Bachelor on the Boards – A Chat With Tyler Norris
Finding love – then heartbreak – on “The Bachelorette”
By Elyse Notarianni

Photos: ABC/Craig Sjodin

If you want to talk about the top 3 most gut-wrenching breakups of 2022, Tyler Norris probably takes first place – and the entire world got to watch. Norris, a 26-year-old from Wildwood, was a fan-favorite on the latest season of “The Bachelorette.”

In his 2 months of filming, Norris traveled to LA, Amsterdam and Paris with a group of men competing for Rachel Recchia, but his hometown date didn’t end like he’d hoped. (Season 19 had a unique twist when it brought on 2 bachelorettes, Rachel and Gabby Windey. But a few weeks in, the contestants were asked to pick the bachelorette they would like to pursue. Norris was “Team Rachel.”)

After a day spent on the Wildwood boardwalk eating treats, going on rides at Morey’s Piers and shooting hoops at Spirit Ball, the boardwalk shop he owns with his brother, Norris put it all on the line to confess how much Rachel meant to him – saying he was falling in love.

But in response, Rachel broke up with him, ending the hometown date without meeting his family (a first for the show). We caught up with him to talk about it.

Q: How did you end up on “The Bachelorette?”

One day I got a random call from casting producers in LA asking me if I was single and if I was interested in being on “The Bachelorette.” At first I didn’t believe it, but I told them yes and started the interview process. Apparently, my friend’s girlfriend nominated me as a joke.

Q: How long did it take to realize you wanted to pursue Rachel?

Last season of “The Bachelor” was the only one I had ever watched every episode of, and I thought Rachel was beautiful. I loved her personality. I thought she was so sweet and genuine. So I went ahead and sent her a DM on Instagram that said, “Hey, if things don’t work out with Clayton and you end up as the Bachelorette, sign me up because I think you’re gorgeous.” When producers asked me if there was anyone I was interested in, I said Rachel in every single interview.

Q: When you’re there, does it really feel like a relationship – or a competition?

I wanted to make sure I didn’t think of it as a competition. I went in there and thought, alright, I’m going to get to know this person, and they’re going to get to know me, and we’ll both pursue this relationship as long as we know there’s still something there. The important thing to remember is that this is reality TV – but it’s also real life. This would end up in an engagement and hopefully a marriage. So I really wanted to find love, because this was so much bigger than just one season of a TV show.

Q: Do people really fall in love this quickly?

You’re in this bubble. You don’t have a phone or any access to the outside world, and you really are invested in your relationship. I think that’s why people fall so hard throughout the process. It’s only a few months, but that’s all you think about. You wake up in the morning and think, “Oh, I can’t wait to see her.” At the end of the night, you ask yourself, “Do we have a good connection right now? Where is her head at? Where’s my head at?” And you repeat that every single day.

Q: How did all that overthinking not drive you crazy?

That’s the thing – when you see people on prior seasons who go off the rails and seem completely out of their minds, it’s not necessarily because they’re crazy people. It’s a difficult situation, and a lot of it is a mind game. You never know how you’re going to react. But I was here for Rachel, not for the drama, and I had to keep that in mind.

Tyler Norris and Rachel Reccia play boardwalk games at the Mansion.

Q: How did you feel during the Wildwood date?

That’s the big question. When we were together, everything was great. She was so happy and upbeat. But then we had our separate interviews, and when she came back, her eyes looked watery. We were filming on the boardwalk in April, so it was a cold and rainy day, and she told me she was fine, just cold. I didn’t want to leave anything off the table. I wanted her to know that me bringing her to my family showed just how much she meant to me. I laid it all out there, and obviously she didn’t feel the same way.

Q: How did that feel at the time?

I was falling in love with her. It was tough, especially because I was so caught off guard. The week before, she gave me the group date rose and told me she couldn’t wait to meet my family. Then it was all over. But I understood how this process worked, so I just had to move on and hope she found what she was looking for. But it’s also never easy getting dumped on national television.

Q: Is there anything they didn’t show on TV that you wish they had?

One night, there were probably 16 guys sitting around and someone said, “All of us are here and we’re single. Why? We’re nice guys. We treat women with respect.” Every single guy went around and talked about our pasts. A lot of guys broke down crying. I was really disappointed to see that it never made it onto the show because it brought everyone so much closer. I think that’s why we had so little drama in the house this season, because we all genuinely liked and respected one another. There were also a lot of funny and goofy moments that never aired, and I really think people didn’t get a chance to know our personalities.

Q: Now that everyone knows you’re single, do you get hit on a lot?

All the time. Some of it is really funny – I have a lot of people reaching out to me on Instagram who say things like, “My mom told me to reach out to you,” and I think, “Oh good, her mom already likes me, so that’s a plus!” It’s nice that girls come up to me, but then I get the same questions over and over. I don’t want to be with somebody who wants to be with me because I was on TV.

Q: What’s next for you in Bachelor nation?

I can’t tell you yet – that’s for the next interview!

October 2022
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