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'The Bachelor' star Ben Flajnik selects Courtney Robertson, proposes


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/13/2012 

The Bachelor star Ben Flajnik selected Courtney Robertson as his final bachelorette and proposed marriage to her during Monday night's sixteenth-season finale of the ABC reality dating show.

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"I will love you forever. I am so happy right now, you have no idea. 'Oh my Dad!' would be in order. I love you," Ben told Courtney.

"I will love you forever. I'm so happy," Courtney said in tears.

"I was hoping you'd say yes," Ben noted.

"Did you have any doubt?!" Courtney joked.

"You never know," Ben said. "I've loved you for a long time."

"This is the best day of my life!" Courtney exclaimed. "I'll love you forever. You're stuck with me!"

Ben then asked Courtney if she'd accept his final rose and she did with joy. The couple kissed, hugged and claimed they were the happiest two people in the world who had experienced the makings of a true fairytale although they hit "a few bumps" along the road.

Ben, a 29-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, selected Courtney, a 28-year-old model from Santa Monica, CA, over Lindzi Cox, a 27-year-old business development manager from Seattle, WA, during the finale.

"He didn't want me. I feel like if he really wanted to make it work with me, he would have. It really sucks having the man you love not love you back. If he does want to marry Courtney, I would be completely shocked. He would look like a total fool. I really thought this was someone I could settle down with and marry and start a life with. It does hurt. I really want to go home now," Lindzi lamented after Ben rejected her at the season's final Rose Ceremony.

The Bachelor's sixteenth-season finale began with Ben individually introducing Courtney and Lindzi to his family, who had traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland -- the finale's filming location -- to see Ben. Lindzi was the first bachelorette to meet the family members -- which consisted of Ben's mother Barbara and his sister Julia.

Ben said he was "head over heels in love" with both Courtney and Lindzi. He needed more time with Lindzi to see if she could open up and be more vulnerable, while he was still concerned about his former bachelorettes' warnings that Courtney was two different people and had treated them very badly. So Ben knew he had a difficult decision to make but was certain he had found love, which was the whole reason his The Bachelor journey ever began.

Ben was hoping to get some answers from his family and receive an outside perspective on his relationships. He was looking forward to their support and felt relief as his "backup had arrived." Ben's sister told him a woman who failed to get along with the other bachelorettes should be a big "red flag" in his eyes and he should think carefully about that. Ben noted his sister normally didn't approve of his past girlfriends.

Lindzi ended up getting a little klutzy and nervous around Ben's family, but she calmed down over time. She sat down with Barbara to talk, and Lindzi told her Ben was compassionate, loved life and they had wonderful conversations.

Lindzi said she fell in love with Ben, loved the person he was and would be "so honored" if she was the one he picked. She said she wasn't willing to let him go.

Lindzi then spoke to Julia and admitted she was a skeptic at first and wasn't planning on falling in love but did. Julia then asked about Courtney and Lindzi told Julia she was completely different from herself and very shut off from the other women in that she refused to become friends with anyone.

Julia said she'd be very, very happy if Ben picked Lindzi.

"After talking to Lindzi today, I truly feel like she would be a very good pick for my brother. She's a very warm and easy person to talk to and seemed excited to start a future with my brother," Julia said.

Julia then told Ben she believed Lindzi really wanted to give herself to him and once that floodgate was opened, it would be really great. Ben was pleased Lindzi got his sister's "stamp of approval" and was so glad she was well received.

"I feel really good. Ben's family is awesome and I really enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them and I see a future. I'm really excited about where this is going, and after today, I feel like I'm one step closer to getting a proposal from Ben," Lindzi said.

"I'd say Lindzi is a total package and a nice young woman, and I think she really does love Ben, and I think she could very easily be ready to be engaged next week. She's great," Barbara said.

Once Lindzi left and Ben's family had time to reflect, Barbara noted how Courtney was a model. She reminded Ben that "beauty is only skin deep."

Meanwhile, Julia was shocked at the idea of a model becoming her sister-in-law and said, "Oh God Ben, come on." Julia thought it wasn't cool that Courtney didn't want to get to know any of the other girls and said she wasn't going to hesitate expressing her opinions to Ben because time was running out and she didn't want him to make a mistake.

