Maine’s “Bachelorette” no longer qualifies for that title.
Ashley Hebert of Madawaska, a contestant on the ABC reality TV series “The Bachelor” and then the star of “The Bachelorette,” got hitched earlier this month to the man she picked on the latter show.
And she had the luxury of not worrying too much about leaving anyone out, because millions of folks will have the chance to watch her nuptials on a TV special airing on ABC at 9 p.m. Sunday, the not-so-subtly titled “The Bachelorette: Ashley and J.P.’s Wedding.”
But Hebert said the TV special, and the money that came with it, weren’t big factors in deciding to say “I do” in such a public forum. Rather, she says, it was the fans.
“When we were ready to get married, we realized we’ve had such great support from everyone, from the fan base, that this made sense,” said Hebert, 28, during a phone interview earlier this week. “I wouldn’t say money was a factor. They didn’t pay for everything. If money was a factor, we could have done something else.”
Hebert has taken a very different route to love and marriage than most of the folks she knew growing up in Madawaska on the Canadian border, where her parents worked in a paper mill. Heck, she’s taken a different route than just about everyone on the planet.
Hebert began her journey to a nationally televised wedding in January 2011 when she was a contestant on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” where she and other women vied for a marriage proposal from a handsome entrepreneur, Brad Womack. Hebert didn’t win Womack’s proposal, but her on-camera persona did convince ABC to make her the star of its other romance-reality show, “The Bachelorette.”
It was at the end of that series in August 2011 that a New York construction manager, J.P. Rosenbaum, was seen down on one knee in tropical Fiji asking Hebert to marry him.
After the series ended, Hebert said, she and Rosenbaum needed to step out of the white-hot media spotlight of a TV romance — complete with tabloid coverage and pictures of Hebert in sexy swimsuits — to get to know each other in a more normal way.
Apparently, a year or so of normalcy was enough. Earlier this fall, ABC announced plans to show the couple’s wedding on TV. The wedding took place Dec. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.
So why would the couple want their wedding day, the biggest day of their lives, to be part of a prime-time TV special? Isn’t there enough pressure in just putting together any wedding?
If you’re thinking they did it because ABC paid for it, Hebert says to think again — though she admits the network did pay for “some” of it. Plus, if the couple hadn’t married on TV, they might not have had a TV personality — “Bachelorette” host Chris Harrison — officiating.
And here’s one other thing Hebert’s wedding has over the typical bride’s big day: the possibility of reruns.
Hebert said she and Rosenbaum had final say in choices about the wedding, including the location. But she says she was just as happy to have the planners that ABC hired to handle all the details, from decor to food.
Did they consider Maine at all for the setting?
“We wanted to do it in fall or winter, in a place that would be a semi-destination for folks,” Hebert said.
So for the 50 or so Mainers who attended Hebert’s wedding, including her family from Madawaska and friends from southern Maine, they got to spend a December weekend in sunny California.
It’s not like Hebert is afraid to have her personal life viewed on TV. While appearing weekly on “The Bachelor” for about three months, she was seen posing for a swimsuit photo shoot with Womack, during which she took off her top and posed with seashells covering her breasts.
On “The Bachelorette,” which also lasted for about three months, she was seen giving her heart to a bad-boy contestant who looked right into the camera and told viewers he was just messing with Hebert and had no feelings for her. In the end, Hebert didn’t choose him.
On a later episode of “The Bachelorette,” Hebert had an emotional confrontation with her sister, Chrystie Corns, because Corns didn’t think Rosenbaum was the right man for Hebert. Obviously, Hebert thought otherwise.
Sunday’s two-hour wedding special will feature the couple “looking back at their life” since Rosenbaum proposed, according to ABC publicity releases. Viewers will also see the couple meeting with their wedding planner, Hebert getting fitted for her dress, and the bachelorette and bachelor parties. At Hebert’s bachelorette party, she’s surprised by “a sexy pole dancer,” according to the press release.
Viewers will then see the ceremony itself, beginning with Hebert walking down the aisle as singer-songwriter Lisa Donnelly croons “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Besides Hebert and Rosenbaum, there has been only one other couple in the nine-year history of “The Bachelorette” who met on the show and actually got married: Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, from the first season. So far, Rehn and Sutter are doing better than a lot of couples — they’ve been married for nine years, and have two children.
What will life for Hebert and Rosenbaum be like after the TV special ends? Hebert is about six months through a two-year residency in pediatric dentistry in Philadelphia. After she finishes that and looks to begin practicing, the couple will pick a permanent home. Hebert said New York, where Rosenbaum was living when they met, is a possibility.
As far as children are concerned, the couple is not saying when they might start a family. But during an interview this past week, they did give numbers.
“She wants one; I want two,” said Rosenbaum.
Will we be seeing a TV special for the births? Maybe some footage of Hebert and Rosenbaum in Lamaze classes?
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: