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How The Bachelorette’s Rachel Recchia Helped Gabby Windey Get Dancing With The Stars Spot, According To ABC Boss

Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia on The Bachelorette.
(Image credit: ABC)

Dancing With the Stars has often been a next step for leads of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette following their stints on the dating show. Kaitlyn Bristowe took home the Mirrorball Trophy in Season 29, and likewise Melissa Rycraft and Hannah Brown won their respective seasons of the celebrity dancing competition, which will move to streaming on Disney+ for its 31st season. When the new cast was announced, however, some were surprised to see just one woman from the double-lead season of The Bachelorette among the stars. But rather than there being competition between the two, one of the head honchos at ABC said it was actually Rachel Recchia who helped Gabby Windey attain the coveted opportunity.

Robert Mills, the senior vice president of Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming at ABC Entertainment, spoke about the decision to cast Gabby Windey but not Rachel Recchia on SiriusXM's Julia Cunningham’s Bachelorette Recap (opens in new tab). The women had previously said they weren’t worried about fighting with each other on The Bachelorette, and that attitude apparently continued post-filming, as Mills said that casting Windey was actually Recchia’s idea. He said (via ET): 

Gabby is actually on — and this is the God's honest truth — she's on because of Rachel. When we were at CMA Fest in Nashville in June, we were having dinner and Rachel said, 'You have to put Gabby on Dancing With the Stars. This is her dream. She would be so good. Please, please put her on.' We were not thinking about Gabby for Dancing With the Stars at all.

According to Robert Mills, before Rachel Recchia spoke up on her friend’s behalf, they hadn’t planned on putting either one of the bachelorettes on Dancing With the Stars. It’s certainly not an opportunity given to all of the leads, and maybe the network balked at choosing between the two women, after insisting before and during the dating show that the women wouldn’t be made to compete with each other. Recchia, however, apparently knew it was something Windey wanted, and she was able to make it happen!

It likely comes as no surprise that this is a gig that Gabby Windey had her eye on. The ICU nurse was previously an NFL cheerleader for Denver Broncos, which she said helped prepare her for The Bachelor experience. That and Windey's hilarious personality will surely also come in handy when it comes to partnering with Val Chmerkovskiy for the dance competition. As a contestant, the Season 19 bachelorette will become the latest Bachelor Nation vet to be on DWTS, joining a list that includes Matt James, Joe Amabile, Sean Lowe, Trista Sutter, Jake Pavelka, Nick Viall and Chris Soules.

The Season 31 action kicks off for those with a Disney+ subscription on Monday, September 19, which will be followed on Tuesday, September 20, by Part 2 of The Bachelorette Season 19 finale, a.k.a. “the most emotional finale in Bachelorette history,” according to host Jesse Palmer. That three-hour affair kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule to keep up with all of the fall premieres.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.