10:08am PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelor' Star Peter Weber Promises a Spoiler-Free Season and Talks "Jaw-Dropping" Return of Hannah Brown
Hannah Brown has managed to pull off two major reveals when it comes to her ex, new Bachelor Peter Weber.
During the live finale of her season of The Bachelorette, the former ABC franchise lead announced to the world that she and Weber, her second runner-up, had sex an impressive four times while staying overnight in a windmill-themed room during the Fantasy Suites week of the dating competition. And now, on the very first night of his turn as lead of the franchise, Brown once again catches him off guard when she shows up at the Bachelor Mansion, along with his 30 contestants.
The trailer for Weber's season (premiering Jan. 6), made headlines over Brown's return. Once again, sparks seem poised to be flying between the former flames.
"I was just jaw-dropped," Weber tells The Hollywood Reporter of Brown's unexpected arrival. "A little bit of me was hoping she was going to try to come back to the house, or ask if she could join that first night and just see where it goes — if I’m being completely honest."
What transpires between the exes will play out during the three-hour premiere (and possibly beyond), but no matter the outcome, Weber wants viewers to know that what he and Brown had was not a made-for-TV romance. "Everything was real," he says. "I know people think it’s possibly staged or she was told to come back. That was a really real relationship and true feelings between two people who really cared about each other."
And while Brown's return has been heavily teased, Weber stands confident in the outcome of his season staying quiet — even going so far as to promise a spoiler-free ending, which could mark the first for the franchise in recent memory.
"I’m very confident that no one is going to be able to spoil it," he says of the spoiler culture surrounding the show. "There’s a reason I believe that, and obviously can’t say it otherwise it gives it away. I’m very confident that Reality Steve and all of these people, they’re not going to find out what happens — there’s no way they’re going to find out."
Below, in a chat with THR, Weber expands on that bold promise, reacts to all the windmill chatter ("I’ve never been uncomfortable talking about sex," he says) and teases more of his reunion with Brown.
You have become famous for your windmill adventures. Going back to that Bachelorette finale — did you know that Hannah Brown was going to reveal that you two had sex four times on live television?
I did not know that. That was definitely a surprise to me and caught me off guard — which I think was obvious from my reaction! But, at this point, I’ve kind of embraced it all. Yes, that was a big part of our story last season, and people talk about it and I get that. But [our relationship] definitely meant a lot more than all the physical stuff that everyone talks about with the windmill. On stage, I wasn’t expecting her to bring that up at all.
There was still a lot of chemistry between you and Brown during that finale last summer. How unfinished were your feelings for her when you began filming your season later that fall?
I thought that I was pretty much completely over her. I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to be the Bachelor if I wasn’t. It wouldn't be fair for me or fair for all of the women that I would end up meeting. I really did think that I was doing good. Some time had passed, obviously not that much, but I had a really good support system with my family and friends. I tried my best to close that book and just leave that in the past. Obviously, stuff with this season [with Brown's return] was very unexpected for me as well. I just try to navigate that as best as possible. Feelings obviously came back. But I guess the short answer is that I thought I was over her at that point, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken The Bachelor opportunity.
The trailer for your season shows that Brown does come back. And again, there is that chemistry between you in the footage. What did you want out of that reunion?
That first night [when Brown steps] out of the limo, that was a complete surprise to me and wasn’t expected at all. I remember when she walked out. At first, I didn’t know it was her. And then when I realized who it was, I was just jaw-dropped; I couldn’t believe it. When she was walking up, I had no idea why she was there. I think a little bit of me was hoping she was going to try to come back to the house, or ask if she could join that first night and just see where it goes — if I’m being completely honest. You guys will have to watch and see what happens after that.
Brown was on Dancing With the Stars at the time and couldn’t exactly commit to two shows. But when she shows up and you get the time to speak with her, were you looking to close the door in order to commit to this process?
Those were real emotions that I had felt with her on that previous season. I’m just a human. I was just doing my best to move on from that relationship and look forward to the amazing opportunity that I had ahead of me. But everything was real. I know people think it’s possibly staged or that she was told to come back for whatever reasons. I’ll give you guys the opportunity to see what happens, but I think the biggest thing is — that was a really real relationship and true feelings between two people who really cared about each other.
