These Bachelor Winners Found Love Well After the Final Rose—Here's How

Sure, The Bachelor can be a fine place to fall in love. But when these former winners found the happily ever after at the end of their journey, there wasn't a hot tub or final rose in sight.

By Sarah Grossbart Aug 23, 2021 4:00 PMTags
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Whether their finale was dramatic or the most dramatic ever, a solid majority of The Bachelor winners who accepted those precious long-stemmed red roses in the mountains of Switzerland, the beaches of Saint Lucia and the rice fields of Thailand went on to live happily ever after. 

Just, you know, not with the besuited gentleman kneeling before them amongst the rolling green hills of South Africa. (Yes, we know Sean Lowe followed through on his vow to tell now-wife Catherine Giudici he loved her every day, but since he's the sole male lead to have actually married his final rose recipient, we're gonna call him the exception to the rule.) 

Because when Bachelor season 21 winner Vanessa Grimaldi walked down the aisle at Montreal's Le Mount Stephen Hotel this past Friday, Aug. 20, it wasn't one-time fiancé Nick Viall that was waiting at the other end. Rather, those honors belonged to Josh Wolfe, the Princeton grad who slid into the special education teacher's DMs and quickly became "my forever," as she gushed to People. "He is home to me." 

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So few were surprised that, more than a year and a half into a journey that she labeled as strong from the beginning, Grimaldi accepted the non-Neil Lane diamond that Wolfe, the director of outreach and programming for the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, proffered atop the Saint-Louis Gate in Quebec City. A moment complete with champagne, an accordion player and allllll of the candles, "It was absolutely beautiful!" she told People.

Who need a proposal platform and a final rose?  

Because while—as every contestant gamely declares—Paris, Bora Bora and even South Dakota(?!) can be fantastic places to fall in love, these former Bachelor standouts managed just fine at home, meeting their person through friends, Instagram and one truly successful Bumble date. No hot tubs or helicopters necessary. 

Amanda Marsh

Back before a betrothal was standard operating procedure, OG Bachelor Alex Michel asked Kansas City event planner Marsh to simply join him in living at his California home. "Before we walk down the aisle together, I want to make sure we feel the same way about each other outside the fancy world of mansions and limousines," he explained. They split within the year, but Marsh, now a dermatologist, still credits him with leading her to a happily ever after. 

Separated from former husband Jay Caldwell—dad to her daughter Chloe—for several years, she even considered placing a call to old pal Chris Harrison before finding love the 21st century way. "I met my fiancé on," she told Us Weekly of future husband Chris. "After the show [Alex] ended up working for, so it's almost like I still thank him."

Sarah Brice

Even without a sparkling Neil Lane, actor Charlie O'Connell's romance with Brice chugged along for several years, surviving one breakup before they parted ways for good in 2010. "The thing is that we dated for five years...and were just arguing over the same things and stuff like that," Jerry O'Connell's younger bro explained to People. "And then eventually you've got to go your separate ways." 

In the all's well that ends well department, Dallas-based Brice, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Cliovana, is now a mom to three elementary school-aged boys with her husband of several years while O'Connell and Playboy Playmate Anna Sophia Berglund tied the knot in a 2018 Montauk, N.Y. event that Jerry labeled the "Best Wedding eva". 

Sarah Stone

Though ER doctor Travis Stork and his teacher love were both based in Tennessee, the romance between them was decidedly not rosy by the time their 2006 finale aired. "You're in Paris and you're part of this incredible experience, this fantasy world, and then suddenly you come back to Nashville, and living in the same city I think we thought was going to be a great thing," Stork told The Tennessean, confirming their relationship had wilted mere days after their proposal aired. "But instead, you're forced to pretend you don't know someone, for essentially the last four months. The reality is that we were in this fantasy world. And now that we're back in Nashville, over time when you're not allowed to see someone, you grow apart." 

That just gave Stone a chance to let love bloom elsewhere. Now a real estate agent and co-host of the Say It Southern podcast, she found her forever with husband Brock Smith and their three daughters.

Melissa Rycroft

Sometimes things fall apart for the right reasons. Gearing up to re-watch onetime fiancé Jason Mesnick's bait-and-switch on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever! in August 2020, the former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader told Us Weekly that drama couldn't be more 2009. "I know people are gonna watch and get so angry. [But] I'm like, 'Listen, we are so OK, we and we are right where we're supposed to be,'" she explained. "If Jason and I got married, it would have been the biggest blowup ever, like, it would have been terrible. We are not supposed to be together."

Instead, after their split she took a spin through the Dancing With the Stars ballroom, reunited with ex Tye Strickland and welcomed kids Ava, 10, Beckett, 7, Cayson, 5. "Over a decade later, we're both married, both have beautiful families, so why still be upset?" she wrote on Instagram, praising Mesnick's decade-long union with runner-up Molly Mesnick. "None of us are angry, none of us hold a grudge, and oddly none of us regret it, because look where it took us!"

