Start filling out your applications, boys! Emily Maynard, a fan favorite from Brad Womack's season of " The Bachelor," will be the next " Bachelorette," ABC officially announced today on " Good Morning America."
"I think she's America's sweetheart and I think it will be a home run," host Chris Harrison said on "GMA."
Maynard, a single mom from Charlotte, N.C. who ended her tumultuous relationship with Womack, 38, last summer, has signed on to star in the eighth installment of the hit reality show, which will premiere this spring. She will be the first single mom to star in the series.
"Emily feels incredibly grateful to have found her first love when she was very young, and despite not having dated a lot, knows what it's like to be truly in love," ABC said in a press release today. "In the past seven years, she has been looking for someone with the same spark she has for life, and she believes that she will find her soul mate on 'The Bachelorette.'"
Twenty-five-year-old Marynard quickly won over Womack and fans of the show with her southern charm and emotional back story. Maynard lost her fiancé NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick in a 2004 plane crash, just before she learned that she was pregnant. Their daughter Ricki, now 6, was born in October 2005 and is the "apple of Emily's eye."
On the show, Womack wooed Maynard and then proposed to her in true "Bachelor" style, in the fairytale setting of a South African vineyard. Off camera, their romance quickly unraveled, plagued by distance and jealously according to tabloid reports.
"The day that Brad proposed was one of the happiest days of my life," she told " Bachelor" host Chris Harrison in a July 2011 interview on the breakup. "Not a day will go by that I won't regret how things turned out."
Soon a new crop of 25 men will contend for the blonde beauty's heart, and the competition could be cutthroat, given the buzz surrounding Maynard. (Remember that season 7 contestant Bentley Williams admitted that he'd been disappointed to learn that Ashley Hebert was "The Bachelotte" instead of Maynard, so we know interest is high).
Maynard is "looking for someone who makes her laugh, doesn't take himself too seriously and can be her best friend," ABC said in the press release. "Emily is hoping that the third time is the charm."
What do you think of the Maynard as the next Bachelorette? Will she be better than the last Bachelorette Ashley Hebert? As popular as Ali Fedotowsky? As lucky in love as Trista Sutter?