It was another wild ride on this season of “The Bachelor,” as Ben Flajnik, a 29-year-old Sonoma winemaker, proposed to model Courtney Robertson, 28.
After weeks of warnings from the other women vying for his heart, Ben picked Courtney over business development manager Lindzi Cox, 27.
“What a journey,” Ben told his bride-to-be during the finale taped in Zermatt, Switzerland. “It’s been an incredible road getting to this point with you. But I promised myself that I wouldn’t get down on one knee again unless I was certain it was forever, and I want to tell you that you are my forever. You are my forever. And I have waited a really, really long time – a really, really long time to tell you that I’m in love with you more than you’ll ever know and that this whole experience and journey has been worth it every step of the way…. Courtney, will you marry me?”
“Oh, my God,” she said as he gave her a Neil Lane platinum and diamond engagement ring. “Yes, of course I will, I love you so much. Oh my gosh, Ben. Beautiful. I love it. I will love you forever.”
“I will love you forever,” he told her. “I am so happy right now. You have no idea.”
But the reality TV couple’s romance wasn’t all roses.
On “The Bachelor’s After the Final Rose” special following the finale, the couple revealed a post-show bumpy ride.
Despite published photos of Ben appearing to be kissing other women, the “Bachelor” swore that wasn’t the case.
“I haven’t kissed another woman, I haven’t hooked up with another woman. I haven’t cheated on Courtney,” Ben told host Chris Harrison. “I am not kissing those women [in those photos]. It’s as simple as that.”
The reality star explained that he had trouble reconciling his perception of his Courtney, with what he saw on the small screen.
“The woman that I saw on TV isn’t the Courtney that I know,” Ben continued. “Those are the moments and the instances that led to Courtney and I not talking for a time while the show aired. We were essentially broken up.”
Courtney then appeared on the special separately, entering to boos from the in-studio audience.
“I feel definitely responsible,” she said about her sometimes catty behavior. “It’s a really hard situation living in a house with 25 women all dating the same guy. It’s just a very unnatural situation to be in, and it brought out the worst in me.”
She revealed that they had stopped speaking and did not celebrate Valentine’s Day together.
“He didn’t send flowers or a card or anything,” Courtney explained. “It was awful. There were days where I didn’t leave the house, and I just laid there and cried … He abandoned me. I gave [him] space and I was trying to be as understanding as possible, but I needed him.”
Adding as she got emotional, “We were happy for about a month, before the show started airing… [now] we’re together, I think. I don’t really know.”
Ben then took to the stage and made things right with Courtney.
“We’re engaged. We’re in a good place,” he said. “Now that the main part of the show, and all the negativity is gone, it can only get better… The root of the problem was us not being able to be with each other and talk about these things.”
Ben then apologized to Courtney for “not standing by you throughout this entire journey. It can be really difficult, and I messed up in that regard. As an engaged couple and as a man, I feel like I should have stayed with you the entire way as opposed to taking steps back and needing time apart. That wasn’t fair to you. That was my coping mechanism, but you know me. That’s not how I operate in real life, and we’re about to start real life.”
He then placed the engagement ring back on her finger.
“There was never anything wrong with us,” Ben added. “What’s wrong was everything that surrounded us.”