If you’re a diehard Bachelor fan, you know LaNease Adams. She was among the final eight women in the first ever season with Alex Michel in 2002 and landed the series’ first kiss. But her journey wasn’t all romance and roses.
“It was sort of just a letdown because I had all these high hopes,” she said of leaving the show on Ten Minute Talks with Meagan Lynn. “Then once the show started to air, I had already been dealing with a rough time for a 23-year-old, and then I couldn’t leave my house because everywhere I went, there were people wanting to talk to me–which was great, but it was unexpected. My world turned upside down.”
Adams got to relive that experience recently when the franchise reaired her season as part of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever! in 2020, something she considered a positive.
“This time when they re-edited, I had a fresh perspective and I was also able to handle everything a lot better, so for me, it was almost like a second chance at experiencing it.”
This led Adams to the opportunity to share the real story behind her reality TV experience for the first time when Women’s Health invited her to tell her story as part of the press for the re-airing of her season.
“That’s when it sort of exploded because they were like, wait, what happened? Are you kidding me?” she recounted opening up to Women’s Health. “And I’m like, yeah, that happened. I almost died.”
Adams is referring to the mental health journey she experienced in her time after the show. After being in an interracial relationship with Alex Michel on the show, when the episodes began to air, Adams found pictures of herself circulating on online message boards with racist messages directed at her.
“I started to read some terrible things like, ‘Who does this Black girl think she is? He’ll never pick her,’” she said. “That was shocking because I grew up in LA, and honest to God, people don’t believe me, I thought racism was way back in the day. Now I know in the South and other parts of the country it’s very prevalent, but growing up I had white friends and I really didn’t think it wasn’t a thing.”
After experiencing racism and hateful remarks from the public, a friend of Adams’ offered her a pill to help with her anxiety, which ultimately landed her in the hospital.
“That became an addiction because it made me stop thinking about my problems and the next thing you know, my mom had to take me to the hospital,” she said. “I just remember looking up and taking a breath and just asking myself, ‘Why are you here? What happened?’”
“I started to realize that all those people that I had put their opinions above my own of myself, no one was there with me in the hospital bed. It was just me alone,” she continued. “And that’s when I just had a change of thought and I started to get stronger. It was like, when you realize you are all you’ve got, then you become a stronger person.”
A journey to self-love
That was the catalyst of Adams’ recovery and the start of her self-love journey. Through therapy, journaling, reading self-help books like The Art of Worldly Wisdom, and lots of work, Adams was able to get back to her life and career–which included getting back in front of the camera and doing the work she loved before The Bachelor: acting.
“After what I experienced from the show when I went through the anxiety and the depression, I stepped away from acting for quite some time,” she said. “I knew that I needed to work on myself. I needed to find out my why: Why do I want to be an actress? Am I doing this for someone else? Or am I doing it for me?”
After doing that self-reflection, Adams has found a newfound identity and a stronger sense of self.
“One of the most eye-opening experiences from doing the show was when I was watching it and I saw myself say, ‘The fact that Alex still has me here lets me know that I am worth something,’” she said. “That hit me like a ton of bricks because it was well, if he didn’t still have you here, you would think you’re not worth anything? And the answer is likely yes. I was just always basing how I felt about myself on whether someone liked me or not or what other people thought. And that landed me in the hospital, frankly.”
“It was so much pressure, always trying to make everyone else happy and never really getting that fulfillment back,” she continued. “So I had to learn how to give myself validation and that again came through the journey of learning self-love.”
One of the initial hurdles with deciding to prioritize your mental health and go on a self-love journey is believing that you’re worth making that investment in yourself. For someone who is struggling to take the first step to ask for help, Adams has a few words of wisdom.
“Life has ups and downs and even if you’re down one day, if you work through it, you’re gonna be up,” Adams shared. “What helped me a lot was reading about other people who had gone through this and made it through the other side…that means that there’s a chance [for me].”
Today, Adams is acting, producing, and even wrote a book inspired by her own self-love journey. To check out her book, films, and other projects, you can go to her website laneaseadams.com, or give her a follow on social media @laneaseadams.