Boy, bye! Bachelor alum Melissa Rycroft hasn’t crossed paths with her ex-fiancé Jason Mesnick since their disastrous breakup on After the Final Rose in 2009. The former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader opens up exclusively to Us Weekly about their brutal televised split and the fallout that followed.
"I mean, you always cringe when you have to talk about it. It’s embarrassing, I think, for everybody involved. That’s not any of our shining moments," Rycroft, 33 tells Us. "But I don’t think any of us would have changed how it happened because we are all where we are supposed to be. I am where I am supposed to be, and I’m with who I am supposed to be with."
Rycroft and Mesnick, 39, met on season 13 of The Bachelor. The financial adviser proposed to Rycroft in the finale, before unexpectedly dumping her for runner-up Molly Malaney on ATFR.
"I have not talked to him since the day I left that stage.… It is what it is. It was a breakup. There really hasn’t been reasons to talk," Rycroft tells Us. "I wanted so badly to find love and wanted so badly to be that girl that he wanted that I didn’t really take time to be what I wanted. I wanted to be the girl who he wanted. So, again, I don’t want to change the outcome or change anything that happened, but I would have told myself back then, 'It’s on you. Ask him questions, make sure this is a relationship that you want as well.'"
She adds, "We went our directions. I don’t think we wish each other any ill will. We just moved on."
Indeed, they both have. Mesnick went on to marry Malaney in 2010 and the couple are now parents to 3-year-old daughter Riley. (Mesnick is also dad of son Ty, 11, from a previous marriage.) Rycroft married insurance agent Tye Strickland in December 2009, and they are parents of daughter Ava, 5, and sons Beckett, 2, and 1-month-old Cayson.
"Jason and Molly were supposed to be together and they are happy now," the Dancing With the Stars season 15 champ tells Us. "So, as cringeworthy as it is to look back and regret it and wish that it hadn’t happened, everybody got this happy ending."
Nowadays, Rycroft and insurance broker Strickland are raising their children in Dallas and getting used to being a family of five, with the very recent addition of Cayson. “I could not ask for a better third child," Rycroft tells Us. “He is easygoing and really not fussy. He gives me four-hour stretches [of sleep] in the middle of the night.”
Luckily, Ava and Beckett are great older siblings. Ava in particular is a "huge help" — and is still the princess of the household. "She likes do hairstyles and trying to do my hairstyle," Rycroft, who uses the Goody Ouchless Brush, explains to Us. She adds of Strickland, "He is so wrapped around her finger."
Relive Rycroft and Mesnick's awkward ATFR encounter in the video above!
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