Who was Michael Allio married to? A look into 'Bachelor in Paradise' star's college romance
Laura, Michael Allio's first wife, died from cancer in 2019
AKRON, OHIO: Michael Allio was a fan favorite on Katie Thurston's season of 'The Bachelorette', and he has now returned for 'Bachelor in Paradise.' Michael was previously married to Laura, and they had a little boy named James.
Michael, the 'Bachelorette' contestant, was one of the last four vying for Katie Thurston's heart. When it comes to his dating life, Michael and his kid are "a packaged deal," as per his bio on ABC's website. Michael's love life was shattered in 2019, and he told Katie about it on the show. Here’s what happened to Michael’s wife.
What happened to 'BiP' star Michael Allio's wife?
Laura Ritter-Allio, Michael's wife, died of cancer in 2019 at the age of 33. Laura and Michael met at Loyola University in Chicago while they were undergraduates. The pair married in 2012. On September 9, 2016, the couple welcomed their son, James Michael, after a few years of marriage. Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017, less than a year after the birth of their son.
"It’s been really scary. It’s been heartbreaking. But I think it’s really important that we talk about this — because I’m 32. And I never thought it could happen to me," Laura said in a film chronicling her experience.
Laura's passion had always been philanthropy, and after she was diagnosed with cancer, she built a following by documenting her cancer story on Facebook. Michael's sister set up a GoFundMe campaign with a $25,000 fundraising goal to help the family during their cancer journey; the page raised more than $73,000.
Laura and Michael were "committed to creating a purpose to their pain," and Michael founded The L4 Project a month after she died to carry on her legacy. "The courage, determination and selflessness that Laura demonstrated throughout her life and during her cancer journey inspired thousands to look inward, gain perspective and make the drastic changes necessary to live a 'life worth living,'" according to the L4 Project page.
"The L4 Project seeks to continue her great work by ensuring that these noble organizations are given the financial resources need to carry out their important work," according to the website. Their website sells clothing, and 100% of the proceeds benefit charity groups that address the needs and improve the lives of cancer patients.
The L4 Project has developed since his debut on the show. "If you're waiting for your order, please know we're not Amazon," Michael said on Instagram. "We're just a small group of dedicated volunteers that have a personal and emotional connection to Laura and this project. We're going to get it out to you soon, I promise. All this money will go toward supporting amazing causes and people that need it. I'm floored by how wonderful people can be."
Michael sought the approval of his late wife's parents before joining the lineup of 'The Bachelorette'. "My decision to, you know, begin this journey is not just mine. So there’s a lot of people who are affected with it in my world. People that I really love and cherish," he remarked on an episode of the 'Bachelor Happy Hour' podcast. "I did say that before I decided to go on the show, I wouldn’t go on unless my in-laws have given me full approval. Basically, like, this is my out to do something that may make me feel uncomfortable, but they were supportive, too."
Michael Allio returned for Season 8 of 'BiP'
Despite having a fantastic connection with Katie and making it to her final four, Michael chose to self-eliminate from the show in order to be with his son. "I’m not leaving because of us. I’m leaving because my son needs his dad," Michael said to Katie. Michael has returned for Season 8 of 'Bachelor in Paradise.' "Since I left Katie’s season, I took some time off dating and just got back to my normal life being a dad," he said in the premiere episode. Michael recalls informing his son that he had been asked to join the cast of 'Bachelor in Paradise,' and how much he missed Laura. "He said, ‘Dad, I miss her too, but everybody needs somebody," Michael recalled. "Since Laura passed, he wants a mother figure," he said of James. "He feels that missing piece. And I’m really hoping to find someone here so that James and I can take that next step in our life."
Fans may be wondering why Michael returned to 'Bachelor in Paradise' after leaving Katie's season to be with his son. Michael explained this to 'Access' during an interview, "James was at a very different point in his life," he remarked of his son during Katie's season. "One year difference is a lot in a child’s life."
"So we were able to talk about it a lot more, and we approached it a lot different this time than the first time around," Michael explained. "He’s being watched by my parents and my in-laws. They’ve got vacations planned. He’s really excited to have this time, but we’re gonna miss each other."
New episodes of 'Bachelor in Paradise' Season 8 air on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 pm ET on ABC.