Shilly-shallying "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick said yesterday it "killed" him to dump fiancee Melissa Rycroft on national TV, even as past season veterans lined up to fire arrows into the single father's fickle heart.
"I was not allowed to see her - that was part of the deal," Mesnick told People magazine yesterday, explaining the post-finale twist, which nonetheless had been rumored on Internet fan sites for several weeks.
"I signed up for it in my contract."
Meanwhile, ABC aired a recap special again last night, taped six weeks after the infamous breakup telecast of Monday night. No one was dumped this time. "I'm not proud of what I did," Mesnick said, adding, "but it was just honest. That's the truth."
Molly Malaney - dumped, then un-dumped Monday - told the audience, "people tend to forget we're not characters on a TV show. ... But luckily, I've had Jason to lean on and we're happier than ever now." She said she planned to move to Seattle, where he lives.
Mesnick, 32, himself rejected a year ago on "The Bachelorette," told People that he knows viewers must think he's a "jerk."
Former "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette"-s were having none of it, with Season 10's Andy Baldwin calling Mesnick a "sellout." "You do not break up on national television. That is the opposite of a gentleman," he said in a Facebook posting.
Trista Sutter, the only reality star to wed after the show, was disappointed that Mesnick, with a son, Ty, 4, would propose to one woman, "introduce her to his child, and then hook up with a new woman."
Staff writer Verne Gay contributed to this story.