Why JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers May Just Be The Bachelorette’s Biggest Success Story

By the time JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers walk down the aisle next spring, they'll have overcome half a decade's worth of drama, doubters and at least one near-split.

Get you a man who flirts with you from just a few feet away. We're guessing JoJo Fletcher would tell us it's not a bad deal. 

Because a quick scroll through her Instagram feed reveals fiancé Jordan Rodgers is among her most active followers. Just a few days after commenting on a snap of her new Etsy collaboration, "Looks delicious!!! The food looks pretty good too," he was at it again, propositioning his future wife through some eBay spon con. "You. Are. Adorable. What are you doing tonight? I'd love to eat some food with you," he wrote, inspiring one fan to gush, "can you two be any cuter"?

Clearly not. Though it begs the question: At what point exactly did the Bachelorette couple so doubted that Fletcher placed a bet with E! News they'd still be together a year after their 2016 engagement become one of the franchise's biggest success stories?

Some four years after Rodgers vowed to do his 1,000 jumping jacks in "a man thong," should the two not last a year, the couple has overcome an early breakup scare, an army of doubters and a global pandemic that forced them to postpone their long-awaited June vows.

Which means two things: The former college quarterback realllllly didn't want to strip down for a national audience and he and his bride—celebrating her 30th birthday alongside her "hunky little love muffin" Nov. 1—have a love worth protecting, damnit!

Having hurdled a half decade's worth of obstacles by the time they finally make their way down the aisle next May at California's Sunstone Villa—the same spot Lauren Conrad selected for her dreamy 2014 vows—the Dallas-based hosts of CNBC's Cash Pad and Paramount Network's Fittest Couples are fairly confident in the bond they've built. 

As Rodgers put it on the June episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever! that saw the duo reliving the start of their journey for the first time, "The love I have for you now that we've been through all of that is only going to get more with kids, marriage and everything that comes with that."

And to hear Fletcher tell it, none of that would have been possible if they didn't narrowly edge out the Bachelor curse. Like some 34 other final two pairings, the real estate developer and the NFL backup turned sports commentator came thisclose to postmarking that Neil lane diamond return to sender. 

"Our first year after the show was very difficult," she admitted on her June rehash. "We went through a lot of different struggles." Together in their Dallas starter home, they found themselves at odds over disparate communication strategies. "I need my [own] time in an argument and JoJo's the exact opposite," Rodgers recently explained to The Knot. "Which is probably the reason, in those thousand square foot homes in our first couple years, where we almost broke up a few times. We weren't on the same page then and I needed space, and she wanted to fix it right then." 

Trending Stories

Kris Jenner Looks Unrecognizable in Her 2020 Halloween Costume

Why Kelly Ripa Censored Her and Mark Consuelos' Halloween Photos

Ashlee Simpson Ross Gives Birth, Welcomes Baby No. 2 With Evan Ross

It was after one such clash that Fletcher was forced to face the fact that they might not be able to repair what ailed them. "There was a point in that first year where it was like, 'Whoa, can we even do this?'" she admitted to Chris Harrison

Ultimately, Rodgers chimed in, they decided on yes. "We sat down together and we were like, 'We love each other, but is that enough right now?'" said the 32-year-old. "It was a fork in the road and we chose to stay together and we're better for it, but it was not easy."

Adding to the pressures were the doubters who assumed Rodgers' charms and poster boy good looks that caught Fletcher's attention on night one were a front, that Aaron Rodgers' estranged little bro was there for the wrong reasons, more interested in emerging with an ESPN contract than a fiancée. 

He got both. But if he was simply after the SEC Network gig he earned back in July 2016, well, he's certainly playing the long game. 

"Critics thought this guy is faking it, whatever," Fletcher recently reflected to E! News of those early months. "Thankfully, luckily—and I should have known better from all along—but he is that person. He's wonderful. He's amazing. He's nothing like what anyone ever thought he was."

Instead, he's every bit the guy she fantasized he could be when she clipped that first impression rose on his label. "I think that comes with the territory of when you are the front runner and I just thought it was too good to be true," she explained of the doubts that crept in. "We don't have to prove it to anybody. I've always known he's an incredible, wonderful, loving man."

