For Ashley Hebert, a 26-year-old dental student from Madawaska, finding love has been a long journey played out in front of an estimated 8 million viewers on ABC’s reality show, “The Bachelorette.”
Hebert, who now lives in Philadelphia where she is finishing her degree in dentistry, will hand out the final rose on tonight’s episode to either Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, Calif., or J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from Roslyn, N.Y.
Along with the final rose comes the assumption that Hebert’s chosen suitor will propose, making her a bachelorette no more.
The final episode will take place in Fiji, where Hebert’s family will travel from Maine to meet the remaining men and give their advice on who Hebert should pick. Previews show Hebert’s older sister, Chrystie Hebert Corns of Portland, who appeared on TLC’s reality show “Extreme Couponing,” isn’t afraid to give her opinion of Rosenbaum.
Corns tells Hebert she doesn’t think Rosenbaum is “The One” and can’t picture the two of them together.
“I think you’re too much for him,” Corns tells her sister. “I think you’re too young and I think you’re a little too spunky and he’s just kind of a little bit older and a little more demure.”
Corns can barely finish her sentence before Hebert bursts into tears, saying she didn’t think her sister wouldn’t like him.
“It’s heartbreaking because I really, really care about him,” Hebert tells her sister.
Despite Hebert’s sister’s suggested lack of approval of Rosenbaum, most critics and tabloid magazines seem to think she chooses him. A poll on ABC’s website shows that 72 percent of viewers agree that the New Yorker wins her heart.
During the finale, the men will each get one last date with Hebert where they both profess their love for her.
Hebert had a connection with both men early on, despite the distraction of one contestant, Bentley Williams, 28, who Hebert fell hard for without knowing that he wasn’t interested. Williams said during the show that he was only there for the competition and knew from the beginning that he wasn’t attracted to her but still wanted to “mess with her head.”
Throughout the season, Flajnik seemed to be able to forget about Hebert’s other relationships and focus on their time together.
“I just love everything about Ben,” Hebert said in an earlier episode. “With Ben I feel like I have everything. All the love, all the zest for life.”
Rosenbaum struggled with jealousy throughout the season and told Hebert he was ready for the show to end and for it be just the two of them.
“When I’m with him I don’t have a care in the world. He’s the total package,” Hebert said of Rosenbaum.
During the hometown dates, Hebert learned in California that Flajnik has only recently started to open up to others after losing his father. And in New York, Rosenbaum’s family expressed their concerns that he will get his heart broken again after being scorned from his last relationship.
Hebert appears to be committed to both men, saying she feels like Flajnik has been her boyfriend for a long time and she feels like she has known Rosenbaum forever.
Hebert, a University of Maine graduate, missed her chance at love on last season’s “The Bachelor” where she failed to capture the heart of 38-year-old Austin bar owner, Brad Womack. Hebert made it to the final three before she was eliminated. Womack proposed to single mother Emily Maynard, a 24-year-old children’s hospital event planner from Charlotte, N.C. The couple has since broken up.
Tune in to ABC at 8 p.m. Monday to see who Hebert chooses and if she gets her happily ever after, after all.