MADAWASKA, Maine — It’s one thing to eye entertainment magazines while waiting in the supermarket checkout line, but it’s quite another to see those publications when a hometown gal is on the cover.
Madawaska native and star of season seven of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” a visibly pregnant Ashley Hebert, is on the cover of this week’s In Touch magazine with husband J.P. Rosenbaum. The couple announced in the publication that they are expecting their first child in October.
“She’s really put Madawaska on the map,” Yvette Deschaine said Thursday afternoon while working at Marden’s in Madawaska. “I loved seeing her on the cover.”
Deschaine was a substitute teacher at Hebert’s high school in 2003 and remembers the Madawaska high graduate as “a sweet girl who was always smiling.”
Hebert was among 25 contestants on season 15 of “The Bachelor” and made it to the final three before she was sent home by bachelor Brad Womack. She went on to star in her own season of “The Bachelorette” in 2011, when she “dated” 29 hopeful single men and sent home one each week.
Rosenbaum was the last man standing and, in front of millions of television viewers, proposed to Hebert on bended knee.
The two were married in late 2012 during a nationally broadcast outdoor wedding in California.
“They are very, very happy,” Hebert’s mother, Laurie Lavoie, said this week. “They really complement each other.”
While excited to see the official announcement of her upcoming grandchild on the front cover of a national magazine, Lavoie said she was even more relieved the pregnancy is public.
“They had told me, but we had to keep it a secret until the magazine came out,” Lavoie said. “It was hard not telling people when they would ask about her, [and] I was kind of lying to them.”
Lavoie has seen the magazine on the racks at the stores and said it is a very surreal experience to see her daughter’s photo on the cover.
Hebert has completed her dental residency, and she and Rosenbaum are in the middle of planning a move from New Jersey to Florida, where he has a new project with his construction company.
“They are going to do fine there,” Lavoie predicted. “Ashley loves the warm weather and is all done with snow.”
Around Madawaska, residents were happy for the couple, the news of the impending birth and the magazine cover.
“It’s kind of hard to believe,” said Carmen Dumais of Frenchville. “That is something we don’t see that often — a local girl on the cover of a magazine.”
Dumais said she watched both seasons of Hebert on ABC and was very proud of her.
“She is so pretty,” Dumais said. “I found her to be very natural and did not seem to be acting.”
At Modern Touch Hair Salon, stylists and sisters Sara Lagasse and Paula Pelletier were sharing a copy of the magazine with their mother, Nancy Beaulieu.
“I remember cutting her hair when she was in school,” Lagasse said. “She was always a little spunky.”
Rumors had been going around town since the start of the year that Hebert was pregnant, and the woman at Modern Touch could not be happier for her.
“Look at her, she’s so tiny, and you can already see her belly,” Pelletier said, looking at the In Touch photo spread. “She is so cute.”
Turning the page, Pelletier pointed to a photo of Rosenbaum gently kissing Hebert’s stomach.
“Look at that,” Pelletier said. “How sweet is that?”
This will be Lavoie’s sixth grandchild, she said, noting she is already grandmother to the couple’s Yorkie dog, Boo, with whom she shares joint custody.
“When she went on the show, she had just gotten Boo, so we took care of her while she was gone and got really attached to her,” Lavoie said. “So now we share custody, and we get her for two or three months around Christmas. We have grandkids and grandpups.”
Deschaine said Hebert was the reason she started watching “The Bachelor” in the first place.
Working nearby, Marden’s employee Jeff Cyr confessed to never watching the show, adding that his wife, however, is a regular viewer.
“That means you watched it, too,” a customer joked.
“Nope, I was able to find other distractions,” Cyr shot back, adding it was pretty cool to see Hebert on the magazine cover.
“And anytime someone is announcing they are having their first child, that’s a beautiful thing,” Cyr said.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the couple announced they are expecting their first child in June. They expect the child in October. The earlier version also referred to In Touch magazine as a monthly publication. It is published weekly.