How She Overcame Heartbreak to Find True Love: Looking Back at Bachelorette Becca Kufrin's Journey
The Bachelorette premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Kufrin, 28, will take center stage as the Bachelorette on Monday, where she will try to find her Mr. Right among a group of 28 men competing for her heart. Ahead of the much-anticipated premiere, PEOPLE is taking a look back at her journey.
The Final Rose
Bachelor Nation was first introduced to Kufrin during the Jan. 1 premiere of Luyendyk Jr.’s season, when she boldly asked him to get down on one knee and asked what would become her signature catchphrase: “Are you ready to do the damn thing?”
And it turns out, he was — or so he thought.
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Kufrin made it to the final two on Luyendyk Jr.’s season alongside fellow contestant Lauren Burnham. And while both women felt confident going into the final rose ceremony, Luyendyk Jr. openly admitted that he was conflicted about his feelings, telling both women he was in love with them.
“I found love in two different women,” said Luyendyk Jr. on the show, admitting to feeling “terrified” ahead of the final rose ceremony in Peru. “I could choose the wrong person, and that’s a real fear.”
Ultimately, Luyendyk Jr., 36, ended his relationship with Burnham and proposed to Kufrin.
After filming wrapped and the newly engaged couple returned back to the U.S., Luyendyk Jr. was still unsettled in his decision — and would later admit on the show that he still had feelings for Burnham, 26.
He eventually reached out to Burnham on New Year’s Eve and the two spoke over the phone the following day. After that, he decided to call off his engagement with Kufrin during a weekend trip to Los Angeles. The breakup was filmed and unedited footage of the incredibly raw moment aired during The Bachelor finale.
“How do I start this?” Luyendyk Jr. began, looking visibly uncomfortable. “You know that I’ve been struggling a little bit. I think over the last couple of times we’ve been hanging out, I’ve been really trying to sort my feelings out and trying to grasp this whole thing. The reality of it is that being with you, although it’s been everything that I wanted, I still think about her. I think you sense that.”
As Kufrin sat in silence, Luyendyk Jr. tried to justify his decision, explaining that the longer he stayed with Kufrin, the more he felt like his window of opportunity for reconciliation with Burnham was narrowing.
“So what? Do you want to be back with her?” Kufrin asked.
“I want to see if there’s that possibility,” he said.
“Are you f—ing kidding me?” she responded.
After what felt like hours of Luyendyk Jr. attempting to continue the conversation with a distraught Kufrin, he finally left and the two were over for good.
Following the public split, Kufrin was open about her pain.
“There was a better and more tactful way to do it,” Kufrin told PEOPLE of getting dumped on national television. “A breakup is hard enough, and to have it all filmed and have to re-watch it and know that people all across the country are watching you get your heart broken, it is embarrassing. It’s not fun. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It was like a slap in the face.”
She was then given the chance to confront Luyendyk Jr. during the live After the Final Rose portion of the finale on March 6, which took place weeks after their breakup.
“All I asked for was honesty from you and I feel like I didn’t fully get that,” she said. “I feel like there was a lack of respect on the end for me.”
But at the end of the day, Kufrin said she held no ill will towards her ex.
“I’m always going to have love in my heart for you,” she said. “You were my fiancé, and I did fall in love with you. But I moved on and I’m ready for the next chapter of my life. I don’t want to keep looking back in the past. I want to move forward.”
“I forgive you, I do,” she continued. “The entire situation, it’s hard, but you learn from everything. I do want you to be happy. I hope that Lauren is your one and that you have found that happiness in her. I just want you to be honest with her, and just hold her heart high, have the most respect for her, be committed to her, because this was a lot to go through.”
A Second Proposal — But Not for Kufrin
After his sit-down with Kufrin during the After the Final Rose show, Luyendyk Jr. was joined by Burnham on stage, where he got down on one knee and popped the question.
“I’ve made some bad decisions, but the best decision was running back to you,” he said. “I can’t imagine a life without you. … I truly believe you are my soulmate. I’m ready to face this life with you, and all that comes with it. The good, and the bad. I love you so much. I wanted to do this in front everyone because I want to show you that I should have done this a long time ago. Lauren Elizabeth Burnham, will you marry me?”
The two are set to tie the knot on Jan. 12. in Hawaii.
From Woman Scorned to Leading Lady
After experiencing one of the most dramatic Bachelor journeys yet, it only made sense that Kufrin was named the newest Bachelorette.
“It does scare me,” she told PEOPLE at the time. “I’m sure it would [scare] any human, knowing that I was just engaged, I was in love. But I have so much love to give and I want just a partner in life. I’m not afraid to date these guys and find the one who is the best fit for me — I welcome that with open arms.”
And while Kufrin will meet the majority of her suitors on Monday night’s premiere, she began her journey live on the stage of the After the Final Rose show, meeting five of the men from her season.
A Happy Ending — at Last!
Ahead of the premiere, Kufrin announced she is happily engaged to her final pick on The Bachelorette — and this time, it feels a whole lot different.
“I feel like I finally found my missing puzzle piece,” she told PEOPLE. “I just can’t wipe the smile off my face!”
While the publicist did feel like she was “ready to commit” to Luyendyk Jr. last season, she said her stint as the Bachelorette helped her find somebody “who would be the best fit for me.”
“I wanted someone who is genuine,” said Kufrin, adding, “someone who can open up and be vulnerable and really show me who they are — and I found that.”
The Bachelorette premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.