7:00pm PT by Jackie Strause, Christina Schoellkopf
'Bachelorette' Rachel Lindsay Questions If Families Will Accept Her Ahead of Hometowns
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the July 10 episode of The Bachelorette.]
Compared to last week's exodus of contestants, it seemed that Rachel Lindsay's task of narrowing her six remaining men down to four wouldn't be such an emotional challenge, especially when two of those men had never even been on a one-on-one date. But that was not the case on Monday's episode of The Bachelorette.
Though viewers have seen little of contestants Matt Munson and Adam Gottschalk — the latter toted an Adam Jr. doll with him throughout the first half the season — Lindsay still had a difficult time eliminating each of the men because this week, things got serious. The final four men left standing will go on to bring Lindsay home to meet their families during the traditional week of Hometown Dates.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the season premiere, Lindsay, who is the first black Bachelorette in the ABC franchise's 15-year run, explained that race wasn't a factor in her choices along the way. She did, however, have conversations about interracial dating once she saw a future with a contestant.
"If someone wanted to talk about race in the beginning, then we would talk about it," she said. "[But] it was not important for me to bring that up until I was going to walk into someone's home or they were going to walk into mine, and then I just needed to know his thought process and realize that not everybody might be as accepting of our relationship as we are. I just needed to know if they were strong enough to handle that and how they thought about it or if they thought about it."
On Monday, with hometown dates looming, viewers saw Lindsay having those intimate conversations. When speaking to the six men — one is black, one is Colombian and four are white — Lindsay wanted to know how she would fit in with their families. Last season, Lindsay, who made the final four on The Bachelor, addressed the challenges of interracial dating when she brought Nick Viall home to Dallas to meet the Lindsay family. Viall had never seriously dated a black woman before her and Lindsay never brought home a white man before him.
Now, during their second one-on-one week in a row, Lindsay again found herself asking Bryan Abasolo, the Colombian contestant, what his family in Miami will think of her. (Earlier on the date, the couple flirted about Abasolo's attraction to black women when Lindsay treated them to matching Breitling watches with black bands.)
"What are they going to think of me, and will they be accepting of me?" she asked him coyly. Abasolo, 37, did not completely calm her concerns. Instead, he revealed that his last relationship ended after his girlfriend met and did not get along with his mom. His mom felt terrible and the idea of doing it again scares him, he admitted. "But I think they'll love you," he attempted to assure her. "As long as you love me, you're good."
Two of the white contestants, Peter Kraus, 31, and Dean Unglert, 25, have never dated a black woman before. Unglert confessed this to his housemates the week prior, and Kraus told Lindsay during their one-on-one date on Monday's episode.
"I know it's not a concern to my family," Kraus, of Madison, Wisconsin, told her. "My parents support me in whoever I bring home." Lindsay reacted hesitantly throughout the conversation, but a bigger red flag came when he opened up about the guilt he had over his last relationship, and said he "thinks" he is ready to open himself up again.
"What if he's the one at the end and then doesn't want to get down on one knee?" Lindsay asked to the camera. "That's scary."
On the flip side, Unglert's fear was of introducing Lindsay to his "dysfunctional patriarchal family" in Aspen. His mother died when he was 15, and his father "wasn't able to flip the switch and become the person that I needed him to be," Unglert explained. He spent most of his second date consumed by the fear of introducing her to the family that "abandoned me at the most vulnerable time of my life." But Lindsay helped calm his nerves, assuring him that she is not looking to find a family like her own. "You're not here by accident," she said. "I want to meet the people who have made you the amazing person you are."
When Lindsay asked Eric Bigger, the sole black contestant, about the last woman he brought home to his family in Baltimore, Maryland, she found his answer most concerning of all: He has never brought anyone home to meet his family.
But Bigger, 29, explained that he hasn't had many healthy relationships in his life. All of the men in his family were in the streets, getting high or spent time in jail. "I always had to figure out life on my own," he told her, confessing to the camera that he feels he is changing from Lindsay and is more "vulnerable than ever."
Though Lindsay was scared by his initial admission, she later confessed that she relates.
"I don't meet many families nor do I allow significant others to meet my family," she confided during her two-on-one date with Bigger and Gottschalk. "It think it's a really huge thing and I have to be so careful when it comes to the decision I'm making because of that."
Ultimately, she eliminated Munson, 32, and Gottschalk, 27, because she couldn't envision taking that step with either of them.
Speaking to THR earlier in the season, Munson had pointed out their similarities. "I thought that she was the most like myself [on The Bachelor]," he said. "I liked her the best out of the last remaining girls. I liked her poise, her level of maturity and the amount of discretion that she used as she went through the process. She never made it about her and just didn't want to draw a lot of attention to herself. She was a class act from day one."
Munson "had no idea" who was going to be cast as ABC's lead when he initially signed on to the show, he told THR. When ABC officially announced Lindsay as the star, he said her race "was a factor for the show, but wasn't a factor for me." Adding, "She's class personified and she continues to be, regardless of whether she's black or white. That never really, to me, was a factor."
During their breakup, Lindsay told Munson that, of all the men, he reminded her the most of herself. "This would be different for you and I [outside of this]," she said.
But Lindsay, who has already revealed that she ends up engaged, admitted that she feels something deep with each of her final four men.
"I feel so strongly right now about multiple guys in a way that I didn't think I would before," she said to the camera, "I'm just humbled in my core by this entire experience. I feel like this entire journey is actually happening for me and that's exciting."
The preview for next week's episode shows Lindsay and her men facing the fears that were discussed this week. If ABC's editing is to be believed, nearly every hometown ends in tears, particularly Unglert and Abasolo. Still, she ultimately says she has no regrets because "she's found the person she's in love with."
In a press release about the episode, ABC describes Unglert's father as a Sikh Kundalini yogi and that the contestant is barely able to contain his intense feelings toward his father during the hometown visit. Lindsay and the other family members leave the house so that Unglert and his father can have a heart-to-heart talk, and what transpires is "something that rarely has been seen before on The Bachelorette.”
Watch the preview below.
How do you think hometowns will go for Lindsay? Tell THR in the comments below and head here for full coverage on The Bachelorette, which airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.