Q&A: New Bachelor Canada Chris Leroux on his televised search for a soulmate

Q&A: New Bachelor Canada Chris Leroux on his televised search for a soulmate

He thought the concept was absurd. Then he met the women

You’re a charming, 33-year-old, six-foot-six former major league baseball player. Did you really need the help of the Bachelor franchise to meet women?
I was transitioning out of baseball and felt lost. Meeting women has never been difficult for me, but in baseball, you’re not sure if people around you are just interested in money.

And had you not heard of Tinder?
Haha—I had, but it’s not for me. I sort of feel like I’m on it, though, because my friends talk about it non-stop.

Some might say that looking for love on national TV is a symptom of insanity. Walk me through your thought process.
I don’t disagree. It is insane! I realize that of 20 women, some are bound to be in it for fame. But I quickly discovered that many are good people—real, funny, beautiful, smart—and they were there for the right reasons.

Wow—you uttered the unofficial Bachelor motto in record time.
Oh, “right reasons”? Damn. I try not to use those phrases, but it felt right there.

After 21 seasons of The Bachelor, only two couples are still together, and both Canadian iterations ended in heartbreak. Did you review those stats before signing on?
I didn’t. In fact, I’d hardly watched the show. So whether “Stan” is still with “Sarah,” I didn’t really care.

So if I said Rachel should have chosen Peter, you’d say…
Was she the most recent one?

Your parents, who live in Streetsville, have been married for 41 years. What did they think of this bold venture?
They’re both retired teachers, and they’re very private. My mom was like, “Come on….” But I’m their baby boy—my brother is a year and a half older—so they couldn’t say no.

You were drafted as a pitcher by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2002 but declined the offer. Why?
I was barely 18. I went to college in South Carolina and studied business instead. Then, in 2005, I was drafted again and I signed.

What’s something people don’t know about life in the minor leagues?
What a grind it is. You make about $1,200 a month, and at the higher levels, it starts at $3,000.

Do you remember your major league debut?
Yeah, it was against Ryan Howard, who hit 45 home runs that year. But what I remember most is going to the bar with the team the night before. We were all partying and having a great time, and my teammate Dan Uggla said something like, “Dude, you haven’t even thrown a pitch in the majors, and look where you are!” I was like, “My life is the greatest!”

Your last pitch was in 2016, for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team. How did you know it was time to quit?
Because I gave up 10 runs in the first inning. I thought, “Man, I am not as good as I used to be!” There were times when I was certain I was going to achieve the Canadian dream of playing for the Jays, but it never happened.

You signed on to The Bachelor soon after. Did you google the contestants to figure out which ones were the crazies?
No! We weren’t allowed to have phones or computers for seven weeks while shooting. It was crazy. Most people would rip their hair out. Luckily, I had this assistant named Bart who was exactly like me—into sports and cars and stuff—and we talked all the time. We’re good friends now.

What percentage of the drama on the show is manufactured: 60, 80, 90?
Honestly, there’s a lot of drama, but it stems from women being cooped up in a house together for so long. It’s a natural outcome. The drama is real.

Do the show’s producers suggest which women you should choose, for narrative reasons?
They give input, but I’m a strong personality. I make the decisions.

I’d love to know if you found your soulmate, but since you swore a blood oath not to provide any spoilers, I’ll put it this way: how happy are you right now, from one to 10?
Hmm…I’m always happy, so I’d say 10.

Well played, sir. What’s the career plan, post-Bachelor?
I think I might try to flip houses with a buddy of mine. But I have no Hollywood aspirations. Unless Dolph Lundgren needs a body double—but I suppose I’d need to pop some steroids first.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.