Nov. 21, 2003 -- When at last Bob Guiney made his choice on the season finale of The Bachelor, he didn't say "Will you marry me?" or "Let's get engaged."
What he did say as he presented a diamond ring to Estella Gardinier was a little bit vague.
"It represents my promise to you to see where we can go," Guiney said. But he was quick to add that Gardinier should wear her new diamond on her right hand as a promise ring — not on her left as an engagement ring.
"I think it was just honest," Guiney told Good Morning America. "You know, we had been through a situation where I'd been dating 24 of her friends for, you know, a period of time, and I obviously decided I wanted to really take the time to get to know her a lot better. And at the same time, I had picked out this pretty amazing ring, so I decided that I'd like her to have it as a token of what we had gone through together."
The 28-year-old Beverly Hills brunette happily accepted the ring, and once again proclaimed to viewers how much she was in love with Guiney.
Next Stop: Extreme Makeover?
Though the finale aired just last night, it has actually been four months since Guiney gave Gardinier the ring. Since becoming "the bachelor," Guiney, a 32-year-old divorced mortgage broker from Detroit, has released a book, What A Difference a Year Makes, and has also been making the rounds on various TV shows.
"I'm on Extreme Makeover next!" joked Guiney, who first came into the spotlight as the funny guy on The Bachelorette. He was ultimately discarded by bachelorette Trista Rehn, but came back as the star of this season's The Bachelor.
Until the season finale of the The Bachelor aired, Guiney kept his love life pretty much private. He and Gardinier couldn't be seen together in public because it would have given away the show's ending.
"We basically had to have these clandestine meetings, and we hardly had any of them because of the schedule that I had to keep," Guiney said. "And so we really primarily had a relationship over the telephone for four months. It was tough."
Hit the Pause Button
And during that period of time, Gardinier was watching the program, finding out just what had gone on between Guiney and the other women vying for his heart. She was able to watch it, record it, and of course hit "pause" to get a good long look.
But if Gardinier was bothered by scenes of Guiney cavorting with other attractive women in sexy outfits, she wasn't surprised.
"Well, I'd actually already known that he'd kissed all the girls in America," Gardinier said on Good Morning America with a laugh.
"So I already knew, because in the house a girl spoke about that. So watching it, it was no surprise. It didn't feel great. But a lot of times I would just fast-forward or, you know, turn my head."
She and Guiney discussed the show in their phone conversations.
"We have great communication. It's very open. And, you know, we both, I think, try to be very understanding of each other," Gardinier said. "And I considered it as if he was dating. You know, just because I watched it doesn't make it any different. He was dating."
A 'Unique' Reality Bond
When Guiney chose Gardinier, it meant rejecting Kelly Jo Kuharski, a playful 24-year-old blonde who looked stunned and heartbroken after learning that she wasn't Guiney's choice.
"It sucks" she told him before having him walk her away from the Malibu beach house that served as his bachelor pad.
"Right now I'm so sad,' Kuharski said, while driving off in a limo. "My heart is broken."
It wasn't easy sending off Kuharski, said Guiney.
"That was a really tough moment for me. I had a hard I time with every ceremony," Guiney said, referring to the rose ceremonies at which he had to break the news of who he had decided to reject. "That one was the worst because, you know, I do truly care about Kelly Jo. I care about her well-being. I care about her, the person. And I have loving feelings for her. Now it's turned into loving feelings as a friend. And I didn't want to hurt her, you know? But I knew that there was no way that I wasn't going to at that point."
In a televised reunion of the women whom Guiney rejected on The Bachelor, he saw Kuharski again. There were no fireworks, and no apparent anger, he said.
"Obviously feelings do change over time, and I think that, you know, she handled herself very well, and she came out with just a very ladylike and very classy approach to things," Guiney said.
Reality shows are a unique experience for those involved, he said.
"You've shared an experience with this group of people that you'll likely never experience any other time in your life, hopefully, unless you're me, then you just keep on doing them and doing them," Guiney joked. "It does form a different type of friendship and a different type of bond that you can have with someone, and it's really unique, I think."