'The Bachelorette' star Ashley Hebert determines final four bachelors
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/12/2011
The Bachelorette star Ashley Hebert eliminated two more bachelors, narrowing her love search to four men during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' seventh season.
Lucas Daniels, a 30-year-old oilfield equipment distributor from Odessa, TX was eliminated during the seventh episode's Rose Ceremony, while prior to the ceremony, Ryan Park, a 31-year-old solar energy executive from Corona Del Mar, CA was sent packing during his first one-on-one date with Ashley.
"I'm shocked. I don't want to be alone. I want to share this life with someone. I want it. I felt like she was the one for me. I didn't see it coming. I want someone more than you have any idea. You've got to be kidding me," Ryan said as he walked away sobbing and cursing after Ashley eliminated him mid-date.
"I want someone more than you have any idea. I want to find that person, and I want to love someone unconditionally. I want real love. I want real never-ending love who I can be myself with, and she can be everything that she wants and more, and I want to find a partner that shares the same joy in life that I do and wants to do great things and wants to be a great mother -- and I want to be a great dad. I will be someday. Someday, I will be. I will be."
The Bachelorette's seventh seventh-season episode began with the remaining six bachelors traveling from Hong Kong to Taipei, Taiwan.
Once they arrived and got settled into their hotel, host Chris Harrison met up with the men and told them there would be an upcoming twist in the competition.
Chris explained there would be four dates over the course of the next week -- three one-on-one dates and one group date. However, there would only be a rose up for grabs during the group date, which meant the bachelors would feel no pressure to receive a rose or fear failing to receive a receive and being ousted immediately as a result -- allowing them the chance to just spend some special time with Ashley.
J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from New York, NY, said he was really falling for Ashley and it pained him to watch her with the other men. He admitted he was truly invested in Ashley and felt his relationship with her was on a different level in comparison to her connection with the other bachelors.
Constantine Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Atlanta, GA then learned he'd be accompanying Ashley on the week's first one-on-one date.
The following day, Ashley and Constantine took a steam engine right outside of Taipei into a tiny village called Ping-Shi. Ashley said she definitely felt something there with Constantine but knew their relationship was moving slowly. However, Ashley was okay with how things were going and wanted to be patient in the hopes their connection would grow.
The couple then made love wishes on both sides of a traditional lantern and were required to release it into the air so their wishes could come true. Constantine took the activity very seriously and Ashley appreciated his interest and focused attention. They didn't choose to let their lantern go just yet.
Back at the hotel, Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA was told he would receive the next one-on-one date with Ashley and he was so excited to have been given the opportunity. However, Ryan was very upset because he had yet to get any serious alone time or one-on-one dates with Ashley and was the only bachelor still anticipating his first one-on-one date.
Meanwhile, back on Ashley's date, she and Constantine discussed their families and the "hometown stretch" -- the week leading up to the ultra-important hometown dates for the final four bachelors. Constantine told her it was possible for him to fall in love with her before she met his family, but it would serve as a huge step forward in their relationship.
Constantine proceeded to tell her it would be very important for his family to like Ashley but he had no doubts whether they would. The talk then got even more serious, as Constantine told Ashley he wanted the love between them to just happen naturally. He told her love shouldn't be forced and can't be rushed, adding they'd eventually feel a moment full of chemistry where they would recognize they had clicked.
Ashley and Constantine then let their lantern go, watched the display of lights in the sky and then kissed.
"I saw a lot of things that I loved in Constantine tonight. This date was a huge breakthrough for us. I think our relationship has really moved forward and I'm really excited to see what happens next," Ashley said.
Ashley said it was one of the most romantic nights of her life, while Constantine expressed how excited he would be to take Ashley home to meet his family.
"It is one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen... I'm so excited. All I want to do is take Ashley back to see my family. I'm hopeful, I'm open to the idea of marrying this girl. I'm ready to just share my life. I've never been happier," Constantine said.
The next day, Ben and Ashley embarked on their date. They rode a moped through the Taroko Gorge, and Ben loved having Ashley's arms wrapped tightly around him. He said it felt right and comfortable, and after their ride, they walked along a high narrow rope bridge to observe the scenery and shared a kiss.
Meanwhile, the other bachelors learned who would share the group date with Ashley.
