Jason Mesnick was once the most hated bachelor on TV. In 2009, The Bachelor Season 13 star put a Neil Lane ring on Melissa Rycroft’s finger, then dumped her weeks later in front of show host Chris Harrison and a live studio audience during the After the Final Rose taping. The reason? Mesnick realized he was still in love with his runner-up, Molly Malaney. A humiliated Rycroft called Mesnick a “bastard” and told him not to call or text her ever again.
“Leave me alone,” she said.
Bachelor fans know how the story ended: Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney tied the knot in an ABC primetime special. They are now the proud parents of two kids, a daughter, Riley, and Jason’s son, Ty. But while Jason is blissfully happy with his new family life, he does have some regrets over how his very public breakup with Rycroft played out.
According to an interview posted by the Huffington Post, Jason Mesnick revealed he was “angry” with Bachelor producers—and himself—over how things went down when he told them he’d had a change of tune regarding his relationship with Rycroft.
“The biggest thing (producers said to me prior to filming After The Final Rose) was, ‘Jason, we (now) want Melissa to be the next Bachelorette,’” Mesnick revealed.
“‘Because we’re going to let you ask Molly out, and you can’t do that away from the camera because you’re under a five million dollar contract (to not make contact with the runner-up), we need your help to have America feel for Melissa…The fans just need to feel sorry for Melissa. Work with us and we’ll let you have Molly.’ That’s what they told me.”
Mesnick added that Bachelor producers told him they needed him to work with them because they had already asked Molly to be The Bachelorette, so they were “giving up a lot” by letting him make contact with her.
“In my gut I knew it was the wrong thing to do,” Mesnick said of his on-camera breakup.
Jason Mesnick revealed that he previously broke up with Melissa before the After the Final Rose taping, but that the show’s producers had instructed him not to mention anything about Molly.
“I never told Melissa about my feelings about Molly,” Jason said. “If I would have listened to my gut and my heart I would have never listened to any producer.”
Indeed, Mesnick has some harsh words for Bachelor producers.
“They are only in it for themselves; they’re only looking to make a good show,” Jason said. “Yet, what I did was I listened to the producers. I went against every moral, every bone, everything in my body.”
In the same interview, Mesnick cited a producer’s interference in a phone call he placed to Rycroft’s parents during filming of his season of The Bachelor.
“I had called Melissa’s parents, while we were filming, telling them I want to pick your daughter, but that I’m not going to propose to her,” Jason revealed. “And a producer called her parents immediately after I hung up the phone and said, ‘Jason is just nervous, he’ll call you back tomorrow, he’s rethinking what he just told you.’ Which was not the truth.”
“I never stood up to them,” Mesnick now admits. “When I go back to it, I wish I would have stood my ground and never did anything that was against my morals or hurt anyone.”
Sadly, eight years later, Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft are still not on speaking terms.
“I have not talked to him since the day I left that stage, Rycroft told Us Weekly last summer. ” It was a breakup. There really hasn’t been reasons to talk…We went our directions. I don’t think we wish each other any ill will. We just moved on.”
While Rycroft admits that she always cringes when she has to talk about her bad ending with Mesnick, she says everyone is where they are supposed to be now. Rycroft married Tye Strickland in 2009 and they have three kids together.
“Jason and Molly were supposed to be together and they are happy now,” Melissa told Us. “So, as cringeworthy as it is to look back and regret it and wish that it hadn’t happened, everybody got this happy ending.”
Take a look at the video below to see Jason Mesnick’s awkward Bachelor breakup.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]