Joe Amabile Was 'Shocked' by Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist's Divorce but Can See Why They Had 'an Issue' (Exclusive)

"I do think it's hard to pick up and move your entire life," the 'Bachelor in Paradise' alum, who will compete on 'The GOAT,' tells PEOPLE of the former 'Golden Bachelor' couple

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; JOHN FLEENOR / DISNEY</p>

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; JOHN FLEENOR / DISNEY

'Bachelor in Paradise' stars Serena Pitt and Joe Amabile (left); 'The Golden Bachelor' stars Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist

Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist’s Golden Bachelor divorce rocked Bachelor Nation — even those who knew them didn’t see the split coming after just three months of marriage.

Turner, 72, and Nist, 70, previously appeared on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast that Joe Amabile and his wife Serena Pitt host, and Amabile, 38, now tells PEOPLE he and Pitt, 26, “were shocked” by the divorce news.

“We interviewed them a few times,” says Amabile, who will compete on the inaugural season of Amazon Freevee’s The GOAT. “I thought they were both lovely people.”

Related: Golden Bachelor's Kathy Swarts Speculates Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist Might 'Regret' Getting Married on Live TV

Nist and Turner announced on Good Morning America Friday, April 12 that they’d be ending their marriage after saying “I do” in January due to disagreements over where they would live. (Nist hails from New Jersey, while Turner resides in Indiana.)

“I think it's tricky,” Amabile says. “Especially in your later years in life, you're pretty settled in whatever city you live in, so I do think it's hard to pick up and move your entire life when your family lives wherever. So, I could see where that was an issue.”

<p>Mike Coppola/Getty </p> Serena Pitt and Joe Amabile

Mike Coppola/Getty

Serena Pitt and Joe Amabile

Amabile adds that he still finds The Golden Bachelor  to be “an entertaining show” and hopes Nist and Turner’s divorce won’t damper the excitement for the upcoming season of The Golden Bachelorette.

After being eliminated on the first night of Becca Kufrin's Bachelorette season, Amabile met his wife on season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise and they tied the knot in October 2022 with an intimate ceremony at a New York City’s City Hall. The reality stars followed up with a big celebration in Charleston, S.C. in September of the following year.

During a December episode of Bachelor Happy Hour, Amabile and Pitt bonded with Nist and Turner over Charleston, S.C., because the retired restaurateur and the financial services professional had been thinking about moving there together after they got married.

“We love Charleston!” Pitt gushed.

<p>John & Joseph Photography/Disney via Getty</p> Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner on their Jan. 4 wedding day

John & Joseph Photography/Disney via Getty

Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner on their Jan. 4 wedding day

Nist explained that her son lives less than two hours outside of Charleston, S.C., and that Turner had been toying with a move to South Carolina even before filming began. “I’m not moving to Indiana,” Nist added.

Turner revealed that he received a cold call right after shooting wrapped from a realtor in South Carolina. “She’s been sending listings several times a week ever since,” he told Amabile and Pitt.

Pitt, who first appeared on Matt James’s season of The Bachelor, thought “that has to be a sign” for Turner and Nist.

Related: Gerry Turner Said He Was Moving to Be with Theresa Nist 4 Months Before Announcing Plans to Divorce 

But by the time Turner and Nist’s wedding rolled around, the conversation pivoted to the father of two moving to New Jersey.

“I like that area, and Theresa's home is 15 minutes from the ocean, and that is so attractive to me,” Turner told PEOPLE. “So we have more than one option to explore. We'll find the spot that we're both happy with.”

Nist said Good Morning America that she and Turner looked for homes together “but we never got to the point where we made that decision.”

As a result, Turner said, "We feel like it's best for the happiness of both of us to live apart."

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The Golden Bachelor is streaming now on Hulu. The first three episodes of The GOAT will premiere May 9 on Prime Video and Amazon Freevee. New episodes will follow each Thursday until the June 27 finale.

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