JJ Lane stole our hearts on season 11 of The Bachelorette. He came onto the show as a successful business man, open and ready to find love. However, he didn’t quite find it on The Bachelorette. After the show, JJ took his 3 year old daughter, Gemma, to Disneyland and is now happy taking his time to find the woman for him. Learn more about JJ’s experiences on the show and his life now by reading this Q&A below.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Aurora, CO in what I view as a pretty all-American, idyllic childhood. Grew up on a cul-de-sac and spent every minute playing roller hockey, tag, hide from cars, BMX, wiffle ball, etc. It was a great, active childhood and very fond memories of it.
What was your family like?
My family was an extremely hands-on, loving family. I never remember seeing my parents fight and never sensed drama or any issues as a kid. We were middle class and never had an abundance of money, but also never lacked for anything. My dad coached most of my teams and always found time to come home from work to play catch with me in the backyard. My mom stayed at home and is a saint. My brother, 5 years my younger, and I were raised conservative Christian and are that way to this day.
Tell me about your first crush.
Sadly, I don’t feel like I have one defining crush…at least nothing that really comes to mind. There were girls that I would obviously be attracted to, but nothing memorable unfortunately.
What were you involved in growing up?
My youth was focused on one thing: sports. Baseball was my primary love and obsession. My dad built a batting cage in the backyard when I was pretty young and spent the early years focused on being a pro baseball player. Stats, baseball cards…those were my passion. I studied everything about my favorite players…every nuance of theirs to emulate them. When I was 13 I fell in love with hockey and it became an obsession. I read every book I could get my hands on, watched every game I could see, and studied my favorite players. I could tell you what piece of equipment (brand) that nearly every player in the NHL wore and I modeled my game after Peter Forsberg, my idol from the Colorado Avalanche.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Probably one of my fondest memories is just playing outside on a summer night with all the neighborhood kids. We had a great group of all boys in the ‘hood and just played hard and got along. We would go in once it got late and have sleepovers, watch movies, and drink a Pepsi…it was the simple things that mean so much looking back, especially with how complicated life gets when you’re an adult.
What did you do after high school?
Upon graduating from high school in 2001, I moved to Santa Barbara to attend Westmont College. I only stayed one semester, but I met a very special girl, who I didn’t start dating until her (and what should have been my) junior year. Upon leaving Westmont, I moved to upstate New York to play Junior Hockey something I was planning and wanting to do my whole life, but at the last second had chosen to appease my mom and pursue an education.
After my junior career ended prematurely due to repeated injuries related to Hemophilia, a blood clotting disease I have (I was one of the only people in the world diagnosed with Hemophilia that has played competitive hockey), I moved back to Denver where I started a lawn care company called Bestyard.com. I ran that company for 6 years, ultimately selling it in order to finally go back to get my education as I recently had gotten engaged to said girl from Westmont, Heather, and I wanted to get a career beyond running a lawn care company, despite the fact we were doing upwards of $700k in revenue, it wasn’t the life I wanted. I enrolled at the University of Denver, graduating in 2.5 years, Magna Cum Laude with a Finance degree, and set off to pursue my career in investment banking.
What did you do prior to The Bachelorette?
Prior to the show, I was an investment banker with J.P. Morgan in New York City where I worked in their Natural Resources group and was focused primarily on M&A (mergers and acquisitions), IPOs, and follow-on debt and equity offerings. I moved from NYC, back to Denver, where I worked for St. Charles Capital, a middle market investment bank focused primarily on M&A. I left investment banking once my wife and I got separated to focus on my divorce and spend time with my daughter. Over the next three years, I founded a few companies, but nothing that was met with any material success, thus joining the bachelor currently “unemployed” or as I was known, a “former investment banker.”
What inspired you to go on The Bachelorette?
I had known about the Bachelorette and seen bits and pieces throughout my marriage, so I knew when I was approached about it that it would be a unique and fun experience. A girl that I dated briefly post-divorce nominated me and once the ball got rolling, I just kept answering the bell…and the rest is history.
