But despite the public humiliation Rycroft subsequently experienced, the 29-year-old Texas native claims that wasn’t even her worst breakup. That dubious honor belongs to her now-husband, Tye Strickland, whom she split from shortly before she joined The Bachelor.
“It was the worst breakup of my life,” Melissa told Celebuzz while promoting her new book, ‘My Reality.’ “We broke up six months before I ended up going on The Bachelor, and I never really got over it. I couldn’t move to that place where I was okay and could move on with my life. I constantly dwelled on it.”
In the book, the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader — who eventually reunited with Strickland and married him in 2009 — opens up about her experience on the hit ABC reality series. Among her revelations: how it’s possible to fall madly in love with a guy whom you’ve just met, and whose attention you’re vying for among 24 other women.
“When you enter the Bachelor mansion, you enter into that Bachelor bubble. Something happens where, when you’re in it, you forget all about your real values, you forget all about your job and your bills, what your friends are doing,” she says. “You’re not thinking about the actuality, which is, I’m dating this one guy and my new friends — 24 of them — are also dating this same guy.”
She also admits the show’s premise itself is a little creepy.
“Never is there a sense where this can be a mutual relationship,” she said. “All I’m trying to do is get him to like me, because I don’t want [him] to send me home. I never stepped back and said, ‘Wait a minute, he should like me, too.’ Now that I’ve been out of it for three years and married to the man I truly love, I look back and [think], ‘How could I have been in love?'”
As for that humiliating ‘After the Rose’ special, during which she was dumped, Rycroft says it was as much of a shock to her as it was to the record number of people who tuned in to watch it.
“I was mad at Jason,” she said. “It was Jason’s job to tell me. I was mad at the producers for a second — but I was very angry at him. [He] at least owed [it to] me to tell me what was going to happen.”
Rycroft says she has not spoken to Mesnick — who married Malaney in 2010 — since the ‘After the Rose’ special in 2009. Still, she admits she has no hard feelings against him, nor does she think he’s a bad person. His only fault: that he “did a really stupid thing.”
Rycroft and Strickland welcomed a daughter, Ava Grace, in February of last year. The trio recently appeared on the CMT reality series Melissa & Tye.
‘My Reality’ is now available for sale.