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Where is she now? Former Bachelor, Bachelorette contestant back home in Northeast Ohio

Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 24, 2020

HUDSON, Ohio — “Where are they now?” It’s a question we ask a lot about contestants on reality TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

In the case of one Northeast Ohio native who appeared on both shows, it's a question we can answer.

Jen Schefft, now Jen Schefft Waterman, won her season of The Bachelor in 2003.

"It’s always a funny story, because I never, ever thought in a million years, I would do anything like that," Waterman said of her participation in the show.

She said she and one of her girlfriends used to watch the show and call each other on every commercial.

"[We'd] just be like, 'Oh my God, these girls are crazy,'" she said. "My friend was like, 'Oh my God, we’re signing you up!' and she just sent in a picture of the two of us. She had a boyfriend at the time so she wasn’t looking to meet anyone."

Next thing she knew, she was on the show, capturing Andrew Firestone's heart.

"We dated for about nine months, then we broke up," Waterman said. "And then shortly after that, they asked me to do The Bachelorette."

She starred in that show in 2005, but she didn't end up with the guy who won that season, either. She said a lot of people felt she "ruined" the show.

"You go on the show to find love, but I didn’t, and so I wanted to be true to who I was and to what really happened," she said. "And so the fact that people were so mad about it, that did shock me a lot."

She wrote a book a couple years after her time on the show called "Better Single Than Sorry." She said it was important to her to stay true to herself and not be moved by other people's opinions.

More than 15 years later, it's clear she didn't "ruin" anything. The show is still doing well, and she has been happily married for about 10 years. She and her husband Joe Waterman have two daughters: Mae, 9, and Charlotte, 7.

She and Waterman met on a blind date when they lived in Chicago.

"I didn’t know at the time, but I quickly found out, like he told me she had been on the show," Waterman said.

He added that he feels "lucky to meet her and I’m glad she waited for me."

After living in Chicago for years, the family has returned to Jen Waterman’s Northeast Ohio roots. Her parents still live in Mentor.

Mae and Charlotte are too young to have watched the shows, but they think it's pretty cool that their mom was on TV.

"Do you guys think it would have been cool to see your mom be on TV?" News 5's Olivia Fecteau asked.

"Yes, cause then we would be stars," Charlotte said.

"I would just like to see how she reacted to the boys and, like, how the boys reacted to her," Mae said.

Waterman has kept busy, spending several years as a stay-at-home mother to the girls, before taking a new job recently, doing public relations and marketing for a medical spa in Hudson called NeoSkin Center.

It may surprise you to learn she and her husband don’t watch the shows religiously anymore.

"But my mom keeps me up to date," Waterman said. "She watches it, my friends all watch it, so I feel like I know what’s going on pretty much at all time."

She's even a little surprised it's still on the air.

"When it happened, you know, 17 years ago, there was just no way that I thought that in 20 years, I might still be talking about it and people around me talking about it," Waterman said. "So yeah, it’s been crazy."