Gerry Turner is ready to hand out his final rose to one of two women left vying for his heart.
Turner made his reality television debut earlier this year as the oldest suitor ever to look for love in a franchise built on petals: “The Golden Bachelor.”;
While the 72-year-old retired restaurateur appeared to put his heart on the line for what seemed to be the first time since the death of his wife Toni in 2017, The Hollywood Reporter revealed a few thorns in Gerry’s tale.
Turner said on Justin Long’s “Life is Short” podcast recently that the vetting process to become the “Golden Bachelor” was “ridiculously thorough.”
“I was in Florida in February of this year. I was actually traveling with an old girlfriend. We were just friends,” he said. “I got a call from ABC, wanting me to go to initiate the process to go get an STD test. And it’s like, that’s a little bit of a tender moment.”
He added, “I had to send my fingerprints to the FBI. There were numerous background checks. There was a psychological evaluation that was like 360 questions and then another hour of interview.”
Turner admitted casting for the show began three years ago, but the coronavirus pandemic halted production.
Throughout the show, Turner was credited as a restaurateur, but THR claimed Turner “last owned a restaurant in 1985” after selling a hamburger drive-in franchise in Iowa. From there, he worked in sales and management positions in the food industry, according to THR.
“The Golden Bachelor” alleged Turner retired at 55, despite having years of gigs on his LinkedIn profile including “installing hot tubs” and maintenance work at a health center in the Davenport area.
It was at the medical center where Turner reportedly met a woman named Carolyn (a pseudonym for the woman who requested not to be named in the THR interview), and the pair embarked on a three-year relationship one month after his wife died.
“I’ve dated a number of times since Toni’s passed, more recently than back closer to when she’s passed,” Turner, 72, previously told People magazine. “For one reason or another, the attempts didn’t work out. I could give you a wide range of reasons, but it doesn’t really matter.”
Carolyn and Gerry dated for 10 months before they decided to live together, which then went on for almost two more years, per her account.
He told People that he attempted dating after one year of grieving the death of his high school sweetheart, but realized he wasn’t ready every time he tried.
“Somehow I got it in my head that if you grieve for a year, that at the end of the year you should be OK. It absolutely wasn’t the case,” he said.
Turner reportedly dated “a couple of women” in the past six years, according to Heather Lanning-Adams, a friend of Turner’s who worked as a server at The Shady Nook restaurant near Gerry’s lake house.
“They weren’t all long-term, but they … weren’t short-term either,” she told The Sun. “He was with a couple of women for a decent amount of time, but it just didn’t work out.”
Carolyn claimed Gerry used similar pick-up lines on her that he shared with the women on the show. “Damn, I go to bed at night thinking of you and wake up in the morning thinking of you,” she claimed he texted her in 2017. Turner told Leslie Fhima, a finalist, a similar line in Costa Rica.
“I have to have you with my morning coffee, I have to have you when I go to bed at night,” he said.
Carolyn said she had befriended Gerry while they worked together, and even helped throw a retirement party when he moved to his lake house with Toni, his late wife. She recalled receiving the “shocking news” that Toni had passed, and then getting a call from Gerry one month later asking for help donating Toni’s old wardrobe.
She agreed and Gerry took her to dinner as a thank you, but Carolyn admitted she went “back and looked at my text messages. I never realized Gerry’s texts had turned hot and heavy so relatively soon.”
He allegedly texted her, “I got LUCKY when you first said you would go to dinner with me two weeks ago. I mean how often does an old geezer get the beautiful girl?” and then shortly after, “You are the right woman for me. No need to look further.”
On the “Golden Bachelor,” Turner admitted he only wanted to say “I love you” to one more person in his lifetime, but ended up confessing his love for the final three contestants before sending Faith home.
Not So Generous?
Carolyn said she finally agreed to move in with Gerry at his lake house in Indiana after much persistence on his part, and quit her job in Iowa. Once she moved in July 2018, Gerry allegedly told her that she would be responsible for $1,000 in expenses, which she negotiated down to $850.
Every meal would be split down the middle, and Carolyn would have to pay “her half in advance, and then when the check came, Gerry paid the whole tab, like the big man.”
She also claimed Gerry was “fastidious about cleanliness” and insisted that Carolyn “make the bed before she come upstairs for breakfast.”
Carolyn claimed Gerry commented on her appearance after she had gained 10 pounds from stress. While packing for a high school reunion in October 2019, Gerry said, “I’m not taking you to the reunion looking like that.”
Mr. Good Guy?
The reunion became the catalyst for their breakup, and Gerry told Carolyn she had to be out of the house by the beginning of the year in 2020. He allegedly offered to pay for her U-Haul.
Carolyn alleged that she fell down the stairs while packing and required a trip to the hospital. She claimed when Gerry came home that night, he accused her of fabricating the fall as a way to prolong her stay, and refused to allow her to remain in the home, but instead was forced to go to a hotel.
She recalled Gerry telling her, “I really wish this would’ve worked out. Call me when you get to your hotel, so I know you made it safe.”
Turner had nearly 8 million viewers tuning in to the premiere of “The Golden Bachelor” in September. The 72-year-old grandfather’s quest for love on a fan-favorite reality show was the biggest debut for “The Bachelor” franchise in three years.
“I think I made a mistake,” Gerry said in the preview of the finale. “The only time I’ve ever felt worse in my whole life is when my wife passed away, and this is a god—- close second.”
“Had I known this would be how much pain I would cause someone, I would’ve never taken the first step in this journey.”
Gerry will hand out his last rose during the final episode on Thursday, Nov. 30.
Fox News Digital has reached out to ABC for comment.