When the latest Bachelor is introduced tonight — at 9 pm/ET on ABC — many viewers may feel they already know this guy from somewhere.Charlie O'Connell, a 29-year-old actor/sailing instructor, is the younger brother of Crossing Jordan's Jerry O'Connell. He also appeared in his older sibling's sci-fi series, Sliders.
While Jerry is comfortably dating John Stamos' ex-wife, Rebecca Romijn, he's also on the lookout for his baby bro's romantic prospects. A happy mixture of nepotism and showbiz connections landed Charlie the Bachelor gig. "My brother knew a producer who was on the show and he suggested to them, why not me?" Charlie says.
Charlie hasn't always appreciated Jerry's penchant for matchmaking. "In high school, he'd always sell me as his date," he tells TVGuide.com. "If [Jerry] liked one girl and she had a friend who liked me, he'd set me up. My mom would make me go on these dates like, 'What, are you not going to help your brother?' But this one, I'll thank him for."
The 25 bachelorettes didn't initially know they'd be dating a celebrity's brother. But once the gals realized who he was, did Charlie worry that anyone would fake feelings for him just to get close to Jerry? "It has happened in my life before that someone likes my brother because he is [in TV and films]," he admits, adding that that's definitely one of his biggest turnoffs. Sounds like we hit a nerve. Moving on...
Of course, the obvious next question is whether he did The Bachelor to meet a girl or to score publicity to boost his career. "I plan on being an actor, but it has nothing to do with this show," he insists. "This show is for falling in love. If you go into it a hundred percent, I think you can get that out of it. That's what I'm hoping to get out of it. As far as acting goes, that is neither here nor there."
Uh-huh. But Charlie's an attractive guy. Does he really need a reality show to get a date? "If I knew what I was looking for, I'd go get a mail-order bride," he laughs. "Obviously, I like a pretty girl, but you've got to be able to make me laugh and not take things so seriously and be willing to have fun."
This season has a few new twists. Unlike other Bachelors, Charlie was allowed to date his two female finalists after filming ended. He'll pick his Chosen One in the season finale. He also won't be sporting any prim and proper suits in this more laid-back edition. "I'm more of a jeans guy," he says. "I'm not trying to fake who I am. I think [this] is the best way for the girls to know who I am. You have to both like each other. I'm definitely not Mr. Right. I'm just a guy who likes to laugh and have a good time."
Speaking of having fun, the Long Island native will be bowling over his suitors — literally — on an upcoming group date. "One of my favorites was that we went to Bowlmor Lanes [in New York City]," Charlie says. "I was kicked out of [there as a kid]. It was either for throwing two balls down [the lane] or running down and knocking the pins down with my head. I think [that] was my third-grade birthday party. My mom made T-shirts. It was probably my greatest birthday party ever. They told my parents never to bring us back. I guess they didn't recognize me [this time]."