By People Staff
May 08, 2013 12:00 PM

WHEN IT AIRED: March 2002

WHO HE PICKED: Amanda Marsh

The man who first uttered those infamous words “Will you accept this rose?” didn’t know what he was getting himself into. “It was a little overwhelming,” Alex Michel told PEOPLE in 2002. “It was like the most elaborate, well-financed dating service of all time.” The then-31-year-old management consultant chose Amanda Marsh over Trista Rehn, but, setting the tone for a multitude of Bachelors to follow, opted not to give her a ring. The pair split soon after; Marsh told PEOPLE in 2002, “I thought I was falling in love. Looking back, it’s not reality.” Now the elusive Michel, who has held several jobs since the show, including spokesman for and “Romance and Proposal Expert” for Princess Cruises, is staying out of the public eye. Nonetheless show host Chris Harrison, who hasn’t spoken to Michel since the finale, is grateful to his pioneering bachelor. “Alex was just a normal guy who agreed to jump into the unknown,” he says. “He was brave to take it on.”