Exclusive: Original Reality Bachelor Evan Marriott Talks Life Since Joe MillionaireBack in the wild days of 2003, when real estate was overpriced, President George W. Bush declared “mission accomplished,” and iPods were as thick as your hand, a strapping young construction worker decided to do a reality show. Evan Marriott became Joe Millionaire, a dashing, rich bachelor who romanced a group of hopeful women on several exotic and lavish dates. Except Marriott was no millionaire, and the joke was on the women who believed their “true love” was wealthy. The show became a pop culture phenomenon, garnering 40 million viewers, among the highest ratings for a reality show at the time. By Katherine Butler
So what has Marriott been up to since he charmed the world as Joe Millionaire? Recently, he spoke with Snakkle to talk fame, health, and why he’s the anti-Kardashian.
Snakkle: So how does one come to be Joe Millionaire?
Marriott: Well, I didn’t audition. It was all about someone who knew someone who knew someone. It just so happened that one of the people on production had met me at a party the year before the show was made. They contacted a friend of mine and asked if I was still single. I was.
Snakkle: Having 40 million people watch your finale is impressive. How did Joe Millionaire change your life?
Marriott: You go from being someone who can just go get a cup of coffee to someone who just can’t. Now I’m a part of pop culture and that will never change. Until the day I die, people will remember that show, since it was among the first to get so much attention. You had The Bachelor and others, but my show really got the most notice. Then people wanted to jump on that, which spawned all these other reality shows.
Snakkle: So what is your favorite Joe Millionaire memory?
Marriott: That would be leaving the show. [He laughs.] I was so happy to see the curtain go down on Joe Millionaire. Sure, maybe 99.99 percent of the world will never experience what I experienced, and for that I’m extremely grateful. But I’m not really a television person, and I’m not a fame whore. The money was great, but the people constantly in your business—that will get to you after a while if you’re not used to it.
Snakkle: So you’re the anti-Kardashian?
Marriott: Yes, I am the anti-Kardashian. [He laughs.] I’ve also been called the Antichrist.
Snakkle: Do people recognize you from Joe Millionaire, and if so, what do they say to you?
Marriott: They do recognize me. Some people say, “We loved the show.” Some people say “you were a tool.” It varies. It’s funny, because I’ve gone through many transformations in my appearance since the show. Sometimes I’ll grow a beard, sometimes I have a goatee, sometimes I wear a hat. And yet it never ceases to amaze me that people will still be like, “Hey, Joe, how are you doing?”
Unfortunately, it just goes to show you the type of impact the show had on America. I didn’t split the atom or invent the world’s longest-lasting light bulb or rush the most yards in a season. I was on a reality show. I can’t figure out where the hype comes from.
Snakkle: Do you keep in touch with Paul Hogan, the butler, or Zora Andrich, the winner?
Marriott: No, I don’t. I maybe talk to one or two producers from the show. When the show was over, I was over. I think Fox was ready to move me on out of the spotlight. Toward the end of the show, they wanted me to marry that girl [Zora Andrich]. I didn’t want to marry her. They didn’t want me to give her a hope ring, they wanted me to give her a wedding ring. I wanted to give her a hope ring because I was hoping to get the hell out of there.
Snakkle: So I take it you don’t talk to Zora today.
Marriott: No. She’s a great girl, but I don’t know what she’s doing now.
Snakkle: What is your favorite comfort TV show (like comfort food, but TV)?
Marriott: Well, I’m a news guy; I can sit down for hours and watch the news. I go back and forth between MSNBC and Fox. Plus I watch a lot of Real Time with Bill Maher, he has a lot of great guests.
Snakkle: What have you been up to since Joe Millionaire?
Marriott: I left Los Angeles and went back to Orange County. I had some money in my pocket, so I decided to get back into contracting. I’ve been doing contracting in Orange County for the past seven to eight years. I love it.
Snakkle: What do you have planned next?
Marriott: A year ago, I shattered my leg. I played sports in school and had never even had a sprain. This was really an eye-opener for me. I was on my couch for a couple of months; I couldn’t move around and exercise. So I gained a lot of weight. A friend of mine suggested the ViSalus health and fitness system. I’ve been on it now for a month and a half. It’s unbelievable. I’m not a paid spokesperson, but I’m currently promoting The Real Joe Millionaire Challenge.
Snakkle: Thanks so much, Evan. We just have one last question for one of the original dating-show dudes. Are you still single now?
Marriott: Yes, I am still single. I’ll probably be single until I’m 80.
You can learn more about Marriott and his challenge for healthy living at TheRealJoeMillionaireChallenge.com.
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