Emily Maynard: Life after Brad Womack and Jef Holm breakups was "horrible," I thought something was wrong with me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/26/2016
Emily Maynard is getting into the juicy details of her breakups with both Brad Womack and Jef Holm now that she's finally found the right guy and the happiness she's long desired.
The eighth-season The Bachelorette star, whose I Said Yes memoir will be released next week, got engaged three times before her final engagement to Tyler Johnson stuck and the couple wed in June 2014.
Maynard was first engaged to the late Ricky Hendrick, a former NASCAR driver who died in a tragic plane crash in 2004. Shortly after Hendrick passed, Maynard discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Ricki, now 10-years-old.
Maynard appeared on Season 15 of The Bachelor starring Brad Womack ready to share her sad story. Womack proposed during the March 2011 finale but they split that same year. Maynard then became The Bachelorette star the following year, when winner Jef Holm popped the question. The pair broke up in October 2012, a few months after the finale aired on ABC.
"It was horrible," Maynard toldPeople, referencing her two very-public splits. "I felt like there was something wrong with me if I couldn't make it work -- again. But I look back now and see that the times I felt the lowest, God was still there for me, planning something better than I ever could have imagined."
Although America was convinced Maynard had found her happy ending with Womack in 2011 after experiencing such tragedy, the jewelry designer confessed she knew deep down in her heart he wasn't "the one."
"The feelings that I had for Brad were very real," Maynard said. "But I don't know if I was in love with him."
"I thought maybe when the show was over, the walls would drop and we could be silly and have fun," she continued. "I tried to bring that out in him, but we were just two different people. I had feelings inside saying, 'This isn't right.' I kept trying and we'd take a couple steps forward and then go straight back. It just wasn't meant to be."
When Maynard and Womack called off their engagement in 2011, the former The Bachelor star told the press he had "dodged a bullet."
And then when Maynard got to be the leading lady of the franchise, Holm captured her attention from the start.
"He was a free-spirited young guy," Maynard noted. "I don't get to explore that side of myself. I felt like he brought that side out in me."
Maynard quickly fell for Holm on The Bachelorette but was nervous to get engaged again. There was a fear in the back of her mind it wouldn't work out and then she'd be embarrassed about having been given three engagement rings without ever walking down the aisle.
"I told Jef, 'I don't want to get engaged.' I told all the producers. I didn't want to put myself back in that same situation and get engaged twice on national television and have it not work out."
Much to Maynard's surprise, Holm got down on one knee during the Summer 2012 finale of The Bachelorette. He seemed caring and genuinely ready to be a father, but he wasn't given much of an opportunity to step into that role due to the show's process.
"I didn't say yes out of pressure," Maynard insisted. "I was like, 'You know what? I've lived a life of caution and second-guessing. Just do it!' But [after I said yes], Ricki ran up, and I was like, 'Something doesn't feel right. How did I get engaged to someone who's never really spent time around my daughter?' I had this weight on my heart like, 'What did I just do?'"
After the finale aired, two months of rumors about their relationship being on the rocks plagued the couple.
"I wanted it to work, but I knew in my heart it wasn't going to," Maynard confessed.
Some of the breakup speculation had been that Maynard cheated on Holm and the handsome entrepreneur was just hungry for the limelight. Sources claiming to know the couple ran to tabloids offering up headline-worthy information, some of which focused on blowout arguments Maynard and Holm allegedly had.
"I felt like I couldn't trust anybody," Maynard told People. "I stayed home, I lost weight, I cut off my hair, I was doing anything to make myself feel better. It was very lonely. I felt totally isolated."
Maynard and Holm reportedly reunited and decided to give their relationship another shot in December 2012 but things fell apart again later that month. A source told Us Weekly at the time Holm ultimately "crushed her."
Maynard later moved on with Johnson, with him she just welcomed a son named Jennings in July 2015. Johnson is apparently her "very best friend" now and fortunately the man of her dreams.
"It's silly, but going to a restaurant and saying, 'Family of four' is so exciting to me," Maynard gushed. "Forever I thought it was going to be just me and Ricki. To see Ricki playing with Jennings and seeing her feel so loved is really cool for me. My life is exactly what I wanted so many years ago."