The Bachelorette concluded with Michelle Young devastating her runner-up Brandon Jones and selecting Nayte Olukoya as her winner, who then proposed marriage during the Season 18 finale that aired Tuesday night on ABC.

Michelle and Nayte, a 27-year-old Canadian sales executive currently living in Austin, TX, got engaged on The Bachelorette two-hour finale and confirmed they are still happy, in love and house-hunting during the live one-hour After the Final Rose special, which featured a major surprise!


"Michelle, I love you. I love you! I never want to let go," Nayte said at the Final Rose Ceremony. "I am absolutely crazy in love."

When Nayte got down on one knee and asked Michelle to marry him, she responded with a huge smile, "Yes of course!"

Brandon, a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, OR, finished in second place with a confused and crushed heart.

The Bachelorette finale began with co-host Kaitlyn Bristowe running the live special in front of a studio audience because fellow co-host Tayshia Adams had been exposed to COVID.

Kaitlyn and the studio audience watched the ending of Michelle's journey to find love, and footage started with Michelle reflecting on her relationships with the two final men, Nayte and Brandon, while in her hotel room in Mexico.

Michelle said both men meant the world to her, just in different ways. She said Brandon cared so much and would be willing to do anything for her and she didn't know a man like Brandon even existed.

And with Nayte, Michelle said there was something "so special" about their relationship and she felt things for her that she had never felt before. Michelle boasted about their connection and chemistry, but the last piece for Michelle was having these men meet her parents.

Michelle met up with her parents and sister Angela, who were about to meet Nayte for the first time and see Brandon again. (Brandon had met Michelle's parents during a one-on-one date, when he and Michelle had been caught kissing in a hot tub and then Brandon received their blessing to propose marriage.

Michelle's parents, LaVonne and Ephraim, agreed that they really liked Brandon and thought he's a genuine soul, and Michelle's dad even said the bachelor had reminded him of himself and it appeared Brandon would be willing to do anything for Michelle and her happiness.

Brandon said speaking to the Youngs was "so comfortable" last time and he couldn't wait to tell them that he was in love.

Brandon gifted Ephraim new swimming trunks since Brandon had borrowed a pair while at their house in Minnesota, and the gesture definitely got a few laughs.

Ephraim revealed to Brandon how Michelle is extremely ambitious and wants to become a principal after receiving her Master's degree, and Brandon said his mother is a powerful woman and it wouldn't bother him at all to stand behind his wife and support her dreams.

Ephraim welcomed Brandon into the family and appeared to really like him.


Brandon then told LaVonne how he was "in love" with Michelle and he doesn't use that word lightly. Brandon also said he'd have no problem moving to Minnesota to be with Michelle and start a life there, especially since his job is remote and he can work from anywhere.

"I can see it in your eyes that you really love her, and you would be welcome in the family!" she told Brandon.

"I just want to marry her so bad," Brandon shared with tears in his eyes.

"I would be so happy if you're the one that's here in the end," LaVonne gushed, also crying.

LaVonne said she could picture Brandon being Michelle's best friend forever, and she wanted that for her daughter. LaVonne admitted Brandon had really won her heart, and his visit went over big.

Brandon told Michelle that he couldn't wait to become a part of her family if she chose him in the end, and Michelle could tell that Brandon's immediate bond with her loved ones was something special.

Michelle said the family gathering went "perfectly" and she was so glad her parents and sister had gotten to see how wonderful of a person Brandon is, someone who will "make [her] feel seen" and be with her every step of the way through life.

Michelle then introduced Nayte to her family, and she was hoping they would receive him in the same warm and sweet way.

Nayte gushed about how his feelings for Michelle were brand new to him and he was so happy to be in Mexico with her, and then he revealed how he went from "falling in love" with Michelle to being "in love" with her.

Ephraim said he felt "a different vibe" with Nayte than what he had experienced with Brandon, who came across as "a warmer person initially."

