During Thursday’s live finale of The Golden Bachelor, which featured series lead Turner getting engaged to Theresa Nist in Costa Rica, the couple announced that they will tie the knot Jan. 4, 2024. The Golden Wedding special will air at 8 p.m. and mark the first televised nuptials for the franchise since The Bachelor favorites Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici exchanged vows in 2014.
After host Jesse Palmer told Turner, 72, and Nist, 70, that the show will be sending the couple on a trip to Italy, the Golden Bachelor replied, “We can use that as our honeymoon trip because we are going to get married. We’re going to do it as quickly as we can because, at our age, we don’t have a lot of time to waste. As quickly as we can put together a wedding plan, we’re getting married.”
Runner-up Leslie Fhima tearfully parted ways with Turner in Costa Rica after she sensed his lack of investment in their relationship, which led him to share that his feelings were stronger for Nist. “I was devastated,” Fhima told Palmer during the “After the Final Rose” portion of the finale. “I broke down my walls, and I fell in love with him so much. I haven’t fallen in love with someone in a really long time, so it was hard.”
When reunited during the live footage in the finale, Fhima told Turner that she felt “blindsided” by their breakup and asked him where things went wrong. He replied, “It didn’t really go wrong, Leslie. It was better with someone else. It was the right person in the wrong direction.”
Turner startled Nist in Costa Rica when she arrived for a potential proposal, and he told her, “I came to the realization that you’re not the right person for me to live with.” He took a pause before adding, “You’re the person that I can’t live without.” Nist then laughed and assured him, “That was so good,” before he got down on one knee to propose.
Palmer asked Turner during the “After the Final Rose” if his feelings for Nist evolved in the overnight date. “There were moments in conversation that were subtle realizations,” Turner said of his connection with Nist, a financial services professional from New Jersey. “More and more with every passing moment, she showed her enthusiasm, her adventurous side, all of that. Each one was a plus.”
Although Turner demurred when asked about their physical connection in the fantasy suite, Nist blurted out, “I knocked his boots off,” invoking a phrase that was used memorably during the season. After the crowd laughed, she quipped, “No, with my kisses.”
Fhima was left devastated during the finale when Turner ended their relationship shortly after introducing her to his two daughters and two granddaughters. Fhima made it clear she was particularly hurt that Turner professed his love to her in the fantasy-suite date and made comments that led her to start planning their future together.
“I’m heartbroken once again,” Fhima told Turner in Costa Rica. “But now I have to do it in front of the whole world to see once again how broken I am, how no one chooses me. You didn’t choose me — once again. And the other night, you made it sound like you chose me. You said things to me that made me think that this was going to be it. You led me down a path, and then you took a turn and left me there, and that’s how I feel.”
Nist and Turner bonded over their shared grief of losing their spouses. Turner, described by ABC as a retired restaurateur from Indiana, lost Toni, his high school sweetheart and wife of 43 years, when she passed away in 2017 following a bacterial infection. Meanwhile, Billy, Nist’s husband of 42 years, died from kidney failure.
In a piece published by The Hollywood Reporter that questioned the show’s narrative of Turner not having dated since before he was married, a woman identified herself as Turner’s ex-girlfriend and said they started dating a month after his wife passed away, leading to a relationship lasting more than two years. The woman, who requested anonymity, said that she moved from Iowa to live with Turner in his Indiana home before he ended the relationship in early 2020.