I Live Here Now: Jen Schefft Waterman's journey from 'The Bachelorette' back to Northeast Ohio

Any card-carrying member of Bachelor Nation knows that Jen Schefft Waterman’s stint as “The Bachelorette” bucked convention at every turn. Rather than being set inside the famed Bachelor mansion in Malibu, her season took place in New York City. And when Schefft Waterman chose to leave the show sans beau at its conclusion, audiences were up in arms after what Entertainment Weekly called "the most shocking 'Bachelorette' finale ever."

 

“People said I ‘ruined’ the show,” says Schefft Waterman, “so the fact that it’s still going strong 15 years later is great to me.”


Joe and Jen Schefft Waterman (credit: Megan Ambrosia/Megan Anne Photography)During that time, Schefft Waterman has continued to do her own thing—largely shying away from the spotlight to instead return to the Midwest and raise a family with husband Joe Waterman. In 2017, after many years in Chicago, Schefft Waterman and her family relocated back to her native Northeast Ohio to put down roots in Hudson, about an hour from Schefft Waterman’s hometown in Mentor.

 

“I thought I’d be in Chicago forever; I never imagined I’d move back to Cleveland,” says Schefft Waterman. “But our friends and family are here, and since we moved back, I’ve discovered that it’s a wonderful place to raise kids. My life did not end when I left the city.”

 

Schefft Waterman is also enjoying the process of rediscovering Greater Cleveland as an adult. She initially graduated from Mentor High School in 1994 and Ohio University with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1998, after which she moved to Chicago to work in public relations. After accepting Andrew Firestone’s final rose on “The Bachelor,” she briefly moved to San Francisco for six months, then returned to Chicago where she eventually met and married Waterman in 2009.

Since both Schefft Waterman and Waterman hail from Ohio, they decided to return to their roots several years ago and boomerang back to Cleveland after Waterman was laid off from his job in finance.

 

“We drove around different suburbs trying to get a feel, and it eventually came down to Chagrin Falls and Hudson,” says Schefft Waterman. “We chose Hudson because we found a house that we loved, and it felt similar to Lake Forest, the suburb we were moving from in Chicago.”

 

Now Schefft Waterman is documenting her life as a Hudson-based mom of two in a new podcast, “From the Bachelor to the Burbs.” On the podcast, Schefft Waterman plans to share insights on everything from mom life to her reentry into the workforce as a public relations coordinator at NeoSkin Center to behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her time on the “Bachelor” franchise. (She first appeared on “The Bachelor” in 2003 and got engaged to Firestone, then became “The Bachelorette” in 2005 after that relationship ended.)

 

“A lot of people thought I disappeared, but I haven’t,” says Schefft Waterman. “I’m 44 years old now and I have a lot to share, so I’m excited to be doing this podcast.”

And, true to form, her podcast is sure to embrace the unscripted.

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. Along with her work at FreshWater, she is the editor-of-chief of Edible Cleveland and a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes for Creative Groove, Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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