Nayte assured Ephraim that he was ready to get down on one knee and pop the question but he and Michelle hadn't worked out "the logistics" of their romance yet, such as where they were going to live and settle down.

"Okay, interesting," Ephraim said, before telling Nayte about Michelle's future goals and desire to remain in Minnesota.

Ephraim called Nayte's comments "vague," which presented him with a few concerns.

Nayte told Angela that moving to Minnesota would be "easy" for him because he loves a good adventure, but that made her worry about the bachelor essentially standing still and being rooted in his relationship with Michelle.

"I'm hoping that Nayte has the qualities Michelle has seen that we haven't seen," Ephraim noted. "She's an eternal optimist; she's always thinking of what could go right and not what could go wrong."


LaVonne also seemed a bit worried Nayte had never been in love prior to meeting Michelle. Nayte said he trusted his love for Michelle and "most definitely" felt like she's "The One" for him, even though he considered the phrase a bit "cliche."

Nayte insisted to LaVonne that he doesn't take love for granted, and she said she believed him. However, LaVonne didn't seem convinced the "reserved" Nayte was "100 percent in" and truly ready for an engagement by the end of the process.

Nayte repeated how he was "very ready to get down on one knee" and he was trying not to think about Brandon and Michelle ending up with another man.

LaVonne told Nayte that he seemed very kind and was saying all the right things but she wasn't getting the "feeling" that he meant deep down what he was saying. She apparently wanted him to be more open with his emotions.

"I think one of the things she likes about him is that he's maybe a little more surprising and a little less predictable, and to be honest, I am worried about that," LaVonne explained.

LaVonne expressed fear about Nayte potentially hurting Michelle and letting her leave the show without an engagement.

LaVonne then admitted to Michelle that she hadn't felt "warmth" with Nayte and had a bit more trouble connecting with him. LaVonne wondered if Nayte would make Michelle his priority and confessed that she didn't think Nayte was really ready to get engaged.

Michelle immediately broke down crying over the "rocky" conversation, and it "triggered" something inside of her. Michelle worried that maybe she was more into Nayte than he was into her because she was the one afraid of losing him.

Michelle reiterated how she deserves to be with a man who loves her as much as she loves him.

Nayte told Michelle after the meeting how LaVonne is "a straight shooter," and Michelle explained how her parents want a man for her who is going to choose her, put her first and stick around for her. Nayte seemed a bit deflated, but he promised Michelle that he loved her "a lot" and wants to be with her.

"I'm honestly disappointed to have... Michelle's mom not trust what I'm saying, because I love Michelle and I never want her to question anything about me," Nayte noted in a confessional.

"All I think about is just sharing a life with her. I really hope that is how all of this is going to play out. I hate how much I'm thinking about the heartbreak that could be right around the corner. I hate that I'm even letting myself go there right now."

Michelle realized she must "reassess" things with Nayte because she didn't want to be in a relationship where she'd be guessing about its longevity and whether the man would leave her.


LaVonne, Ephraim and Angela expressed how they just wanted Michelle to be happy and it would be "heartbreaking" for her journey to end "badly."

Michelle then enjoyed one last date with Brandon followed by Nayte.

Michelle admitted she was "falling in love" with Brandon but wasn't "in love" yet -- and she hoped she could get there with him or at least find the answer of whether he's her person.

For their date, Brandon and Michelle rode jetskis in the ocean, and the Bachelorette gushed about how Brandon made her feel safe and loved, nevermind the fact they always had so much fun and laughed together.

"I can't wait for tonight. I'm going to get this girl's heart! My main focus and my main goal is just to marry this woman at the end. That's my future wife," Brandon said in a confessional.

That night, over a couple glasses of wine, Brandon hoped to find out where Michelle's head was at heading into the Final Rose Ceremony, and the pair reminisced about their time on the show together.

