Juan Pablo, The Bachelor

ABC/Rick Rowell

A lot has been said (and then some) about Juan Pablo Galavis over the past 24 hours, let alone the last eight weeks.

But according to his family, the controversial star took The Bachelor "very seriously" and is "very happy" with girlfriend Nikki Ferrell, who accepted an "I like you a lot" rose from Juan Pablo on last night's season finale but did not get the proposal she was seemingly hoping for.

"He didn't propose to her because I don't think you are able to propose to somebody in just a month and a half," Rodolfo Soules, a cousin of Juan Pablo's who appeared several times on The Bachelor during scenes with family, told E! News in an exclusive chat about the part-comical, part-vitriolic aftermath of the ABC series' most controversial season yet.

Reiterating what Juan Pablo said on TV about making a promise to Nikki's dad that he wouldn't propose if he wasn't 100 percent sure, Rodolfo also revealed that his cousin received advice from a cancer-stricken teenage fan of the show named Kimberly who reminded him that he did not have to pop the question if he wasn't ready.

"He really cared for her and she was the one who gave Juan Pablo the idea of not proposing," Rodolfo said. "Juan Pablo has never watched the show before, so he doesn't know how it works. So that is how he was able to find out that he didn't have to propose and basically do what he really wanted to do, which was allowing him to be true to himself."

The 32-year-old single dad did pick out a Neil Lane engagement ring just in case, but opted not to use it—either during the finale, taped months ago, or the live After the Final Rose special, during which he took a lot of heat from host Chris Harrison (and the world) for refusing to tell Nikki that he loved her.

Juan Pablo Galavis, Nikki, Instagram


But according to Rodolfo, a host on Houston's 104.9 Tu Música, he just FaceTimed with the pair recently and "they seem like a totally normal couple. That's why it was odd for me to read all these comments on social media about him talking about that this is all an act. It's not an act at all.

"They are still getting to know each other and I am really happy for him because this time he is going to be able to have a relationship with this person away from the cameras and that is going to be when they really get to know each other."

Juan Pablo  posted a selfie of them apparently taken right after the taping, with the caption, "We are FREE." Today, meanwhile, he posted the message, "Throw me to the wolves and I'll come back leading the pack."

The Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, Nikki Ferrell

ABC/Rick Rowell

Turns out the Bachelor ties that bind don't completely untie after the final rose is handed out.

Nikki, who also took a fair amount of flak for staying with Juan Pablo in the first place, also took to Twitter to defend herself last night, writing, "Being in the public eye does NOT give you the right to say what you want to me. Your words hurt no matter what. Be ashamed of yourselves."

"Keep your head up lady," Molly Mesnick, who married Jason Mesnick after he had originally proposed to Melissa Rycroft on the show, tweeted to Nikki today. "@jason_mesnick & I went through ALL of this too. It will pass...just stay strong & focus on the good."

"There is a lot of good to focus on...Thank you so much for your support," Nikki replied.

Rodolfo also described the connection between Clare Crawley, whom he also met, and Juan Pablo as more of a physical bond (um, yes, so Juan Pablo said) that "turned into something deep," while with Nikki it was more about personality.

"I felt Juan Pablo was more connected to Nikki from the get-go and he liked her from the very first week of The Bachelor," he said. "When I was in Miami with Juan Pablo, which you saw on TV, we talked for an hour and a half and he said that Nikki was the main choice."

But not yet the love of his life. And that's been the sticking point for fans of the show, plus observers of the human condition who happen to be weighing in at go-time.

"I think it is going to work out," Rodolfo said. "They have a solid base right now."

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