star Emily Maynard
selected Jef Holm
as her final suitor and he proposed to her during Monday night's eighth-season finale of the ABC reality dating show.
"I found my everything and I'm so in love with you, and I promise you Emily that if you let me into your life and Ricki's life, you will never feel lonely again. I love you so much, and I want you to know that what I'm about to ask you aren't just empty words where in a few weeks or in a few months or in a few years, or even a few decades, will be lost. What I'm about to ask you is a forever thing," began Jef, who then got down on bended knee.
"Emily, will you marry me?" Jef asked.
Emily looked at Jef with a smile, paused, and then gave him her answer.
"Yes!" Emily simply said.
Emily selected Jef, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Salt Lake City, UT, over Arie Luyendyk
Jr., a 30-year-old race car driver from Scottsdale, AZ, during the finale.
eighth-season finale began with Emily's family traveled to Curacao to see her and meet her remaining two bachelors.
Emily admitted she fell in love with two different guys and thought she'd already have her mind made up, but it wasn't.
Emily's family, which included her mother Suzy, father David, brother Ernie, and sister Bethany, met Jef first. Suzy thought Jef had all the qualities Emily wanted in a husband and father. Jef told Emily's mother he would never get jealous of Emily's relationship with her six-year-old daughter Ricki, now seven-years-old, and would love Emily every day of forever without a thought ever crossing his mind to leave her.
Ernie then spoke with Jef and said no men after her late fiance Ricky Hendrick, who had died in a tragic plane crash, were ever able to live up to his standards. Ernie thought Jef was a great guy and very sincere, and then Jef asked for David's blessing to marry Emily if things worked out for him in the end. David was thrilled to give Jef his blessing and told him it was obvious he brought happiness to Emily's life.
Emily never anticipated how much her family would like Jef, and she hoped they'd be open-minded about Arie and give him a fair chance.
"Yesterday, Jef certainly made an impression on me. So, when I met Arie, I thought, 'He's certainly got his work cut out for him. I'm not sure why we're even going through the actions of seeing another guy today,'" David said.
The following day, Arie met Emily's family. Arie thoughtfully gave her family all the roses he had collected from Emily throughout the season as a gift. He said every single one of them had a story and a memory, and he wanted to share something that special with them since they weren't there to witness the journey along the way. Arie told Suzy meeting Emily was fate, and Suzy said she was completely blown away by both guys. She thought they both were fantastic.
Ernie said he had made his mind up prior to meeting Arie, but after speaking with him and finding out how much he was in love with Emily, he was confused and didn't know whose side to take or how to help his daughter. Arie told David he couldn't imagine losing Emily and he'd do everything he could to stop that from happening. Arie then asked Emily's father for permission to propose to if Emily ended up selecting him. David was happy to give Arie his blessing, and Arie believed the next time he'd see Emily's family was going to be as her fiance.
After her family spent time with both guys, Emily hoped her loved ones could determine which guy was the best fit for her since she was still uncertain.
"I don't believe that you can love two people at once, so you're in love with one or the other now," David told Emily.
Emily said she loved different things about both guys and she just didn't know what to do. Emily wasn't sure if she wanted to introduce Jef and Arie to Ricki. Emily's mother gave her the advice to hold off on an engagement because it would be important to integrate Ricki the proper way into the new equation. Emily also worried about being "that girl" who gets engaged three times and doesn't end up in a happy marriage. She began questioning everything and what she wanted out of the show.
"The fact I still don't know who the guy for me is makes me wonder if any guy here is for me. I'm not 100% percent sure if I'm ready to get engaged at the end of all this, because it's not all about me. It's me and my daughter. There's a lot of pressure to make the right choice for me and for Ricki for the rest of our lives. It's just been a long day," Emily said in tears.
The next day, Emily went on her final date with Jef in Cas Abao. Jef explained he was absolutely in love with Emily and felt complete in her presence, but he knew he still had to meet Ricki and that was extremely important to him. The couple sat on the beach and Emily told him she was stressed, but Jef admitted he wasn't. Jef didn't think he'd feel so sure about things, but it amazed him because he was. Jef told her he couldn't wait to meet Ricki but understood it was her decision to make. Emily hesitated to let them meet because she felt guilty for having previously introduced Ricki to Brad Womack
considering their relationship didn't work out.
