People rooted for Maynard, 30, when she appeared on “The Bachelorette,” where she fell for Jef Holm, but that romance collapsed, too.
Now, after all the reality TV drama, the Charlotte, North Carolina, resident says she has moved on to a peaceful chapter with her new husband, Tyler Johnson.
She chronicles her life's ups and downs in her new book, “I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption and True Love,” and told “GMA” that the book describes saying “yes” not just to Johnson, but to God.
In her book, Maynard opens up about some of the dark episodes in her life, including an apparent suicide attempt when she was 15 years old. She had been feeling lonely and depressed and had swallowed a bottle of pills, she revealed.
“I had a bad day ... and I just decided, ‘you know what? I'm just going to take some pills,’” she said. “And I did -- and ended up in the hospital.”
She described her actions as “a cry for help, a cry for attention.”
A year after the suicide attempt, Maynard met NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick. The two got engaged when Maynard was 18, but the romance ended in tragedy when Hendrick was killed in a plane crash on Oct. 24, 2004.
For years, Maynard said that her last words to Hendrick were “I love you,” but she confessed in the book that their last exchange was actually a fight.
“We were mad at each other. And it didn't end well,” she said, adding: “I had no idea that that would be the last time I would see him.”
Maynard discovered she was she was pregnant just days after Hendrick’s death. She named their daughter Ricki.
“For days after the crash, I wish I'd died, too,” Maynard said.
She described Ricki’s birth as “kind of my light at the end of the tunnel. ... I just kept on looking forward to June 29th because that was the day I got a piece of Ricky back.”
After years of sadness, Maynard appeared on “The Bachelor.” She credits being on the show for putting bounce back into her step. Still, she says she knew almost as soon as Womack proposed that it felt forced.
“You see it on TV. And there's this ... beautiful music playing. It just looks so romantic and warm. But when you're actually in the moment, it's not that way at all. It's so quiet. And it's actually quite awkward, which should have been warning sign number 5,000,” she said, laughing. “But I just chose to ignore it.”
She says things also felt wrong with Holm. Looking back, she says that she knew that relationship was doomed the moment Ricki joined her and Holm on camera after the proposal.
“It’s just ... not a normal situation. You don't engaged to somebody and then say, ‘Oh hey, Ricki, this is Jef. We -- you know, we just got engaged,’” she said, adding: “It just didn't feel right. Nothing about it felt right.”
Maynard was vilified on social media as the relationship fell apart.
“I've never felt so lonely before in my life. I didn't know who I could trust,” she said.
That, she said, is when she became more private and began to look inward to her relationship with God. She met Johnson at church. Maynard says that he has never watched a single episode of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.”
The two were married in 2014 and welcomed a son, Jennings, last year.
She shared more happy news with “GMA.”
“I am pregnant again,” she said. “We didn't think it would happen so quickly, but we're so grateful and just feel so blessed and excited.”
Maynard said she has no regrets about participating on the reality TV shows. She had fun and found the happy ending, which she never dreamed would be possible.
“I would just be scared that, like, if I didn't do [the shows], maybe I wouldn't have met Tyler and I wouldn't be here. So I wouldn't have changed anything,” she said.
Despite that, she said that “never in a million years” would she allow her daughter Ricki, now 10, to compete on the “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” Maynard said she wouldn’t want her daughter to have her heart broken on national TV.
“I Said Yes” is available in bookstores now.