Aaron Buerge

Justin Kahn/WireImage

His life was smelling like roses until the financial crisis.

Aaron Buerge, star of the second season of ABC's The Bachelor way back in 2002 (quick recap: he broke off his engagement to Helene Eksterowicz shortly after proposing), has filed for personal bankruptcy in his native Springfield, Miss., where he owns a restaurant.

An ironic turn of events for a guy who also runs a chain of family-owned banks.

But apparently he had no choice.

Per court docs, the erstwhile tube star has $9.3 million in debt against $2.3 million in personal assets and his wife, Angye, is also listed as a codebtor and their diamond wedding ring is listed among the couple's property.

Buerge tells People that he was forced to file last week because the 2008 economic crisis caused the failure of a bank where he had taken out a loan for his restaurant. Consequently, the new creditors who took over the note demanded he repay the money faster than he anticipated.

"I'm not broke," Buerge told the magazine trying to put the best spin on the situation. "I'm not in financial distress—nothing like that. Otherwise, I wouldn't be paying everybody.

"We've been making payments...every month, but they've just been pushing to come after some private assets that I might have."

Shortly after the end of his run on The Bachelor, Aaron dumped Helene and eventually found true love with Angye. They tied the knot in 2009 and now have an 18-month-old girl, which he said is the reason he's taking the legal action seeking protection.

"I'm more focused on my family than on continuing to pay to fight the lawsuit for who-knows-how-long," he told People. "I'm a family guy now. That kind of changes a guy's priorities in life."

Hey, ABC, Aaron sounds like he could use a new gig—Bankrupt Bachelor, anyone?

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