Though if there are skeptics left after four years of shared adorableness, two puppies and one August 2019 re-proposal because, Rodgers explained, "as we start to actually plan our wedding for next year I wanted to do it all over again, OUR WAY!" perhaps it might be time to adopt a rosier outlook? 

They've dealt with the early takedown from an ex-girlfriend who called him a "prolific liar and cheater," her friendship with Aaron's then-love Olivia Munn, exposing the initial cracks in a longstanding Rodgers family feud. They weathered the tabloids that dubbed him as a fraud, the intensity of having his home life dissected on a national stage and every last member of Bachelor Nation who assumed they were done for. 

"We almost broke up," Fletcher allowed to E! News of that tough first year. "I think that we really have worked on how we are with one another, because I think that more than anything, like, communicating out of respect even in times that are not so great is so, so important. And so I think that's something that, you know, we've just learned that that's a huge part of our relationship and a huge part of why I feel like we are successful and where we are today."

And they're not the only ones with some hard-earned wisdom to share. Though Bachelor Nation's thorniest relationships draw much of the attention, more than a few loves stories have blossomed after the hot tubs were stored away and the fantasy suite candles blown out. 

So let's raise a (champagne-filled) glass to the amazing journeys still in progress. 

Lest the couple forget where their journey began, they need only walk past the master bedroom in their Dallas-area pad. That's where the graphic designer has framed the final final rose that season 17's Bachelor presented her back in that Thai forest in late 2012, right after he promised to tell her he loved her every day of the rest of their lives.

"It made sense to dry this one and make it permanent because it was accompanied by a ring and a proposal, so this is a really special thing," Catherine explained to Entertainment Tonight in 2017. Because that last rose ceremony, complete with an elephant ride and a $75,000 Neil Lane diamond, is as much part of their story as the the sweet, suburban life that followed with kids Samuel, 4, Isaiah, 2, and Mia, 10 months. "We don't want to shy away from the fact that we got engaged and fell in love on The Bachelor," she said, "so that is the only red rose I will allow in my house!"

The OG Bachelorette, Trista was the first to prove that a stint in the mansion could lead to love, marriage and even Bachelor babies. "Nowadays they shoot the show for, I believe, three months. So it's like 12 weeks," the author shared with Us Weekly of her 2003 season. "My show was shot in six weeks. So Ryan and I met, got engaged, got married a year later, after knowing each other for six weeks. So that's how it used to be."

Their nine years holding it down as the show's sole success story have taught the Colorado-based pair they can handle pretty much anything. Including months sheltering in place with their middle schoolers, son Maxwell, 13, and daughter Blakesley, 11. "It's really hard for us to get a date night. I think when the kids are working, we try to take advantage of that time as much as possible," she said of scheduling around the firefighter's early bird tendencies. "But yeah, we're good. We're 16 years and this too shall pass, as they say."

Who even remembers that the sweet divorced dad originally proposed to Melissa Rycroft? Okay, probably a lot of people, as his 2009 After the Final Rose switcheroo still ranks as one of the series' most shocking moments. But if all's well that end's well, the only thing that matters is that the Seattle-based parents to 7-year-old daughter Riley marked 10 years of marriage this past February. 

"Let me apologize publicly again for putting you through the Bachelor mess that I created," Jason, also dad to 15-year-old Ty, wrote in an anniversary tribute. "With that being said… it built an incredible, unique, foundation for us to build our family—showing that we can make it through anything."

In true Bachelor fashion, native Tennesseean Peyton simply knew when she laid eyes on her future husband. Though it wasn't season 10 lead Andy Baldwin. Nearly four years after the naval officer sent her home, the Bachelor Pad alum turned up at another series-related event in 2010 and spied Chris, fresh off his showing as Ali Fedotowsky's runner-up. "It's one of those things where I've had a ton of serious relationships," she later explained to People, "and I met this kid and he was genuine, outgoing and hilarious and we just click."

By the following June, the landscaper was proposing at his home in Cape Cod. And more than a decade, two kids (daughter Lyla, 3, and Hayes, 22 months) and a few HGTV and DIY Network shows later, they credit the series with laying their foundation. As Peyton put it in an August Instagram post, "Without the show I'm not sure our paths would have ever crossed."

