While Michelle Young has been praised for how she’s handled her role as the season 18 Bachelorette, the Tuesday, December 21, finale got slightly messy.
The 28-year-old Minnesota teacher’s finalists, Nayte Olukoya and Brandon Jones, met her parents during the three-hour episode. It’s safe to say her family (especially her mother) were all in on 27-year-old Brandon and Michelle subsequently told the Oregon native that she wasn’t just falling in love with him, but she was “already in love with him.”
Amid her parents’ concerns about whether Nayte, 27, whom Michelle said “I love you” to during the December 14 episode, was ready to propose and commit to Michelle, she asked him to express himself. He subsequently reassured her that all he does is think about life with her — and Michelle tells the cameras that Nayte is her “person.”
When she returned to her hotel room after her date with Nayte, however, Michelle had a letter from Brandon which read: “Michelle, ever since you’ve entered my life, I don’t view the world the same anymore. I realized that a world without you is a world I fear to face. You have truly infected me with the love I don’t believe is remotely easy or common ever find in a lifetime. A love so beautiful and deep that it leads me to a pure understanding that what I have with you is a love of wanting more for someone than for themselves. The kind of love where I will always place your happiness above mine. Follow your heart, Michelle, and never look back because I followed mine and it led me to. Just know Michelle, you will never need to ask for my love because I will love you forever. I see you, I have always seen you and I will always see you.”
Michelle then admitted in a confessional, “I have two men and I’m in love with them both. They have given me everything that I’ve asked for and tomorrow is going to be the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”
In the end, both Brandon and Nayte picked out Neil Lane engagement rings, with Michelle sending Brandon home before accepting a proposal from the Texas native.
“It’s not that I don’t love you, because I do,” Michelle told a devastated Brandon. “It’s just that my heart is pushing me in a different direction and I have to go with what I feel and it hurts so much because you are this unbelievable person. … You truly will always have a piece of my heart, Brandon.”
Through tears, Brandon told Michelle that her happiness comes before his own. After their lengthy embrace, he walked away and she took a moment to get herself together before Nayte arrived.
“Michelle, the very first night I met you, I knew right then and there that we had a connection that I wanted to hold on to. The second night that we were together, we talked about running away together,” Nayte said. “I’m standing in front of you right now and the feelings are the same. I want to run away with you. I want to run away to forever with a woman that I’ve come to love this amazingly, crazy, wow kind of love. And through this journey, you’ve shared a lot of vulnerable sides of your past and I know that you’ve felt unseen at times and I want to let you know that I am completely prepared, willing and ready to make sure that you are always chosen first, seen now, today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives. I love you, Michelle.”
After gushing over their “kinetic” night one connection, Michelle acknowledged that she had doubts about not being “loved as much as I love the other person.”
“This has not necessarily been a smooth ride, but I’m also not willing to face that fear of walking away from this without you,” she continued. “Because I have never felt a love like this before. And I love you with my entire heart and don’t ever want to think about waking up next to anyone besides you and doing life with anyone besides you. And at the end, I wanted to be standing in front of my soulmate and he is definitely standing right in front of me.”
Nayte subsequently got down on one knee and Michelle accepted his proposal.