Jef asked Emily to see things from his perspective, and she could see where he was coming from. Emily didn't plan on allowing Ricki to meet any of the guys, but she quickly changed her mind and said she absolutely wanted Jef to meet her in order to see that huge part of her life. Since Jef was important to her and Ricki was the most important thing to her, Emily decided she couldn't get the full picture of what her future life would be like without them meeting. Jef said meeting Ricki was the final piece to the puzzle he needed before confidently proposing to Emily, and Emily said if things didn't go well, it would be the end of them.
Emily explained she couldn't expect Jef to commit to her without getting to know her daughter, therefore, Jef finally got to meet Ricki and he was ecstatic but nervous. Emily introduced Ricki to Jef while she was swimming and doing tricks in the pool, and it didn't take long for Ricki to ask Jef to come and join her in the water. At the end of their day together, Jef said he had a blast with Ricki and their interactions just felt natural. Emily insisted Jef had exceeded all of her expectations, and she had no question in her mind Jef would be the best dad and best husband in the world.
That night, Emily and Jef enjoyed wine and some conversation, reflecting on their whole journey together.
"I don't ever fall in love like this. I've never been in love like this, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't more excited than I've ever been in my entire life," Jef told the cameras. "I can see spending the rest of my life with her and loving her everyday... I hope she sees that life with me too."
During their date, Jef gave Emily a book about Curacao because it marked a huge turning point in their relationship, and Jef drew little pictures inside of them together at certain destinations -- which made Emily laugh.
The next morning, host Chris Harrison met up with Emily because she wanted to talk to him. Emily told him she had already come to a decision, much to Chris' surprise and relief.
"It just felt so comfortable that it was like, 'This is it.' I was so scared I was going to get to the final day and still be going back and forth between these two perfect guys. But this just did it for me and pushed me over the edge, and I know that Jef is everything I've been looking for!" Emily told him.
"Your mind is made up; You are done. I could not be happier for you. I'm so excited and I really wanted this to work for you," Chris said.
However, it didn't take long for Emily to break down into tears. She said she couldn't be happy for herself and Jef just yet, because she just felt so bad about having to break Arie's heart. Emily was positive Arie wasn't the guy for her and didn't know if she could even go through a whole date trying to be herself with him knowing in the back of her mind she was going to dump him.
"It sounds like you know what you want to do and probably need to do today," Chris noted.
"Yeah, I need to tell Arie that as much as I love him, I've just fallen in love with someone a little bit more... I don't even know how to start the conversation," Emily explained.
Chris told her to be as honest with Arie as she was being with him, but Emily didn't seem to think it was going to be that easy.
"I would not be able to go on a date with Arie today knowing that my feelings for Jef are on a different level. It's just not fair to Arie. He deserves so much more than that. The hardest thing about today is actually saying the words to Arie that I want to be with someone else. Those words alone don't convey to him everything behind it. I did fall in love with him and he's been so good to me and so open, and just knowing how bad it's going to hurt him, I know how bad it hurts me and I don't want to see him upset," Emily explained.
"My heart is broken. It's supposed to be the happiest time of my life because I feel like I've found my guy, but my heart is broken because I need to say goodbye to Arie and nothing has happened for him to have ever seen this coming."
When Arie's date began, the race car driver was so excited to potentially meet Ricki and enjoy his final date with his future wife whom he was completely head-over-heels for and ready to propose to. Arie couldn't wait for the moment when he could hear Emily tell him she was in love with him as well, because he firmly believed in his heart she truly was in love with him.
Emily then met up with Arie and asked him to sit down to chat within a matter of moments.
"I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say, but you know how I felt about you from our very first date. And even beyond that, I felt like it was going to be me and you and I don't know anymore," Emily said in distress.
"Well I don't understand, what changed?" Arie asked in confusion.
