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Luke Parker’s family prepares for ‘The Bachelorette’ premiere
Hall County resident, Luke Parker, interacts with this year's bachelorette, Hannah Brown, on the TV show "The Bachelorette." The show premiers Monday, May 13, on ABC. (Photo courtesy ABC)

By Lanye Saliba

HALL COUNTY - “The Bachelorette” is set to premiere at 8 p.m. Monday, May 13, on ABC and if the show’s recent promotions are any indication, Gainesville local, Luke Parker, is bound to make an impression.

Luke is one of 30 men on the show, taking things week-by-week and hoping to be one of the final men who has the chance to propose to Hannah Brown, an Alabama native and this season’s bachelorette.

Luke, 24, was one of the first men to meet Brown after she was announced as the bachelorette on March 12. Since then, the show has been filming and a recent trailer didn’t show much favor toward Luke.

“Everything that we know is from the promos and Luke has had a presence in a majority of them, so it's exciting,” said Hannah Parker, Luke’s sister-in-law. “We're excited to see how it plays out. Even though the latest promo was not that great, we are just hopeful that they're going to show who Luke really is.”

Even though it’s been difficult for his family back home to see the trailer and things said about Luke on social media, they’re remaining confident in him and are trusting the show will not make edits that portray him in a way that isn’t honest.

The family is staying positive with the saying, “We don’t know the edit, but we know the man in Luke.”

“We don't know the edit that they're going to give him, but we know his character and we have tons of people who have reached out to us,” said Mike Parker, Luke’s brother. “That's been cool to hear the support from people. But overall, I'm excited.”

Luke was seen recently entering Curt’s Cafeteria in Oakwood with Brown on what would appear to be a hometown date, meaning Luke will be one of the final four men on the show. While the family can’t say much, filming has ended and Luke will be watching the premiere with friends and family on Monday.

“Even though Luke might get put in a tough light or whatever, he's got tons of friends and family that are going to surround him,” Mike said. “So it will be a good atmosphere for him.”

Since Luke left for filming in March, his family said they’ve missed him. Mike and Luke are used to talking every day and seeing each other multiple times during the week. During the filming process, though, Luke wasn’t able to have contact with any family or friends.

“I texted him if not every day, 90% of the days he was gone,” said Mike Robertson, a Sunday school teacher at the church Luke attends. “He got a text from me that said, ‘Praying for you.’ So it allowed me to pray for him while he was gone.”

Hannah said they’re happy to have him back home.

“We have been going crazy,” Hannah said. “We're excited to let him spend time with his niece and everything … The fact that we couldn't even talk to him, much less see him, it was so hard.”

While it was hard not seeing Luke, seeing the trailer for the show might have been harder, which is why Mike and other friends from church tried to encourage Luke and prepare him for what could happen on the show and any sort of backlash that could come from it.

“It is what it is,” Robertson said. “One thing we do know is who Luke is and what Luke stands for. And no matter what way they spin it, it’s not going to change my view of Luke.”

Mike said there are unwritten rules on the show and when those rules are broken, the other men usually don’t like it. Luke knew the concept of “The Bachelorette” — being among 29 other men dating the same woman — but that didn’t mean it would be easy.

“We had some conversations with him to try and prepare him for that, but you can't really prepare well for that,” Mike said. “That's not reality, that's not the real world, that's not how dating is in the real world.”

And the fact that it’s a reality TV show makes it even more difficult.

“They're going to over-dramatize things,” Mike said. “They're going to make drama out of nothing and they're going to mislead in their promos and make things look one way when it's another. They’re trying to amp up the story.”

Even if that’s the case, as the show airs each Monday until the finale, Luke’s family said they stand behind him and with him completely, no matter what happens.

“We're totally still excited to see him,” Hannah said. “The promo was kind of rough to watch, but we are still so excited because we know Luke. Luke is funny. He's going to give you a show. So we're excited to be with him and watch it.”