Brown's season of The Bachelorette was well-received for being so sex-positive, and Chris Harrison said your season is similar in that arena — which is something the promos are certainly leaning into. How did you approach on-camera intimacy?
I know how things have been portrayed from the previous season and all that stuff that happened with the windmill. I’ve never been uncomfortable talking about sex. That’s never been an awkward thing for me. But, just being honest, I do usually keep that private. I’m not someone who just goes and talks about that all the time and spreads that to someone else; it’s usually between me and that person. Obviously, I had never said anything last season about that windmill. That came out during a heated conversation [between Hannah and contestant Luke P.] and I understand why it happened, but that’s the only reason it ever came out. I think if that conversation never happened, this kind of theme that’s surrounded me never would have become a thing. But I guess the fact that I’ve always been very comfortable with my sexuality and talking about sex — I’ve never understood the stigma that’s surrounded it, about not being able to talk about it or whatnot. That’s never been something that I’ve believed in. This season, it’s definitely been an important part of my journey and you guys will see what happens with that.
What took the most getting used to for the cameras?
I had about two months on The Bachelorette to get comfortable with how everything works and the whole process. But the breaking up — that was absolutely horrible for me. Every single breakup sucked and I wasn’t good at that. I kind of knew I would be that way going into it. That was the main thing that was different with being on this side of everything. And also, balancing so many different relationships. On the other side, you just have one and on this side, you try your best to give all your time and attention to that one person when you’re with them individually, just to give that relationship the most fair chance. That took some getting used to. But other than that, I felt really comfortable with everything else.
This past summer, Bachelor in Paradise saw its first same-sex couple and Mike Johnson was a runner-up pick for The Bachelor, which would have also been historic. Do your women represent a more inclusive push for the franchise?
Absolutely. I had a very diverse group of women. I love that, too. I had the opportunity to date a lot of women that maybe I wouldn’t have dated in my normal life. I definitely appreciated that.
The names of your contestants were released early, similar to Brown's season, in hopes of weeding out any controversial contestants. Still, you got hit with a report from an ex-girlfriend during your season, which you have since clarified. Being on the other side of things now, have you thought about how you would handle a "Jed" situation — if one of your finalists surprised you with off-camera reports?
That’s just something that unfortunately is part of this type of experience and part of the show. I know the show does a really good job of trying their best to do background stuff and weed people out and find out the complete truth about people. But the fact is that people can hide stuff. And if they try hard enough, they can make it almost impossible for background investigators or for the show to really find out the truth. That’s the kind of world that we live in right now. Going into it, I knew there was a chance that I could have someone who was trying to fool me or whatnot. I was very honest with everyone from the very beginning about how seriously I was taking this. And I asked for them to just give that back in return and just respect me. I’m not naïve, and I understand the opportunities that this show can provide, but I was truly there for one reason and I made a very big point from the beginning to ask the women to make sure they were there for that same exact reason.
Harrison also said that your season follows the recent trend of not ending in a traditional way. In what ways will we see you do things differently, and how would you describe how your season wraps up?
You’re asking a lot of questions there! I’m really excited for this season because I’m very confident that no one is going to be able to spoil it. There’s a reason I believe that — and obviously I can’t say it, otherwise it gives it away. I’m very confident that Reality Steve and all of these people, they’re not going to find out what happens — there’s no way they’re going to find out. And I’m very excited about that because I think that’s what this show has wanted for a while and I’m excited that for my season there’s a really good chance that happens. And I’m excited for everyone to just come along for the journey and not know what happens at the end, and just be able to live it out with me.
Is that because your ending is still playing out?
You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Did you ultimately find what you were looking for? Do you have any regrets?
I can definitely say that I was very true to myself. I followed my heart throughout it all. It wasn’t easy, but I’m very happy that I did follow my heart. I can say that. So, no regrets.
Before I let you go, you had this freak accident during filming and suffered an injury. What happened?
The show definitely touches on that. You guys will see — we’re not going to keep you in the dark. It was a freak accident, no lessons really to be learned from it. It gave me a little memory and a way to forever remember this experience! It happens about halfway through and you guys will see all the details. I have a nice battle scar and chicks dig scars so, I’m all good!
The Bachelor returns with a three-hour premiere Monday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Follow along here for THR's season coverage.
Interview edited for length and clarity.