'Bachelor' Brad Womack cuts Ashley Hebert and selects final women
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/01/2011
The Bachelor star Brad Womack eliminated Ashley Hebert and narrowed his love search to two final women during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' fifteenth season.
Ashley, a 26-year-old dentist from Philadelphia, PA, was eliminated after Brad had one-on-one overnight fantasy dates with each of his three final bachelorettes.
"Saying goodbye to somebody for the last time is hard. I wished I could have smiled and hugged him and been myself, but when you have a little bit of a heavy heart, it's hard to just find the strength, so it's hard to leave like this. Brad is a great guy and I think we had a really great thing and when we were together, it was honestly magical for me. But you know, sometimes that spark isn't enough because it got lost in translation," Ashley said following her ouster.
"Coming here, I was looking for love so I've opened myself up to so much, but I'm leaving heartbroken. My heart is pretty achy right now, but I'm trying to find the strength to just look for the good in the situation and move forward, but I can't see that far ahead right now. I guess I'm not that strong."
The Bachelor's ninth fifteenth-season episode began with Brad and the remaining three bachelorettes traveling from New York, where the last Rose Ceremony took place, to Sabi Sands, South Africa for their fantasy overnight dates.
Before starting his week of fantasy dates in South Africa, Brad reiterated how he was scared to get hurt and end up alone. He said he truly wanted to move on from his trust issues and change the course of his past. He explained that Chantal O'Brien, a 28-year-old executive assistant from Seattle, WA, told him her strong feelings for him early on and that they were compatible, but their relationship tended to be a rollercoaster.
Brad then said Ashley was comfortable, fun and professional, but he wasn't sure where her heart was because she had yet to really open up and express her feelings. In addition, he noted Emily Maynard, a 24-year-old children's hospital event planner from Charlotte, NC, was "one in a million" and made him giddy and nervous, but her past intimidated him and he had to consider starting a life with her five-year-old daughter Ricki.
Brad's first one-on-one overnight date was with Chantal and he took her to an African safari, where they got to see elephants, lions, giraffes, monkeys, and many other animals walking among them. They then had a picnic down by a watering hole and Chantal admitted to herself that she had to trust Brad and release her fears of getting hurt.
Brad told Chantal he really missed her family and she said she was glad he saw her within that comfortable environment.
"I love Brad and it's more than just the feeling. Love is more than a feeling to me. It's the fact that I want to be better for him and I want to put him first and I want to have unselfish love. I want what's best for him, and it's me damnit!" Chantal said.
The couple then shared an outdoor dinner on a patio and Chantal told him she hoped she would get the chance to meet his family without being sent home first. Brad said he'd love for her to meet his family.
"Oh should I say this?... I'm definitely the most comfortable around you. Okay, I mean that, and I can say and do things that I usually don't," Brad told Chantal.
"Let's just get married here. Screw the engagement, right?" Chantal joked.
"What if that happens?.. I want to know. Would you do that?" Brad asked her.
"I take it very seriously, like I'm not someone who just goes and gets engaged to people... you're promising that person that you're going to be getting married to them," Chantal replied.
Brad said he loved her spontaneity and needed that in his life from the woman he was to spend his life with.
"I love Chantal's boldness. She wears her heart on her sleeve and she's not afraid to tell me how she feels. She doesn't mind being very vulnerable. She doesn't mind letting me know she is putting herself out there. I got to love that about her. She really is an incredible woman. Incredible," Brad said.
Chantal then opened a letter Brad gave her, which was a fantasy suite invitation with a key inside from The Bachelor host Chris Harrison. It offered her the opportunity to share a night alone with Brad in some type of suite, rather than go to her own room by herself. Chantal was quick to accept the invitation and wanted to rush there as soon as possible.
Brad then brought her to an open-air treehouse which featured a large bed for just the two of them, and they planned to spend the night together talking under the stars.
"It's like an adventure fairytale love story -- everything all mixed into one," Chantal said.
They kissed and then shared the rest of the night away from cameras.
"I don't want this night to end. I'm so caught up in this moment and caught up in the fact that, I never in my wildest dreams, thought that I'd be here with Brad experiencing any of these things. I'm hoping that at the end of this, I will be flying home from South Africa with Brad and knowing that he loves me and wants to be with me as well," Chantal explained.
Emily had the next one-on-one date with Brad and he said he could not wait to see her all week.
Brad and Emily stood in the middle of the jungle and he said he forgot something, returning with an elephant for the two of them to ride together. Emily said it was her dream to ride an elephant like that and she could not have been more excited to share the moment with Brad, as it put her "over the moon."
"I hope Brad can realize that me introducing him to my daughter is a huge deal for me and that it means I really care about him and that I can really see a future with him," Emily said.
Brad told Emily he missed her daughter and imagined how much she would love watching the baby elephants with them, but Emily was still concerned whether Brad was actually ready to take on a five-year-old in his life and become a father.
"Are you ready for a five-year-old?" Emily asked Brad.
"Yeah. I've thought about her a lot and I want you to know if anything were to continue and work out, I would make every single effort to -- every minute that you and I spent -- she would be right there. I've never been a father and I'm going to fail at certain times... you are a package deal and I love that about you. I do," Brad told her.
Brad said he felt good with Emily and hoped that it would continue into the future.
"I really feel like I'm starting to fall in love with Brad and I feel like I could see me spending the rest of my life with him," Emily said before they shared dinner outside.
Emily said she was afraid she wouldn't have the guts to tell Brad she loved him, but she wasn't the only one. Brad was very nervous around her and wanted to find out so much more about her life and their possible life together.