Ben said he didn't think the Courtney everyone else got to know was the same girl he fell for. Julia thought Lindzi was wonderful and she liked her so much, that it made her feel apprehensive to warm up to Courtney because of the negative things she had just learned.

Afterward, Courtney met Ben's family and she was scared but excited, because she really wanted everything to go well -- just as Ben did. Ben said it was going to be important for Courtney to be herself to relieve some of his remaining concerns.

Courtney told Julia she really tried in the beginning to get along with the girls but gave up after they judged her and disliked her right off the bat. Courtney could tell that Julia and Barbara were skeptical and that Julia was ready to pounce on her with questions.

Once Courtney and Julia spoke in private, the bachelorette told Ben's sister that the girls weren't interested in getting to know her, so she put a guard up.

Courtney said if people were nasty to her, it brought out a bad side to her. She tried to convince Julia she was in love with Ben and was in the competition just for him. Julia hoped she could trust Courtney and believe her word, and Courtney hoped Ben's family wouldn't judge her on what they had heard from others.

Courtney then talked to Barbara, and she said it felt like things were too good to be true with Ben and it was a fairytale. She said she felt vulnerable but was confident in the connection they made.

Once Courtney left, Ben asked Julia what she thought of Courtney. Julia said her first impression of Courtney was shocking and that she went into the day with a "clear clean slate" only to discover results she hadn't expected at all.

"I'm blown away. She's a really amazing girl. I actually learned a huge lesson today that you can't judge a book by its cover. I found her to be very, very sweet. I really felt like I got to know her today and I do think she would fit really, really well into the family," Julia said.

Julia told Ben it felt very natural with Lindzi, but she gave him her approval for Courtney as well. Barbara had a similar opinion.

"I found her to be a very kind person. She said she really loved him and I think that he looks like he has really fallen in love with her. He just seems happy with her, and who wouldn't want happiness for their children?" Barbara explained.

"I am ready to get engaged to Ben and start a life with him," Courtney said after her time with Ben's family.

Once Courtney left, Ben asked his loved ones for advice. Julia said Lindzi was sweet and easy to like, while Barbara thought she was lovely and accomplished in her career -- a lovely person. Julia said she felt like Lindzi was still a little apprehensive in the process. Ben wondered whether the "slow burn" with Lindzi was a better road to take that the quickly blossoming relationship he had developed with Courtney.

Julia and Barbara then told Ben collectively they thought Courtney was impressive -- someone who was strong and secure and had depth to her. Julia felt she was honest, while Barbara thought she showed her true colors. Julia believed Courtney was more like the kind of girl Ben wanted and was looking for, but Ben was worried about the repercussions that would occur if he chose Courtney in the end.

Ben knew if he were to propose to Courtney, there would be hurdles but he'd have to stick by her side. In the end, Julia ultimately told him to do what was right for him and not for everybody else. Ben agreed he had to select the woman who'd be the best fit for him.

The next day, Ben and Lindzi took a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Zermatt, and she said it felt great to have the one she loved next to her. The couple then went skiing, which was something Lindzi had always wanted to do.

They shared a private picnic on a gondola during their date, and while it suspended above the Swiss Alps, Lindzi told Ben the journey had been really hard for her but she was trying to be more open. Ben told her he definitely saw a future with her, and Lindzi replied that she wanted to start a life with him and would give him everything she could.

"I'm excited but tonight, I don't want to hold anything back. I want to give him the confidence that when he does propose to me, he's making a really good decision," Lindzi said at the end of her skiing date, suggesting she planned to lay it all out on the line for Ben later on.

That night, Lindzi told Ben things were only going to get better between them and she relied on her sense of humor to get through tough times. She said it was rare in life to find someone she could really open up to and feel entirely new feelings for. She told Ben she fell in love with him, wanted to make a life with him and make him happy at the same time.

She said she was ready to be engaged and anticipated the next step in their relationship. Lindzi then thanked him for being patient, while Ben was thankful Lindzi got to the emotional point he had been waiting for since the beginning.

