'The Golden Bachelorette' Star Joan Vassos Was Previously Married for Over 30 Years

Joan Vassos, the first-ever leading lady of 'The Golden Bachelorette,' was married 32 years before her husband's death in January 2021.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

May 15 2024, Updated 1:32 p.m. ET

Joan Vassos, sporting a black sleeveless dress, poses in front of a gold background for her official 'The Golden Bachelor' portrait.
Source: Ricky Middlesworth/ABC

Despite being an early frontrunner during the first season of The Golden Bachelor, school administrator Joan Vassos sacrificed her budding connection with Gerry Turner to be with her daughter during a difficult time. Everyone admired her for putting family first, and ever since, fans have been rooting for Joan to find her own happily ever after.

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Luckily, their wish is coming true because, on May 14, 2024, ABC announced that Joan will be the leading lady for the inaugural season of The Golden Bachelorette! Now, before we dive into her search for a second chance at love, let's explore her first marriage.

Joan Vassos performs during the first-ever "The Golden Bachelor Talent Showcase" during Season 1 of 'The Golden Bachelor'
Source: John Fleenor/ABC
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Who was 'The Golden Bachelorette' star Joan Vassos' first husband?

Years before applying for the reality dating show, Joan was married to her husband, John Nicholas Vassos, for 32 years. However, on Jan. 18, 2021, he sadly passed away after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. John was 59 years old.

According to his obituary, John was born on Nov. 27, 1961, in Washington, D.C. He was a graduate of Salisbury University and owned and operated BCE Corporation and CapX Solutions. He was a member of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and he had a special connection with St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Md.

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"John embraced life with vigor and never did anything halfway. If you were his friend, he loved you forever and would do anything for you. He was known for his epic generosity, and it is impossible to count the number of people and organizations he supported," the obituary said.

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The obituary further mentioned, "The beach was his most favorite place in the world, and sitting on his dock at sunset with family and friends was his heaven on earth. ... He loved watching sports, and there was always a game on the TV. He would even watch cornhole if there wasn't anything else on!"

Joan said John always made her "feel safe."

On the third anniversary of John's death, which fell on Jan. 18, 2024, Joan took to Instagram and shared a photo of the couple with their four kids. She wrote, "Some days it seems like it just happened, and I can't catch my breath, still feeling the shock of it. Other days it feels like he's been gone a lifetime, those days are worse because I'm afraid the memories are fading. I think that's what scares me the most."

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'The Golden Bachelorette' key art features Joan Vassos posing in a gold strapless gown while holding a gold rose.
Source: Disney

"He was the husband that always made me feel safe and cherished," she continued. "He was the parent that was always the fun one because that's all he knew how to do... lucky kids because fun in his book was generally epic. I could go on for hours."

Joan concluded, "Honestly, I think that's how he would want to be remembered... by not forgetting him. Please keep telling the stories, don't worry, they don't make me sad... let's be honest, most of them are funny! As the Greeks say, 'May his memory be eternal.'"

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