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Bachelor’s Zach: I was sent to “A few AA meetings” for underage drinking

Zach Shallcross ABC/Craig Sjodin

There for the right reasons? Zach Shallcross thought about how he got into a tough situation in high school—which eventually led him to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The 26-year-old TV personality reflected on his family life and upbringing during an appearance on the “Almost Famous” podcast with Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti prior to season 27 Bachelor education premiere.

“My parents said I was actually a pretty easy kid to raise,” he confessed, joking that he would “betray himself most of the time” if he ever got into trouble. “It wasn’t until high school that I was at a party and one of the kids decided to take a picture of our beer pyramid and send it to our math teacher. Obviously a good idea.”

Bachelorette Zach Shallcross Remembers Being Sent To AA Meetings After Being Caught Drinking In High School 2

Zach Shallcross ABC/Frank Micelotta

The California native attended a Catholic high school and was on his way to play Division I football at California Polytechnic State University upon graduation. Although Shallcross’s friend assured him that the teacher who had the photo “was one of the coolest,” they still had dire consequences.

“The next day I was taken to the president and the director’s office for an interview,” he recalls. “The punishment finally came [that] since I had a few beers at a party, I had to go to a few AA meetings. I met with a priest once a week, and I had my own supervisor who followed me through school to make sure I wasn’t leaving campus to, I guess, get something. And I’m like, ‘Guys, I’m like 17, take a break.’ … It was ridiculous.”

Fans met Shallcross during Rachel Rechia and Gabby Windey‘s joint season 19 of The Bachelorette. The tech exec only had eyes for Recchia, 26, but the pair struggled to make their connection work after the fantasy suite dates.

Bachelorette Zach Shallcross Remembers Being Sent To AA Meetings After Being Caught Drinking In High School 3
ABC/Craig Sjodin

“There were a lot of question marks and a lot of guessing. And when last season came with Rachel, a lot of things came to fruition and a lot of big question marks and surprises and that leads to shock,” he told Exclusive Us weekly earlier this month while I was thinking about his Bachelorette trip. “And for me, one thing I’m proud of is the fact that there’s communication everywhere [my time as the Bachelor]. So I even said to all the women on the first night, good or bad, please tell me how you feel. Because I will. I know what I want to get out of this and I know what it takes to have that healthy relationship… communication. And that was missing from Rachel and me last season.”

The Texas native kicked off his season on Monday, Jan. 23, with a host of honest talks — one of which resulted in the elimination of a contestant’s pre-rose ceremony. Madison Johnson left Bachelor Mansion in tears after an ill-advised kiss.

“I have a very high opinion of her. I just think one thing I think most people would agree on is that you just can’t force it,” he told exclusive Us. “If you force love — or force a kiss like this or — I don’t know, navigating it the way it went was an answer in itself. I’m not one to waste anyone’s time because I know the sacrifice of being there… take time off from work or leave your family behind. It doesn’t do anyone any good to just waste your time and if it wasn’t there, it isn’t there.

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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