Here’s the Real Reason Jesse Palmer Broke Up With His ‘Bachelor’ Winner & Where She Is Now

Jesse Palmer, Jessica Bowlin
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.

If you watched The Bachelor season 5, you may be wondering why Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowlin broke up and where they are now after one of the shortest relationships in Bachelor Nation history.

Jesse, a former NFL player from Toronto, Ontario, was the season 5 Bachelor in 2004. At 25 years old, Jesse is  the youngest Bachelor in Bachelor Nation history. He was also the first non-American Bachelor to lead the series. in The Bachelor season 5 finale, Jesse chose Jessica, a student from Huntington Beach, California, as his winner. The two broke up a month after their finale aired.

Jesse returned to the Bachelor franchise 17 years later as the host of The Bachelor season 26 with Clayton Echard. ABC announced Jesse as the host of Clayton’s Bachelor season in September 2021, three months after former host, Chris Harrison, confirmed that he had retired from the Bachelor franchise after 19 years. “For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Jesse said at the time. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”

He continued, “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

If you’ve been a member of Bachelor Nation since the start, you may remember when Jesse was the one who gave out roses. So why did Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowlin break up after The Bachelor season 5? Read on for what we know about their split and where they are now.

Why did Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowlin break up?

Jesse Palmer, Jessica Bowlin

Image: Courtesy of ABC.

Why did Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowling break up? Jesse chose Jessica, a student from Huntington Beach, California, as the winner of his Bachelor season out of 25 women The Bachelor season 5 finale in May 2004. Jesse was 25 years old at the time, while Jessica was 22. Though he gave his Final Rose to her, Jesse didn’t propose to Jessica and they didn’t get engaged. Instead, Jesse’s Bachelor finale ended with him giving Jessica a plane ticket to New York City, where he was living at the time, so she could see him.

“This whole thing to me is like a dream,” Jesse told Jessica during the Final Rose Ceremony. “and tomorrow morning I’m gonna wake up from that dream into the real world. But I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning if I can’t wake up with you.” He continued, “I am not ready to propose to you tonight. I think that we need more time to grow and learn about each other.” In response, Jessica told Jesse that she didn’t “need” a proposal and just wanted to be with him. “I don’t need a proposal. I just want to walk out with you,” she said. Jesse then gave Jessica a one-way ticket to New York City, as he invited her “to chase all your dreams, but do it with me.”

Before he gave his Final Rose to Jessica, Jesse rejected his Bachelor runner-up Tara Huckeby, a general contractor from Shawnee, Oklahoma. “I don’t want you to say anything. You would make me happier than any other person in this entire world, if I am the girl standing here at the very end,” Tara told Jesse in tears, to which he responded, “Tara. I’ve fallen in love with someone else.” Tara then told Jesse, “I really wish you hadn’t led me on the way you did and said things you did.” (During the finale, Jesse’s father told him to choose Tara over Jessica.)

In June 2004, Jesse and Jessica announced that they had split less than a month after their Bachelor finale. In total, they were together for four months. “Jessica and I shared an incredible romantic journey on the show that began with a friendship that remains strong today. We simply realized that, individually, our next steps take us in different directions,” Jesse said in a statement to Extra at the time. Jessica, for her part, seemed hopeful that she and Jesse would reunite “With too much distance and too little time these were not ideal circumstances in which to start a relationship. Jesse is a great guy and has a wonderful family. Who knows what the future holds?” she said in her own statement at the time.

In an interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in 2012, Jesse hinted that he and Jessica broke up because they were both too young at the time for a serious commitment. “Well, that was devastating. The last part of that, when I was 24 years old, and realizing that was not going to work out, that was tough. I’m slowly bouncing back,” he said before joking, “In my old age, I’m still trying to turn the corner.”

Where is Jesse Palmer now?

Jesse Palmer, "The Bachelor"

Image: ABC/John Fleenor.

Where is Jesse Palmer now? After The Bachelor season 5, Jesse went back to playing as a quarterback for the New York Giants. He was chosen by the New York Giants in an NFL draft after he graduated from the University of Florida in 2001. (He was the 125th overall pick that year.) Jesse played for the New York Giants for four seasons from 2001 to 2005. After he was cut from the New York Giants in September 2005, Jesse went on to play for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League . (He was the 15th overall pick of the 2001 CFL draft.)

