There comes a time in every “Bachelorette” finalist’s life when he has to show his sensitive side and reveal an emotional life story if he wants to stay in the game. On Monday night, it was Jordan Rodgers’s turn — and boy, did he deliver, becoming the first contestant to use this moment to spill family drama about a celebrity sibling.
For anyone not aware, Jordan (a front-runner and the most highly hyped contestant this season) is the younger brother of superstar Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. When Jordan was revealed as one of JoJo Fletcher’s suitors, there were lots of jokes about how Aaron — and his girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn – could possibly make an appearance if Jordan made it to the “home town date” stage. Turns out that will definitely not happen because, as Jordan explained during the episode, he and Aaron are estranged — to the point where he’s not even sure Aaron knows he’s on the show.
Jordan made headlines last month when he went on the Garbage Time podcast and hinted at a “complicated” relationship with his older brother, but that’s nothing compared to sharing the story on national television. During a one-on-one date with JoJo, Jordan was determined to open up, especially because it was right before JoJo narrowed the field to the final four guys, who would all get home town dates.
They started talking about home town date week, and Jordan admitted that he hasn’t brought a girl home in years. He started ticking off the members of the family JoJo would meet: His parents, Darla and Ed; his oldest brother, Luke; and Luke’s dog, Carl. “Yeah,” Jordan continued. “And, um, my middle brother won’t be there.”
“And that’s Aaron?” JoJo asked. “Okay. Why?”
Uh oh. “Yeah, Aaron,” Jordan said, looking a bit nervous. “Like I said, I have a great relationship with my brother Luke. Me and Aaron don’t really have that much of a relationship.”
Cue the sad music — literally, a somber melody started playing in the background.
“It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life,” Jordan added.
Whoa — was he going to throw his superstar brother under the bus? And imply any estrangement was his fault?
“I chose to stay close with my family and my parents and my brother, and, um, yeah, it’s just — it’s not ideal,” Jordan continued.
Okay, so he did go there. But Jordan quickly followed up to say that he doesn’t hold it against him.
“I love him, and — and, uh — and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes and have the pressure he has and the demands from people that he has. Don’t have hard feelings against him, it’s just how things go right now.”
“Does he know that you’re doing [this show]?” JoJo asked with a look of dismay, which people on Twitter interpreted as her realizing she wouldn’t have a shot at free Packers tickets.
“I don’t think so,” Jordan confessed.
“So you guys don’t talk at all,” JoJo confirmed.
“No, not really,” Jordan said.
He didn’t go into detail, but definitely hinted at some severe sibling rivalry and insecurity. Earlier, Jordan had bristled when fellow contestant James Taylor called him “entitled,” and Jordan wanted JoJo to know that description hit a nerve.
“That just really strikes a chord with me. Just, like, that kind of word, because it’s just not who I am, because, frankly, at every step of my life, I was just kind of disappointed,” Jordan said. “No matter what I did, it was never good enough for a coach or for a teammate, because I was being compared to someone who did it the best.”
Cue the even sadder music. “When I walked away from playing … I could’ve kept playing, but football didn’t define me,” Jordan said, referencing his brief NFL career. “And not having a great relationship with my brother Aaron, or what people think that relationship should be, didn’t define me. I’m defined by the character I have … and I just wanted you to know where I’m coming from with that.”
Although family drama is a staple of reality television, it’s far more unusual to occur when the family member has no involvement in the show. Either way, it worked — JoJo gave Jordan a rose at the end of the episode. Looks like there’s more Aaron talk to come: In the preview for next week’s episode, JoJo confronts his brother Luke about Jordan’s issues with Aaron.
“It’s something we don’t really talk about a whole lot,” Luke says.
JoJo’s voice-over sounds concerned. “Jordan doesn’t have a relationship with his brother Aaron, but I didn’t realize this wound is as deep as it is,” she says in the preview. “So now I’m nervous.”
(This post has been updated.)