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Becca Kufrin is ready to “do the damn thing” — again. Even after enduring the pain and embarrassment of a blindsiding on-camera breakup with Arie Luyendyk Jr. on The Bachelor‘s March finale, the newly minted Bachelorette star has put her trust back in ABC’s long-running reality TV franchise.
During a Wednesday conference call with The Hollywood Reporter and other media, Kufrin talked about giving in to the “process” of the show, her decision to announce her engagement before the cycle even debuts and her newfound empathy for former fiance Luyendyk — who changed his mind and proposed to runner-up Lauren Burnham on the season’s controversial live finale earlier this year.
“It felt so great to say yes to this position, and I was excited to finally really find love,” said Kufrin, expressing her excitement over handing out the roses this time. “I thought that it worked last time and that it would work again.”
Kufrin was memorably jilted by Luyendyk and ambushed by producers when the former Bachelor star called off their engagement, with the cameras rolling, after taping on the show had wrapped. The breakup footage aired during a two-night finale event in March, playing out “unedited” and for nearly an hour. The decision by ABC to air the scene spawned backlash in the week that followed, with critics and viewers alike voicing their protests about the show.
In response to the outcry, Luyendyk revealed that he regretted proposing to Kufrin during the final episode, telling The Hollywood Reporter one day after the show ended that there needs to be more “flexibility” when it comes to the finale proposal if the lead needs more time. “That’s what I needed,” he said.
Kufrin began filming The Bachelorette only days after the finale aired and insists she was able to let her guard down. Still, her engagement announcement comes as a surprise, given her history with the show.
“I was hopeful last season and this time around because I knew that it worked and I knew that it could again, especially now with an even bigger chance meeting 28 guys,” she says of turning around to find love again on the show. “I was very upfront the entire time about if it’s not 1,000 percent right, I don’t want any party involved to feel pressure to get down on one knee and give a ring. And if it led to that, I would have been fine with that.”
Though Kufrin once said that her biggest fear in participating in The Bachelorette would be choosing a suitor who might unexpectedly call it quits like Luyendyk, she said on Wednesday that her worries subsided once she met the men in the mansion. “That was a present fear early on, and it wasn’t until I really got to know the guys and realize who was genuinely here for me and for the right reasons that that dissipated,” she explained.
The Minnesota native also explained why she felt compelled to share her engagement news with viewers, even if it meant spoiling the ending of her season like some Bachelorette stars have done before her.
“I wanted to share my excitement. It’s big news. It was something that I felt was important to share because people have been with me on the journey for so long from start to finish,” she said, adding that she and her new fiance have “no set wedding plans,” including a date. “We’re living in the moment. We’re really excited for the premiere and to start this entire journey and watch it all play back at this point.”
Reflecting on winning Luyendyk’s heart on The Bachelor — and then losing it to Burnham — Kufrin admitted that after leading season 14 of The Bachelorette she now understands why the racecar driver put the brakes on their short-lived engagement.
“I became much more understanding to the entire journey and how he wasn’t feeling certain ways for multiple women,” she said. “I’m definitely much more empathetic to Arie, and I understand he had to be open to multiple women and multiple relationships. I felt that same thing my time around — just being open to every guy and giving everyone a fair chance.”
Months after their split, Kufrin has reestablished contact with both Luyendyk and castmate Burnham. The engaged couple suggested they had smoothed things over with the 28-year-old publicist earlier in the week when they announced their plan to tie the knot in an untelevised wedding ceremony set for January in Hawaii.
Asked if she would consider attending Luyendyk’s nuptials, Kufrin surprisingly said she wouldn’t mind being there for their big day. “I don’t know if they’d invite me, but I guess,” she told reporters. “If they want me there, I’d want to share in their love because I truly do wish them nothing but happiness.”
The Bachelorette returns to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. Head to THR.com/Bachelor for all things Bachelor Nation.
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