Who is Arie Luyendyk, Jr. in love with? The jury is still deliberating on that one, as the final few episodes of The Bachelor play out on national television. Luyendyk has narrowed it down to four girls: Tia, Becca K., Lauren B., and Kendall. Any one of them could win his heart — or none of them could win at all. For now, Luyendyk can't speak definitively on the matter, but he can tell us this: He really loves his dog, Bastian. Speaking to Refinery29 over the phone Friday morning, Luyendyk revealed that he carries his pup with him everywhere (in a way).
"My phone background is my dog, Bastian," he answered. Luyendyk partnered with PetSmart Charities to promote the inaugural National Adoption Weekend, a weekend of en masse pet adoption that will occur this weekend, February 16 - 18. It's a fitting partnership for Luyendyk because Bastian himself is adopted. Luyendyk adopted him seven years ago, long before he became an influential member of Bachelor Nation.
"He's been a huge part of my life, and whenever you're going through a breakup, or something difficult, dogs can really sense that. He's just been my companion," Luyendyk explained.
But what about after the finale, when Bachelor stars get to flaunt their newly minted engagement? What's the phone background going to be then?
"[My phone background will] probably still be Bastian. I mean, he has had my heart now for quite some time," Luyendyk said.
Despite being on television for two hours every week, Luyendyk is still one of America's most elusive Bachelors. Everything the Arizona-based realtor and race car driver does makes him more inscrutable. Monday night, viewers (myself included) discovered that Luyendyk has a Les Miserables tattoo on his wrist, the number 24601. In December, Luyendyk told E! that he got the tattoo because he "connected" with main character Jean ValJean. Refinery29 asked him to elaborate.
"Long story, but I think in the play, he was very misunderstood but still very selfless. And I connect with that character," Luyendyk. He also revealed that he saw Les Miserables when he was filming Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette in London.
In one of the most confusing moments of the last Bachelor episode, Luyendyk stood up and simply left in the middle of a date. Lauren B., a frontrunner, had told Luyendyk that she was falling in love with him. This is impressive currency on The Bachelor, but Luyendyk seemingly balked. He asked to be excused, then he left the dinner table (with its customary tray of untouched food) and walked towards a grove of trees. Later, he told the camera in a confessional that he was also "falling in love" with Lauren B. Viewers were left stunned, wondering why the Bachelor suddenly needed to leave Lauren B. alone at the table.
Luyendyk can't comment on his actions on the show just yet, but he revealed that, in his case, he thought he needed permission from the producers to say "I love you."
"I think it's sort of an unspoken Bachelor [rule] — how would I put this? I think, looking back at seasons before mine, I didn't know that was something I could freely express. I didn't know until I was in that situation, so I had to ask," he said.
"I think that's something that's not very typical of the Bachelor to reveal," he continued, referring to confessions of love. "But, I feel like, if you feel a certain way, you should express that."
When prodded for more details about the most recent (and most confusing) episode of The Bachelor, Luyendyk was impressively stoic. In response to the question, "Are you in love?" Luyendyk said, "You'll have to watch the finale to figure that out, but it's been a great season, and I've had a lot of fun."
There are only three more episodes of The Bachelor remaining. Or, in the words of Jean ValJean et al, three episodes more!
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