Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe loves love. She’s moved to another continent for it, and she has even dated guys on national TV in hopes of finding "the one." Her search for love is what led her to become a household name in the Bachelor world and eventually a force to be reckoned with as a successful entrepreneur with a podcast, YouTube channel, and wine and hair accessory lines to boot (via Women’s Health).
But the road to finding success in love and life wasn’t always as seamless and perfectly edited as Bristowe’s Bachelorette episodes. She had to kiss a few frogs — with millions of viewers watching, mind you — before falling in love with fellow Bachelorette star Jason Tartick (via Us Weekly).
Prior to Bachelor and Bachelorette fame, Bristowe was a small-town girl from Canada hoping to make it as a dancer someday. She went on to do that and more. Though Bristowe is known for being honest and candid about her struggles, there’s a lot more to her story that explains how she became the woman she is today. Let’s take a look at Kaitlyn Bristowe’s journey to becoming reality TV’s sweetheart.
Kaitlyn Bristowe loved to entertain at a young age
Kaitlyn Bristowe has been entertaining people since she was a toddler.
A self-described "drama queen," the Bachelorette star divulged some details about her past self in a video blog on her YouTube channel, 9 to Wine with Kaitlyn Bristowe. One of her first memories was that of her as a child pulling down her pants anytime she’d get mad. Overtime, she said, she saw that her pants-pulling temper tantrums would illicit laughs, so, whenever she got in trouble, she’d use the same strategy — although not so much anymore for obvious reasons.
"I think from a young age I loved the idea of entertaining, making people laugh," she said. Pants-pulling wasn’t her only talent back in the day. She also had a gift for song. In the video, she recalled the many times she’d sing grace whenever her family gathered around the dinner table. "We’re not even that religious. I just think I wanted to sing," she said. As Bristowe got older, she went on to perform in school productions of Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Despite growing up in a small Canadian town, Kaitlyn Bristowe had big dreams of becoming a dancer
Kaitlyn Bristowe may have grown up in a small town in Canada, but she had big dreams of becoming a dancer.
Bristowe knew from a young age that she wouldn’t be able to achieve her goals in Leduc, Alberta. "I wanted to go and do big things," the Bachelorette star shared in a video on her YouTube channel. When she turned 18, she started auditioning for everything related to dance, and, according to Bustle, she was well-versed in ballet, jazz, and even hip-hop. Bristowe eventually earned a scholarship that gave her the opportunity to dance with a company in Vancouver. In the YouTube video, she shared that, at the time, Vancouver seemed like "big city living" for a small-town girl like her.
"I remember I didn’t have an apartment, I didn’t have friends, I didn’t have anything except for this hockey bag of clothes and the support from my family," Bristowe said. She lived the quintessential dancer’s life, living with roommates, not making much money, and surviving off of ramen. She also worked at a restaurant to supplement her income. Her hard work ethic early on would pay off later.
Kaitlyn Bristowe didn’t let countless rejections get the best of her
You can’t keep Kaitlyn Bristowe down!
It’s easy to become discouraged in a world where rejections are the norm, but Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe took everything in stride. In a video posted on her YouTube channel, Bristowe talked about how she managed to stay motivated in pursuit of a dancing career despite countless rejections. She didn’t let them affect her all that much, or at least she tried not to. "As long as I knew that my heart was in the right place … I just kept going," Bristowe said.
And going she did. In her 20s, she ended up landing a gig as a cheerleader for a Canadian Football League team. Once she landed that job, she thought she had "peaked" and that things could only go down from there, but little did she know that would prove false. The same drive and determination she used in her dancing career would take her far in life and in love.
Kaitlyn Bristowe has always been a hopeless romantic
Prior to TV fame, as she recounted in a video on her Youtube channel, she moved to Germany for a hockey player. One of her first major romantic relationships was with said hockey player. At the time, she was a cheerleader in Canada, but decided to put her career on hold to follow him to Germany. She didn’t know it at the time, but, looking back, Bristowe said she was a "hopeless romantic" and would basically "do anything for love."
That’s probably what got her on The Bachelor, where she vied for an Iowa farmer Chris Soules’ heart. When it came to love, Bristowe said she’d always fight for it. No matter how many times she broke hearts, or had her own broken, Bristowe clung onto the belief of love. And that’s probably why she traveled cross-country for ex-fiancé Shawn Booth (via E! News), post-Bachelorette.
Even when she let love define her identity
Kaitlyn Bristowe has found love several times, but the journey hasn’t always been as glamorous as her one-on-one dates on The Bachelorette.
