Brad Womack and Emily Maynard, whose romance played on the national stage via the ABC reality show "The Bachelor," are scuttling away from the limelight.
A day after the final episode of the series -- in which Maynard accepted his proposal only to admit later that she discovered he had a temper problem -- Womack said they won't be talking publicly about their romance.
"At long last, Emily and I can be open to the world and each other about our relationship," Womack said in a statement released Tuesday by ABC.
"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. We hope that you can respect our privacy as we return to normalcy and begin our off-screen lives together.”
Few romances pictured in "The Bachelor" have lasted through the months between taping and the show's finale and even fewer have wound up with a wedding. Womack, who played the role of national cad when he stranded two women without a proposal on "The Bachelor" in 2007, spent much of this season saying he was now ready for marriage. But in Monday's post-proposal interview on ABC, both admitted there had been problems with their relationship.
"Sweet little Emily can be tough," Womack said in an interview with show host Chris Harrison. "It's been a roller-coaster."
Explained Emily: "He's got a temper."
They had broken off their engagement, he said, but when Maynard was asked whether she considered them still engaged, she said yes.
But is there a wedding in the plans?
"Right now, in this instant, I love you," she said to Womack. "But, no."
"I feel like we have some things we have to figure out. How we fight and deal with things and communicate. For me it's not just me, it's my daughter," she said.
Maynard said that Womack's family had warned her that he could be temperamental.
"Could I move to Austin today? No."
Womack, who complained their relationship was being dissected in the tabloids and on the Internet, had wanted to get married on Monday, the day the final episode was to air, but she called that off. They hadn't seen each other in a month before they were reunited during an interview after the finale.
"It's certainly not all roses," she said. "But I'm very confident in how I feel about him and I still love him."
Watching the show was a revelation to her, because she wasn't aware of what went on during dates with the other women. She said she felt like time with her was special, but afterward she wondered whether they were just "dime a dozen" moments.
In the end though, she said she thinks they will get married.
Earlier in the Monday's episode, shot at an estate in Cape Town, South Africa, both Maynard and the other finalist, Chantal O'Brien, met Womack's family. Both met their approval.
Womack, 38, had not filled them in on Maynard's background -- that she was engaged at 18 to NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick when he died in a plane crash in 2004 while flying to the Martinsville, Va., race. Their daughter Josephine, is nicknamed “Ricki,” after her father.
When Womack's family asked whether Ricki's father would be OK with her moving to Austin, Texas, to be with him, it brought an awkward pause, then Maynard told them about the plane crash.
"He never made it there. The plane didn't make it there. On that next Friday, I found out I was pregnant."
Later, talking privately (at least as privately as the made-for-TV romance would allow -- there was always a videographer hovering) with Pamela Womack, Brad's mother, Maynard said that Ricki and Brad clicked when they met on a visit to Charlotte.
"It melted my heart," said Maynard, 24. "This is first time in a long, long time that I've had these feelings, where I feel like I fell in love with him and he fell in love with me ... Since falling in love with him for sure I'm so much more excited about my future and my daughter's future."
Maynard, who grew up in Morgantown, W.Va., steered clear of the catfights in the women's quarters as the elimination rounds progressed. She projected the image of a sweet and poised single mom whose romantic life seemed perpetually star-crossed.
O'Brien, 28, an executive assistant from Mercer Island, Wash., blamed the failure of her first marriage on immaturity. She gave Womack a love note on their final date. "When I look at you, I see the man I want to wake up with for the rest of my life," she said.
Theirs had been an emotional courtship, with her dissolving into tears several times. She had confessed that it was hard to watch him cavorting with her romantic rivals.
As she narrated their final goodnight kiss on the South African date, she said, "Next time I see him, either he'll be telling me that he wants to spend his life with me -- or he doesn't."
He didn't, but life goes on.
O'Brien announced that after the filming was over, she got into a new relationship. "He's definitely everything I've been looking for," she said in an interview on ABC.
On his final date with Maynard, they flew via helicopter to the Cape of Good Hope. There she, too, admitted she was uncomfortable with the "limbo" feeling she had before he announced which woman he would choose.
"Unfortunately, I am painfully insecure," she said when he appeared to be irritated with the topic. "I tend to overanalyze everything."
Later, she steered the conversation to the burden of taking on a ready-made family and Womack grew uncomfortable after repeatedly assuring her he knew what he would be getting into. Finally, he said he was growing angry and they parted from their last date.
Finally, the action moved to a romantic nook for the climatic proposal -- and inevitable heartbreak.
"Very first time I laid eyes on you, I felt a connection," Womack told O'Brien. "And that connection has only grown over time ... I think about every single date and how our relationship has only grown."
She was self assured, he said, the kind of woman he'd long searched. He was so effusive, it seemed like he wasn't going to hit the "But," but finally it came.
"And here's where it gets tough...
"I don't know how else to say it, other than I have stronger feelings for someone else."
O'Brien began sobbing, and Womack embraced her. He walked her out, telling her how much he cared for her. And then he put her in a limo, returning to the estate to offer a rose to Maynard.
He made his pitch on one knee.
"I'm asking for you to please give me your forever ... Make me happier than I have ever been in my life and marry me."