What would you say the hardest part of the show was for you?
Being away from my daughter was by far the hardest aspect of the show for me. Every time I would FaceTime with her, I cried as I would hear her voice. One time in New York, maybe 3 weeks in, I had a call with her and she told me “Daddy I love you and I miss you so much. When are you going to be home?” I absolutely lost it, and started sobbing, I could hear my mom on the other end holding the phone sobbing, Gemma started sobbing, and the camera, sound, and producer that were in the room with me to record the call (they record all calls, though they weren’t allowed to use my daughter’s voice) were crying. It was the most emotional part of our entire season and it had nothing to do with the show. After that, I almost left and it was a constant struggle to continue the journey and to leave to see my daughter. Beyond that, I didn’t think anything was hard about the show. It was easy…just hangout, no distractions from the outside world, and getting to do things everyone else dreams about.
I see that you are good friends with an array of Bachelor alum. What would you say was the best friendship you the show gave you?
I’m still great friends with Clint Arlis. We were best buddies on the show and nothing changed in real life. Sadly, we were portrayed in a way that was so insane and hurtful to our families that nobody actually got to see the genuine friendship and rivaling sense of humors between us. We both faced a maelstrom of attention…most of it not great (you try being a straight person and being on the front page of every tabloid announcing that you’re gay…not to mention on every tv talk show and ABC advertisement and keep a cool, level head), but made sure we didn’t comment one way or the other as the entire situation was a tinderbox, waiting to explode and one wrong comment from either of us would have done it. We bit our tongues and just stayed confident in who we were…it wasn’t so easy for our parents, grandparents, friends, and other tangential people in our life.
Besides Clint, I’m great friends with Tanner Tolbert, Jared Haibon, and Ben Higgins. Those guys will be lifelong friends that I’m thankful to have had the privilege of getting to know…and they are all better people in person, away from the cameras, than anyone even knows.
What was your favorite memory from the show?
My favorite memory has to be carrying Kaitlyn around the bases at Citi Field for a homerun. That was unreal, under the lights, game day ready. I remember it as if it was yesterday.
Favorite funny moment from the show?
There were so many hilarious interactions during the time I was on the show that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I will say that when Clint caught a garter snake at the mansion and then chased Shawn Booth around, with him screaming like a little girl and nearly jumping in the pool with his microphone on, that was pretty damn funny.
What did you do after the show?
It’s a shame this didn’t make the edit, but in my final interview, they asked me what I was going to do when I got back, and I simply said “I’m going to Disneyland.” You better believe that when I got back to Denver, I booked a trip to Disneyland for me and Gemma and we had our first father / daughter trip…and to Disneyland. It was an incredible experience that I won’t ever forget…and I owed that sweet little girl that and so much more.
Was it hard to adjust back to everyday life?
It wasn’t hard to adjust to normal life, but it was certainly a change getting recognized and having to take thousands of pictures with people, reading the good and bad about yourself in the press, enduring the wrath of angry Twitter and Instagram trolls, and walking around feeling like your every move is critiqued and watched. But when I wanted to live my life, I did and for the most part nothing changed.
Did your friends or family treat you differently after the show?
My family and close friends haven’t treated me any differently other than everyone had a lot of questions. Now the show doesn’t even come up in our daily life and I try and never even discuss with them. I keep my show thoughts and discussions to Twitter or with other bachelor friends, as we’re the only ones that care and that can relate. The “woodwork” friends did treat me differently as everyone is your best friend and they all want to hang out and get a piece of the action. Those motives are abundantly obvious and clear and the show has served as a great filter on who I really value and care about in my life.
Is there anything you would do differently if you were able to do the show over again?
Hindsight is always 20/20 and something as immaterial (in the big picture) as the show, I have absolutely zero regrets and wouldn’t change a thing. In the moment, I acted and behaved how I felt was best and I didn’t have the luxury of knowing the magnitude of the editing pen.
