6:41pm PT by Jackie Strause
Arie's Scorned Ex-Fiancee Named ABC's Next 'Bachelorette'
After being put through the most difficult breakup in Bachelor history and then having to watch her former fiance propose to someone else on live TV, Becca Kufrin has been announced as ABC's next Bachelorette.
As promised, the reveal came during the second part of the two-night Bachelor finale and only one night after Bachelor Nation watched Arie Luyendyk Jr. propose to Becca, only to call off their engagement one month later after filming had wrapped. The breakup, which played out during the first unedited scene ever aired on the franchise, was devastating to watch and easily propelled her to the top of America's wish list for who should lead the next cycle of The Bachelorette. In 24 hours, The Twitterverse rallied behind her, fans Venmo'd her $6,000 worth of wine money and an anonymous group took out anti-Arie billboards in both Los Angeles and in her home state of Minnesota.
"This is crazy!" she told host Chris Harrison on Tuesday's After the Final Rose live reunion special. Harrison said it was one of the "easiest" decisions they have ever made. Becca agreed it was also an easy decision, "once I got past the initial heartbreak. At the end of the day, the show is about finding love. That's all I want to do. I have so much love to give. Hard yes all around. I want to be the best damn Bachelorette I can be."
In a repeat surprise move from last cycle's announcement of Rachel Lindsay, five of Becca's future contestants were introduced to her early. Each one praised her for how she handled Arie — one with a British accent called him a "wanker" and another apologized on behalf of his gender. They all agreed she deserved better.
The special also marked the first time that Becca, 27, came face-to-face with Arie, 36, since the ambush. Lauren Burnham, 25, was also on hand to announce that she and Arie had indeed reconciled after Arie called things off with Becca. "I’ve never been more in love with him. We’re very, very happy together," Lauren told Harrison, praising Arie's bravery, the "respect" with how he handled the situation and insisting that she completely trusts him. "I wouldn't have given it a second chance if I didn't."
Arie then delivered his second back-to-back TV proposal. "I've made some bad decisions, but the best decision was running back to you," the Bachelor told Lauren. "I truly believe you are my soulmate. I'm ready to face this life with you — and all that comes with it. Good and bad. I love you so much and I want to do this in front of everyone, because I want to show you that I should have done this a long time ago."
When watching the breakup scene play back on Monday, a shaken Becca admitted that it was "brutal." She said she felt angry, betrayed and was looking forward to getting some answers the following night, as she and Arie had not spoken since parting ways. On Tuesday, she saw how the other side played out — where Arie told Lauren he was "1,000 percent" over his relationship with Becca when they reunited.
Becca's pain was clearly still raw, but she maintained that having it all captured on film helps to bring her closure. "Now that I’ve seen all sides of the story [of] where his heart lies, I wasn’t for him," she said. "I would never want him to feel like he’s in a relationship where he’s trapped. If I’m not the one, I’m not the one. So, I’m doing OK."
During her tense confrontation with Arie, he confessed that he regrets proposing to her in the first place. Becca accepted his apology and forgave him. But she also stood her ground, telling him that he robbed her what is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment. "I hope Lauren is your one and that you have found that happiness with her," she told her former fiance. "I just want you to be honest with her. Hold her heart high. Have the most respect for her. Be committed to her, because this was a lot to go through."
Becca became the frontrunner pick once spoilers began to leak and circulate about Arie's switcheroo ending. Though Arie himself has been criticized during his season, the women on his cycle quickly earned their place among the franchise. A handful of his exes — Tia Booth, Bekah Martinez, Kendall Long or Seinne Fleming — could have easily been named as the next Bachelorette, had this season of The Bachelor had a more traditional ending. Don't be surprised if those women reappear this summer on Bachelor in Paradise, or on another Bachelorette season down the line.
The Bachelorette has traditionally outpaced The Bachelor in the diversity department. Coming off of last season's historic first black Bachelorette with Rachel, the producers will have to deliver a majority non-white cast in order to maintain the upward trend.
The Bachelorette begins filming next week and will premiere May 28 on ABC.
Are you excited to watch Becca as the Bachelorette? Do you think Arie and Lauren will last? Sound off in the comments, below.