Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- WATCH: Find Out If John Krasinski Ever Snooped on an Ex!
- Read the Cover Story: The Gosselins 10 Years Later: 'So Much Has Changed'
- See the Unique Antique Engagement Ring Home and Family Star Mark Steines Gave Julie Freyermuth
- Stunned Minnesota Community Mourns 5-Year-Old Abducted and Strangled: 'We Just Want to Know Why'
- In Love – But Very Tired! Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green's Life with Newborn Son Journey
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 03, 2003
- Vol. 59
- No. 8
Just Five Weeks After Accepting Aaron Buerge's Proposal on The Bachelor, Helene Eksterowicz Says She Got the Heave-Ho
Nothing from Buerge, anyway. Just five weeks after The Bachelor ended on Nov. 20, Eksterowicz says she was unceremoniously dumped at a Starbucks near her one-bedroom apartment in Haddonfield, N.J. As Buerge prepared to catch a flight back to his home in Springfield, Mo., Eksterowicz says he told her that he was no longer "emotionally invested" in their relationship. "It felt like a bomb dropped," she says. "I said, 'I feel very deceived by you. You've told me every single day that you love me, and now this is it?' "
Fact is, there had been more than a few thorns since the couple filmed their final "rose ceremony" in September. Obligated to keep their engagement a secret for two months until the finale aired, Buerge and Eksterowicz, both 28, "tried to talk every day on the phone, but it was hard," she says. In late September they shared a clandestine rendezvous in Toronto—and had their first fight when Eksterowicz caught Buerge staring at another woman at a bar. "I gave him back the ring and told him, 'If you're serious about this, you shouldn't be looking at other girls,' " she recalls.
The pair ironed things out, and Eksterowicz, an elementary school psychologist, began making plans to relocate to Springfield. "She was willing to move down there—to leave everything, knowing they were going to have a future together," says her close friend Laurie Townsend. "Helene genuinely loved him."
Buerge even popped the question once more for good measure—this time without a camera crew standing by. Watching The Bachelor finale together in their Manhattan hotel room, "we were so happy," recalls Eksterowicz. "I was just so relieved to have all this over so we could see each other as much as we wanted. It would just be us. We were laughing in the bed, and I asked, 'Would you mind proposing again?' "
Many lip locks, two proposals and one ring later, what went wrong? Buerge—who has remained friendly with runner-up Brooke Smith, 22, but notes, "I'm not interested in dating anyone from the show"—says there was no third party. "It was just the best decision for both of us," he says. Eksterowicz, who has the ring (which Buerge paid for himself) in a safe-deposit box, isn't so sure. In one of their last conversations, she recalls, "I said, 'I think you're making a big mistake. I was in this for the right reasons. I would have done anything for you.' "
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!