One might think ABC would be avoiding any major drama with the next season of The Bachelor considering the romantic quagmire that was the just-wrapped fourth season of Bachelor in Paradise. But then one would be wrong — because not only is Arie Luyendyk Jr. a controversial pick for the next Bachelor, but his ex-girlfriend claims he wasn’t actually a bachelor IRL for very long before accepting the ABC gig.
Sydney Stempfley, a receptionist from Scottsdale, Arizona, has opened up to Entertainment Tonight about her yearlong romance with Luyendyk and why she didn’t see any of The Bachelor hoopla coming.
According to ET, Stempfley and Luyendyk met via Instagram a few months before she moved to Scottsdale, where the race car driver and real estate agent resides.
“We started talking in January 2016, just through direct message,” Stempfley said. “We kind of talked off and on just through Instagram, but I landed a job in Scottsdale after graduating [Miami University in Ohio]. I flew out to search for apartments, so I messaged Arie and I told him that I would be in the area and he asked me out on our first date.”
Stempfley claims they “hit it off right away,” started dating and have been in a happy, monogamous relationship for the last year… to her knowledge, at least.
The couple even celebrated their one-year anniversary in July in a super-romantic way — by going back to Chelsea’s Kitchen, the restaurant where they first officially laid eyes on each other.
When asked whether either party had cheated during their time together, Stempfley insisted to ET that there was no infidelity on her part. “We always had a great time, tons of fun. We made each other laugh and had just really a great relationship, so I can’t complain there… [we] had great memories,” she said.
Is it just us, or does that sound like a direction contradiction of the lovelorn Luyendyk described by Bachelor host Chris Harrison?
It would seem someone has some explaining to do, because Stempfley came ready with receipts. In addition to plenty of photos of the formerly happy couple, she also revealed that they’d already met each other’s parents, traveled extensively together and spent holidays together.
And as if all of that wasn’t damning enough, Stempfley recounted the couple’s breakup in heartbreaking detail.
“The night before the breakup, we hung a little light fixture together, made beef stew and I slept over. Everything was normal! The next day, we had plans after I got off work. It was just a regular day, so it definitely caught me by surprise,” she elaborated. “It was over the phone originally, just out of the heat of an argument, just a small argument. But then I went over to his place and we discussed it further and that’s kind of when it happened [for good] — it was in person.”
A few days before the official Bachelor announcement was made, Stempfley touched base with Luyendyk about the rumors he could be in the running. He assured her he hadn’t been contacted by producers and doubted it was a possibility.
Fast forward to his “reveal” on Good Morning America, when Stempfley (and the rest of the world) got confirmation Luyendyk would be in the driver’s seat this season.
As for whether or not she thinks the breakup was orchestrated by Luyendyk so he would be available for the reality dating series, Stempfley remains uncertain, saying, “The only thing I have to go off of is his word.”
Oof, ABC. Just… oof.
Read the entire enlightening interview with Stempfley here, including her connection to this season of The Bachelor (outside of her ex) and her advice for the contestants who’ll be vying for Luyendyk’s heart.