Emily Maynard

When Maynard first met now-husband Tyler Johnson at their Charlotte, N.C. church, she assumed he was just there to make friends. "He really wanted nothing to do with me," she noted on Good Morning America in 2017. "I told my girlfriend I met this guy and he could like not be less attracted to me, he was in the friends zone."

But after two broken engagements—with Bachelor Brad Womack in 2011, then Jef Holm, her Bachelorette final pick, in 2012—she felt the need for a bit of divine intervention. On their very first date, as Maynard learned that Johnson shared his April 2 birthday with late fiancé Ricky Hendrick, dad to her 16-year-old daughter Ricki, "I felt in that moment, as crazy as it sounds, God sitting in Heaven smiling at me," she shared in a 2018 Instagram tribute. Eight years and four more kids on, she continued, "He is absolutely nothing short of the best thing that's ever happened in my life."

Courtney Robertson

She poured her all into an engagement with winemaker Ben Flajnik and took a lap with future Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr.—detailing their escapades in her 2014 book, I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends—but everything clicked into place for season 16's rose-flaunting villain when she connected with Humberto Preciado on Instagram. "There was just a level of comfort and connection that I've never felt before. I never believed in that feeling of when you know, you know until I met him," Robertson told Us Weekly of their early 2019 encounter. "Nor have I been with someone that I so clearly wanted to start a family with."

They wasted little time taking the next step in their journey, the model announcing her engagement and pregnancy in December 2019. Welcoming Joaquin Ramon Preciado just before Father's Day 2020, she told People, he "is the most precious thing we've ever laid our eyes on." Four months later, they wed in front of just their immediate families. As Robertson put it to the mag, "I know this is meant to be." 

Nikki Ferrell

When former professional soccer player Juan Pablo Galavis decided not to proffer a diamond to pediatric nurse Ferrell in season 18's 2014 finale it was definitely not okay. For years the athlete was saddled with the title of worst Bachelor ever up until the point flip-flopper Arie Luyendyk Jr. asked him to hold his drink. Though Galavis also held off on saying the L-word to his clearly smitten girlfriend, their pair's romance meandered on for some seven months (and one stint on VH1's Couples Therapy) before she finally pulled the plug

In the years since, they've walked down the aisle separately with the sports and music consultant, dad to 11-year-old Camilamarrying Venezuelan model and TV host Osmariel Villalobos in 2017 (they have since split) and Ferrell finding her guy in a longtime pal Tyler VanLoo

Whitney Bischoff

Though Iowan Chris Soules proved not to be Bischoff's Prince Farming, breaking up with the fertility nurse shortly after the season 19 finale in 2015, their split led her to actual angel. "This one time, on 9/24/15, I went on a bumble date and met a really cute guy," Bischoff wrote on Instagram just days before her October 2017 wedding to sales manager Ricky Angel. "He actually looked just like his pics!! He made me laugh. And he made me feel like I could be myself. He didn't care about my past. We were just two kids living in the moment."

As if their connection didn't feel heaven sent enough, the Chicago resident gave birth to their son Hayes Singleton Angel in May 2019 on the anniversary of her mother's death. Possessing Dad's "great hair and mild temperament," she wrote on Instagram, "No doubt he was hand-delivered." 

Lauren Bushnell

As sweet as her pairing with pure-hearted Ben Higgins seemed (their 2017 breakup was the most Googled of the year), it ultimately wasn't part of the former flight attendant's big, big plans. Still, "I'm very thankful for the show and the experience," she wrote on Instagram ahead of the season 20 The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever! rehash in June. "I'm not sure I would have met my husband had I not put myself out there and gone on the show."

Because it was her engagement with Higgins that first brought her face-to-face with country singer Chris Lane at the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival. Maintaining a casual friendship for years, Bushnell and Lane eventually realized he was destined to put a diamond on her hand during a 2018 group trip to the Bahamas. "I don't know what I did to deserve this man," she wrote in a "husband appreciation post" last June, roughly a year before they welcomed son Dutton. "I cannot image living life without you @iamchrislane. I am so lucky I get to wake up next to you every morning, lucky I get to pray next to you and am continually humbled by your heart of gold."

Vanessa Grimaldi

Though season 21 lead Nick Viall has said he knew almost instantly that he'd be presenting special education teacher Grimaldi with his final rose, the two simply couldn't keep their love in bloom after their 2017 finale. "We were two puzzle pieces that just didn't fit," Grimaldi explained in September 2020, reuniting with her former fiancé on his Patreon series, Nick V Talks Trash TV: A Bachelor and His Exes Tell All. 

But everything snapped into place when Grimaldi met businessman Joshua Wolfe in late 2018. His candlelit August 2020 proposal in her native Montreal "will forever be my favourite DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!" she gushed on Instagram. "YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING AND I CANNOT WAIT TO BE FOREVER AND EVER WITH YOU!!!!!!"