For as much as the wedding dress designer seemed to key in on Brooks Forester during her 2013 season, it was sweet mortgage lender Chris and his thoughtful prose that proved to be the perfect fit. More than five years after their L.A. vows (during which the Desiree Hartsock Bridal designer wore two of her own original creations) they're settled in Portland, Oregon, with sons Asher, 4, and Zander, 21 months. 

"If our life were a storybook I would be the damsel in distress," the host of podcast Heart of Purpose surmised in a February post. "Chris would be the funny yet charming knight who saves the day, Asher would be the pragmatic problem solver while his little brother would be the carefree sidekick trying to kiss all the ladies!" And they would all enjoy a happy ending. As Desiree put it in a post acknowledging the choice of Clare Crawley as Bachelorette, "Reality TV worked for me!" 

The gold standard in Paradise success stories, the married duo of four-and-a-half years have inspired countless rose seekers to turn up in Mexico with visions of Neil Lane diamonds and Chris Harrison-officiated vows dancing in their heads. The couple's time on the spin-off's second season yielded both, and with their son's planned November arrival, they'll tie the Lowes for most Bachelor offspring. 

"Life gets crazy sometimes," Jade wrote in a January anniversary post of juggling 3-year-old daughter Emmy and 15-month-old son Brooks, "but I wouldn't want to go through this hand-in-hand with anyone but you. I would choose you 1000 times over."

Following two trips to Paradise, cruise ship singer Carly left Mexico with the love story she truly never expected, succumbing to the single father of three's charms despite her initial hesitations. Returning to the beach a year later for their televised vows, the couple discovered they were expecting daughter Bella, now 2. "We thought we would go back and show her her history," Carly joked in a 2018 post. "Bella, this is where mommy peed on a stick inside a Mexican bathroom and we found out that you were now part of our crazy beautiful story."

Their tale continued with son Charlie's November 2019 arrival and a recent celebration of their third anniversary. "A lot has changed," Carly wrote in a June tribute to the erectile dysfunction expert, "What hasn't changed is Evans[sic] commitment to spirit finger photographs, but he would still get my final rose."

When the Bachelor in Paradise alum returned to the beaches of Nayarit, he was initially hesitant to pursue the Bachelor finalist, worried his peripatetic lifestyle wouldn't "mesh" with the former beauty queen's. But more than a year (plus one brief breakup and a scary December 2019 ski accident that saw Dean laid up in Switzerland for weeks) later, they, and the van he calls home, are jelling just fine. 

"Obviously I was wrong about that because things are going well," he shared on his podcast Help! I Suck at Dating in October 2019, months before they started wearing rings to show their shared commitment. Mostly, he appreciates that she has a healthy level of snark and the ability to handle his jokes. "I can be myself around her," he continued. "Which is a nice change." 

Dare we say, it was a fairly dramatic capper to Peter's somewhat whiplash-y season. Once he'd broken off an engagement to final rose recipient Hannah Ann Sluss and aborted an attempted reconciliation with also-ran Madison Prewett, the pilot changed course completely, flying to Chicago this past spring to woo fifth place finisher Kelley. 

Their romance took off fairly quickly from there. "She's my biggest fan and she supports me and she's always there for me," he explained to Entertainment Tonight of the attorney. "I know I have my partner in crime forever." The co-pilots intend to move to New York City together in early 2021 and have already sealed their commitment with a ring, Peter presenting her with a gumball machine ring when he told her he loved her. The real thing could be coming soon, he added: "We'll see what's in store down the road."

Some two years ago, Jason had no idea he was describing the former Bachelorette when he declared on her Off the Vine podcast that he was looking for "someone that's sassy, independent, strong-willed, funny, can hold their own and just be really strong." But after solidifying their coupling in January 2019 and moving into Bristowe's Nashville pad that May, they're on the fast track to forever. 

"We have so much going on right now that I think we want to continue to move in the right direction, and the next direction is getting engaged, getting married and having kids," Tartick told E! News in 2019. "That's the timeline of the relationship."

Though he skipped the Neil Lane-sponsored proposal on Bachelor in Paradise in 2018, Kevin was ready to take a knee by the following fall, proposing in his native Toronto where he and Astrid share a home.

