Brad Womack and Emily Maynard, the woman he picked on the finale of "The Bachelor," say they are "madly in love" but have undergone a "bumpy couple of months," amid reports the two have broken up.
Womack, 38, proposed to Maynard, a 25-year-old children's hospital event planner from Charlotte, North Carolina, on the last episode of the 15th season of the hit ABC dating series on Monday, while Chantal O'Brien, a 28-year-old executive assistant from Seattle, Washington, came in second place.
"At long last, Emily and I can be open to the world and each other about our relationship," the couple said in a statement provided by Warner Bros. Television.
"Though we are madly in love, it has been a bumpy couple of months for us and our priority right now is to focus on our relationship," the pair added. " We hope that you can respect our privacy as we return to normalcy and begin our off-screen lives together."
Womack told OnTheRedCarpet.com recently that it has been so long since he's seen the woman he chose in the finale, that he's not even sure if there's still a relationship. The website PopSugar.com quoted unnamed sources as saying Womack and Maynard are no longer together.
The three-hour finale of "The Bachelor" averaged a 4.5 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 and was seen by 13.8 million people, marking the lowest ratings given to a final episode for the show in almost three years, the Hollywood Reporter said.
The series was recently renewed for a 16th season and Warner Bros. is currently casting contestants (see how to apply here)."
Also on Monday, Ashley Hebert, a 26-year-old dental student from Maine who placed third on the recent season of "The Bachelor," was named the new "Bachelorette." She will choose from among a group of 25 male contestants on the upcoming seventh season, which is set to begin on May 23.