Arie Luyendyk Jr. has said he's "prepared" for his own finale's backlash

By Diana Pearl Aurelie Corinthios Michele Corriston
February 28, 2018 05:30 PM

Buckle up, Bachelor Nation: This season is gearing up for what promises to be truly, seriously, the most dramatic conclusion ever.

While PEOPLE won’t reveal specific plot points so as not to spoil the upcoming drama, suffice it to say that after the two-part finale on Monday and Tuesday, Arie Luyendyk Jr. will have a lot of explaining to do — especially since the franchise has been dropping ominous hints that something no one expected is about to go down.

“I know people are going to be hard on [me],” Luyendyk Jr., 36, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “I made a mistake. And I’m prepared for the backlash. But all I can say is I had to follow my heart.”

Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham
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  • For more on The Bachelor and Arie Luyendyk Jr., pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Of his two finalists, publicist Becca Kufrin, 27, and sales executive Lauren Burnham, 26, the race car driver says they’re “very different”: Minnesota-based Kufrin is “outgoing,” while Burnham, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is more “reserved.”

“They’re both great in their own individual ways,” he adds.

While we eagerly await next week’s two-night finale, here’s a look back at the franchise’s most controversial After the Final Rose moments.

The Bachelor season 13: Jason Mesnick

Perhaps actually the most dramatic After the Final Rose of all time! Mesnick proposed to Rycroft on the 2009 finale, but by the time After the Final Rose rolled around, he was second-guessing his decision — because he couldn’t stop thinking about his runner-up, Molly Malaney. He ended up breaking up with Rycroft right then and there, and reuniting with Malaney, with whom he looked completely in love. He had good intuition, it seems: They’ve been married for eight years and have two children.

The Bachelorette season 10: Andi Dorfman

The memorable moment of Dorfman’s 2014 After the Final Rose wasn’t her reunion with fiancé Josh Murray, but Nick Viall’s public admission that he had sex with Dorfman in the fantasy suite — and the backlash to him asking why she “made love” to him if she wasn’t “in love” with him, which many viewed as slut-shaming. Dorfman and Murray were too cute, however, mocking each other’s funny faces. Dorfman later revealed in her memoir, It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After, that their relationship was actually not all it seemed, with allegations of jealousy and emotional abuse. She called it “the most volatile and f—ed up relationship of my life,” she said. They ended their relationship in June 2015.

The Bachelor season 18: Juan Pablo Galavis

Breaking with Bachelor precedent, Galavis didn’t propose to his final choice, Nikki Ferrell, instead just giving her his rose in 2014. Things were rocky from the start: Ferrell said she didn’t know if Galavis was in love with her — meaning that since the show wrapped, he hadn’t told her he loved her. She then spent most of her time in the hot seat defending Galavis, and he spent most of his own time refusing to apologize for his behavior on the show (which many viewers found questionable). They broke up that October.

The Bachelorette season 9: Desiree Hartsock

She thought she would choose another contestant — Brooks Forester — until he self-eliminated a couple of weeks before the 2013 finale. But Hartsock found her happy ending anyway with Chris Siegfried. On After the Final Rose, Brooks made a reappearance, and Hartsock told him that it all worked out — to which Brooks said he wasn’t surprised. Turns out, it was for the best: Hartsock and Siegfried are now married and share a son.

The Bachelor season 21: Nick Viall

Though he put a ring on it after a romantic trip to Finland, it seemed the fairy tale was over for four-time Bachelor cast member Viall and his choice, Vanessa Grimaldi, in 2017. During the After the Final Rose special, Grimaldi was quick to admit there had been “difficult” days between the two, a sentiment Nick echoed when he joined her on stage. Even Bachelor Nation was questioning the love between the newly engaged couple. After the special, Grimaldi shot down their critics, saying, “You can never make people happy. At the end of the day, we are focusing on our relationship.” The couple said they don’t have any wedding plans in the works and ultimately split that August.

The Bachelor concludes Monday and Tuesday on ABC.

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