Lucas; Ames Brown, a 31-year-old portfolio manager from New York, NY; and J.P. accompanied Ashley on the week's only group date. Ryan was thrilled when he realized he was the only man left, revealing he would be the bachelor to go on the last one-on-one date with Ashley for the week.
However, J.P. was overwhelmed with different emotions. He was angry, frustrated and jealous that he would have to share a date with Ashley and two other men when he simply wanted her all to himself.
On Ashley and Ben's date, Ben admitted he was completely smitten with her.
"I'm falling in love with Ashley, but I'm not ready to tell her yet. My feelings are getting stronger, and I'm going to wait until the time is right," Ben said.
Later on, the couple enjoyed a poolside dinner and Ashley asked him how the upcoming potential hometown date with his family might affect their relationship either positively or negatively. Ben assured her that his family would support them once they saw them together and noticed their connection and how happy they were as a pair.
Ben then went on to tell Ashley how strongly he was feeling for her in that emotions flooded him during their time together and she made it possible for him to open up again and put himself out there. He continued to compliment her and express himself, and Ashley looked into his eyes and repeatedly kissed him.
"It's the first time it's felt right in a long time for me, so I'm genuinely happy... There are no emotional barriers anymore. The walls have been broken because of Ashley. There are true feelings between Ashley and I. I really care for her. I really do. I'm glad I'm starting to fall in love," Ben explained.
"I think that I might be falling in love with Ben. I see Ben in the same light that I saw him on our last date, which is I feel more comfortable and I feel like I know him. I feel like he's my boyfriend. That's honestly how I feel," Ashley said.
The following day, J.P. was in a bad mood knowing the group date was arriving, but his attitude worsened when Ben finally came home from his date. The guys were jealous and confused as to why Ashley spent the night with Ben and had many questions. While Ben told the group he and Ashley slept in different rooms and nothing physical happened, J.P. was still fuming and had to leave the room.
With the group date already starting out on a bad note for the guys -- especially for J.P. -- he, Ames and Lucas met Ashley at a photography studio and learned they'd be taking wedding photographs as couples. Ashley said she wanted to know what it would be like to marry each one of them.
Each person had to get into a costume or "interesting apparel," according to Ashley, for the photography session. J.P. said he didn't want to see Ashley wearing a wedding dress for any other guy, but he unfortunately didn't have a choice. While J.P. lucked out and got to wear a traditional tuxedo next to Ashley, who wore a regular wedding dress, Lucas and AMes got the short end of the stick.
Lucas was forced to wear an outfit he referred to as a dress, and Ames was stuck wearing an outrageous tuxedo with pastel colors. Lucas complained that J.P. would have had such a sour attitude if he was told to wear either of the outfits he and Ames had on, expressing how J.P. would have "thrown a fit."
Although Lucas was the most displeased bachelor on the date because of the traditional Taiwan outfit he was required to wear, Ashley loved they were playing along. During the photo shoot, Ashley kissed Lucas and then Ames, and J.P. watched from the side wincing every time she shared a special moment with his competition.
When it became J.P.'s turn to be photographed, he couldn't raise his spirits. Ashley kept asking him to smile, and Ames commented while watching that he didn't think the photo shoot went well at all for J.P. and Ashley. Ashley even joked with J.P. and told him he was going to be the "worst groom ever." All the men were relieved when that portion of the group date was over.
"Today's group date sucked having to watch Ames and Lucas kiss her during the photo shoot. It took a toll, and I'm at the point where I care so much about her that I don't want to see her with any other guy. I certainly don't want to see her taking wedding pictures with the other guys," J.P. said. "It kills me and it's because I'm falling for her."
Ashley realized the guys didn't have as much fun as she hoped they would have, but they all attempted to move on and make light of the situation. Lucas then pulled Ashley aside and told her he felt a little foolish because he was in a "dress" and J.P. got to wear normal wedding attire.
Lucas admitted he didn't have a great time but was looking forward to their private conversation. Ashley felt bad that Lucas was uncomfortable at the photo shoot, but they dropped the conversation and moved on to more serious matters. She wanted to know that since Lucas was married before, it wouldn't be weird for him to bring her home. Lucas told her his family would be completely "cool" with the idea, and assured her not to worry because what was in his past would stay in his past.
Back at the hotel, Ben, Constantine and Ryan received the date card, which confirmed Ryan would be accompanying Ashley on the week's last one-on-one date in Taiwan.
