ABC's ''The Bachelor'' and ''The Bachelorette'' have been ratings successes, but in terms of setting up lasting couples, they're 0 for 2. Last week, second-season swain Aaron Buerge announced that he and fiancée Helene Eksterowicz had ended their brief engagement over New Year's, for reasons that the estranged twosome will explain on a Feb. 20 ABC special. Now, Amanda Marsh, who successfully wooed Alex Michel in the first season, has confirmed the long-brewing rumors that they have also split. We're not sure what this means for Trista Rehn's pick on the ''Bachelorette'' finale next week, but we'd suggest to him that he might want to wait before registering for gifts.
In fact, Trista, who lost Alex to Amanda during the inaugural ''Bachelor'' season last spring, was the cause of their breakup, Marsh told TV's ''Inside Edition'' on Wednesday. ''Some of the girls from the show had called me and told me that Alex had slept with Trista, which I did not know,'' she said. The tryst with Trista apparently occurred during the show's trip to Hawaii. When Amanda confronted Alex, she recalled, ''He's like, 'Yeah, I was intimate with her.' And so I had to get over that and then... everything just kept eating at me.'' She said that, even though Alex had picked her over Trista, he still carried a torch for her. She said Trista confirmed this after Amanda and Alex's breakup, sending Amanda an e-mail that claimed Alex had contacted her in the weeks after choosing Amanda, hoping to ''keep the door open'' in case the relationship didn't work out. In fact, though Amanda and Alex had told the press they were trying to make their long-distance romance work, they were seldom seen together. Marsh said she was bitter and ''disappointed because I invested alot of time in trying to make this relationship work.''
Michel didn't deny Marsh's account. He told ''Inside Edition,'' ''We shared so much of our personal, romantic lives with America and everyone was so supportive and seemed to think I'd picked the right one and everything. But there came a time we had to be private.''