The centre of attention: Gavin Henson to find reality TV bride

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The Independent Online

When Charlotte Church separated from her fiance and father of her children last year, she would have expected to bear glimpses of him on television but she is unlikely to curl up on the sofa to watch his latest project.

Gavin Henson, the Welsh rugby star, is to star in The Bachelor, Channel 5's version of the hit US reality show. The Brylcreemed back will choose a partner from 25 women selected to compete for his hand while living under the same roof.

"I'm so excited to have been cast as the bachelor as I really feel the time is right for me to find a girl to hopefully spend the rest of my life with," Henson said in a statement not entirely dissimilar from that which accompanied the news of his engagement to Charlotte Church last year. The engagement lasted two months.

If he is to meet his life partner, he will need to have a penchant for beauty therapists and glamour models, who make up much of the 25-strong list. There are a few businesswomen too, one of whom claims, at 24, to be "on course" with her plan to be a millionaire by the age of 28.

But whoever the lucky lady might prove to be, she may wish to take her success with a generous pinch of salt. Fifteen series of The Bachelor have been broadcast in the US since it first appeared in 2002. Several have featured proposals in the final episode, but only one has led to genuine wedding bells, and in that case the bachelor married the runner-up.

Much like reality show The Apprentice, the show is filmed far in advance of broadcast. Henson and his suitors are all currently in the southern European sunshine for five weeks of filming. That at least may come as a relief to Welsh rugby fans. Henson has recently been named, after a two-year absence, in a provisional squad for this year's Rugby World Cup, which also begins in September.

If he does then meet the girl of his dreams, and make the world cup, she will not be able to watch her new man competing at the pinnacle of his sport, so as to not give the game away to the show's viewers. His decision to take part in the show has apparently not affected his chances of playing in the tournament, even though as he is going on dates with 25 different women for the benefits of the cameras, several of his team-mates are training at Welsh rugby headquarters.

"Gavin is fulfilling a work commitment which was in place before he was selected for national squad duty and doing so in the full knowledge of the Wales management team," a Welsh Rugby Union spokesperson said.

What became of the TV couples?

* Ulrika Jonsson hosted Mr Right in 2002, in which Lance Gerard-Wright was to choose a girlfriend. She turned him down, so he married Jonsson. They had a child but split after two years.



* Tennis player Mark Philippoussis appeared on dating show Age of Love in 2007. His task: to choose between a group of "kittens" (young women) and "cougars" (not so young women). A 25-year-old won, but the relationship lasted just five months.



* It's easy to forget that Katie Price and Peter Andre first met on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2004. They were married for three and a half years and had two children.

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