The network has officially announced that Maynard, a 25-year-old single mom from Charlotte, NC, will serve as the star of the eighth season of The Bachelorette, which will begin filming in March.
While Maynard -- the former fifteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette who got engaged to Brad Womack during the March 2011 broadcast of the show's season finale but split with him several months later -- was billed as a children's hospital event planner during her stint on The Bachelor, she is now a "full-time mommy" to her six-year-old daughter Josephine Riddick "Ricki" Hendrick, according to ABC.
Maynard, who lost her fiance and former NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick in an October 2004 plane crash before appearing on Womack's season of The Bachelor, will choose amongst 25 suitors and be "looking for someone who makes her laugh, doesn't take himself too seriously and can be her best friend."
"Emily feels incredibly grateful to have found her first love when she was very young, and despite not having dated a lot, knows what it's like to be truly in love. In the past seven years, she has been looking for someone with the same spark she has for life, and she believes that she will find her soul mate on The Bachelorette," according to the network.
While ABC has yet to release any additional details, Maynard's The Bachelorette season won't be starting at the show's usual Los Angeles mansion surroundings, according to previously unconfirmed recent reports that Maynard had accepted ABC's offer to serve as the reality dating show's next star.
Instead, the show's upcoming edition will be kicking off in Charlotte, NC, as to accommodate Maynard, who confirmed her split from Womack in June 2011 and wishes to remain close to Ricki.
Maynard will be the first single mom in the show's history to serve as The Bachelorette star.
"It's one of those things where The Bachelor, it seems pretty tame now, but it was a pretty controversial thing when we started and we pushed the envelope with The Bachelorette. And then we had the single dad with Jason Mesnick. This is the first single mom we've had, which is again, an interesting social dynamic and it will obviously raise the debate on that topic," host Chris Harrison said during a Tuesday morning appearance on Good Morning America.
"I think she is America's sweetheart. I think it's going to be a homerun. She is a good friend and I love that she's coming back."
Reports that Maynard may serve as the star of The Bachelorette's eighth season have circulated since shortly after she and Womack confirmed their split last year, however Harrison had initially dismissed them as premature and speculative.
"Rumors of Emily being the Bachelorette are greatly exaggerated," Harrison told Access Hollywood Live in July.
"It's obviously been bantered about. We're not idiots, we talked about it, of course, but it hadn't even been broached to her. It is way too soon. They just broke up and they've barely even broken up."
Last month, Life & Stylereported that ABC had formally offered Maynard the position.
"It's basically a done deal. She hasn't signed the contract yet, but she's fully on board," a source told Life & Style. "Emily is America's sweetheart. Fans are going to be thrilled! Everyone loved her."
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