Desiree selected Chris, a 27-year-old mortgage broker from Seattle, WA, over Drew Kenney a 27-year-old digital marketing analyst from Scottsdale, AZ, during the finale -- but only after she struggled to gather her emotions and pick up the pieces following Brooks Forester's decision to dump her and unexpectedly leave the show.
During a Tuesday conference call with reporters, the happily engaged couple talked to Reality TV World about their overall experience on the show and current relationship.
Reality TV World: Des, viewers have been wondering why you never told Chris that you had already eliminated Drew until the very last minute. Because that seemed to suggest you weren't confident Chris was the one for you or you were looking to keep open the option that Brooks might come back. Was that something where the producers wouldn't let you tell him Drew was gone, or what was going on there?
Desiree Hartsock: No, actually, I mean, I just didn't want to put that added pressure onto him. I never had any kind of hope for Brooks to come back. That ship had sailed. So I was just focused on my relationship with Chris, and you know, I wanted it to be the right moment and the right time to really express everything to him.
Yeah, I didn't want to that added pressure if he knew he was the only one meeting my family or the only one that was still left. So I think it worked out nicely, the way he found out.
Reality TV World: Jimmy Kimmel aired a spoof video last night about Des settling for her second choice in picking you, Chris, after Brooks left the show. While it kind of seemed clear that was the case, Chris, you seem genuinely okay with that and a lot of viewers are surprised at how at ease and comfortable you seem about the situation. Can you talk about that a little bit? And Desiree, could you share your own thoughts on that?
Chris Siegfried: I was confident the entire time in the relationship that Des and I were building. And a lot of that stuff doesn't air, but that's okay, and I just had feelings grow for her each and every day.
Being with Des was something that I could see in my future forever, and so, when Brooks ultimately decided to leave, while that did play a little bit of a factor, it didn't really affect my decision-making process. I still knew that at the end of the day, I wanted to be with Des and that's what I was focused on.
Desiree Hartsock: Yeah, and I mean, Chris was never a second choice. There were still two weeks left even when Brooks left, like I didn't even have a date with him. And those last two weeks, if you talk to anyone, those are vital because it's not just about qualities. It's really about picturing a life together and making sure it's going to fit.
So regardless of Brooks leaving or not and what was shown with my emotions and how strongly I felt, I still don't know how I would have ended up. Because Chris and I always had a strong connection from the very first time we ever talked, and I think it's going to be nice for everyone to go back and watch that progress, because that was definitely a natural progression.
Reality TV World: Some viewers are wondering why you would bother giving Drew a rose at the Rose Ceremony if you were just going to turn around and dump him what seemed to be the very next morning when you two met up for your final date. Could you explain that decision and do you almost regret offering Drew that rose since he was probably feeling great about his chances after that?
Desiree Hartsock: Sure, I mean, the Rose Ceremony happened the day after. So I didn't have much time to really collect my thoughts. And so, that Rose Ceremony, there was no other option than to really give them both the rose and then take the time that day to really sort out my thoughts.
And so, that's why when I did reflect on each relationship the day of the date I had with Drew, I knew that I didn't think there could be a future.
Below are some additional highlights from Desiree and Chris' call with reporters.
Chris, could you explain what was going through your mind when Des stopped you right before you got down on one knee and proposed to her?
Chris Siegfried: (Laughs) Oh yeah, well, let's see. Well, I was getting down on one knee to propose and she so kindly brought me back up. So I was, at first, you know, wondering what it was that she had to tell me right at that instant.
But when I first walked up to her and saw her and saw her smile and she gave me a kiss, I knew that the next few minutes were going to be positive. So I was just open to hearing whatever she had to say. I was a little nervous, but in the end, it actually ended up being great.
When Brooks left Des, you said it was the end for you and you wanted to leave. And I think some of us are just wondering how you went from that dark place to getting engaged just a couple days later. Can you talk us through that a little bit?
Desiree Hartsock: Of course, I mean, anybody can relate that in a heartbreak or in a breakup or in any type of rejection, the first thing you want to do is just be alone and you want to curl up in your bed and kind of eat a tub of ice cream, and I didn't have the opportunity to do that. So I don't know.
It's a normal tendency to be hurt after rejection, but the way I got past it is, you know, the feelings that come during this experience, they're very accelerated just because I do get to know these guys pretty quickly.
I think that's also what helped me get past it pretty quickly, is because I can't make someone love me, and so I wasn't going to dwell on that but really take time to see the other relationships that I formed. And yeah, I was actually able to really just look beyond Brooks leaving and to see the good, you know, that was going to come from it.
Chris, why did you opt out of watching Brooks' goodbye in full?
Chris Siegfried: You know, that was something Des and I decided early on -- that the one nice thing, or however you will take it, for Des and I, is that we've been able to build something very strong since the proposal.
And we decided early on that it was just best for her and I to just -- for me to watch the parts that we shared together in all the episodes, and it really isn't hard for me to turn the TV off after our dates.
Desiree Hartsock: Yeah, we weren't going to let what had happened in the past really define what our future was going to be.
Chris Siegfried: Yeah, there's no real reason to bring up old feelings like that, especially like she said, she was able to move on in such an accelerated atmosphere.
Chris, Des has been through this before with the scrutiny that comes with being on this show. How has it been for you so far? Could you talk about that?
Chris Siegfried: I've only had nothing but kind remarks. People have been very, very nice with their words and their positive support. And it's been nice. It's been nice to have that following. So going forward, I'm planning on dealing with it just the same way I would deal with anything else. I'm planning on focusing on our relationship and just supporting her and her supporting me.
If people want to reach out and say, "Hi, I hope you guys are doing well," then that's great. There will be naysayers and that just is what it is. That's part of the nature of this. But we're both confident in what we have.
Have you two set a wedding date yet?
Desiree Hartsock: We have discussed it and we would love to get married next summer. We don't have an exact date, but we're definitely planning it.