Kelsey A. Was 'Traumatized' by Suggestion Her Dad Goes on“ Golden Bachelor ”But 'He's Open to It' (Exclusive)

'The Bachelor' viewers met Kelsey Anderson's dad Mark during her hometown date with Joey Graziadei, who proposed to her during Monday's finale



'The Bachelor' star Kelsey Anderson and her dad Mark

Kelsey Anderson won Joey Graziadei’s heart on The Bachelor — and her dad might look for love on reality TV, too.

After audiences met Kelsey’s father Mark during her hometown date in New Orleans, they suggested he become the next Golden Bachelor. (Kelsey’s mom died in 2018 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.)

“[My] initial response was traumatized that there were trap videos that people made about my dad,” Kelsey, 25, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue in a joint interview with Joey, 28. “But then I decided to take a step back and I was like, ‘You know what? My dad deserves all of this praise and love. He is an amazing dad, and he was an amazing husband to my mom.’ I think that my dad deserves all the love.”

Related: The Bachelor's Kelsey A. Leaves Joey Graziadei Looking 'Like He’s About to Cry' During Talk After Fantasy Suites

Kelsey says her relationship with Joey played a role in whether her dad would consider going on The Golden Bachelor.

“I think that my dad sees how great Joey and I are together, and he has talked to me about how Joey and I would've never met each other if it wasn't for this show, so he's open to it,” the junior project manager says. “My mom always told him that she wanted him to find love if she ever passed away before him, and that she wanted him to be happy and have that partnership after her, so I think that it would be a great push for him to open up to that and to see if he could find love on a TV show.”

Joey thinks his future father-in-law “would crush it” on The Golden Bachelor. “He's amazing,” the tennis pro says. “He has a presence about him. So, if he's open to it, I think he'd do really well.”

<p><a href="" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Yuri Hasegawa</a></p> Bachelor Joey Graziadei and Kelsey Anderson

Yuri Hasegawa

Bachelor Joey Graziadei and Kelsey Anderson

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Kelsey met some of the inaugural Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner suitors when they came to judge the Mrs. Right pageant group date early in the season. Then Golden Bachelor runner-up Leslie Fhima stopped by Kelsey’s Fantasy Suite date to offer her advice.

“I wish I wouldn’t have felt so confident because then I was devastated, very sad,” Leslie, 65, told Kelsey at the time. “Because I was really in love with him and I would not wish that on my worst enemy, that feeling I had where I was confident and then that was it. And I would say, just always have something in the back of your head that you might not be it.”

<p>John Fleenor/Disney</p> The Golden Bachelor's Leslie Fhima

John Fleenor/Disney

The Golden Bachelor's Leslie Fhima

Some viewers criticized Leslie for putting doubt in Kelsey’s mind ahead of her overnight date.

“Leslie was just being very honest about her experience. And I really did take it with a grain of salt,” Kelsey tells PEOPLE. “I think that there was a lot more to that conversation that people could focus on: we both had that bond of losing our mothers, and it was really nice to talk everything through with her. I just where her fears lied — she didn't want me to be heartbroken and devastated at the end like she was. I think that she gave me some really great advice.”

At first, Joey sided with the audience when it came to Leslie’s questionable guidance.

“I understand why America's opinion was like, that could have put doubt in her head,” he acknowledges. “But as we talked about it more, I think it was beautiful. It was her sharing what she went through and trying to explain what he's feeling, try to not have this idea of, ‘It's going to always work out because you want to search within.’ Leslie had the best intentions.”

<p>John Fleenor/Disney</p> Joey Graziadi, Daisy Kent (far left) and Kelsey Anderson on 'The Bachelor'

John Fleenor/Disney

Joey Graziadi, Daisy Kent (far left) and Kelsey Anderson on 'The Bachelor'

Following her overnight date, Kelsey left Joey a note asking him to talk. While she ended up telling him she couldn’t wait to meet his family, the anxiety surrounding the conversation put Joey in a negative headspace.

“If it was something bad, I don't know if I could have moved on after that, because I did know where Kelsey and I were at and I don't think I could have handled her not being there anymore,” Joey says. “I'm glad it was just a, ‘Hey, can't wait to meet your family.’ New words next time would be great, but that's all it needed to be. But it was a realization of how much I really did care for her.”

Related: Bachelor Joey Graziadei Knows He Can Be a 'Sad Boy,' but He Wants Suitors to 'See All Sides of Me' (Exclusive)

Kelsey agrees she wishes she “would've used different words” in that note. “I saw how shaken he was from that conversation and it really made me feel terrible,” she continues. “And I was shaken up going into that rose ceremony, but I just tried to focus on how great Fantasy Suites was for us and not think about the note.”

Ultimately, everything worked out for Kelsey on her Bachelor journey. “It all doesn't matter because she's got a ring on her finger now,” Joey says. “So we're good.”

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