Throughout her time on The Bachelor, Emily Maynard came across as the impossibly perfect woman: Beautiful, kind, sweet, gentle. Whereas The Bachelor is best known for its more desperate, outgoing contestants, Emily was all politeness and reservation. The only time she really ever got riled up was to protect her 5-year-old daughter, Rickey, or the memory of her late fiance, whom we were constantly being reminded died tragically the week before Emily discovered she was pregnant. Her tragic backstory only made her more appealing, to Brad and to us. “This itsy bitsy Barbie with the soul of Mother Teresa,” one of her fellow contestants dubbed her.
After Brad Womack proposed to Emily Maynard at the end of The Bachelor season 15, there was a distinctly different tone to this engagement than most that happen on the show. Even though they claimed to be happy, engaged and in love, the couple’s After the Final Rose ceremony was decidedly more somber as Emily recounted how difficult it was to watch Brad kiss other women, and how she was unsure how their engagement would play out, especially given her daughter.
After that — and I can really only speak for myself here — it seemed particularly foolish to think or expect or really even dare to hope that Brad and Emily’s engagement would lead to a wedding. It is one of The Bachelor’s consistent ironies that it is a special couple indeed who actually makes it down the aisle. But it’s an even more special couple who, despite all show’s inherent obstacles and the breakup warning signs, can still surprise us with our own sense of sadness when they officially break it off.
Brad and Emily are one of those couples, if only because Emily has always been presented as this fragile, injured, beautiful bird who never could say a bad word about anyone, and yet never can seem to catch a break. I wanted Brad and Emily to make it work, if only because that might mean my favorite contestant from Brad’s season would get the happy ending she seemed to so deserve.
If nothing else, Emily’s interview with Bachelor host Chris Harrison, filmed a couple weeks ago and aired after tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette, solidified this image of Emily as the perpetually good, the perpetually polite, and the perpetually heartbroken fiancee. Her discomfort, tears and anxious speechless moments spoke more than her words did.
The Highlights — Or, Rather, the Lowlights of the Interview:
On the status of their relationship:
“We’re not engaged anymore. But he’s, you know, always going to be a huge part of my life. For so long, I think we left the “dot, dot, dot,” and I feel bad that it’s taken us this long to let everybody know. I just finally am ready to say it.”
On how she feels toward Brad now:
“I’ll always be in love with Brad. No one will ever hear me say a bad word about him, nor will I tolerate anybody else saying anything bad about him.”
“I know that we love each other enough that we could make it work if it was just based on that. But it’s not. It’s just really sad.”
On why it didn’t work out:
“I came to a point where I said, I have to be honest with myself and with this relationship. I realized my want for it to work out — I wanted to get married, I wanted more children, and I wanted it with him — maybe overshadowed the reality of the relationship.”
On their obstacles as a couple:
“I think that we both have been used to being single. I think that that is a hard adjustment. As a single mom, I don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘I’ll just figure that out when I get there.'”
On why she chose to do this interview:
“I want to tell people, but I want it to end with this. I just want to say it one time. When you break up, you don’t want to tell the story 18 times. It’s hard to talk about it once. I trust you to tell this story and not sell it.”
On how difficult the media and paparazzi attention has been on her and her daughter:
“It’s hard to explain to a 5 year old who doesn’t know what The Bachelor is why anybody is taking pictures. She thinks I’m like the least cool person ever, so, you know, I told her that everybody thought I was Taylor Swift, and she didn’t believe me.”
On where she goes from here:
“I don’t know. I just want to focus on being a mom, and not have to worry if somebody is in the bushes taking pictures, or if something I say to a girlfriend is going to end up in a magazine.”
Because of her sense of propriety, Emily didn’t share many specifics about how she and Brad went from happy to heartbroken. At least, if you like her, you might call it a sense of propriety; if you don’t like her and feels she owes you something, you might say she’s too bottled up, that she brushed the juicy bits under the rug.
Though, after Jake and Vienna’s juicier — and nastier — screaming match of a breakup interview, this one seems preferable either way. It’s an admittedly silly thing for a person whose job it is to recap reality dating shows to say, but sometimes it’s just better not to know the details of someone else’s ill-fated love life. I’d rather have my dignity than their closure.
And, if you do like Emily (as, if it’s not clear already, I do) you might say that makes the breakup all the more realistic, as sometimes there really isn’t one specific reason to end things with the one you love. Sometimes, as Emily told Chris, “you just want something so bad and it doesn’t happen, and it’s just heartbreaking.” Nobody really needs to know more than that, because there’s nothing more to know.
Emily expressed that now that she’d given people what they apparently needed so badly — an explanation — she’d like be left alone to raise her daughter, to be free of all the cameras and speculation, to be free to heal. (Sidenote: That doesn’t sound like the wish of a future Bachelorette, does it?)
Maybe that’s the strangest and most difficult part about making, and breaking, a relationship on reality TV. The people in it can’t really move on until the rest of us do.
What did you think of Emily’s interview, Bachelor fans? Are you ready to move on, or is there more to this story in your minds?
(Image courtesy of ABC)