"I don't want you to question anything as far as I go. I am so excited about the idea or you and I and Ricki. It's something that I've been waiting for and if I'm the person that you feel like you can see yourself with and that you want to be with, then -- I just want to do it," Emily told Brad.
Brad said it was the best feeling in the world to hear her say that and then he offered her the fantasy suite date card. Although Emily revealed she wanted to set a good example for her daughter, she also accepted the invitation with the intentions to just talk and spend more time together. She wanted to keep things going slowly at a good pace.
"Falling in love scares me to death but I think Brad could be my next husband and I don't want to go into the next Rose Ceremony without Brad knowing how I feel about him," Emily explained.
As they shared the suite, Emily finally confessed her true feelings for Brad.
"I am absolutely and completely falling in love with you," she told him.
Brad then told Emily he was falling in love with her too, despite breaking the rules of the show and his hesitance to not want to give away so much too early on. But Emily was thrilled to hear it and said there was no question in her mind that Brad was the right guy for her.
It was then Ashley's turn for her special day and Brad brought her to a helicopter, which she claimed was her biggest fear in life.
However, Ashley took the plunge and did it for Brad, acknowledging that she felt safe and comforted by him. Brad in response was so happy she faced her fears with him by her side.
After the helicopter ride, the couple had a picnic in the lush landscape known as "God's window," and Brad said he really wanted a relationship with Ashley.
When Brad asked her where she saw herself living in the near future, she told him she wanted to live near her loved ones, and that southern Maine would be a prime example because her sister lived there.
Brad had more questions in regards to where his relationship was going with Ashley and asked her if she could actually live life while trying to achieve so much as a dentist. He recognized that Ashley was much like himself at a younger age, and he told her she was at the start of a budding life.
However, Brad feared that with her being so career-oriented and determined, he was concerned whether she would be able to find the balance between work and play because Brad couldn't when he was in that situation.
"Brad's asking me all these really important questions and I think it's great that he's asking, because I think he has an interest in furthering our relationship, but at the same time, it was definitely a huge wake-up call," Ashley said.
"Ashley and I have had this incredible connection and we have so much fun, so these concerns are coming from the fact that I can see myself in Ashley's everyday life -- around her family -- but after today's conversation, I'm beginning to realize we never one time meshed our individual lives together. I don't know what her longterm plans for the future are... I need to address those concerns," Brad said.
The couple then shared a dinner together next to a fire and Brad said he wanted to go through life with Ashley and wanted it to work, but he didn't know if it was possible. Ashley then admitted Brad's questions made her really think, and that they wanted the same things but she had trouble communicated those desires.
"I want to be superwoman. I want to be able to do everything. I want to find a balance, like you said, and I want so much for you to believe that and I feel like I didn't do a good job of communicating what is really important to me in my life at all," Ashley told Brad, adding that she loved their connection and felt it could work with much needed compromise.
"I asked where you would like to live, not one time did you mention and Austin... I'm in Austin," Brad said.
Ashley then said she would love to move there for Brad, but he was seemingly confused and unconvinced about the plans she had for herself. Ashley just wanted him to have faith in their relationship, but Brad reminded her they could not build a future just on amazing dates. Brad wanted to stop reassuring themselves and just go for it.
Ashley said she "wanted what was best" for Brad, but he didn't know if she was including herself in that perfect picture. Brad said he wanted a perfect situation for two people and then gave her the fantasy sweet invitation in hopes of discovering they could get back on track. However, the date grew very awkward.
"I'm very very afraid that I screwed things up here. I just wanted to talk to Ashley like we use to talk, but we're taking steps back right now. I just want my Ashley back, the one that I fell for," Brad said.
Before the Rose Ceremony began, Brad and Chris spoke about Brad's fears about Ashley and how they had both started to shut down during their date. Brad admitted it was breaking his heart and he could tell the mood had changed when they had their serious conversation. He was worrying that he was going to make a mistake and was unsure whether it was the right decision to let Ashley go.
Moments beforeThe Bachelor's ninth Rose Ceremony began, Brad pulled Ashley aside to discuss his burdening concerns before he could even hand out one rose.
"You and I both know our date didn't go well at all. Not at all. I wanted to start out by first apologizing so whole heartedly -- I'm so sorry -- but I need to admit, I'm sitting her completely shocked that a relationship I felt so strongly about has gone in such a different direction," Brad told Ashley when they were alone.
"Me too," Ashley said. "What happened? We went from day to night."
Brad told her he just wanted to know how she felt, which is why he questioned her to intently, and Ashley responded that she wanted him to ask questions.
"What the hell happened then? I'm taking blame. Maybe I'm asking you to help me out. I don't know how we have such bad miscommunication," Brad said, adding he didn't know if he could fit into her life and he still had unanswered questions.
Brad said he was feeling brokenhearted and Ashley wished she could have sat down and answered them. She said what she felt for him was so strong, and that mistakes were made along the way, which she sincerely regretted. Ashley explained she was trying to protect herself, but Brad said it was too late to hold back.
"I think you're so exceptional... I need to tell you goodbye. I don't want you to stand through a Rose Ceremony and look at you and not give some rose. I really don't," Brad told her.
"Okay, I'm not going to beg you to change your mind. It's just very surprising. I thought this was it," Ashley said.
After a short pause, Brad responded, "I am confident in the decision."
The Rose Ceremony then commenced and Chantal and Emily received the two roses for the week. Brad then told them their next step was going to be traveling to the city of Cape Town in Africa to meet his family.