LOS ANGELES — On “The Bachelorette,” they might have seemed like a TV cliche.
He was the quarterback; she could fit any prom-queen image. Both are telegenic and whip-smart; she’s descended from doctors, he’s related to sports royalty. Even the names, JoJo and Jordan, seemed right.
And after the show ended? “We got back to reality,” said Jordan Rodgers, 30. “(She’s) like, ‘Hey, here’s what I do. Come along with me.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, OK. All right, boss.’”
She’s a tough boss and colleague, as TV’s “Cash Pad” shows. “I love to work,” said JoJo Fletcher, 28.
At first, they fixed up houses for long-term rentals; for “Cash Pad,” it’s short-term, Airbnb-type work.
Viewers have already seen them transform tiny spaces — an Airstream trailer and a shipping container. “Those were really fun and probaly the most difficult,” Rodgers said.
Is this any way for dating-show stars to behave? Well, it does fit their backgrounds.
They grew up comfortably – she in Dallas, where both parents were doctors, he in Chico, Cal., where his dad was a chiropractor and his big brother Aaron was on his way to being an MVP pro quarterback.
But both have rehab roots: At 15, he had a summer job repainting apartments; she started younger: “My mom, on the side, always did rehab. I was 6 or 7 when I started helping.”
That began with “a rundown apartment complex,” 20 units or so. For her sophomore year at Baylor University, she convinced her mom to buy a house she could hep fix up, living in it with four friends.
Fletcher was supposed to be pre-med; she graduated in biology, but then became a drug-rep who dabbled in real estate … and then did real estate full-time.
On the 2016 “Bachelor,” she was one of the final two women. Ben Higgins chose Lauren Bushnell … and they broke up a year later. As a consolation, Fletcher got the “Bachelorette” spot.
Rodgers “was one of the only contenders (whose name) was leaked,” she said. “I started Googling him.” She liked his looks and — as a football fan — his story.
Like his brother, Rodgers wasn’t heavily recruited. After two years (one a starter) in junior college, he went to Vanderbilt as a back-up quarterback; he was a starter by mid-season and became the first quarterback to take the team to a bowl came in two straight years.
Afterward, he was busy almost playing pro ball – being on try-out rosters and practice squads.
Fletcher says she was intrigued, but kept an open mind. “I was very fair; I wanted to explore the possibilities.”
She had been dating someone who “was committed, but didn’t want to commit,” she said. Rodgers’ dating history is harder to explain: “I would crush hard on blondes, but wanted to marry a brunette.”
Now they’ve been engaged for three years, with the wedding – not televised, they say – expected in 2020. And now they have their TV-show scheme:
Find a property – preferably an unusual ones that has the owner living nearby. Rehab it in a week, spending $50.000 tops; then rent it a day at a time. The owners get the lease money and, after four years, own it outright.
After doing similar work for a decade, Fletcher seems to have design flair. “I didn’t go to school for it …. My design experience is just what I think people will like.”
The real surprise may be how easily Rodgers has settled into his wife’s world: One moment, he shows carpentry skills; the next, he’s rattling off financial figures like an MBA prof.
The carpentry goes back to when he bought his first house, he says, with no money left for furniture.
And the financial skills? “I was on three different NFL rosters in about the span of a year-and-a-half,” he said. Each had a thick playbook for the quarterback to master. “So I can learn anything quickly.”
— “Cash Pad,” 10 p.m. ET Tuesdays, CNBC, rerunning at 1 a.m.
— The Aug. 13 episode – a former munitions warehouse – reruns at Friday night at midnight ET, followed at 1 a.m. by the previous episode, a shipping container.