‘Golden Bachelor’ Star Gerry Turner Makes His Franchise Debut: “I Believe I’ll Find My Person”

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The 71-year-old Indiana resident took the stage during Charity Lawson’s “Men Tell All” special and explained why he doesn’t expect a new romance to “look like the relationship I had with [late wife] Toni.”

‘Golden Bachelor’ star Gerry Turner appears on ‘The Bachelorette’

ABC/Craig Sjodin

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Amid all the tying up of dramatic loose ends involving storylines from Charity Lawson’s ongoing season 20 of ABC’s The Bachelorette, her “Men Tell All” special also featured a sit-down with Gerry Turner, who is set to star on the network’s highly anticipated spinoff series The Golden Bachelor.

Turner, a 71-year-old retired restaurateur who lives in Indiana, joined Bachelor franchise host Jesse Palmer onstage to offer a preview of the dating series that launches this September. The show’s inaugural season will feature Turner, who has two daughters and two granddaughters, meeting 25 eligible seniors competing for his heart.

During a video segment, Turner talked about having married his high school sweetheart, Toni, with whom he enjoyed 43 blissful years of marriage and shared two daughters. He recalled the couple having closed on a beautiful lakeside “dream home” in June 2017, a month after Toni retired. Sadly, Toni soon became ill with a bacterial infection that impacted her kidneys and liver, and she passed away in July of that year.

“No one’s ever going to replace Toni,” Turner said during the emotional video package. “But the love of my daughters and my granddaughters pulled me out of a dark spot.”

The segment included footage of Turner playing pickleball, enjoying a drink at a bar with friends and practicing handing out roses with his family. “I want to fall in love,” he continued. “I really want to find my person who can put me in my place when I need it and make me smile at it. The person who can lay down beside you at night, not have to say anything, and you feel it. That’s love. That’s what I want, and I know that person’s out there.”

Jesse Palmer and Golden Bachelor star Gerry Turner

Jesse Palmer talks to Golden Bachelor star Gerry Turner during The Bachelorette

ABC/Craig Sjodin

During his onstage chat with Palmer, Turner joked about his lack of social media prowess and the fact that fans have referred to him as a “grand zaddy.” After he was asked whether his season would include overnight dates, Turner said that it likely would but that these might be different from previous shows’ fantasy-suite moments. He said, “That’s a long way down the journey — that’s a long way — and I think there’s a lot of steps that I and a potential partner would need to go through to get to that to make it a comfortable situation.”

Palmer asked if Turner had any advice for other couples navigating marriage, and the Golden Bachelor replied, “Look at your spouse every day, and tell ’em you love them because the day comes too soon for one of you that you can’t do that. I would give anything to be able to do that one more time.”

As for whether he can find a love like that twice in a lifetime, Turner explained, “I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for. What I look for at the age of 70 is different from what I looked for in high school and college. So, I believe I’ll find my person — the new person that will make me whole again. And I think we’ll knit a wonderful relationship. But I don’t think it’ll look like the relationship I had with Toni. And I don’t think it would be right to do it that way.”

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