Former Bachelor star Chris Soules made headlines this week when he was taken into custody in Iowa early Tuesday morning after allegedly leaving the scene of a car crash that resulted in the death of another driver on Monday night. However, as ET previously reported, it’s not his first brush with the law.
Soules had at least 14 run-ins with the law in Iowa between 1998 and 2012, before he joined The Bachelorette in 2014. The majority of the offenses are vehicle-related, including speeding and running stop signs. He also pleaded guilty in 2006 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. As part of that sentence, he was fined $500 and served one year of probation.
But how much did The Bachelor know about Soules’ past before he became a suitor on Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, and later cast as the Bachelor?
A source close to The Bachelor franchise tells ET that both contestants and those chosen as leads on the show are given background checks before getting the greenlight to appear on the series.
“Everyone goes through extensive testing,” the source says. “Blood and urine samples are taken from everyone. They also have them meet with a therapist to make sure they’re mentally healthy to be on the show.”
Contestants are also required to meet with a private investigator, who “will ask about everything: ‘Do you have a sex tape?’ ‘Do you have a felony?'” the source explains. “The process is very thorough.”
As for whether contestants would be told about the findings, ET’s source reveals that “they never hear anything about other people’s background checks. The assumption is that if the show found anything bad enough then they wouldn’t be on the show at all.”
“When a Bachelor or Bachelorette is on the show, ABC does not tell them about any contestants’ lives or previous criminal records. The leads of the show don’t even know most of the contestants’ last names. They mostly find out about their lives during their hometown dates,” another source tells ET. “When a Bachelor or Bachelorette spends time with a contestant on the show, it’s for a very small amount of time, and there are always cameras in your face. You never have true one-on-one time until the fantasy suite dates.”
Yet another source echoed this statement, claiming that “[ABC doesn’t] tell Bachelors/Bachelorettes anything about the contestants’ past records or run-ins with the law. They don’t even know the [contestants’] last names.”
“I don’t think anyone would have been bothered to not know of Chris’ past arrests. Drinking and driving is a terrible thing to do, but this was a tragic accident. Chris does not have a violent criminal past and is not a violent person,” ET’s second source says. “Had Chris had a violent past, and ABC did not disclose that information, then it would have been a different situation.”
“Chris Soules is nothing but a sweet, loving and gentle person and what happened is a terrible accident,” the source adds. “Everyone in the Bachelor family is praying for everyone involved in this situation. It’s terrible for everyone involved in this situation and their lives will never be the same, especially Chris’.”
ET last spoke with Soules in March, where he confirmed that Bachelor producers do their due diligence in checking into contestants’ pasts before allowing them on the show.
“You get tested for everything, it’s not just STDs…They know more about you than you know about yourself by the time you go on that show!” he told ET during a Facebook Live interview.
“If you don’t have thick skin going into it, you’re not just going to grow it halfway through. You’re going to break,” he continued. I know it’s emotionally hard for those producers to be involved, especially towards the end. They’re with me 15 hours a day, dealing with me and my emotions.”
“We could use more therapists on The Bachelor, definitely,” Soules revealed, adding that contestants see a therapist at the beginning and the end of each season, “unless you’re really having a mental breakdown.”
“I was actually [at the edge of having a breakdown] in both [The Bachelorette and The Bachelor],” he recalled. “I can remember at one point on The Bachelorette, I woke up… I was personally having heart palpitations.. It’s a very weird situation, and it was much worse towards the end on The Bachelor. Much worse.”
Soules said he found himself turning to alcohol as a form of “therapy” to cope with the pressures of his season.
“I just used whiskey for my therapy, and I worked out every day. I couldn’t sleep towards the last two weeks,” he revealed. “I couldn’t sleep, so I’d go work out, and I’d have a little whiskey for breakfast.”
“I can’t say I would do it again,” Soules confessed, adding that the process was a “son of a b**ch.” “[I expected] zero effect, zero anything, and then it’s really, truly changed my life, but thankfully, it’s not changed me.”
As for Monday’s fatal incident, Soules was released from jail on Tuesday after posting $10,000 bail, which was posted by his mother, Linda, but he was given an ankle bracelet monitor and is now required to check in with a probation officer. His next court date is set for Tuesday, May 2.
“Chris Soules was involved in an accident Monday evening (April 24) in a rural part of Iowa near his home,” a statement sent to ET on Tuesday by his rep, Stan Rosenfield, read. “He was devastated to learn that Kenneth Mosher, the other person in the accident, passed away. His thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mosher’s family.”
Reporting by Jennifer Peros and Lauren Zima.