- Joan Vassos was a fan-favorite contestant on Season 1 of The Golden Bachelor.
- She stepped away from the dating show due to an urgent family matter.
- Joan opened up about her abrupt departure during the "Women Tell All" special.
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for those not caught up on The Golden Bachelor.
After winning the talent show and developing a deeper connection with The Golden Bachelor himself, Gerry Turner, it seemed like Joan Vassos was on her way to becoming a frontrunner. However, the pair never got the chance to spend more time together because Joan had to step away from the dating show.
So, what happened? Why did Joan leave? Read on for all the known details. Plus, keep scrolling to find out what Joan had to say about her unexpected exit during the highly anticipated "Women Tell All" episode.
So, does Joan come back to 'The Golden Bachelor'?
Given the gravity of her situation, it's no surprise that Joan ultimately didn't return to The Golden Bachelor. Like fellow contestant Marina Perera, the school administrator sacrificed her connection with Gerry to be with her family.
Joan's departure was addressed on-camera — and boy, was it emotional.
Following the group date, Joan earned a very romantic dinner with Gerry. The night went perfectly, with Joan opening up to the leading man about her family life. She told him it was tough to leave home and go on the show because her daughter had a baby two weeks before she left for filming, but she wanted to put herself and her happiness first.
Joan said it was not an easy delivery at all, but she figured things would get better — sadly, they didn't.
Despite feeling a deep connection with Gerry, Joan decided to leave the show as "family will always come first." When she broke the news to Gerry, he expressed disappointment but understood why she needed to leave, acknowledging their shared moral compass. The emotional farewell left both of them understandably heartbroken.
Joan said she "held out hope" for her relationship with Gerry.
During the "Women Tell All" episode, host Jesse Palmer gave Joan the opportunity to discuss her premature departure from the dating show. He asked how her daughter and granddaughter were doing, and Joan revealed that "everything is great at home now."
Joan further explained her exit, telling the audience, "My daughter had a really serious case of postpartum depression, and you know, she needed me. She needed her mom, and I didn't think twice. I knew I had to be there; I heard it in her voice. I could not get on the plane fast enough."
She then opened up about her connection with Gerry, stating that for the first time since losing her husband, she "saw a future with somebody." Jesse then asked Joan if she thought it would've worked out between her and Gerry had she stayed, to which she replied, "I think we had a good chance."
"Gerry helped make me feel visible because he looked at me, he cared about what I was saying, and he wanted to get to know me," Joan said. "Gerry opened my heart, and I held out hope for a little while. I did think a couple times maybe I would come around the corner, coming home from work, and he would be sitting on my front porch."
Catch new episodes of The Golden Bachelor on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. Stream the next day on Hulu.