"I'm just so excited to spend the rest of my life with Kari," said Marquel Martin

By Natalie Stone
December 20, 2020 12:16 AM
Advertisement

Bachelor Nation's Marquel Martin is a bachelor no more!

PEOPLE confirms that Martin and his longtime love, Kari Kaisner, got engaged on Saturday at Las Vegas’ Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa.

“I am overrun with emotions,” Martin, who appeared on Andi Dorfman's season 10 of The Bachelorette and also season 1 of Bachelor in Paradise, told BachelorNation.com. “I’ve thought about this moment for a really long time now.”

The proposal was a surprise to Kaisner, who thought the trip was simply a fun holiday getaway. But behind the scenes, Martin — who popped the question with a solitaire diamond ring and decorated the space with candles and rose petals — had flown in her parents and sister from Illinois to be present for the weekend.

Credit: Eric Williams
Credit: Eric Williams

“I was so nervous going into this,” the marketing agent — still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and riding a scooter —  said. “But now that it’s over, I’m so relieved. I’m just so excited to spend the rest of my life with Kari.”

The couple's love story began six years ago, not too long after Martin's time on The Bachelorette and BiP had ended.

Marquel Martin on Bachelor in Paradise
| Credit: abc

Though they were living in the same apartment complex, their meeting was one of fate. "She ran out of gas one day,” Martin recalled to the outlet. “And I gave her a ride to the gas station. And that’s where it all started — at the gas station. After coming off of Paradise, love was the last thing I was looking for. But there was definitely something there."

Their meeting turned into a friendship, a business partnership, and eventually romance. “We were hanging out more and more, and I just loved every moment I got to spend with her. I told her about this new company I was starting, Social Cookie,” Martin said. “And I asked her to be a part of it because she has experience in marketing and is such a hard working woman.”

Credit: Eric Williams
Credit: Eric Williams

Another pivotal life moment also bonded the pair. In 2016, Martin learned he had a genetic heart disease. He was given a defibrillator, and later lost his job not long after having surgery to have the device implanted.

Recalling that difficult season, Martin said, “my whole world turned upside down."

"One minute I thought I was this hot young bachelor. And then the next I had suffered all these setbacks and lost all my confidence. But she pulled me out of my depression," he said about Kaisner. "She showed me love, she prayed with me, and lifted my spirits any way she could."

After Martin took a job in Los Angeles six months later, Kaisner didn't allow distance to keep their love from growing, her driving back and forth from Las Vegas to L.A. "every single weekend."

As to when he knew she was The One? “My dad has diabetes and last year he had a stroke and he ended up having to have his leg amputated. It was such a hard time for all of us. But watching Kari console my mom throughout all of that, that’s when I knew she had to become my wife,” he explained. “While my mom broke down in the ER, Kari assured her that everything would be okay. She is literally an angel, the biggest blessing in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the lovebirds have been living with his parents in Rio Alto, California, and the difficult year has bonded them even closer together.

“No matter who you are or where you’re from, 2020 has been tough on everyone. But it’s also taught us the importance of health, family, and having love in your life,” he said. “Kari embodies all those things for me, which is why I knew I needed to lock it down before the year ended.”

Looking to the future, Martin said he can't wait to start a family with his bride-to-be.

"There’s nothing like a loving mother. My mom is my best friend and I know that Kari will make the best mom in the world,” he said.

Martin added with a laugh: “We should probably get married first, but I’d love to start another generation of Martins!”