Why Did Riley From 'The Bachelorette' Change His Name?

Riley Revealed A Major Secret About His Past On 'The Bachelorette'

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Going on national television means every detail about your life will be under scrutiny. While Season 16 of The Bachelorette comes with a lot of new revelations, the Dec. 8 episode provided even more shocking insights into the contestants lives. During a group date, it was revealed Riley changed his name. Here's why the Bachelorette contestant has a different identity than what he was born with:

Because traveling is off the table due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tayshia and her contestants have had to get creative with their dates. While some of the events have been misses (remember the strip dodgeball game from when Clare was still the lead?) others have prompted really meaningful conversations, like Ivan and Tayshia's heart-to-heart about race after the Nov. 24 group date.

So, when JoJo Fletcher — who was filling in for Chris Harrison while he helped his son move into college — told Tayshia her latest group date would involve a lie detector test, it was clear that secrets were going to be spilled. But when Riley set off the machine after JoJo simply asked him what his name was, fans thought it was majorly sus. It turns out, he has a really emotional explanation for no longer going by his given name.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

During the cocktail hour following the test, Riley opened up to Tayshia about his name change. Going into the talk, he was visibly emotional but decided he wanted to let Tayshia in. Riley told her he was actually born "Dwayne Henderson Jr.," after his father, who had sole custody of Riley for the majority of his childhood. They were close for over 20 years, but as Riley grew up, he learned more about his father and "didn't like what kind of person he was," so he didn't feel right sharing his name anymore. With his mom by his side, he legally changed his name to Devon Riley Christian, and now goes by his middle name.

“You’re stronger than hell” Tayshia told Riley after he shared his story. “I feel extremely honored and grateful that you just opened up with me. You’re an incredible man, and you’ve been through a lot.”

While setting off a polygraph might have seemed like a red flag, after clearing the air, it's apparent Riley's heart is in the right place. And while the talk didn’t seem easy for him, Tayshia definitely appreciated his honesty.

Season 16 of The Bachelorette continues on Monday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.