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Mesnick's change of heart

March 04, 2009|Denise Martin

It's going to be a rough week for "The Bachelor's" Jason Mesnick.

On Monday night, rampant online rumors concerning the show's twist ending -- one that would potentially brand Mesnick a cad -- were confirmed when he retracted his proposal to Melissa Rycroft, delivered in the last moments of the finale, in favor of the runner-up, Molly Malaney. What's worse for Mesnick -- but good for ABC -- is that more than 17.6 million tuned in to watch Melissa get the shaft on the "After the Final Rose" special, making it the most-watched in the franchise's seven-year history.

In an interview with The Times on Tuesday afternoon, Mesnick explained that he had, in fact, ended his relationship with Rycroft on the phone before the taping.

"If you watched carefully, she wasn't wearing her ring," he said.

Either way, the jilted Rycroft seems quite unhappy, and though she might have been able to turn her sympathetic position into even more camera time as the next "Bachelorette," ABC confirmed that second runner-up Jillian Harris would wear that mantle.

But back to Mesnick. Although "The Bachelor" has been at the center of controversy before -- Season 11's Brad Womack, for instance, rejected all of his options and was booed by the audience throughout his "After the Final Rose" -- dumping a girl you just proposed to on national TV? Mesnick better have his flak jacket ready.

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Was there any discussion between you and Melissa about how this might play out on TV since you say you had ended things on the phone beforehand?

No. Her response had been, "How do you want me to react to that?" I wasn't going to coach her. I just told her that we were going to talk about things again [on the show] and however she felt is how she was going to react. I'm never going to tell anyone what to say.

Are you surprised by the backlash against you?

I don't know if the public expected me to just pretend like I'm in a good happy relationship. Is that what people really wanted to see? Because that was the other option, but never a real option for me.

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Why did you go on a TV show to find love in front of millions? Why not just use match.com?

It sounded like the ultimate dating experience. I mean, if they're going to go across the country and find 25 great matches -- if you're going to talk about match.com -- it's better than that! It's unique.

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What do you think your 4-year-old son Ty, who met both Melissa and Molly, will learn about how to treat women from watching "The Bachelor"?

I don't know. I think that I want him to look at me and just say my Daddy had this crazy experience and it's OK to do some things differently from other people. It's OK that relationships don't work because that's part of real life.

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denise.martin@latimes.com

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