Before TV fame, Bristowe dated a hockey player and put her dancing dreams on hold to live with him in Germany. However, the reality star wasn’t happy in the relationship. As she shared in a video posted on her YouTube channel titled "My Life Story," deep down, Bristowe knew something was wrong when she put her life on hold for somebody else’s. "I was losing a little part of myself along the way," Bristowe revealed.
As she told fans, Bristowe felt lonely most of the time in Germany — especially when her beau was gone for work. "The second I moved and was financially and emotionally relying on someone … was when I completely lost who I was," the star revealed. When that relationship ended and Bristowe returned back home to Canada, she fell into depression — admitting in the "My Life Story" video that she developed an addiction to Valium and weighed only 93 pounds.
Kaitlyn Bristowe never gave up on love and starred on The Bachelor
Just when Kaitlyn Bristowe found a new calling and started working her way up in the restaurant industry with a new goal of becoming a general manager, another chance at finding love came knocking.
With her best friend’s encouragement, Bristowe decided to audition for The Bachelor — first trying out for Juan Pablo Galavis’ season. However, she wouldn’t end up appearing on the ABC show until Iowa farmer Chris Soules was named the new Bachelor.
Soules’ season aired in 2015, and Bristowe ended up in the top three after developing real feelings for for the Bachelor; however, she was let go in an emotional rose ceremony in Bali. Not long after her last episode aired, Bristowe told Good Morning America that she was "completely shocked" and "blindsided" by Soules’ rejection. Fast-forward to 2020, and she has a sense of humor about the whole experience: "[Chris] probably realized I was never going to make it in a farm in Iowa, even though I think I believed I could," Bristowe joked in a YouTube video.
When that didn’t work, Kaitlyn Bristowe tried her hand as The Bachelorette
Kaitlyn Bristowe may have had her heart broken by Chris Soules, but that didn’t scare her away from trying her hand at love again — this time as the lead on The Bachelorette.
Bristowe’s Bachelorette season was full of drama and romance, ultimately ending with the star accepting a proposal from personal trainer Shawn Booth. The couple seemed happily engaged for three years, with Bristowe even making the move to Nashville, where Booth was from. However, in 2018, Bristowe and Booth decided to end their engagement. In a statement released to People, the ex-couple revealed, "Even though we are parting as a couple, we’re very much committed to remaining friends and we will continue to support each other," the memorable Bachelor couple wrote.
As Bristowe shared in a YouTube video, while she was in love with Booth, she also had to make sure to stay true to herself. Looking back now, she’s able to poke fun at her younger self, saying "clearly there’s a pattern" when it comes to her relationships — but she’s learned from each one and persevered.
Kaitlyn Bristowe developed thicker skin after finding love and heartbreak on TV
Kaitlyn Bristowe has had her heart broken, just like everyone else. However, this Canadian gal had to process the end of multiple relationships while millions of fans watched — which certainly only added more pressure.
After being rejected by Chris Soules, giving love a second chance as the Bachelorette, getting engaged to Shawn Booth, and ending their relationship three years later — Bristowe has experienced a lot of emotional highs and lows on national TV. Unfortunately, being so public has left her vulnerable to criticism. During her time as the Bachelorette, Bristowe received tons of backlash for her sexuality and openness about being intimate with one of the contestants prior to the infamous fantasy suite (via Bustle).
The reality star told People that there’s a double standard when it comes to sexuality, saying, "To me, it wasn’t some crazy negative thing I was doing." She continued, telling the publication, "If somebody was friends with somebody and they knew that they had sex in a relationship, they wouldn’t go on social media and start slut-shaming them." Fortunately, the experience made Bristowe a stronger person.
Kaitlyn Bristowe found her groove again in the Nashville music scene
Kaitlyn Bristowe is most famous for being a reality star with one of the best Bachelorette seasons — but there’s much more to this gal than made-for-TV drama.
Bristowe decided to stay in Nashville even after her 2018 break-up with Shawn Booth, sharing on her YouTube channel that she actually fell "in love with the city and the people." And, given that she’s always had a passion for music, Nashville proved to be her kind of place. After all, it is Music City.
In May 2020, Bristowe worked up the courage to release her own single called "If I’m Being Honest," a sort of ode to everything she’s learned and accepted about herself over the years. She announced the news on Instagram with a photo of the single cover and, underneath, a caption in which she shared how "afraid" and "insecure" she felt before sharing her song with the world. "Singing has always been something that makes my heart happy," she wrote.
Kaitlyn Bristowe learned she’s responsible for her own happiness
Kaitlyn Bristowe has experienced plenty of highs and lows throughout her time as a public figure. However, through it all, she’s learned to take responsibility for her own happiness.
