By People Staff
May 08, 2013 12:00 PM

WHEN IT AIRED: September 2002

WHO HE PICKED: Helene Eksterowicz

When Missouri-based banker and restaurant owner Aaron Buerge signed on to be the second Bachelor, “it was just this goofy TV show that nobody had heard of,” he says. Fans quickly caught on—more than 26 million, the highest number ever, tuned in to watch him propose to school psychologist Helene Eksterowicz. Sadly, they split just five weeks after the finale aired. “We felt like we knew each other better on the show than we really did,” Buerge explains. “The real world is definitely different than Fantasyland. My life is not limos and jets!” Now a dad to daughters Aven, 3, and Aspen, 6 months, with his wife of three years, Angye, Buerge, 39, has nothing but fondness for his Bachelor past. “I look back on it positively,” he says. “But I don’t know if I’ll share it with my daughters or not!”