After the final two curvy contestants visited Luke Conley‘s hometown of Santa Maria, Calif., met his family and broke bread one last time, More To Love‘s big-boned bachelor confirmed he’d found what came for — someone to spend the rest of his life with — when he popped the question to the 26-year-old fashion stylist/decorator/ aspiring model Tali on the season finale Tuesday.
“I’m in love and ready to express that in the most profound way,” the 26-year-old subcontractor and real estate investor explained on his way to the backyard of the mansion where all participants had lived. “This is the girl who I want to spend the rest of my life with. Tali is the type of woman who’ll help me achieve all the goals I have.”
The raven-haired Israeli beauty arrived in a bejeweled watercolor print goddess gown, swearing in voiceover that she’d “never been in love the way she was with Luke. This is on a whole different level. I want to be the one he picks at the end and calls his fiancee.”
She got her wish despite getting noticeably nervous when Luke brought up their much-debated religious differences and the obstacles they would undoubtedly face if they chose to marry. He started, “In the beginning, I made a promise to love you for who you are and I do. I love you with all my heart. You love me for who I am, as I am. You make me a better man.”
When he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him, she said she couldn’t breath and trembled. But she squeezed out a “yes” and “I love you” while he slid on a sparkling Ben Bridge diamond engagement ring. Then the screaming, passionate kissing and twirling bear hugs began. “Thank you for being you and for having faith in us,” she said. “Dreams come true. Love does not have a shape or size. It’s the size of your heart that matters. For all the big girls out there who think they can’t find love, I’m living proof.”
Before Conley could ride off into the night with his new fiancee and end the “happiest day of his life,” he first had to deal with the “hardest breakup he’d ever faced.” His chemistry with Malissa was instantaneous. She was even the first contestant he kissed. Luke had previously worried that she was “just in it to win it” and not as interested in a lifelong commitment. During their final date, she had laid all her cards in the table. “If you asked me to marry you, yes, a thousand times yes,” she had told him.
While he had previously said, “I love you,” he explained on the finale, “there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. You are a beautiful woman. You have a fun and adventurous side that I adore. I feel like our lives could be woven together so easily, but my heart belongs to somebody else.”
She quickly excused herself after he delivered the crushing news, but allowed him to walk her to the car. Once inside, she let the tears flow freely. “Everything felt so right. I can’t believe I was so wrong,” she said. “What makes her better than me? What’s missing? I didn’t expect to fall for somebody, to love somebody, to find it here. But I did.” –Carrie Bell
Tell us: Did Luke make the right choice?Patrick Wymore/FOX