Some things are too good to be true! When The Golden Bachelor debuted this fall, it presented Gerry Turner as a successful retired widower who hadn’t had a date since the death of his wife, Toni, in 2017.
“You’re not just a gentleman, you’re a gentle man,” said Sandra, one of the women he wooed on the reality series.
While Gerry appeared more mature, sensitive and emotionally in tune than The Bachelor franchise’s usual young studs, a whirlwind of lies he told about his background made headlines a day before Theresa Nist, 70, accepted his proposal of marriage. He has not only dated since Toni’s death, he actually lived with a woman. And although he presented himself as retired, he’s actually been working as a maintenance man.
“Gerry has money, but he’s not as financially well off as he claimed,” an insider exclusively tells Life & Style.
After Theresa, a financial services worker from New Jersey, said yes to Gerry’s final rose and a vintage-inspired 3.15-carat engagement ring, Gerry came clean about his background and dating history. “The producers knew that the story was going to come out. They notified Gerry, and he immediately sat Theresa down and told her everything,” says the insider. “She was shocked.”
Voice From the Past
On the show, Gerry related the heartbreaking tale of how he lost his wife, Toni, in 2017 just six weeks after she retired. “She became ill, and her situation got worse over a couple of weeks,” he said.
She passed away from a bacterial infection shortly after they purchased a lake home. “Every time I look at that lake, I go, ‘This is her dream. This is what she deserves. Why am I standing here alone?’” Gerry movingly said.
He met “Carolyn,” the pseudonym of a woman 14 years his junior, at work. They dated for 10 months before she moved into the lake house, where she lived for almost two years, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.
“When Carolyn and Gerry first started dating [in September 2017], my husband and I took them to an Iowa football game,” Carolyn’s friend Susan McCreary said. “I thought, ‘This guy’s legit. This guy’s a really good guy for her.’”
But Gerry had quirks — like insisting that his girlfriend pay for her share of everything from household expenses to meals in restaurants. When they went out, Carolyn gave her half to Gerry in advance, so he could look like a big shot as he picked up the check!
Just before his high school reunion in October 2019, Gerry told Carolyn she wasn’t coming with him. “I’m not taking you to the reunion looking like that,” Carolyn, who had put on 10 pounds, recalls him telling her. The couple soon broke up.
Today, Gerry’s embarrassed that he’s been caught fibbing about his life. “Gerry isn’t throwing The Golden Bachelor producers under the bus, but it was a better storyline to say he hadn’t kissed another woman. He did lie, and he regrets it,” says the insider. “He has grown a lot during this process. He sees the mistakes he’s made and wants to move on.”
The plan is to move on with Theresa. “Going to be a very Gerry Christmas with Theresa and our blended family,” posted Gerry, sharing a photo of his new fiancée with their daughters and Theresa’s daughter-in-law.
Theresa and her youngest, Jen Woolston, have been busy making plans for the wedding, scheduled to occur on January 4. “Theresa wished he would have been honest from the start, but she has forgiven Gerry,” says the insider. “She really loves him. As long as there aren’t any other skeletons in his closet, I think they’ll be fine.”