Tanner Tolbert From 'Bachelor In Paradise' Talks His Secret To Avoiding Drama, Becoming This Season's Breakout Star & Those Ashely I. Meltdowns
The new season of ABC's Bachelor In Paradise kicked off less than two weeks ago, but the popular Bachelor spinoff has already been on point in delivering the drama. In just a few episodes, fans have been privy to tears (hi, Ashley I.), contentions, and one unexpected exit. Aside from the invariable animosity between certain cast members, one of this season's biggest breakout stars has managed to avoid the drama while also stealing scenes. I'm speaking, of course, about the jilted contender from Kaitlyn Bristowe's The Bachelorette, Tanner Tolbert. While Tanner may have been clamoring for some more camera action — and actual time with the Bachelorette — during his first turn on the popular franchise, he hasn't had any problem with recognition on BiP. After becoming the proud recipient of Jade Roper's date card during the premiere week, legions of fans took to social media to ship the couple, and throngs of BiP recaps have made the two a focal point.
Tanner's endearing wit and one-liners made him one of our favorite contestants to watch on Bachelorette, and fans have been treated to much more of the reality star's humor on BiP. Bustle had the opportunity to catch up with ABC's new heartthrob to learn about his time on BiP, whether or not Ashely I. is really that emotional, how he avoids the drama, and his newfound fame.
"Those are Ashley I.'s real tears," he tells me. "It took me a couple days to warm up to her and get used to the emotional roller coaster." He goes on to note that — despite the histrionics — he thinks fondly of the contestant. "But Ashley I. is a great girl and I consider her a friend now. She definitely wears her heart on her sleeve — it's a pretty accurate portrayal. We just haven't seen the fun side of her as much on TV yet."
The show makes it appear that everyone is aware of any goings on each second of the day — which led us to wonder if this tropical resort is actually a bit cramped. Tanner tells me that despite appearances, "The resort was the perfect size. Not too big but if you wanted to be alone, you could usually find some space." He goes on to note, "Most people hung out at the pool or beach all day, so there were usually areas you could go to get away."
Even so, how did Tanner manage to avoid all the drama that seems to be a natural consequence of most reality cast members? "I tried my best to stay out of any drama, although it's hard at times," he says. "But I tried to act the same on the show as I do in real life. With that being said, I am very direct and honest, so I have been able to leave an impression by 'telling it like it is.' Plus, the show seems to like my one-liners during interviews and narration."
He also notes that one particular contestant may have helped take the pressure off. "Also, when you are friends with JJ [Lane], he takes care of most of the drama. I can just sit back and enjoy the show." Well played.
As for his newfound fame and warm fan reception — particularly when it comes to those shipping his early pairing with Jade — Tanner is extremely appreciative. "The early feedback from fans has been great and I appreciate all the kind words. But sure, it feels nice to be recognized by someone this time around — because let's face it — this show is all about connecting with someone."
Being that Tanner's ABC contract won't allow any spoilers for the rest of the season, we won't know about the suitor's current marital status until after the finale. We're definitely looking forward to seeing what else is in store during Tanner's turn on BiP, along with more of those hilarious one-liners.
Images: Rick Rowell/ABC; Bob D'Amico/ABC