Jesse, however, wanted to stay in the NFL and was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in November 2005. ESPN reported in 2005 that Jesse made a minimum base salary of $540,000 for his one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, which was prorated over the season. According to team sources at the time, Jesse was only estimated to spend three to four weeks with the San Francisco 49ers until the team’s injured quarterbacks recovered. He was released from his contract in August 2006 and went on to re-sign with the Montreal Alouette. He never played for a game with the Montreal Alouette before his retirement from football in 2007 to pursue a broadcasting career.

Jesse’s broadcasting career started in late 2005 as a sports commentator for Fox, which led to his job as a guest analyst and commentator for the NFL Network in 2007. After his retirement from football, Jesse joined ESPN as a studio analyst for College Football Live and other football telecasts. Jesse went on to host his own show on ESPN, The Palmer and Pollack Show (with former Cincinnati Bengals player David Pollack) on ESPNU. Jesse’s broadcasting career continued with correspondent jobs for shows like CTV’s eTalk (covering events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars), as well as TSN’s Monday Morning Quarterback. Jesse’s career also extended beyond football. In season 7 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Jesse guest starred as professional baseball player Don Lacey. He also hosted the first two seasons of Food Network Canada’s Recipe to Riches in 2011 and 2012. He joined Good Morning America as a “Special Contributor” in May 2015 before he left the job in August 2017 to host DailyMailTV, which he hosted until 2020. Jesse, who has also done commercials as the spokesperson for the furniture company Rooms to Go, also hosted the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship and Holiday Baking Championship.

In September 2021, ABC announced Jesse as the host of The Bachelor season 26 with Clayton Echard. “For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” he said in a statement at the time. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.” The announcement came after Chris Harrison, the former host of Bachelor franchise, confirmed in June 2021 that he had retired as the franchise’s host after 19 years. “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

In 2017, Jesse met his now-wife, model and photographer Emely Fardo, at a boxing class in New York City.  “I saw her and thought she was beautiful. I didn’t meet her until later, she was coming in while I was leaving,” Jesse told  The Daily Mail in 2019. “We ended up connecting and our first date was at Rumble two weeks later.” Jesse and Emely got engaged in July 2019 after he proposed to her on surprise trip to Paris and Champagne, France, where they first went when they started dating. For the proposal, Jesse hired Emely’s favorite wedding photographer, who captured the moment he proposed to her with a 3.5 carat over-shaped diamond ring with .42 carats of smaller diamonds lining the platinum engagement band. “I’ve been so enamored, so in love with this woman and it only has grown. I’m head over heels for her,” he said. “I decided to propose somewhere meaningful, a place that was familiar to us. I decided this was the place…She said I knocked it out of the park.”

Jesse and Emely married in a secret wedding in New York City in July 2020. Jesse told Us Weekly in November 2021 that he and Emely planned to marry in Provence, France in 2020, but changed their plans due to the current health crisis. “We had originally planned a wedding in Provence, France, for summer 2020, which was postponed until summer of 2021 due to the pandemic, but we didn’t want to wait any longer,” he said at the time. “So, we had a small, private and intimate ceremony with close friends who lived in New York City.”

Where is Jessica Bowlin now?

Where is Jessica Bowlin now? After her breakup with Jesse and The Bachelor season 5, Jessica graduated from East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina, before attending Chapman University Law School in Orange, California. She passed the California State Bar in 2007, three years after her split with Jesse.

In February 2013, Jessica married her husband, businessman Omar Rawi, in Manhattan Beach, California. The couple went on to welcome two kids, a son named Brady and a daughter named Parker. Her husband graduated from the University of Southern California 1999 with a bachelor of science in business administration. He earned his master of business administration from the university in 2006. According to his Linkedin, he works as the executive vice president of Lincoln Property Company, a real estate business, in Newport Beach, California.

The Bachelor is available to stream on Hulu. Here’s how to watch it for free.


"Bachelor Nation" by Amy Kaufman

Image: Courtesy of Penguin Books.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

To get more of an inside scoop, check out Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, for a deep dive into the Bachelor franchise. The book uncovers the secrets of Bachelor Nation, from how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are paid to the rules contestants have to follow, that producers don’t want fans to know. It’s a must-read for any Bachelor Nation member.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

New Entertainment Newsletter

share