It’s been more than a decade since Jason Mesnick infamously broke up with Melissa Rycroft for runner-up Molly Malaney — but the Bachelor season 13 winner can still recall how irritated she was during that dramatic After the Final Rose taping.
“I was so angry with the whole production. I was like, ‘They all lied to me. They all got me here. They got me dressed up.’ [And] I was furious with him for doing it to me,” Rycroft, 37, said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “I didn’t even have feelings toward Molly because first of all, it’s not her fault. I mean, if he contacted her, she’s allowed to talk to him. And she can’t help if he wants to be with her. So there wasn’t any of that and I’ll be honest, I was so angry at the time I didn’t even think about what was happening on that stage as I was riding off in the limo.”
ABC revisited season 13 of The Bachelor, which aired in 2009, on the Monday, August 10, episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever. Mesnick made reality TV history at the time when he dumped Rycroft during a closed-set After the Final Rose six weeks after they got engaged because he was still thinking about Malaney, 35.
“Filming that was the most awkward thing in the entire world because I’m looking at everybody going you all knew exactly why you were coming here. It was bad,” Rycroft recalled, noting that production made her change when she arrived at the taping. “They put me in that shiny foil, strapless mini dress, they put the ring on my finger and backstage they had me watch the engagement video, which I’d never seen before [because] it hadn’t aired [yet]. So they got me all dolled up and all emotional.”
After his split from Rycroft, Malaney agreed to give Mesnick another chance. A year after they reunited, they wed in February 2010. The couple share 7-year-old daughter Riley. (Mesnick is also the father of 15-year-old Ty from his first marriage.)
Rycroft, meanwhile, got back together with ex Tye Strickland shortly after her split from Mesnick — and has never watched the show back.
“I know people are gonna watch [The Bachelor: GOAT] and get so angry. [But] I’m like, ‘Listen, we are so OK, we and we are right where we’re supposed to be,” she told Us. “If Jason and I got married, it would have been the biggest blowup ever, like, it would have been terrible. We are not supposed to be together.”
Rycroft and Strickland, who wed in December 2009, share daughter Ava, 9, and sons Beckett, 6, and Cayson, 4.
For more from Rycroft, listen to Us Weekly‘s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.