Brandon gifted Michelle a sweatshirt, his favorite sweatshirt in the entire world that Michelle had spilled coffee and juice all over when the couple had a food fight after their overnight Fantasy Suite date.

Michelle thanked Brandon for being sweet and sentimental, and she appreciated all "the little things" he had done for her.

Michelle eventually shared how something had been weighing on her, and she told Brandon, "I'm really not falling in love. I feel like I'm already in love with you, and you make me feel very loved. And I want to make sure you know how much I care about you and that I am in love with you too."

The night exceeded Brandon's expectations, and he said he had been waiting to hear those words for so long.

"This is the greatest love I've ever had in my entire life," Brandon gushed to the cameras.

Brandon told Michelle again, "I love you," and the couple kissed and smiled. Michelle said she had never met a man who loved so much, and that's the type of love she had been searching for -- one with "chemistry, passion and everything in between."

Brandon, in that moment, was confident in the fact he was going to marry Michelle one day.

The next day, Michelle embarked on her last date with Nayte, and she attempted to channel his "inner vulnerability." Nayte insisted Michelle is the person he wants to be with, and so he didn't want to get his heart broken.

For their date, Michelle and Nayte participated in a sacred local ritual, which challenged both individuals to open up and verbally express themselves by speaking from the heart.

Nayte was told by the shaman that he was trying to not be emotional, and Nayte suddenly feared losing Michelle because he's not the best with his words. Nayte hoped to release all of her nervousness and fears regarding the unknown.

"I can tell he's putting in effort to be open and vulnerable, but during that ritual, I didn't feel like I was getting enough from Nayte," Michelle said, adding that if Nayte couldn't change that, his guarded nature would be a dealbreaker or at least a massive red flag.

Michelle believed their hearts were on the same page, but she needed Nayte to SHOW he cared and not just say it.

Nayte assured Michelle that he wanted to be next to her and go through life's ups and downs with her. Nayte said he appeared on The Bachelorette with only two suits and no expectations because he thought there was a slim chance he'd actually make it to the end.

"And I'm at the end, madly in love with you and wanting to spend the rest of my life with you," Nayte dished. "And it's terrifying, because this really could be IT for me. I could start the rest of my life with you and be the happiest guy in the world. I am scared as hell."

Nayte told Michelle that the idea of their relationship being ripped away from him in less than a week was crushing and he's crazy about her, which was exactly what Michelle wanted to hear. Nayte just hoped it wasn't too little too late for that deep conversation.

That evening, Michelle admitted to Nayte how she was feeling stressed out, given the Final Rose Ceremony was only one day away.

"I've never been more certain about somebody," Nayte shared with a smile, adding how he couldn't stop thinking about a life with Michelle.

Nayte said the idea of never seeing Michelle was "scary as hell" and he felt "more than ready" to propose marriage so their relationship could be "forever."

"I love you," Nayte said.

"I love you, too," Michelle replied.

Michelle said all she needed was that last piece from Nayte and she got it. Michelle apparently left the night with no lingering fears or doubts, and she truly felt in her heart like Nayte was "ready for this."

"I trust my heart, and I think my heart is telling me that this is my person," Michelle revealed.

Once Nayte left the date, Michelle discovered a letter under the door of her hotel room.

The letter was from Brandon, who put into words how he didn't want to face the world without Michelle and his love for her was beautiful and deep. Brandon said he'd always place her happiness about his and he just wanted her to follow her heart.

"I will love you forever... I've always seen you and I will always see you," Brandon wrote.

Michelle acknowledged that she was in love with two men and the following day was going to present her with the "hardest decision" she'd ever have to make.

Michelle wished her heart wasn't "torn" and split into two pieces. She said she could be happy with both Brandon or Nayte and have a fulfilling life with either man, and she just didn't want to be wrong, like she had been in the past about men.

Nayte and Brandon were then shown meeting with jewelry designer Neil Lane individually and each picking out an engagement ring. Nayte selected a pear-shaped design, saying he's never loved anyone as much as he loved Michelle.

