Over the past four years, Melissa Rycroft's life has been turned upside down.
After being publicly humiliated by Bachelor Jason Mesnick — he proposed to her on the 13th season finale, but broke up with her on the After the Final Rose episode six weeks later for runner-up Molly Malaney — the brunette beauty is now on top...especially since she's the season 15 winner of Dancing With the Stars!
"I can't even sum up what's happened to me in the last four years," she told Life & Style after she won the coveted mirror ball trophy on Nov. 27. "Everything has been unexpected and I've just learned to go with the flow, take everything with a grain of salt and move forward."
Melissa Rycroft reveals she hasn't lost any weight on DWTS
"I've been lucky," she continues. "I've been blessed with a lot of really good things in my life. I take advantage of it and do it with a smile."
Though Jason dumping her on live TV wasn't the greatest feeling in the world at the time, it was a blessing in disguise. In 2009, she married longtime love Tye Strickland and the pair welcomed a baby girl named Ava in February 2011.
"I've gotten married and had a baby," she says when we asked her if winning DWTS is the happiest she's ever been. "This is third in my life!"
It's been a tough road for Melissa and her partner Tony Dovolani. The pair first teamed up for season eight after Melissa replaced Access Hollywood host Nancy O'Dell, who withdrew from the competition due to an injury. The duo finished in third place. During a rehearsal in October for the recent season, the former Bachelor contestant had issues of her own when she suffered a head and neck injury. But the mama of one pulled through it.
Melissa Rycroft's near perfect score on DWTS following injury
"I've paid my dues, but it was worth the entire 14 seasons to get somebody like Melissa," first-time winner Tony confides to Life & Style, adding, "This is an incredible moment. "Melissa didn't just affect me — she affected an entire nation. I share this moment with all our fans."
So how is the 29-year-old reality star feeling after beating out Shawn Johnson and Kelly Monaco?
"Things are good right now," she shares. "I have no complaints. I feel really blessed."
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