In the span of just a few days, "Bachelorette" Desiree Hartsock went from crying tears of heartbreak to crying tears of joy. In a tumultuous finale, she chose 27-year-old Chris Siegfried of Seattle. He proposed and she accepted.
After Brooks Forester left in last week's episode, Des professed, "I just want to go home." It seemed uncertain whether she'd continue on dates with the final two men, Chris and 27-year-old digital marketing analyst Drew Kenney.
Finally, she decided to go ahead, but ended up sending Drew home early during their final date. "I'd be so lucky to have you in my life, but I don't know if I see our futures together," she admitted.
A shellshocked Drew was a loss for words as Des apologized profusely. "You don't have to be sorry for not being in love with me," he said before bidding her farewell.
It seemed possible that Des might eliminate Chris early, too, after her emotional response to Brooks's exit. But she continued on their date and seemed visibly cheered by Chris's declarations of love. Then, Des chose to introduce Chris to her family, including her irrepressible brother Nate.
Her entire family, including Nate, gave their approval to Chris — though Nate did bring up the topic of Brooks. Des was still considering whether to accept Chris's proposal, but Nate's question did seem to leave her visibly shaken.
Throughout the live finale, host Chris Harrison teased the possibility of Brooks's return. But the 28-year-old marketing rep never made one last appearance to declare his love.
When the final rose ceremony came, Des declared she wanted to tell Chris everything about Brooks before he proposed. Before he had the chance to get down on one knee, Des confessed that she fell in love with Brooks, and that those feelings prevented her from seeing "that the one thing I always needed was right in front of me."
She added, "You mean the absolute world to me. I love you, I love you so much."
With that, Chris then completed his proposal. "I want to be your first and I want to be your last. Will you marry me?"
Des replied, "Yes, a thousand times!"
Fresh off her breakup with Brooks, Des has to face a rose ceremony with the two remaining guys. What's she going to do? As she tells Chris Harrison, she kind of just wants to go home, but clearly that's not happening since; there's an hour and 45 minutes left in the show.
"I'm still not broken, you know? My heart might be, but my spirit hasn't been broken," Des says.
As tears run down her face, Des starts the rose ceremony wearing the most awful dress in "Bachelorette" history. So, she's pretty much just given up. Des gives both guys the two roses, letting them know that Brooks dumped her and left on his own accord. Drew and Chris look super uncomfortable. Couldn't one of them have run up to hug the poor girl?
The next day, Des has her final date with Drew, but things seem really awkward from the start. Des rides up to meet him on a horse and doesn't even get off to hug or kiss him. Their ride to the beach is silent and weird, and Des admits that she's just not feeling it.
Once they get there, Des breaks down. "Maybe there's something missing," she cries. Drew looks like he's seen a ghost. He was prepared to propose to her. She was "The One" for him.
Drew thanks Des for her honesty, but can't say much else. He's shocked and speechless.
"I'm crushed. I'm confused. I didn't see it coming out of this without her," he says as he leaves. "I really loved her. I really do love her. I don't get it."
So what does this mean for Desiree's date with Chris? Is she going to send him home? Did she decide to choose him? Neither. But it is very clear immediately from the start of the date that Des is happy to see him. She smiles, she hugs him, she kisses him. Their catamaran date feels fun and carefree.
Chris assures her on the boat that he loves her and he'll always be there for her. And that seems to heal a bit of Desiree's heart. She can see something lasting with Chris. Later that evening, their connection only deepens when he presents her with a journal.
But it seems the specter of Brooks is still hanging over Antigua. "I have never felt like anyone has loved me as much as I have loved them," she says, wiping tears from her eyes.
That comes into play when Chris meets the fam, including the infamous Nate Hartsock, who grills the poor guy like a fish filet. Chris gets Dad's blessing to propose, and even manages to win Nate's approval! But Nate has a very pointed question for Des: What about Brooks? Is she ready to accept Chris's proposal?
