Chris Soules didn't manage to win Andi Dorfman's heart on The Bachelorette, but enough viewers fell in love with the farmer from Iowa to ensure his journey wouldn't end there.
And so "Prince Farming," as Soules was popularly dubbed, took his rugged charm to the 19th season of The Bachelor, where he found a potential forever mate in Whitney Bischoff and popped the question with a dazzling 4-carat diamond ring from the franchise's resident jeweler, Neil Lane.
A turn on Dancing With the Stars soon followed, the enduring show now a common synergistic stop for ex-Bachelors, and Soules finished in fifth place, while Bischoff made regular appearances in the audience.
But despite all the lovey-dovey excitement in those early days when Chris and Whitney were finally able to go public as a couple, the bloom would soon be off the rose.
Barely two months after the Bachelor finale and less than 10 days after the end of DWTS, Soules and Bischoff revealed they had "mutually and amicably" called off their six-month engagement.
"They part with nothing but respect and admiration for one another and will continue to be supportive friends," read a statement released on their behalf. "They wish to thank everyone who has supported them through this journey."
Of course, breakups are rarely that simple.
"They both tried hard," a source told E! News about the split. "They really did. They wanted to make it work but it just didn't happen."
There were signs that they weren't meant to be, perhaps the biggest one being that Bischoff was a nurse who may have wanted to have a family but wasn't necessarily ready to move to Iowa and be a stay-at-home wife and mom.
After Andi made it clear that the isolated farm life in small-town Iowa wouldn't be for her in the long run, Chris broadened his perspective a bit on The Bachelor, though he still had his certain ideals in mind. He liked the idea of a mate who had a career, but at the same time "someone who has been there, done that and now wants to spend the next chapter as a mother. Whether it's a stay-at-home mother or not, it doesn't have to be [stay-at-home]."
"You can always go back to your career," he added. "Stay-at-home dads, too, though that is something I don't plan on being."
While a source told us that Whitney was "heartbroken," Chris sounded pretty broken up too.
"When I [got down] on one knee, I thought that was it," he told Entertainment Tonight after the split. "[But] once it's all said and done, you do get to a new reality after the show's over. Then you start to learn and figure out if the relationship's actually going to work. So, having it not work was very disappointing. We tried really hard and once we both knew it wasn't right, it wasn't right—and that was the hardest part. When something like that doesn't work out, that's the darkest moment."
He continued, "Having to announce to the world that you're breaking up is a really weird situation. I understand that I went through a process that the world got to see, the world watched. I don't expect any sympathy, [but] it was very difficult."
Fast-forward to now, and the Chicago-based Bischoff is busy planning her Cape Cod wedding with sales manager Ricky Angel, who proposed last June. Soules, however, is having a much harder time of it, both with regard to finding love and to balancing farm life with his waning celebrity status.
As unforgiving as the world was of his foibles while he was on TV, and as harsh as the spotlight seemed when he and Bischoff broke up, life just got immeasurably more complicated for Soules.
Buchanan County Sheriff's Office
The 35-year-old was arrested Monday night for allegedly leaving the scene of a fatal car crash in Iowa and appeared in court this morning, where bail was set at $10,000. Leaving the scene of a fatal accident is a Class D felony that carries a possible sentence of five years in prison.
Soules, who appeared at the hearing clad in a neon-green jail-issued jumpsuit and orange slippers, posted bond a short time later.
"Chris Soules was involved in an accident Monday evening (April 24) in a rural part of Iowa near his home," his attorneys said in a statement to E! News Tuesday. "He was devastated to learn that Kenneth Mosher, the other person in the accident, passed away. His thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mosher's family."
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office states that Soules was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that rear-ended a tractor being driven by Mosher, 66, causing both vehicles to veer into ditches on either side of the road. Investigators found alcohol containers in Soules' truck, according to the crash report, and witnesses saw the reality TV star leaving the crash scene.
E! News has also confirmed that he has a record of driving infractions, including an open container charge in 2001; unlawful use of license in 2002; an arrest for OWI in 2005 (operating while intoxicated, some states' version of DUI), for which he was given a suspended jail sentence; a registration violation in 2010; six citations for speeding and tickets for failing to stop or yield at a sign and parking illegally.
According to The Courier, Soules was headed south on County Road W-45 near Aurora in a Chevy pickup at around 8:20 p.m. when he hit a John Deere tractor. After getting his truck out of a ditch on the west side of the road, Soules drove off and didn't return, per the Iowa State Patrol. Mosher was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Soules was arrested at his house in Arlington, Iowa.
The Iowa State Patrol tells E! News that the investigation into what happened, including whether Soules had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, could take anywhere from a month to eight weeks.
He had been in New York just a few days before the crash for a slate of appearances, his services as a Bachelor alum having once again been in demand during the show's most recent season. Soules, Sean Lowe and Ben Higgins all appeared on the show this season to give advice to Nick Viall, who's currently enjoying his own post-Bachelor stint on Dancing With the Stars.
"I don't know why they keep sending me back to give these guys advice," Soules told E! News in December before Viall's season aired. "Maybe I'm better at giving advice than actually being the Bachelor. Ben seems to be pretty successful in his relationship with Lauren and hopefully the same luck goes to Nick."
He has admitted that the post-Bachelor dating life has been tough for him, not least because he lives in such a remote, small town, where he raises pigs, soybeans and corn and big events include the Pig Farmer of the Year contest.
"It's been really, still hard," he told People in March. "There's not a lot of women, so it's hard to date."
"There is nothing more that I want than a family, and children, and a wife, and a partner in life," Soules said. "People ask why single people are single. That's because I think a lot of people just are trying to find the right person."
While his season of The Bachelor was airing, he told E! News that he enjoyed being home on the farm and basically he'd just fly out to wherever the show needed him to be at any given time, and back again. And that seems to still be the case these days.
When he's in Iowa, Soules spends time with his sprawling family and particularly enjoys doting on his nieces.
He also had lent his celebrity to charitable organizations, working with Farmland Fights Hunger during the holiday season and the Seeds of Change Foundation, which works to transform people's lives through smarter agricultural and environmental practices.
And no one's debating that Soules seems to be an incredibly decent guy—he even adopted a dog that was hours away from being euthanized back in December, sharing a heartwarming pic of Moose, the newest member of his family.
Yet that doesn't mean a guy doesn't have his problems.
Like a lot of reality-TV alum, Soules has enjoyed the wider world of appearance opportunities that have opened up for him since his time on The Bachelor, but there haven't been a bunch of damning party pics or instances of wild public behavior serving as a harbinger of things to come.
Soules does, however, have several alcohol-related infractions on his driving record—none since he got famous (before last night, that is), but enough of a list for people to have dug up while he was romancing Andi on The Bachelorette.
While Soules' celebrity status has ensured that his wrong moves won't be going unnoticed for the foreseeable future, it seems likely that the quiet farmer is going to be retreating even more into the rural world he calls home while he figures out what to do next.