(NEW YORK) — What a difference a year makes for “Bachelorette” Emily Maynard. The 26-year-old single mom from Charlotte, N.C., whose engagement to Bachelor Brad Womack last year turned out to be short-lived, accepted the proposal of 27-year-old Utah entrepreneur Jef Holm on the season finale of her ABC series Sunday night.
The moment was anti-climactic for viewers, since Emily had already sent home the runner-up, 30-year-old race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr., during a very brief but emotional get-together with him.
The Caribbean island of Curacao was the setting for the finale, which began with Jef and Arie meeting Emily’s family separately. Her father, mother and brother approved of both men, so it was left to Emily to make her own decision.
She settled on Jef after she introduced him to her 6-year-old daughter, Ricki, with whom he instantly bonded. The next day, she told host Chris Harrison she knew she wanted to be with Jef, and that she would end her relationship with Arie.
After exchanging pleasantries with Arie at the start of what he expected to be their final date, she broke down in tears and confided that she couldn’t be with him anymore. Emily wanted to have a longer conversation with Arie, but he made it clear to her that he wanted to avoid a drawn-out goodbye.
Later, in what was a mere formality, Jef popped the question, Emily presented the final rose, and they became engaged.
And yes, they are still engaged. On the After the Final Rose special, Jef said he will move to Charlotte and will continue to plan his wedding with Emily. She said they have not yet set a date or location, though she hinted at a spring wedding, possibly in Charleston. Presumably, she meant Charleston, S.C., which is about 200 miles south of Charlotte.
In the short term, the couple plans to make a humanitarian trip to Africa to build water wells for the needy.
Arie also appeared on the After the Final Rose special, revealing that he flew to Charlotte after taping the show in an attempt to see Emily one more time and get closure. However, he said, he reconsidered, instead calling her and leaving at her home a personal journal he’d written throughout the competition. Emily brought the journal with her to the special, but said she never read it because she didn’t think it would do anyone much good.
Emily was previously engaged to Ricki’s father, NASCAR driver and team owner Ricky Hendrick, who died in a plane crash in 2004, and Brad Womack, from whom she split not long after the 2011 Bachelor season finale aired.
The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise continues Monday night with the season premiere of ABC’s Bachelor Pad.
The network has yet to announce who the new “Bachelor” will be when that show returns next year.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kayla Nelson, Idaho State University Marketing and Communication
Jeff Peterson, Deseret News