Considering her public breakup with fiancé Shawn Booth, one might think Bristowe would have let the grief consume her. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the breakup taught Bristowe just how strong she really was. "I had learned so much about myself along the way," she said in a video on her YouTube channel. She continued, revealing, "As crushing as that breakup was, the bounce back was easier for me because of how driven [I was], and self aware, and how much work I’d put into myself through therapy and life experiences."
That self-love got her through a tough breakup, and also kept her happy while she was busy doing what she loved — being an Instagram influencer, host of the Off the Vine podcast, and starting wine and hair accessory lines.
When Kaitlyn Bristowe started loving herself, love finally found her
Kaitlyn Bristowe met the love of her life only after she started loving herself first.
As Bristowe explained in a YouTube video, she met Justin Tartick — who Bachelorette fans know from his time as a fan favorite contestant on Becca Kufrin’s season — while she was visiting a friend in Seattle. While in the city, Bristowe was looking for local Bachelor Nation couples and contestants to come on her popular podcast, Off the Vine. Though she had several options to pick from, she chose Tartick, who had just recently come off of The Bachelorette after being rejected by Kufrin.
Joining Bristowe to tell their love story in the YouTube vlog, Tartick admitted that he was especially nervous about the podcast interview, as he had just found out he lost the next Bachelor role to Colton Underwood. Though Bristowe described the hug Tartick gave her when they first met as "electric," the reality star admitted, "I don’t think we realized what it was in that moment." However, Tartick revealed that, upon leaving the interview, he called up his buddies and told them he’d just met his future wife. Romantic, much?
Kaitlyn Bristowe is now a confident businesswoman
Kaitlyn Bristowe is a self-made woman.
Bristowe quickly learned how to leverage her Bachelorette fame to make money. Following her run as the Bachelorette, Bristowe went on to host her own podcast, Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe. According to Entrepreneur, her podcast garners an "average of one million downloads per episode." She also has her own wine line, Spade & Sparrows, which launched in 2019 — and, in 2020, she even started her own YouTube show called 9 to Wine, which has more than 27,000 subscribers at the time of this writing.
But wait, there’s more! In June 2018, Bristowe launched a hair accessory line called DEW Edit, which features both scrunchies and headbands (via Bustle). Despite being a popular Bachelor contestant and former Bachelorette, Bristowe admitted to Entrepreneur that she didn’t realize just how much success she’d have post-Bachelorette, and how social media would play such a big role in that. "I didn’t know what kind of platform I was going to have, or that I could turn it into a business or multiple businesses," Bristowe told Entrepreneur. She continued, saying, "I didn’t understand the power of social media."
Kaitlyn Bristowe credits the Bachelor franchise for giving her the platform to achieve her dreams
Kaitlyn Bristowe’s life was definitely changed by the Bachelor franchise.
Not only did Bristowe’s time with the franchise lead her to find true love — it also helped her build her dream career. However, Bristowe admitted on the Goal Digger podcast that sometimes she forgets she was even on the show. "It felt like a lifetime ago," Bristowe revealed. She continued, saying, "I never in a million years thought they’d pick like a trucker mouth, edgy Canadian to be the Bachelorette."
Of course, Bristowe is grateful for the experience, which gave her the platform and following to do what she loves to do. It also helped that Bachelor fans are very loyal. "They’ll stand by you," Bristowe said on the Goal Digger podcast. And while she may be considered an influencer, she’s all about remaining authentic, according to an interview with Entrepreneur. "[It’s important to me to] just be real with everybody, whether it’s having a moment where I’m actually crying or talking about my anxiety or sharing my new relationship," Bristowe said.
Kaitlyn Bristowe never tires of new experiences, especially when dancing is involved
In June 2020, it was announced that Kaitlyn Bristowe would be appearing on the next season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars – something Bristowe had long dreamed of doing. The reality TV star and longtime dancer received the happy news from Bachelor host Chris Harrison on an episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever, truly making it a full-circle moment.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Bristowe expressed how excited she was to put on her dancing shoes — especially since competing on Dancing With the Stars had been a dream of hers ever since her season of The Bachelorette came to an end. "I just think it goes to show if you really are into it and you are strong with what you believe in and fight for what you want — and as long as you are a good person doing those things — even if it takes five years, something good will come from it," Bristowe said.
In November 2020, Bristowe, who was partnered with pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev, won the Mirrorball Trophy, as reported by USA Today. "My dream came true, and all of you were a part of it," she wrote on Instagram after her big win.