We're only days away from what host Chris Harrison will probably call "the most dramatic Bachelor finale yet," and for once, that might not be a hyperbole. It's possible the upcoming Season 22 drama will top what was objectively the most dramatic Bachelor finale before now — which was when Jason Mesnick dumped his "winner" for his "runner-up" and coined the term "pulling a Mesnick."
The Season 13 Bachelor — who was previously dumped by Bachelorette No. 4 DeAnna Pappas — got down on bended knee for Melissa Rycroft, only to break up with her on live TV during the After the Final Rose special. Turns out, he was still in love with his then-runner-up Molly Malaney.
In a People interview after the show, Jason revealed what went wrong in his relationship with Melissa. "After we got back into the real world, all of a sudden, we had less to talk about, and I didn't know why," he said. "I started thinking, wow, what's happening? Why aren't we communicating the way we did when the show was going on? I think at that stage of the relationship it should be fun and exciting no matter what, especially the first six months. Why didn't I think about these things earlier? It's longer than a six-week or seven-week process for me. Just because the cameras stopped rolling, for me, I still did some soul-searching."
The news came as quite a shock to Molly, whom he ended up marrying in an ABC special. "It was not what I was expecting to hear," she told People. "After the finale, I thought he made the wrong decision and I was so upset. I was shocked. It was the first time I ever had my heart broken. I think I went through two boxes of Kleenex in 13 hours. I thought, Gosh, it would be so awesome if he called me up and was like, I made a mistake, I want you back. Never in a million years did I think it was going to happen."
Jason had a contractual obligation not to make contact with Molly, but Bachelor producers cut him a deal. They said he could reach out to his beloved if he made America sympathize with Melissa — which he did by dumping her so publicly, he explained to HuffPost in 2017.
"[They said], 'We need your help to have America feel for Melissa in the same way they felt for you when DeAnna dumped you. The fans just need to feel sorry for Melissa. Work with us and we'll let you have Molly.' That's what they told me … And they said, '[At this time] we've asked Molly to be the Bachelorette, and we're going to be giving up a lot. So we just need you to work with us in return.' In my gut, I knew it was the wrong thing to do."
Though the televised breakup had the stench of a ratings ploy, Jason said it was all real. He even told People it didn't come as a surprise to Melissa.
"It was not a setup," he said. "[Melissa] was not blindsided. There's not a conspiracy. People are spreading rumors. It's completely false. I'm telling you the truth, what happened behind closed doors. I make mistakes and I did what I thought was best for everybody, which was end things with Melissa."
Added Molly, "He's following his heart and he's doing what's best for him. When it comes to love, it's okay to be selfish because that's your life, the rest of your life."
But Melissa sees it differently, as she explained last year on the Reality Life With Kate Casey podcast. She said she knew something was amiss after she sent Hanukkah gifts to Jason's son.
"[Jason] never called to say thank you, he never said he got them, he never said he appreciated them," she recalled. "And I remember going, 'Why am I trying?' I feel like he gave up, and now, looking back, he had given up, he had moved on, but I didn't know that."
"To say that we went into that After the Final Rose in an absolutely perfect place is a lie," Melissa continued. "[But] had we completely severed ties and broken up? No! … I wasn't expecting him to be like, 'Oh, yeah, peace out. I have feelings for Molly, I've been talking to her, and I've been seeing her.' That was when I was humiliated."
Molly and Jason have since been married for eight years, and in 2013, they welcomed a daughter named Riley — but there's a reason everyone is reliving drama from almost a decade ago! According to spoilers for this season of The Bachelor, history repeats itself when Arie Luyendyk Jr. ends up "pulling a Mesnick."
Insiders tell Life & Style the not-so-lucky lady whom race car driver picks in the March 6 finale is not the same woman who currently has his heart; he proposed to Becca Kufrin and gave her his final rose when filming wrapped in November, but our intel says he already dumped her and is currently with his runner-up, Lauren Burnham.
While only time will tell if Lauren B. and Arie's love will last like Jason and Molly's has, it sure sounds like Becca is in for similar humiliation as Melissa, as some spoilers suggest her breakup with Arie — which is said to have happened earlier this year — was filmed by ABC's camera crew. But hey, maybe she'll re-emerge to hand out roses on The Bachelorette…
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