Yes, she is — but with a big caveat. "This is the man I could love my entire life," she says as the final rose ceremony draws near, "but at the same time, Chris doesn't know how I felt about Brooks and he deserves to know everything."
Chris picks out a ring and arrives at the rose ceremony. Des looks gorgeous, but very jittery. An equally nervous Chris starts talking about their amazing time together — dancing in Germany, the private island in Madeira. "You make me want to be a better person and I want to spend the rest of my life with you," he says, then prepares to go down on one knee.
Except Des stops him. Chris is stricken, but Des lets him know Drew is already gone. But, and this is a big "but," she reveals the extent of her feelings for Brooks. She says a bunch of stuff that's a little hard to hear (Des could use some enunciation lessons).
Des says she was torn between the two of them all along, but she adds, "You've been by my side from the very beginning. You never lost sight of what we could be and for that I am so grateful. I thank you every day for never giving up. You mean the absolute world to me. I love you, I love you so much. Chris, I love you, I love you so much."
Ah, the magic words he's been waiting to hear! That prompts Chris to get down on one knee. "I want to be your first and I want to be your last. Will you marry me?" he asks.
"Yes, a thousand times," she cries. Then they kiss for a very, very long time. And Des gives him the final rose.
After the Final Rose
Let's do this bullet point style!
- This wasn't in "ATFR," but rather during the live finale, but Sean and Catherine are there. They're still together, still engaged, still wedding date-less. So, basically, no news on that front.
- Jackie, Lesley, and Lindsay are also there from Sean's season to talk about friend Desiree's journey. Can we say once again: We are totally Team Lesley!
- OK, onto the part everyone really cares about: Des comes out on stage. Chris Harrison asks what we all want to know — basically, after getting her heart broken by Brooks, was Chris just a rebound? She says no, she was falling in love the entire time. And she wouldn't have gone through with the proposal if she hadn't felt her relationship with Chris could last a lifetime.
- Brooks comes out, and Des looks a little nervous. Uh oh, is seeing him going to bring back all those feelings? Nope! Things are a little awkward, but they don't have any chemistry together. Brooks explains that he wanted their relationship to work so badly, he didn't think through his feelings. "The head was ahead of the heart," he says.
- Des doesn't blame Brooks, and thanks him for his honesty. "After you left, it was actually good," she says. LOL! Brooks learns she's engaged to Chris, and says he's not surprised from the way she looked at him during group dates.
- It's Drew's turn to confront Des, and he looks like a poor, hair-gelled little puppy. Like us, he could tell almost immediately from their final date that they we're heading to "breakup town." He wants to know what he could've done differently, but Des says it was "just the progression of our own relationship." Really, there's not any other way to say it but: She's just not that into you.
- Finally, Chris joins his fiancee and whatever doubts we may have had that Des wasn't over Brooks are totally cleared up. She just glows when she sees him. They glow together. It's cute.
- Chris doesn't seem too fazed by the whole Brooks saga. He fully trusts in their love. "We built something great on the show, we've built something great since," he says.
- Des says she's moving to Seattle and she and Chris have found a new place to live in together.
- Chris reveals he has a gift for Des. Oh no … not another poem! Yes, and it's framed with the 12 dried roses Chris received during the show. So cheesy, so sappy, yet … it's kind of cute. Go be happy, you two crazy kids!
Check out reactions from Twitter, then sound off on the finale in the comments below!
Yay! I wanted Chris to win from the start! Definitely happy with the end! 🌹💕 #bachelorette— Emmalee Robertson (@EmmaleeR93) August 6, 2013
as much as I wanted Brooks to come back... Chris and Des are pretty much perfect #Bachelorette— clare (@back_claree) August 6, 2013
Drew's mad he was strung along...can't blame him. But sad that Des can't answer the questions she asked Brooks... #Bachelorette— Chaumanix Dutton (@chaumanix) August 6, 2013