"The way that this woman loves me, I feel like it's true and good and honest. I'm looking at this woman and I want to tell her that I love her. It's hard for me not to be able to say something back to her in the moment, but tomorrow, I have my last date with Courtney, and as much as I want to tell her, I don't think it's fair," Ben said.

The couple then kissed and Lindzi assured Ben she wanted him and loved him. She said she was 100% percent sure of their relationship.

The following day, Ben had his date with Courtney, and he felt great because all his concerns were lifted off his shoulders. Courtney didn't think Lindzi had much depth and she said she was beginning to forget about all the other girls who had recently been in Ben's life. She felt confident and satisfied that she'd be the one to get engaged to Ben in the end.

Ben and Courtney took a helicopter ride together and observed the sights and snow-capped mountains. Courtney felt a very strong connection with Ben and wanted to feel that way forever. She said she trusted him and wanted to keep him because she never felt that way about a man before. Courtney explained she didn't want anything to come between them.

Courtney then explained the end of The Bachelor journey was bittersweet because she was glad it was almost all over but was a bit sad simultaneously. Courtney told him he was worth everything she went through because she didn't have an easy time, but looking back on everything, she had no regrets.

"It feels really good. It feels like a weight has been lifted. I got the stamp of approval and that's really huge for me, so that's what tells me this is right and maybe the timing of us is perfect," Courtney said.

"I'm completely and utterly myself. I'm so happy to be around her. She makes me feel like a kid. I've always wanted to feel this comfortable around a woman. We've had our struggles, but it's nice to be where we're at right now -- past all of that," Ben said, adding both women were incredible and there was a lot on his mind.

That night, Ben met Courtney in her room and she had a letter and gift waiting for him. She was worried she might lose him but needed to trust in their connection. She hoped he felt the same way, but all Courtney could do was tell Ben she was in love with him and feel vulnerable.

Courtney said she put herself out there more than she ever had in her past. She was used to giving without getting much in return in her prior relationships, but she was certain things would be different with Ben. Courtney then gave Ben her gift and it was a journal she had been working on filled with pictures and notes.

Courtney also read her love letter aloud. She said she felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have found him and that Ben felt like home to her in the present and future. Courtney reiterated her love for him and then asked Ben if he had any concerns. Ben said he didn't and that his parents gave him the clarity he needed.

However, Ben was a bit annoyed that Courtney was still so defensive when he had to do whatever it took to find the answers he needed to feel confident in his love.

"Right now, I'm confused. I thought things were going well, but there are times I don't understand her, There are times when she frustrates me. I've come too far to stop thinking about everything now. This is a really big decision and I need to be 100% percent certain," Ben explained in a confessional.

Courtney said she did everything she could and the rest was up to him.

"I'm really worried that if Ben can't get over everything that's happened with the girls -- I'm terrified of losing him. There's just this small part that I think doubts me," Courtney said in tears after their date. "I'm terrified that Ben might do to me what [Ashley Hebert] did to him and it hurts. My heart hurts just thinking about it."

The next day, Ben contemplated his decision and admitted it would be a risk to propose to Courtney. He had such high hopes and didn't want to make the wrong choice because he pictured a life with both women, who were very attractive to him and unique in their own ways.

Ben then prepared for the The Bachelor's sixteenth season's final Rose Ceremony and was thrilled because he knew he had fallen deeply in love and was confidently choosing the woman who was right for him and his life. Ben felt it was meant to be, and he and his final bachelorette were "put on the planet to be together."

Ben acknowledged he followed his gut and intuition and truly believed the person he loved was going to love him back just as much this time around. However, Ben had to let a woman he also loved go.

Lindzi was the first bachelorette to land atop a mountain and step out of the helicopter, and Ben was awaiting her with some heartbreaking news.

After Lindzi expressed how she had anticipated the best moment of her life and Ben told her he loved her and complimented her in numerous ways, he transitioned the conversation with an alarming "but..." and continued his speech.

"I need those moments to last a lifetime, and ugh, I've found that with someone else. I'm sorry. I'm in love with someone else. I want you to know that it didn't come easy. That's the only way I can describe it -- the nerves in the pit of my stomach and this being the hardest decision I've made ever. I'm sorry," Ben explained.

