Prior Lake’s Becca Kufrin chose Garrett Yrigoyen as the winner of “The Bachelorette” Monday, a decision that could land her in the same hot water that scalded the previous star of the ABC franchise.
Yrigoyen, a surgical technology salesman from Reno, was criticized earlier in the season when it was revealed that he had liked Instagram posts mocking transgender people, feminists and survivors of the Parkland shooting. Kufrin used Monday’s three-hour finale to defend her beau.
“I can only ask that people let us learn and grow from this,” she said, clutching the hand of her fiancé.
Yrigoyen also urged viewers to let him move forward.
“I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody,” he told host Chris Harrison near the end of the live broadcast. “I’m just trying to be a better person on a daily basis.”
A conference call with reporters Tuesday was dominated by questions about Yirgoyen’s social-media history, forcing the lovebirds to spend most of the 30 minutes apologizing rather than basking in the spotlight.
“I know I made some mistakes,” Yrigoyen said Tuesday. “I recognize those mistakes.”
Yrigoyen received the first kiss from Kufrin at the beginning of the 10-week season, but he was by no means the early favorite. That title belonged to Blake Horstmann, who was brimming with confidence during the entire competition, until he met with Kufrin’s family, who flew from Minnesota to the Maldives to help their relative make her final decision.
“She’s going to pick Garrett,” Horstmann said after meeting with Becca’s sister, Emily.
He was right — but the bachelorette kept the audience guessing right up until the reveal.
Harrison, never one to shy away from hyperbole, may have topped himself in the opening moments, promising “quite possibly, the most emotional” decision in the reality show’s history with the runner-up “so brokenhearted, we haven’t seen anything like it before.”
Before Monday’s mega-episode, both men had confessed their love for Kufrin; she hadn’t yet said those three little words to either of them — but she’d made it clear to America that she’s mad about both.
Kufrin’s dilemma was ironic considering how she first came into the public spotlight. In the last season of “The Bachelor,” she won a proposal from race-car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr., who quickly had second thoughts and reneged on his commitment, running into the arms of another contestant, Lauren Burnham.
That move earned him scorn from millions of fans and led one Minnesota lawmaker to draft a bill banning him from the state.
In her final date with Horstmann, the two went bike riding and made out in the Indian Ocean as the sun set. He gifted her with a time capsule of photos and trinkets from their courtship.
But Kufrin appeared to let her heart lead her head. During her island date with Yrigoyen, they squealed over the sight of dolphins. Later they giggled over his snoring and got serious over his similarities to her late father.
“It feels like a little bit of home with you,” she said.
In the live portion of the finale, Kufrin said she had knew she had fallen for the Nevada suitor when she found herself crying into a breakfast quesadilla at the airport after meeting his family.
The couple said they plan to split time between Minneapolis and Reno, but will most likely move to Los Angeles in the near future.
Don’t feel too bad for Horstmann. The runner-up was so gracious in his reunion with the woman who dumped him, that he gets to once again be in the front-runner position, this time as the next “Bachelor.”