Michelle valued both of her relationships but pointed out how she needed to put herself first and there was one man she'd be "devastated" to live her life without.

Michelle was convinced she'd never feel "unseen" again and she planned to follow her heart, but the reality was she'd be dumping a wonderful person and causing him terrible pain.

Michelle said she genuinely and deeply cared for her runner-up, and that man was Brandon, who anticipated getting engaged instead of dumped.

"If she says, 'Yes,' I'll be the happiest man to ever walk this earth, just knowing in the end I get her heart," Brandon told the cameras.

When Brandon joined Michelle on the beach and she was wearing a beautiful sparkly silver dress, Brandon shared how she's so special and he had found the missing piece of his life. Brandon said he didn't want to spend another second without Michelle or wake up another morning without her.

Michelle had a somber look on her face and said how she had never met a man like him before.

"But," Michelle said as she took a deep breath. "I promised myself that I would continue to follow my heart. It's not that I don't love you, because I do, it's just that my heart is leading me in a different direction. And I have to go with what I feel."

As Brandon kept taking deep breaths, Michelle assured him that he's an "unbelievable" person and she cared about him so much and didn't want to see him shut down. Michelle said he'd always have a piece of her heart and she was sorry.

"I'm so sorry," Michelle cried.

"I truly wish you nothing but happiness. I truly mean that, even if it's not with me," Brandon replied, choking back the tears.

"It was worth every second. Giving you my heart was worth it and something I will never regret. I will always be here for you."

Michelle then walked Brandon out, and as she cried, Brandon promised that it was okay.

"It's not okay," Michelle responded.

Brandon hugged Michelle and repeated, "I love you."

"I love you, too," Michelle said.

As the pair embraced on the beach, Michelle and Brandon both started to cry hysterically, and the look on Brandon's face was devastating.

Brandon tried to remain cool and just continued to hold onto The Bachelorette star, until he was forced to leave. Brandon bawled in astonishment and lamented how his future with Michelle was taken from him in a flash.

"No matter how painful it is and how my heart is just on the floor in f-cking pieces, at the end of the day, I'm still thinking about her -- and her happiness, and that's what's going to sting the most, because I know I was truly, truly in love with her," Brandon cried.

Brandon appeared to throw the engagement ring he had picked out for Michelle down the beach, and Brandon wondered if Michelle was making a huge mistake, despite what her heart had been telling her to do.

Michelle confessed that breaking Brandon's heart broke her own heart, adding that Brandon deserved to be happy but her heart belonged to Nayte and he's her "person."

Michelle said Nayte getting down on one knee would be the happiest moment of her life.

With that being said, Nayte walked down to Michelle by the ocean and said he had found his "forever" person and had not been so certain before because his mind and his heart were in sync for the first time in his entire life.

Nayte took Michelle's hands in his and said their Night 1 connection blossomed into a desire to run away with her.

"I want to run away with you. I want to run away to forever with the woman that I've come to love -- this amazingly, crazy, loud kind of love," Nayte told Michelle.

Nayte insisted that he was completely prepared, ready and willing to make sure she's always seen and chosen first for the rest of her life.

Michelle, in turn, said she had been feeling things for Nayte that she didn't even think were possible and they didn't exactly have the smoothest ride on The Bachelorette due to doubts and insecurities she had to fight along the way in their relationship.

"But I'm also not willing to face that fear of walking away from this without you," Michelle said. "Because I have never felt a love like this before. You have my entire heart, and I never want to think about waking up next to anyone besides you and doing life with anyone besides you."

Michelle added how her soul mate was standing right in front of her, and Nayte appeared ecstatic and overwhelmed.

After proposing marriage and hearing Michelle say, "Yes," Nayte told Michelle that he loved her so much and then placed an engagement ring on her finger.

