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ABC has finally made it official. They have named the first-ever golden bachelorette. Joan Vassos will take the lead on the first season of The Golden Bachelorette when it airs in the fall. The widow will get the chance to find love again among a sea of eligible bachelors. Vassos’ name has been tossed around more than once by fans of The Golden Bachelor as a potential lead, so the announcement didn’t come as a total shock. Here is everything you need to know about Vassos. 

Who is Joan Vassos? 

Joan Vassos is a 61-year-old school administrator from Maryland. She is also a mother to four and a grandmother to two. Her story has a lot in common with Gerry Turner’s. Vassos, like Turner, is a widow. She was married for more than 30 years. 

According to Heavy, Vassos’ husband, John Vassos, died in 2021 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 59. While most of her Instagram feed is now dedicated to her reality TV career, Vassos did take a minute to pay tribute to her late husband in January, marking the third anniversary of his passing. In her tribute, Vassos noted how kind her husband was in life and how she could never figure out the right way to memorialize a legend. Friends were quick to jump into the comment section to share their thoughts. 

While Vassos is still navigating her grief, she has made it clear she’s ready to look for love again. Many people are excited to see that happen for her, too. Along with fans, who have all suggested Joan Vassos should be the first lead on The Golden Bachelorette, she got the seal of approval from Wells Adams at Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner’s wedding. 

Why was Joan Vassos eliminated from ‘The Golden Bachelor’? 

It’s pretty common for the team behind The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to give the lead role to the runner-up. For months, fans largely assumed Leslie Fhima would be given the lead role. That didn’t happen. The production team is deviating from the norm by naming Joan Vassos the first-ever golden bachelorette. Joan’s journey in the dating competition was a bit unconventional. Vassos was a frontrunner early on in The Golden Bachelor. Fans loved her zest for life and fearlessness. Gerry Turner was rather taken with the blonde from Maryland, too. He offered Vassos a rose on a date, and the duo appeared to really connect. She, however, self-eliminated from the competition during week 3. 

Vassos explained that she had to head home to be close to her daughter, who had recently welcomed a baby. Vassos later explained that her daughter was dealing with postpartum depression. She said she knew she had to get home to help when she heard her daughter’s voice during a phone call. 

Gerry Turner and Joan Vassos dine together during a one-on-one moment on 'The Golden Bachelor'
Gerry Turner and Joan Vassos | John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images

Joan Vassos Would Totally Appear on ‘The Golden Bachelorette,’ but She’d Like to See the Show Have a Twist

While some The Golden Bachelor fans believed Vassos self-eliminated because she didn’t feel a spark with Turner, that apparently was not the case. Vassos revealed that she was asked to return to the competition and almost did. She also said she sometimes fantasized about finding Turner on her doorstep. 

While Turner didn’t turn out to be her next great love, Vassos still has hope. The Golden Bachelorette is set to air in the fall.