While they've since had to push off their planned November 2020 vows in her Florida hometown (and had to cut the guest list of their July engagement party to just them and pup Ace), "We're actually okay with it," Astrid wrote on Instagram, noting that making the decision to postpone until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic allowed them to focus on their connection more than the myriad wedding details. "I wouldn't want to tackle 2020 & the rest of life with anyone else by my side."

When the Bachelorette duo took their love to Mexico for their August 2019 vows, they skipped the beaches of Nayarit for the rooftop of the Royalton Suites Cancun—and red roses for tasteful green and white florals. "Our wedding was about us. It was about the life we built together outside of [The Bachelorette]," she shared with People. "And we stayed true to who we are." 

With any luck, the Texas-bred attorney and the chiropractic doctor will be Mom and Dad before 2021 is up. Asked about their plan for kids, she told Us Weekly last October that they were hoping for "sooner rather than later." In a perfect world, she continued, it would happen in the next year: "We definitely are on the same page in what we want."

Even the most wishful of Bachelorette fans likely weren't betting on JoJo and Jordan's journey leading them to an altar. Because with the persistent rumors of the former Vanderbilt quarterback's ill intentions ramping up even before they took the stage for the requisite grin-and-gush After the Final Rose appearance in 2016, it seemed unlikely she would still be wearing her 3.75-carat Neil Lane diamond years later.

Which, she's not. But only because Jordan presented the real estate developer with an upgrade in August 2019. Though their summer wedding plans were scrapped ("I know it will be all more worth the wait," JoJo wrote in a post acknowledging their would-be June day), their romance is still standing. "You make me laugh, love me endlessly, encourage me to be brave, and always, without fail, are my biggest cheerleader," the native Texan wrote in a post on their fourth anniversary. "Can't wait for what the rest of our lives have in store for us."

Consider Ashley the poster child for ignoring all of the standard he's-just-not-that-into-you signs. Because after four years of lusting for the guy she declared her dream man upon sight, she was proven right at their August 2019 vows in Newport, R.I. 

Every bit as all-in as his bride, Haibon reflected on their perfect day on Instagram, writing, "Ashley is my best friend, my person, my soulmate and now my wife. I love this woman more than words will ever allow me to express."

Who needs Neil Lane and a beach backdrop when you have this much imagination? The Dallas-based real estate agent went big when proposing to his Paradise love in May 2019. "She thought it was a normal shoot day," Adam told E! News of his plan to turn a set-up for her online boutique into an impromptu engagement session. "We were at the helicopter pad on the roof and Raven had roses in her hand. She was throwing the petals up for cute photos. She did a few practice runs and then the videographer slipped me the ring and once she threw the petals up, I got down on one knee. I blacked out, but I got everything out that I wanted."

Thanks to COVID, cementing their happily ever after remains in flux but, as Raven shared on social media, "If our life together is all about turning bad days into good ones.. then even on bad days, I'm the luckiest girl alive."

Sure, she waffled a bit in the early days of Paradise, unsure if her heart belonged to Barbour or Blake Horstmann, but once she zeroed in on the tech entrepreneur, she truly committed. Now the California-based duo are busying themselves with putting together their dream nuptials. While Barbour is set on a good DJ and "maybe an In-N-Out truck," Godwin is thinking big picture. 

"I have a few little things saved on social media," she told E! News last November. "I have such fun ideas, but good weather, a cool view and a really good time. That's the one thing we do talk about and reiterate." 

So he pulled a Mesnick? More than two years after Bachelor Arie dumped onetime fiancée Becca Kufrin on-air to start things up again with Lauren, the pair are married (Chris Harrison officiated their January 2019 wedding in Hawaii, natch), loving life with their 17-month-old daughter Alessi and perfecting the art of getting through tough times together. Following a heartbreaking 2020 miscarriage, Arie gifted his bride with an eternity band symbolizing "that we will always have each other in our darkest times," Lauren explained. "i think it's safe to say he gets husband of the year." 

To hear Arie tell it, though, he's the lucky one. "The fact is, I'm really happy with Lauren," he told GQ in 2018 of their origin story. "So for me, it was all worth it."

Source: Read Full Article