Nayte laughed, cheered and called himself the happiest guy in the world, and then Michelle gave the suitor her final rose.

"This is my fiancee!" Nayte screamed after the Rose Ceremony.

"And this -- this is my 'soul Nayte,'" Michelle gushed.

A mariachi band serenaded the happy couple on the beach, and that's how Michelle's journey to find love ended!

On the one-hour live After the Final Rose special, Kaitlyn welcomed Brandon onstage, and he said he was doing "good."

Brandon apparently relied on family and friends after the show to lift him up, and Kaitlyn acknowledged how the finale was hard to watch and she even cried.

Brandon said he's glad Michelle had found her person "and congrats to her and Nayte," even though the process left him "devastated."

Walking up to Michelle on the beach on the final day of filming, Brandon -- who typically takes a while to open up and be vulnerable in relationships -- admitted he felt "sure" that he was going to be her winner but there is "beauty in the struggle."

Brandon said he knew everything was going to be okay while he was still in Mexico, and he's "always, always, always going to love Michelle."

"Unfortunately, I don't think it would be respectful to love her in that manner anymore," Brandon acknowledged. "I want her and Nayte to truly be happy, but I meant what I said. I will always love her, I will always care for her, and I will always put her first."

When Michelle joined Brandon onstage, he said his heart was pumping and she looked lovely. Their burgundy clothes even matched.

Brandon didn't know what to say, even though he had prepared for this moment, and so he just asked Michelle for clarity and essentially an explanation for the disconnect between them.

Michelle explained how she had truly fallen in love with both Brandon and Nayte and she had shared her honest thoughts and feelings with him throughout her journey.

"When I did share that I was in love with you, I wasn't sharing that because I had already made a decision. I was sharing that because it's something I had been holding back because I didn't think I was capable of falling in love with two people," Michelle said.

Michelle explained how such a revelation was a scary thing for her, dating in the public eye, but not saying her true feelings would have been a disservice to Brandon and their relationship.

Brandon said he loved both Michelle and her family and his love might've been overlooked; however, he only knew his side of the story and his portion of her journey.

Brandon told Michelle that her eyes said it all, and he knew he was about to get dumped the moment he met up with her on the beach at the Final Rose Ceremony. Brandon said he missed her parents and was "confused," but he wished her the best with Nayte.

"It was just confusing when you never questioned me but you had to keep questioning [Nayte]," Brandon confessed. "But sometimes we don't understand what our heart is telling us, and sometimes you know what you want."

Kaitlyn then welcomed Nayte onstage, and it marked Nayte and Michelle's first appearance in public as a happily-engaged couple.

"Finally!" Michelle announced with glee in her voice, adding how she's so happy to declare she's in love and no longer have to sneak around with her fiance.

Nayte recalled how falling in love with Michelle was like listening to his favorite song, and Michelle had a big smile on her face and just seemed totally smitten.

Michelle said love doesn't always have to be perfect with no speed bumps in the road and Nayte was able to work through things with her parents and give her the words of affirmation that she needed.

Nayte had to watch Michelle tell another man that she was in love with him, but Michelle said she and her fiance have been communicating wonderfully and will continue to stick together and support one another.

LaVonne and Ephraim were also sitting in the audience, and they confirmed how they are definitely "in love" with Nayte now and have felt his warmth.

Nayte said he and Michelle had been FaceTiming frequently but it felt great to finally be together and bring their families together, out in the open.

Michelle gushed about how she's never been with a man who makes her feel so beautiful on the inside and outside and she knows their romance "is going to last."

As for what's next, Nayte revealed he's moving to Minnesota -- "very soon," as in a couple of months.

"There is no reason to wait with Michelle. Let's do this! [I am all in]. I am excited," announced Nayte, who currently lives in Austin.

Nayte revealed he and Michelle are already house hunting, and then the couple was gifted a down payment on their first home together -- a check for $200,000 that was placed inside an adorable gingerbread house.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.