April 26, 2002 -- In the end, didn't you expect a 23-year-old blonde to win?
While not exactly a milestone in feminism, ABC's The Bachelor turned into a ratings sensation and concluded Thursday night with Amanda Marsh of Chanute, Kan., beating Trista Rehn, a 29-year-old pediatric physical therapist and dancer for the NBA's Miami Heat.
After taking both women home to Dallas to meet his parents, Michel purchased a ring at a Harry Winston boutique and made his final choice. "I feel like we have covered an incredible distance together," Michel said to Marsh, an events planner. "I think we've come a long way."But in the end, he only showed her the ring. Instead of proposing, he asked Marsh to move to California and live with him. "I think we have even further that we can go before we walk down the aisle together," he said to her. "I want to make sure that we feel the same way about each other outside of the fantasy world of mansions and limousines."
Because they were obligated not to reveal the outcome of the show, Michel and Marsh didn't see each other for weeks. But on Good Morning America today, Marsh announced that she's "definitely falling in love with Alex."
"This is very real to me," she said."We are dating and very excited and happy to kind of get on with our lives in a more normal way."
Michel Rejects Rehn, After Telling Her, ‘It’s You’
The series that began five weeks ago with 25 women from a variety of backgrounds competing for Alex Michel, a 31-year-old, Harvard-educated management consultant. Michel spent time with the contestants in groups and on individual dates, often looking into the camera to describe in confessional tones how fantastic they all were.At the end of each episode, he narrowed the number of women at the "rose ceremony." The jilted ones sometimes walked away in tears; one hyperventilated in the third episode and required medical treatment.
Before Michel made his final choice, ABC aired a reunion of the 23 rejected women. Now that The Bachelor is over, ABC is searching for the next set of contestants from bachelorettes and bachelors. Just go to ABC.com to apply.
In breaking the bad news to Rehn, Alex told her, "You have made my heart race since the first day. I've enjoyed every moment that we've spent together, but I don't think we're meant to spend our lives together."
Rehn glared at Michel as she was driven away in a limo. Later on, she cried and said, "It's not that I 1,000 percent wanted to be engaged today. It's just that we had such a great talk the other night and he told me, 'It's you.' Those were his words." Bachelor’s Mom: ‘Don’t Do Anything Rash’
Marsh seemed like a longshot earlier in the series. But things heated up, especially after a special moment in the hot tub when she laid it on the line, saying, "I think you're absolutely amazing. I never would have imagined finding someone like you my whole life and I'm falling in love with you."Later, when The Bachelor brought Rehn home, his mother pulled him into the kitchen and gave him a stern lecture. "I have not seen something from you that looks like, 'I'm really in love with this girl.' I think you have found two girls that are really interesting and intriguing and you'd really like to pursue dating," she said. "But I don't think that that's a reason to get engaged at all. "Don't do anything rash."Critics have condemned the show as demeaning to women, comparing it to Fox's Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire, in which comedian Rick Rockwell and nurse Darva Conger married on live TV moments after they met. The marriage instantly unraveled, and reports emerged that Rockwell had once threatened an ex-girlfriend.But the show has proven to be a smash hit, especially popular among young women. Eleven million people tuned in Monday night to watch Michel pick the two finalists and Thursday night's numbers are expected to be even higher. The show is especially popular among young women.Will the show generate the same buzz the next time around? We'll find out soon enough.