On the group date, Ames sat down with Ashley and showed her pictures of him as a child and his family. He said he was really excited to introduce Ashley to his loved ones, and Ashley seemed just as happy.
Afterward, J.P. told Ashley their previous one-on-one date had caused him to reach a whole new level with her, and he told her how he had become crazily jealous over her with the other men.
He admitted he was jealous but also defended his position by telling Ashley he felt his feelings were completely normal for the stage they were in of their relationship. Ashley understood where he was coming from because she had been in his situation when she competed for Brad Womack's heart during the fifteenth season of The Bachelor and wanted to console him.
"I was just thinking, I know you of all the people here are a really strong man with a good head on his shoulders and to hear that you were having a really hard week, it really broke my heart. But I also feel your pain because I was there, and I want you to get through these hard times, because I think there's a good possibility that good things could come from it. I want to meet your family so bad, so J.P., will you accept this rose?" Ashley asked J.P.
"I feel back on Cloud 9. I got the rose on the group date. I'm not going to lie, it's a good feeling. I can't wait for her to meet my family," J.P. said afterwards, leaving the other men pretty disappointed.
The next day, Ashley took Ryan on their one-on-one date and they walked along a route where people were praying. They then approached a matchmaking god statue and Ashley explained they must make wishes, throw two bricks on the ground, and hope the bricks land on opposite sides in order for their wishes to come true.
They attempted the tradition, but their bricks happened to fall on the same side. The usually optimistic and perky Ryan took the unfortunate incident with a grain of salt and had high hopes for the rest of their date. They then wandered off and sat down by a little pond to have lunch so they could talk.
Ashley admitted numerous times that Ryan had all the qualities she was looking for in a guy, but she needed just a little bit more. She was hoping to find a romantic connection with Ryan, more natural chemistry with the man she was so fond of. However, after discussing Ryan's job a little and forcing small talk, Ashley realized their relationship could not be saved and had little hope of progressing in a truly romantic direction.
"The truth is, I feel a passion for some of the other guys that I'm not feeling for Ryan," Ashley said.
"Honestly, I know when I gave you that first impression rose, it was because I saw all these things that I still see in you. You're such a great guy and you have so many great things going for you. That's why it's really hard for me, because you're my perfect guy. In my head, you're my perfect guy, and I think I was looking to see if there was that romance there, and I've been looking and looking for it, but I'm just not feeling that," Ashley told Ryan.
"You're just such a great guy, but I just don't know if I see you as my husband."
"You don't want to meet my family?" Ryan asked.
"I'm just not feeling. I'm just not," Ashley said in tears while Ryan's face was an expression of shock. "I just want to be honest with you. I respect you so much that I just don't want to put you through the Rose Ceremony."
As Ashley walked him out, she said the look in his eyes almost made her want to rethink her decision and knew he really liked her. She acknowledged how he was such a smart guy but was looking at the end picture and didn't see him there at the final Rose Ceremony. The decision was very hard for Ashley, and she couldn't even say in confidence that she wouldn't regret her choice to send him home.
Later on, Ashley met with Chris and discussed the week. Ashley told him she felt like she made the right decision about Ryan after thinking about it more but just needed to push through the "dark clouds" she felt when she had to let men go whom she really cared about. She told Chris she knew the upcoming Rose Ceremony was the most critical because of the hometown dates the following week, and asked Chris if she could skip the cocktail party preceding the ceremony.
Ashley told him she knew exactly who she wanted to send home and didn't have any questions, which led her to believe a cocktail party would be a little disingenuous. Ashley also said she knew what she had to do, and so they rushed immediately into the ceremony.
Similar to her feelings for Ryan, Ashley just hadn't developed as strong of a romantic connection with Lucas as she had with the other bachelors. She had trouble picturing Lucas standing at the end of her journey with her, and as a result, felt it was only fair to let him go.
"Rejection is never fun. It was a shock. When my name wasn't called, it was a gut shot. I was super close to bringing Ashley home to meet my mom and dad and brother, and you know, I think I just built a slower connection than some. I just want somebody to wake up to. I just want somebody to just cook breakfast in the morning together -- just simple stuff. I don't know when I'm going to find that person. I wasn't ready for this to be over. I really wasn't," Lucas said following his ouster.
Besides J.P., Ashley gave roses to Constantine, Ben and Ames.
(Photo credit ABC)
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