4:52am PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelor' Pair Splits Days After Finale: "This Is What Makes Most Sense"
Bachelor star Peter Weber and Madison Prewett have already gone their "separate ways."
The news comes only days after Tuesday's live finale. During the tense conclusion to the 24th cycle of the ABC franchise, Weber proposed to his final woman standing, Hannah Ann Sluss, only to call off his engagement after filming wrapped and pursue Prewett in recent weeks.
When they reunited on the live After the Final Rose stage, Weber and Prewett told Bachelor Nation they were in love. But they stopped short of committing to any sort of relationship and Weber acknowledged they had an "uphill" battle ahead, given his family's public disapproval of his decision.
Weber and Prewett jointly announced the news late Thursday night on their Instagram accounts.
"I want to start by acknowledging the incredible group of women that I had the privilege of getting to know this season," began Weber in his post. "Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I learned so many lessons from all of you that I will carry with me. Madi, thank you for your patience and unconditional love. You’re the epitome of a woman who carries herself with grace, stands by what she believes in, and loves whole heartedly. That love is something I feel so grateful to have felt and will take a piece of that with me always going forward."
He continued, "Madi and I have mutually decided to not pursue our relationship any further. Believe me this was not easy for either of us to be ok with, but after a lot of honest conversations, we have agreed that this is what makes most sense for the two of us. The love and respect I have for Madi will continue to endure.
"Hannah Ann, you set an example for women everywhere a couple nights ago. You are such a strong, confident woman and you deserve all the love in the world. I accept full responsibility for my mistakes in our relationship and wish you only the best. This has been an emotional experience and I am so grateful for the outreach of support that I have received from friends, family, and Bachelor Nation in the last few days. Thank you to all of you! This is just another chapter in my story. One I will never forget and one I will always cherish."
For her part, Prewett, 23, wrote: "So incredibly thankful for this amazing journey I’ve had the honor of being a part of. I have grown so much and am stronger than I was going in. I have learned the importance of acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. As Peter and I have decided to go our separate ways, I am confident that we will both move in the direction of our purpose and never forget that God has a plan in all things. I will always love and respect him. I am convinced our paths were meant to cross and we are both better because they did."
Speaking directly to Weber, she added, "You are an amazing guy and I’m thankful for you. I will always be your biggest fan. And to the amazing women I met this season, I will love you for life. Thank you [ABC] for allowing me to embark on this journey."
Prewett and Weber had a rocky road from the start. Prewett eliminated herself early from the show after giving Weber a sex ultimatum during Fantasy Suites week. (Due to her faith, Prewett is saving herself for marriage and told Weber she likely wouldn't be able to move forward if he had been intimate with any of the other women — and he had.)
Though ABC's cameras captured their reunion three weeks ago — when Prewett told Weber she, too, had unfinished feelings for the star — the pair's debut during the live show was anything but solid. The most explosive drama stemmed from Weber's parents, Barbra and Peter Sr., who were in the audience, fighting with their son on live television about his decision to ultimately pick Prewett over Sluss.
In a move that has been both criticized and gone viral, Barbra Weber told her son that "everyone" knows it's not going to work between the pair, and that Weber was going to have to "fail to succeed." Though Weber pushed back, saying, "I'm telling you that I love Madison and that should be enough," the episode ended on somewhat of a real-life cliffhanger due to the tense scene between the tight-knit family. (Weber, a 28-year-old Delta pilot, still lives with his family in California.)
Even before the live show, the writing was on the wall: for the first time in recent memory, Weber would not be doing any of the usual post-finale press rounds.
"This decision was made weeks ago," ABC's reality chief Rob Mills told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "I think Peter and Madison are trying to figure their way out and what’s next for them, and I think that answering a million questions right now when they haven’t had the time to ask those questions of themselves would have been really difficult and kind of a gauntlet. It had nothing to do with the family."
Weber follows in the franchise footsteps of his ex-girlfriend, Bachelorette Hannah Brown, in delivering a no-relationship ending. Brown called off her engagement to winner Jed Wyatt in the months between when filming had wrapped and the live show, and ended up single in an ending she admitted "nobody" wanted.
Though the relationship success rate for The Bachelor is far lower than that of The Bachelorette, recent Bachelor cycles have produced long-lasting relationships: 2018 Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. and wife Lauren Burnham recently welcomed their first child together, and 2019's Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph remain in a relationship.
Since December, Weber had boasted that the ending to his season would not be able to be spoiled. Given his roller coaster few months since then — and whiplash decision to not try to make a relationship work with Prewett — it turns out that he was right.
The two-hour finale delivered the franchise its biggest audience for a Bachelor episode since 2016. Next up, Clare Crawley gets her shot when The Bachelorette (which is due to begin filming on Friday) returns May 18.