March 3, 2009 -- The star of ABC's "The Bachelor" stunned viewers Monday night when he revealed that he was dumping the woman he picked and proposed to and rekindling his relationship with the first runner-up in the reality love competition.
Jason Mesnick proposed to an ecstatic Melissa Rycroft who gleefully accepted during the finale of the reality love competition that aired Monday night. During a reunion special that followed the finale, Mesnick initially sang the praises of Melissa, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
"She is incredible, sweet, beautiful and everybody's been watching and I lived it," a somber Mesnick said in an audience-less studio surrounded by candles. But he said, "Since this all ended, things have been different."
Then he told Melissa that his heart truly belonged to department store buyer and runner-up Molly Malaney and that he was ending their courtship.
"We're not right for each other," Mesnick said to Melissa. He said that after spending time with each other during the holidays he noticed their chemistry had changed.
"I trusted you with everything. He knows what I've been through," an irritated Melissa said. "I'm so mad at you."
"I don't get it at all because none of it makes sense," Melissa said before handing over the engagement ring he had given her.
She expressed her disappointment and anger about the single father's decision.
'I've been through a ton of heartbreak. You've been through a ton of heartbreak," Melissa said. "You should know better than to do something like that."
She kept a defiant resolve until she entered the limo for a confessional where she broke down.
'The Bachelor' Runner-Up: A Second Chance
After the drama unfolded with Melissa, Mesnick still had to face Molly, whom he hadn't seen or spoken to since the show's finale.
He admitted he was still in love with her and she was initially speechless.
"This is something I dreamt of but never expected to hear," she said. "To hear you say this, of course, I'm so excited about it. There's a piece of me that's confused."
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad this happened," she said gleefully.
But she said that she also needed a better understanding of why she had been dumped in the first place.
But the two appeared to seal their new relationship with a kiss.
Mesnick's bait-and-switch treatment of Melissa attracted public scorn before the day was done.
During Mesnick's appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live'" Kimmel sarcastically asked the first single father bachelor to appear on the show whether his son was OK. "Any chance you will dump him and replace him with a blond child?"
Mesnick told Kimmel that in the six weeks between the end of the show and Monday night's reunion bombshell he had realized that his relationship with Melissa had completely changed. He said that before Monday night's show, she knew it was over.
"I think at some point her and I will be friends again," he told Kimmel about Melissa.
"Oh no, you will not," Kimmel said.
Mesnick also said that he and Molly were still together but "just dating."
A History of Changed Minds
The drama that unfolded around Mesnick wasn't new. He appeared on "The Bachelorette" during the 2008 season as a contestant vying for the attentions of bachelorette DeAnna Pappas. He made it the final two.
Pappas would later claim that she, too, had made a mistake in choosing professional snowboarder Jesse Csincsak over Mesnick during the Season 4 finale.
And during the 2007 season of "The Bachelor," Brad Womack didn't choose either of his two finalists during his final rose ceremony.
In fact, in all the incarnations of the popular show, only one couple has made it down the aisle. Trista Rehn, who came in second on the first season of "The Bachelor" and was the original "Bachelorette," married her pick Ryan Sutter.
Today the couple has one child and is expecting another.