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Originally published Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 10:52 AM

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Cold feet, warm hearts: Q&A with "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick and his girlfriend

Jason Mesnick — star of ABC's "The Bachelor" — tells The Seattle Times what went wrong with Melissa and what's going right with Molly. And Molly chimes in, too.

Seattle Times eastside reporter



Tonight in Prime Time

When DeAnna Pappas dumped Jason Mesnick last year on ABC's "The Bachelorette" for snowboarder Jesse Csincsak, she launched a nationwide obsession with Jason's love life.

Viewers wanted more of the 32-year-old Kirkland resident, and ABC made him the first single parent to helm the show. He drew the best ratings "The Bachelor" has seen in years.

But Jason had a little drama of his own to add. Rumors about a controversial twist swirled online for weeks before this past week's season finale. In reality, Jason proposed to Melissa Rycroft, 25, but several weeks later, changed his mind. ABC filmed the breakup, when Jason told Melissa it was over and then confessed his love to runner-up Molly Malaney.

The decision to break up on camera outraged some viewers and ignited debate. (Our own Seattle Times reader comment threads are still unspooling.) We talked exclusively with Jason and Molly — who are still together — the day after the season ended about Jason's decision and the fallout.

Q: Last time we talked to you in early December, you were engaged to Melissa. Did you ever expect to change your mind?

Jason: I would never have proposed if I thought I was going to change my mind. Retrospectively, if I had a couple more months, things would have been different. With the time constraints on the show, at the time I thought I was making the right decision.

Q: You spent the holidays with Melissa in L.A. Did you fall out of love with her?

J: The love that I had with her was just different from what I really wanted forever in the end. I guess in a way she's similar to a lot of other girls I've dated in my life.... It was just something I was so used to and something I always thought I wanted, when realistically, there's probably a reason why my past relationships haven't worked out. What I really needed was somebody different and it was Molly.

Q: But why break up with her on camera? Other Bachelors have split off-air.

J: I knew everybody's going to judge because I did what I decided to do on a TV show. At the time, I felt like I didn't have a choice.

Q: How has your family been dealing with the exposure?

J: My family is very supportive. I even have messages from my old ex part of the family saying you did what you had to do.... But it was what I decided to do, from the very beginning, the good, the bad and the ugly, and every single week, I broke up with people. And I hated doing that then. But it's what I decided to do.

Q: Your Bachelor season is the most popular one in years, but now people are turning on you. How does that make you feel?

J: Obviously, I'm not happy with how people are perceiving me. I think people are judging most of all because this was on TV, but that's why everyone tuned in is because it is on TV.

Q: What did your family say when you told them you changed your mind from Melissa to Molly?

J: Two things. Who cares what people are going to think about you? What's the alternative, living a lie? I was never going to do that. They just said if she really makes you happy you gotta go through and do the right thing.

Q: Molly, did you talk to your family when Jason wanted you back?

Molly: Oh yeah.... I definitely wanted to keep them in the loop of what was going on. They were skeptical at first, they had the exact questions I had when I found out, but they love Jason and they see how happy he makes me so they're very supportive of all this.

Q: What has it been like for you to watch this whole situation unfold?

M: I'm a pretty logical person. I understand that I came on a show called "The Bachelor," there's 25 girls, things are going to happen. I even knew when I left New Zealand, I wasn't mad at Jason. I knew he had to make a choice between two people and at that point he thought he made the choice for him.

Q: You said you're moving to Seattle. When?

M: Eventually.... I definitely will move out there, but I think we're just going to try to take it slow, move at our own pace and adjust to being a couple in the real world first.

Q: Molly, have you ever been to Jason's house?

M: No. That's what I'm really looking forward to is experiencing Jason's life out there in Seattle and seeing more of Seattle. The only time I've been there is when I was on the show, so I just want to experience it without all the hype of the camera

Q: Jason, where will you take her?

Molly: The fish market.

Jason: She wants to go to Pike Place. She's been talking about that for weeks now.

Q: There's been a lot of rumors swirling around the show's outcome for weeks now. How have you dealt with it?

M: People just think we're these characters on a TV show; we have families and we have jobs. People say awful, awful things and they don't realize how that can affect our real lives. We just need to focus on what's important and that's our friends and families, and we have each other and really that's all that matters. So we're just trying to move on from all that.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or

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