"Michelle is amazing. Even with us breaking up right now, I'm still, like, I just care about her. I could never, ever forget the moments we shared here, ever," Rodney said in his final words, maintaining his composure.
"It's just always going to be in my mind and in my heart. Michelle and I definitely could've had something very special and something very long-lasting. You know, clearly Michelle saw her future with someone else in that room. It hurts. It just wasn't meant to be, I guess."
Michelle's Final 3 bachelors are Brandon Jones, a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, OR; Joe Coleman, a 28-year-old real estate developer from Minneapolis, MN; and Nayte Olukoya, a 27-year-old sales executive from Austin, TX.
The Bachelorette broadcast began with Michelle having a heart-to-heart with the show's co-host Tayshia Adams, who shared with Michelle how the men would unveil their true selves in front of their families and they wouldn't be able to hide who they really are.
Tayshia also advised Michelle to ask the families during her visits, "Do you think your son is ready for this, [an engagement]?"
Given family is so important to Michelle, meeting her Final 4 suitors' families was a big deal to her, and so she was very nervous but also extremely excited.
The men's parents, siblings and other relatives traveled to Michelle's hometown of Minneapolis, MN, due to ongoing the coronavirus pandemic.
For Brandon's hometown date, which represented Portland, OR, he took Michelle skateboarding since he grew up skateboarding with his brother Noah, who delayed going to the Navy in order to meet Michelle.
"I can see myself falling in love with Brandon and him being my soul mate," Michelle said.
Brandon was a little rusty at the sport and joked about how he had made a fool of himself in front of Michelle.
That evening, Michelle was introduced to Brandon's mother Carmen, father David and brother Noah. Michelle appreciated how Brandon was so vocal about his strong feelings for her, and she wanted his loved ones to know that she could really see a future with him.
Noah was a little concerned and skeptical given Michelle was also in a relationship with three other men and Brandon has a big heart and is a little sensitive, but Michelle said she never had to question how much Brandon cared for her.
"With him, there's just a little piece or a little spark that's just different," Michelle told Noah.
"Do you think you can see yourself with my brother for the rest of your life?" Noah asked.
"I can 100 percent be honest with you and sit here and say, 'Yes,'" Michelle replied.
Brandon told his mother that he loved how Michelle holds herself and has such strength. Brandon gushed about how Michelle had made him realize what he's missing in this world and how they have a lot in common.
And Michelle talked to Brandon's dad about how his father loves to fish and the two families could come together for a fun day of fishing and drinking beers.
Michelle said she could picture their two families hanging out, which said a lot, and Carmen seemed to like The Bachelorette star a lot.
Brandon told his family, "This is the woman I've been waiting for," and Michelle definitely impressed his parents and brother.
Michelle could tell how wonderful her family would get along with Brandon's, and she felt an "overwhelming" support already. She felt welcomed into their family, like she was already a part of it.
After the date, Michelle shared with Brandon, "It is very clear to me that I am falling for you," which served as "huge" words of affirmation for an ecstatic Brandon.
Brandon said he wanted to end up with Michelle "more than anything in this entire world."
Rodney's date was up next, and Michelle said she and Rodney were connected on so many different levels, which is really hard to find in a relationship.
In honor of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Rodney took Michelle apple picking, and she said Rodney would be her best friend through life if they ended up together.
The pair laughed together and had so much fun tasting the apples and some chocolate and butterscotch spreads, and Rodney told the cameras that he was already prepared to get down on one knee.
"I can feel my emotions and feelings for him growing stronger and stronger. He is truly somebody who I could see as a life partner," Michelle gushed.
That evening, Michelle met Rodney's mother Carrie, who believed she and Rodney are best friends, as well as his stepfather Tyree.
Michelle said she and Rodney bonded over feeling "overlooked" in the past, and she told Carrie that Rodney had a level of playfulness that sets him apart from the other bachelors and she didn't laugh with anyone else in the same way.
"As his mom, it almost brings tears to my eyes that he could be heartbroken. Do you see that, outside of this world, Rodney is somebody that you could create a life with?" Carrie asked Michelle.
"I'm looking for the small moments, the real moments, the moments when you go out into the real world -- and that is the relationship that can last," Michelle said.
Michelle shared how Rodney would be able to go with the flow and she'd be happy stuck in an airport with him for five hours if their flight got delayed, for example. Michelle therefore answered the question with a "yes," but Carrie could tell Michelle had strong feelings for three other men.
Rodney told his father that what he was feeling was "real" and Michelle checked off all of his boxes. Rodney said he'd be willing to do whatever it takes in order to cross the finish line, and he later told his mother how Michelle was worth the risk of getting his heart broken.
"I am definitely falling in love with this woman," Rodney told his mother, adding that he felt Michelle was The One for him.
Before Michelle left the date, Rodney told Michelle that he wanted to be her person and he was "definitely falling in love" with her, which was a "very different" feeling for him.
Michelle kissed Rodney and said it felt good to know exactly where he was at, and she pointed out how their connection was "really strong" and she always felt "amazing" after leaving a date with him.
Michelle said it's incredible how a short amount of time can change one's feelings and every minute counts when you're falling in love.
