"Bachelorette" contestant Brooks Forester shocked Desiree Hartsock Monday night when he unexpectedly departed the show after admitting that he wasn't in love with her.
Hartsock, who had held a special place in her heart for the Salt Lake City marketing consultant from the very first night, was crushed. Before being dumped, she had admitted that her feelings for Forester were very strong.
"Brooks has always been a frontrunner, from day one," she declared during the episode. "I'm in love with Brooks and I miss him every day I'm not with him."
Forester, one of three remaining men who journeyed to the island of Antigua, told host Chris Harrison that he began to doubt his feelings for Hartsock during the show's hometown date week. And while he wanted to be in love with her, he didn't think he'd ever be at the point where he was ready to propose.
"I really want to be madly in love with you, you know?" he later told a crying Hartsock. "I don't feel it ... I don't feel like the moments apart are hard enough."
During the scene, a tearful Hartsock admitted to Forester that she was in love with him. It marks one of the first times in the show's history that a Bachelorette said "I love you" to a contestant before the final proposal.
The bad news came for Hartsock after she spent a great day (and a sexy night in the Fantasy Suite) in Antigua with each of the other two remaining men: Seattle mortgage broker Chris Siegfried and Drew Kenney, a digital marketing analyst from Scottsdale, Ariz.
“It breaks my heart knowing that I have two amazing, like, unreal guys who do want to love me," she said. "I just can’t love them as much as I know I have to give. ... Honestly, for me, it’s over.”
While both Siegfried and Kenney remain in the competition, previews for next week's finale episode reveal that they, as well as Hartsock, may go home alone.
Will Forester come back? Will Hartsock accept a proposal from one of the other guys, or will she leave brokenhearted? The second part of the season finale airs next Monday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. on ABC.