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The Bachelor unveils 71-year-old grandfather as new star in surprise twist

An eligible senior citizen will be handing out the roses on the latest spinoff of the hit dating show.

The latest Bachelor spin-off is sure to have people talking, with 71-year-old senior and retired restaurateur, Gerry Turner, taking centre stage in a new US series to prove it's never too late for a second shot at love.

Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner
Grandfather Gerry Turner is unlike any star of the Bachelor before him. Photo: ABC

Described as a timeless romantic, Gerry, the world's first "Golden Bachelor", married his first love and high school sweetheart, Toni, in 1974. The couple lived "a full and happy life together", welcoming two daughters, and later two granddaughters, to their lakeside home in Indiana, before Toni sadly fell ill and passed away suddenly in 2017. "She got robbed," Turner told Good Morning America. "Every day that goes by, that's the thought I have."

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Turning a new page

Six years on and, with the support of his family, Gerry is now ready to put himself back out there, seeking a lover and companion with whom to spend his golden years. "We always told each other, when one of us goes, we want the other to be happy," he said.

Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner and four daughters
Gerry's daughters encouraged him to take a chance at love on The Bachelor. Photo: ABC

Gerry added that it was his daughters who'd encouraged him to sign up for the show. It wasn't all smooth sailing though: "For a while it was like, I was having a hard time figuring out if she would be okay," Turner admitted, "But I know she'd be up there rooting [for me]."

Turner said that he's looking for someone who can match his energy and interest in sports. "I'd love it if I found a partner who was high energy, someone who's fairly competitive, that they enjoy sports," he said. "Someone that maybe plays pickleball, someone that maybe plays golf."

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But what about the suitors?

US network ABC is remaining tight-lipped about Gerry's suitors, but promises the women arriving at the mansion will boast a lifetime of experience, having lived through through love, loss and plenty of laughter.

Will Gerry kindle a flame with one of these mystery ladies and rediscover love when The Golden Bachelor airs Stateside in September? We sure can't wait to find out.

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