The next day, Joe brought Michelle to Hopkins High School in Minnesota and surprised her with a romantic prom since Michelle had revealed she was "picked last for prom but first for basketball" in the spoken-word poem she had delivered during a previous group date.
Joe confirmed he "definitely" had strong feelings for Michelle, and their date was very special. Michelle tapped back into her inner-child and had a blast eating donuts, dancing in bubbles and wearing her "Prom Queen" crown.
Michelle said her moment with Joe at the prom was "a fairy-tale moment," and Joe -- who also never attended his prom -- was shocked by how romantic and intimate the event turned out.
Michelle proceeded to meet Brandon's mother Julie, father David, brother Dan and sister-in-law Hanna.
It quickly became clear both Joe and his father are quiet and reserved men. David said Joe and Michelle looked like a lovely couple and Joe must continue to express himself to the Bachelorette, but he didn't have any other questions for his son.
Joe admitted to Hannah and Dan that he was "falling for" Michelle and felt ready to propose marriage, and Michelle assured his relatives that she saw something special in Joe. Michelle said Joe put her at ease and felt like "home" to her.
Hanna told Joe that he needs a confident and strong woman who will challenge him, and she thought the pair was a great match and that Joe wouldn't get hurt in the end.
Joe later thanked Michelle for helping him to open up and be vulnerable, and he said, "I just want you to know that my feelings for you are getting stronger and stronger, and I am falling in love with you. I just feel like you are that special person for me."
Michelle kissed Joe but didn't say anything in response.
And Michelle's final hometown date was with Nayte, and she confessed that she felt the most nervous to meet his loved ones. Nayte gave Michelle a taste of Austin, TX, by taking a walk through a park and then going paddleboarding together.
That night, Michelle met Nayte's mother Leanna and stepfather Charles, who got divorced a year-and-a-half prior to that date.
Michelle was the first girl Nayte had brought home, and Nayte warned Michelle that he never talked about his emotions with his family. In fact, they didn't even tell each other, "I love you."
"They've definitely never seen me head over heels for someone before," Nayte told Michelle. "I am crazy about you -- you know that."
"I'm crazy about you too," Michelle responded.
Michelle hoped to discover whether Nayte was truly ready for an engagement because she said she cared for him a lot. She was also hoping Nayte would be able to discuss his feelings with his parents.
Michelle told Leanna how she could talk about intellectual things with Nayte and then jump into a playful dynamic in which they laughed together a lot.
But Leanna said she didn't want Nayte to feel pressure to propose because he's never been in love before. Leanna feared Nayte had gotten "swept up in the process," acknowledging that Michelle and her son dating in the real world would be very different.
Nayte told Leanna that he could see Michelle and himself having something very special after the show, and he said, "I feel like I'm heading in the direction where I'm going to want to [propose], but am I 100 percent there yet? No."
Nayte said things were moving at a different speed and he was optimistic he'd be ready for an engagement in the end.
Charles noticed Nayte was flashing a brand new smile on his face constantly, but he warned Michelle about how Nayte didn't have a lot of experience in the serious-relationship department.
"Do you feel like he could get to the point at the end of this where he'd be ready for an engagement?" Michelle asked Charles.
"I don't know if he can handle this. I don't know if he's going to get to that point," Charles confessed.
Charles added, "I don't want him to emotionally hurt himself or you. You feel this great vibe but then at the end, suddenly he emotionally realizes he's not there yet."
Michelle said she only wants to get engaged once and so if she got to the end of this process with Nayte and he wasn't "all in," it would hurt her a lot.
Nayte then had a heart-to-heart with Charles in which he opened up about feeling entirely new feelings for Michelle.
Nayte and Charles also expressed love to one another and Charles said he was so proud of his stepchildren, which brought tears to Nayte's eyes since he had never heard such words of affirmation from his stepfather before.
Nayte told Charles that he wanted to be a similar father to his children one day, and Charles admitted, "You'll be even better than me."
It was a breakthrough meeting for Nayte in more than one way, but Michelle worried Nayte could potentially have "a moment of panic" down the road. She feared, in the back of her mind, Nayte may take off and not be ready for an engagement.
Before the Rose Ceremony, Michelle got to have a sitdown conversation with her The Bachelor besties Bri Springs and Serena Pitt.
Going into the season, Michelle was apparently worried she wouldn't fall hard enough for a guy, but she admitted that she was "eating [her] words" because she had actually fallen for more than one guy.
Michelle gushed about how all of her Final 4 men are amazing, "quality people." Michelle hoped she had the clarity she needed to make such a big decision, and she began to stress about potentially getting her heart broken in the end.
At the Rose Ceremony, Michelle handed out roses to Brandon, Nayte and then Joe.
Michelle then walked Rodney out and tried to hold her tears back as she broke his heart.
"I know we've had conversations about you being an underdog or feeling like an underdog, and I need you to know that who you are is enough. I don't want you to think that you weren't enough, because that's not true," Michelle explained to Rodney.
"It's just feelings moved quicker in other relationships. You're this amazing person and everything that makes up Rodney is so special."
Rodney replied, "I am falling in love with you. I need you to know that's something that doesn't change easily. I'm always going to care about you Michelle, forever. I want to do anything to make you laugh and smile -- always. You are amazing, Michelle, so thank you."