What do you do now? Tell me about your current job.
I am a Principal for Newell May Capital, a venture capital fund based out of LA (I still live in Denver), where we are focused on making active investments in (primarily) tech-enabled companies that are generating revenue, but not necessarily turning a profit. Getting back into real life, a career, and simply looking in the rearview mirror at the show experience and smiling is the most important thing for me. I don’t want to dwell on the show, let it define me, and continue to only find my value, self-worth, and happiness from it. I know that the stories, experiences, and things these eyes have seen because of the opportunity to be on TV for a brief window of time will bring a smile to my face many years down the road.
Tell me about your love life now.
I don’t currently have a love life (relationship that is). Through the divorce and now because of the show and the abundance of women that I’m exposed to, I have honestly become so insanely picky and I know exactly what the ideal woman is for me and I have yet to find her. I will know it when I see it though and when I find her, I am excited to finally open up this romantic, loving, passionate side of myself that I feel has been locked away for years…probably hasn’t surfaced since I was dating my ex-wife. I’m in no rush, I have a lot of things I have to get together personally and professionally prior to finding that person, so I’m happy to bide my time.
Do you have any hobbies?
I am such a boring person, contrary to whatever reputation or perception social media and TV portrays. I really can boil my life down into just a few things: 1. Work, 2. Gym, 3. Men’s League hockey, 4. Netflix on my iPad to fall asleep, 5. Daughter (on the days I have her). I wish I could cook. I wish I enjoyed being artistic. I would love to read more than I do. I need to go fly fishing more…but honestly it’s always just a pipe dream that I tell myself I will get to tomorrow, next weekend, next summer, next year…and now it’s been 33 years and time is flying and I’m not changing.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Drinking insanely cheap wine from the bottle and playing Madden on PlayStation.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I really want to visit Normandy around the anniversary of D-Day to experience what those men must have gone through, storming the beaches and scaling those cliffs. Although I never served my country, I will always identify with the military and have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for everything they’ve done.
What’s your most prized possession?
After a divorce, material possessions honestly lose a lot of value and significance. Hell…half your stuff just disappears overnight; stuff that was part of your life for 7 years is now gone. Because of that, I have a very indifferent view on possessions I guess. If I had a gun to my head, probably my Peter Forsberg autographed jersey that’s framed with an autographed puck from him and also a picture of me and Peter. That’s a big one for me.
What is your favorite song right now?
Gemma has gotten me addicted to the Florida Georgia Line song, “H.O.L.Y.” as she sings it nonstop and has the absolute sweetest voice I’ve ever heard. I could hear her sing that song 1 million times and I would never tire of it.
What is your all-time favorite movie?
A River Runs Through it. I own it on Blu-Ray and have also read the book. Something about that movie harkens me back to simpler times, it romanticizes nature in a way that I want to experience it, but never can, and pulls on the brotherly bond, that my brother and I share.
What’s your go-to meal?
I’m a sushi snob…started eating sushi back in the early 90s as my dad was doing a lot of business in Japan. At this stage, I don’t even take early stage dates to sushi because I don’t want to wreck the experience for myself.
What’s something everyone should do at least once in their life?
How do you like to relax and wind down after a long day?
Sit on the couch, put on a hockey game, and be mindless for a bit…maybe even doze off for a spell. Ideally it’s snowing outside and there’s a fire.
What’s a quote or saying you live by?
Don’t let it happen, make it happen.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stop worrying about what other’s think about you so much…especially people that don’t know me or have no real perspective on my life. Don’t let them influence my decisions and behaviors.
Do you have any advice for the single ladies and gentlemen that may be reading this article?
I’m in no position to offer advice. I have made so many mistakes in my life that it would be ludicrous to fancy myself as a wise sage that can dispel wisdom to others. I’m simply trying to be the best person I can be and hopefully the best dad for my daughter.