Ben then walked Lindzi to the helicopter and admitted he was shaking. He apologized repeatedly and Lindzi held her composure and somehow maintained a smile.

"I'm mad at myself for just not giving you what you needed. It kills me that I couldn't give you that and I wanted to so badly. I thought I did, but I don't know. Well, good luck and if things don't work out, call me," Lindzi told Ben.

"Saying goodbye to Lindzi is one of the worst feelings I've ever had. It's difficult to think about proposing to one woman when I have feelings for another. Right now, I'm confused. I'm unsure of how this is going to end," Ben said.

After there was nothing left to be said, Ben sent Lindzi off with nothing but a final goodbye. Once he painfully let Lindzi go, he was excited to confess his love to the woman whom he claimed was his match, Courtney.

"You kind of took my breath away. I might need a sec. What a journey, what a journey. It's been an incredible road getting to this point with you through all the ups and downs that we've encountered -- real signs of what life could be. From our first date in Sonoma where I felt we were on this same path and this same wavelength of sorts and where we kind of understood each other to Belize where I had a moment past, present and future on the top of the ruin," Ben explained.

"And it always seems like whenever I'm with you, I have these incredible moments. I thought to myself, 'I could see myself with this woman for the rest of my life,' and I want you to know that I think you are an incredible woman, an incredible woman."

"But I promised myself that I wouldn't get down on one knee again unless I was certain it was forever, and I want to tell you that you are my forever. You're my forever, and I have waited a really, really long time -- a really, really long time -- to tell you that I'm in love with you more than you will ever know and this entire experience and journey has been worth it every step of the way. So, with all of that said, Courtney, will you marry me?"

"Yes, of course I will! I love you so much! Ben! Beautiful, I love it! I will love you forever," a happily-overwhelmed Courtney replied.

During the After the Final Rose special which followed the finale, Ben and Courtney -- the "most controversial couple in America" both told their sides to the same story, putting all the speculation and media scrutiny to rest. Ben told The Bachelor host Chris Harrison he was still in love with Courtney.

However, Ben said the couple didn't talk during much of the show's broadcast run and they were broken up because of all the negative energy surrounding the broadcasts. He said he cracked under all the pressure and shock of seeing Courtney's villainess persona that all the other bachelorettes had warned him about and stressed.

Ben told Chris he called things off with Courtney because he had to reassess their relationship and his feelings for her, which was the lowest moment for him out of his entire experience. Despite reports, he then swore on his father's grave he had never cheated on Courtney -- insisting the women he was shown kissing in an issue of Us Weekly were just old friends whom he didn't actually lock lips with.

Ben also admitted Courtney tried on wedding dresses to divert the attention off of Ben onto herself in a more positive light. It was then Courtney's turn to talk. 

Courtney told Chris she felt responsible for the state of her relationship with Ben but was devastated when Ben decided to split and call off their engagement. She said they were extremely happy for one month and then "a big storm rolled in" as The Bachelor continued airing.

One week before Valentine's Day, Courtney said she didn't receive anything from Ben and spent days inside her house crying. She said marriage meant a lot to her, and she only wanted to be engaged once. Courtney then acknowledged that Ben "abandoned her" when she needed him most although she tried to be understanding and give him space.

Courtney also admitted a lot of trust had been lost between herself and Ben, and she found his behavior very disappointing. Chris then asked Courtney whether she and Ben considered themselves to be a couple, and Courtney said they were together but didn't really know their status despite the fact she loved him and was willing to try. Courtney was hopeful they could move forward as long as they could talk things out.

Ben then joined Courtney and revealed they were still engaged. Courtney said she wouldn't be able to trust him fully, while Ben wished he could've seen her throughout the season to talk things out while the show aired. Ben told Courtney he wanted to be with her and wouldn't leave her side again. He said he messed up by abandoning her and should've been more of a man by stepping up to the plate rather than running away.

Chris then offered Courtney her Neil Lane diamond engagement ring back if the couple was ready to re-announce their engagement, and Ben gladly put the ring back on his fiancee's finger. The pair said a wedding was definitely in their future.

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