appear emotionally available and the bachelorettes loved it. Now I think he was just sniffin’ cut onions the whole time.

In a post bust-up interview Gerry and Theresa insisted they still love each other but “couldn’t make the relationship work.” How do you know this in only three months? Your wedding day spray tans haven’t even completely faded. There’s that spot between your toes. LOOK AT THAT AND REMEMBER!!!!

Further insult is their joint plea that other older couples “never give up on love!” Uh, not to be a rhymes-with-witch but this is like taking cooking advice from Hanibal Lecter.

So why did they split? The party line is she doesn’t want to leave New Jersey and he doesn’t want to leave Indiana.

Wow. So much for lecturing the kids about the importance of compromising.

I know that sounds bitter. And I also know it’s a really, really stupid TV show and those of you who have made it this far are huffing about “Who cares? Reality TV is all scripted. I prefer to relax with art films from the Czech Republic and I don’t even need the subtitles because of my big ol’ brain!”

I hear you. I mean, you’re obnoxious but I hear you.

The Golden Bachelor was different though. People in our age group are so often written off as unworthy of true romantic attraction. It was affirming and silly and fun to watch. Cat fights were minimal in recognition that older women tend to value one another more. The few squabbles were quickly defused by an honest conversation. Go figure.

ABC has announced the first “Golden Bachelorette” airs this fall. And I couldn’t possibly care less.

Eastern N.C. native Celia Rivenbark is a humor columnist and NYT-bestselling author. Write her at