This might come as a surprise to newer Bachelor fans, but there was a time when Arie Luyendyk Jr. was considered a franchise favorite. That time was back in 2012, when the then-Bachelorette contestant won the hearts of Emily Maynard and Bachelor Nation.

The race car driver, then 31, really stood out in Season 8, with his good looks, laid-back sweetness, and seriously impressive kissing skills. It seemed like the single mom was completely smitten with Arie, bringing him through hometowns and overnight dates into the finale. But in the end, she chose Utah hipster Jef Holm — a decision she would come to regret. Before Arie meets the 29 contestants vying for his affection, here’s a refresher on his romance with Emily.

Emily and Arie Meet

Arie’s limo entrance in the May 2012 premiere was nice, if not somewhat unmemorable. He introduced himself to the beaming Bachelorette, saying, “Nice to meet you… finally,” before adding how “stunning” she looked. There was some initial chemistry, but not enough for the first impression rose, which instead went to single dad Doug Clerget.

The First Date

Emily and Arie’s first one-on-one date didn’t come until the third week of her “journey,” but it was worth the wait. The two took a private airplane to Dollywood in Tennessee, where the Southern gal met her idol, Dolly Parton! They then danced to a song specially-written for them by Dolly herself — swoon — and Arie obviously got the date rose.

The L-Bomb and That Kiss

The next memorable Arie-Emily moment came three weeks later during the “Highland Games” group date in Croatia. After Disney’s Brave-themed competition, they all went to dinner, and Arie was able to pull Em away for some private time. That’s when the now-famous wall kiss happened, which still has us weak in the knees over half a decade later. Later that week, Arie proved himself a front-runner once again when he snuck over to her hotel for more alone time. After leaving, he admitted to the cameras that he was officially in love.

(Photo Credit: ABC)

The First Fight

The first snag in their relationship came in the seventh week of filming, while they were all in Prague. During their one-on-one tour of the Czech capital, Emily found out that Arie had previously dated Bachelorette producer Cassie Lambert for over 10 years, and she angrily confronted him about it. Ultimately, Cassie — who also happened to be a close friend of Emily’s — joined the pair to talk about the relationship off-camera, and they were all able to move past it.

The Hometown Date

Soon enough, it was time for Arie to bring the Bachelorette home to meet his family in Scottsdale, AZ. After a day at the race track, they went to his parents’ house, and at first, the Luyendyk brood spoke only in Dutch! Thankfully, Arie’s mom returned to English and pulled Emily aside to confess that she could tell her son was in love.

The Breakup

With the hometown visits and overnight dates under her belt, it was time for Emily to make a decision. Unfortunately for Arie, that meant the North Carolina beauty would be sending him home before their final date. She reasoned that she already knew she would be choosing Jef, but Arie was still left blindsided and heartbroken.

In fact, during the After the Final Rose special, he revealed that he flew to Emily’s native Charlotte post-filming to leave a journal of his feelings on her doorstep. She opted not to read the diary — out of respect for her then-fiancé — but they were, at least, able to get some closure.

emily maynard arie luyendyk jr — abc

Arie’s own journey to find love beings on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC — can’t wait until the end to find out who Arie picks? Be sure to check out our spoilers! And be sure to join our Bachelor Facebook group to chat about all the latest updates, exclusive interviews, and juicy gossip.