"It was just yesterday -- My parents loved you. My family loved you. I never thought I'd have to make a choice between you and anybody. I always thought it was going to be you," Emily explained.
"You don't have to say it, anything else?" Arie bluntly questioned.
"But I want you to know -- I'm sorry," Emily said. "I don't want you to think it's because of anything you did or didn't do. You are everything."
"I'm shocked. I completely thought we had something and it's..." Arie started.
Emily told him they did have something special and she always meant everything she had said. Emily explained she just had more confidence in a long-term relationship and lasting future with Jef. All Arie could say in response was, "Gotch you."
Arie then walked off and claimed there was nothing left to be said except for "good luck." Arie claimed he couldn't give Emily the goodbye she wanted and thanked her for saving him the embarrassment of being dumped at the final Rose Ceremony. Emily cried hysterically as she walked him to the car. Arie then gave her a last kiss goodbye, wished her luck and left.
"I am f-cking confused. I feel stupid. I feel naive, you know, that I had that dream for us. I just feel like I give so much and am so open and am such a loving person that I deserve some of that back. I feel like I give way more than I get. I really felt like she was the kind of person that, I don't know. Like I said, I guess I just misjudged. It's just unreal that it's over. Unreal," Arie said in tears upon his departure.
"I was so sure. She's always made me feel so secure in us. I still believe that she is the love of my life. That's what is so painful. Ever since the beginning, this has just been about Emily and I, and I can't believe that I'm here. I just can't believe that this is it. It felt really good to fall in love, and it just makes me realize it's just so hard to find that person."
The day of the final Rose Ceremony quickly drew near, and Emily said she woke up with so much love in her heart. She found the person she knew could be with her forever, and she was the happiest girl in the world knowing it was Jef. Jef had that edge she was always looking for but was also kind, thoughtful and sweet. She felt like she, Jef and Ricki could be a team together, and she pictured the perfect life with him.
Jef picked out his engagement ring for Emily and wanted the picture he had in his mind of being with Emily to come true. He said he'd be completely committed to being the best husband and best dad ever. He said Emily was all he ever wanted and more, so ultimately, he was scared because he knew a lot could happen during the "home stretch." Emily was worried about getting engaged due to the risk of breaking up down the road again, therefore, she didn't know if she could accept the offer. Meanwhile, Jef feared he was going to get his heart broken that day.
Later on, Emily prepared for The Bachelorette's
eighth season's final Rose Ceremony and was thrilled about what was to come.
Emily stood waiting in a courtyard surrounded by flowers for Jef's arrival and couldn't wait to look at him and tell him everything she hadn't been able to tell him thus far. She was sure she was madly in love with him and never thought in a million years she'd be that in love with someone. Emily didn't have many worries about Jef, but she was still hesitant to accept a proposal due to her dating history.
Jef then approached Emily in his suit and immensely anticipated her first words.
"Well, it's been a long road but one I can look back on every single moment -- even the lowest -- and know that it was all worth it, because I can stand here and tell you that you're everything I've looked for for so long. I really do feel like you're my soulmate and really are the perfect person for me, and you get me better than anyone has ever. I love you so, so much -- so, so much. I know you are the one for me, and so much so, that you are the only one that got to meet Ricki and I didn't go on a date with Arie yesterday and he's not even here," Emily told him. "So it's just me and you! [It's] our day. Just me and you."
"That's the best thing I ever heard, thank you," Jef said.
After a short loving and heartfelt speech, Jef popped the question and Emily accepted.
The couple held each other and kissed repeatedly, saying "I love you" to each other in between. Both Jef and Emily strongly believed and were convinced they had found their happy ending together. Ricki then joined the newly-engaged couple and the new family walked off together.
During the live After the Final Rose
special which followed the finale, Emily confirmed she is still in love with and engaged to Jef. They had been able to spend some time together while The Bachelorette
aired, and with Ricki, and Jef said things had been better than he ever expected.
Jef also plans to move to Charlotte, NC for Ricki's sake and live in separate homes until their wedding -- which will definitely be in their near future and possibly in the spring if Emily gets her way. Arie had also received the closure he had been waiting for since his emotional exit.