Who Was The First Bachelor? 5 Details About Alex Michel

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Who Was The First Bachelor? 5 Details About Alex Michel
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The Bachelor, a reality TV show staple, celebrated its 17th birthday on Monday. Host Chris Harrison paid tribute to the show on his social media. He expressed a simple thank you to fans of the show, but recognized their longtime dedication to the reality powerhouse.

“On this day in 2002 we started a crazy new show called #TheBachelor,” he said in an Instagram caption on March 25. “I could go on and write the longest caption ever but I’ll just say Thank You! #BachelorNation.”

While there are plenty of spin-offs of the show that have cropped up in the past 17 years—The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games—the original series is where it all started. Some of its drama is unparalleled: who can forget Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney? Or the shocking Season 11 finale?

Finding and falling in love are acts that require bravery—to do so on television, however, takes a lot of guts … no matter whether the true purpose is to end up with a ring, or publicity. After 17 years and 23 seasons of bachelors, it’s hard to remember who the OG was. The show as also very different back in 2002 than it is now.

Who was the first bachelor? He was not a former football player or Bachelorette contestant like Colton Underwood. For a time, however, Alex Michel was considered America’s most eligible bachelor.

Who is Alex Michel? Below are details about his life before, during and after his debut as the first Bachelor.

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1. He never proposed to the woman who received the final rose.

Michel is one of the Bachelors who opted not to get down on one knee with a ring, as is the tradition with more recent seasons of the show. He picked Amanda Marsh to continue dating after the show … but the two broke up about a year later.

There were many differences between Michel’s season and what the show is today. ABC producers specifically chose him because he was a businessman. The point of the show was also centered around the bachelor himself courting 25 women and trying to make them fall in love with him, rather than the women trying to catch and keep his attention. It also only lasted seven weeks.

Michel paved the way for the future spin-offs of the show: runner-up Trista Rehn was the first Bachelorette.

2. He has kept a low profile since the show.

Chris Harrison does not know what the first Bachelor has been up to—they haven’t been in touch for years. He spoke to Katie Couric about the elusive former star in a 2013 interview.

“I know people have tried to get ahold of him, and we would have loved to have had him here today, but he’s kind of gone on to live his life. But, we do owe him a debt of gratitude; he kicked this whole thing off … I don’t blame him [for disappearing]; he’s paid his dues.”

Harrison told PEOPLE in 2013, “Alex was just a normal guy who agreed to jump into the unknown. He was brave to take it on.”

The franchise owes a lot to Michel. The show has been running for 23 seasons and counting, with 242 episodes. It has seen hundreds of single women from across the country vie for the hearts of men they hoped to make their husbands.

3. He became a spokesperson for some interesting companies.

A year after Michel’s season aired, he took up a different means in finding love. Michel became a spokesperson for Match.com. He may not have found lasting love on national TV, so online dating became the next step.

"Whether you're a Bachelorette television star with 25 bachelors to choose from, or one of the millions of singles with profiles on Match.com today, who often have hundreds of compatible matches from which they can make their dating selections, so much of dating success depends on your choices," Michel was quoted saying in a press release for Match.com. "I encourage singles to follow both their heads and their hearts, as romantic magic is part strategy and part chemistry."

Clearly, Michel had changed his mind about the show after it was over. He told PEOPLE in 2002 that the show “was like the most elaborate, well-financed dating service of all time.”

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Michel was also the “Romance and Proposal Expert” for Princess Cruises.

4. He’s living in NYC.

Michel is in the Big Apple as a media industry executive. By all appearances, it seems Michel is single—after 17 years, he is still a bachelor.

5. He’s been involved in the media industry for years.

Aside from his time in the spotlight as companies’ spokesperson, and as America’s most sought-after bachelor, Michel has been involved in entertainment since the 1990s. He was named the Sundance Institute New Producing Fellow for 1993 and began working at CNET as a television producer after graduating from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 1998.

Interestingly, Michel has a political background as well. While at Harvard University for undergrad, he spent a summer as an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

He married his political and entertainment careers after working for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico post-Harvard: he became a documentary travel video producer, for which he traveled around the world. 


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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.