March 15, 2011 at 05:05 AM EDT

Three years and two go-rounds as the Bachelor, and Brad Womack has finally found love. It’s not exactly as cut and dry as that, as you saw on the After the Final Rose special — but we’ll get to that in just a bit. Let’s back up to where this final episode landed us in the world. We left the bush of South Africa for the beautiful city of Cape Town. Our entire crew loved the One and Only resort right on the waterfront, just a ten-minute walk to the new stadium built for last summer’s World Cup. (Speaking of, a huge thanks to USA Soccer for having several of us as their guest when the U.S. national team played South Africa. They were nice enough to not only have us as their guests, but they were good about keeping it a secret that we were there.)

Brad didn’t stay at the resort with us; he was at a private house about ten minutes away. You’ve heard time and time again how much Brad’s family means to him but it was very evident just how much when you saw his reaction when they showed up at his house.

Both women made a great impression on his family. I thought Brad’s brothers did a good job of asking Brad the tough questions about Emily and what it really means to become a father. The proposal site was out in the Stellenbosch wine region about 45 minutes drive from Cape Town. We shot at Ernie Els’ vineyard. Thanks to the ladies out at the vineyard for keeping my glass full. The “Big Easy” knows how to make a big bold red — and I’m ready for that golf game any time, Ernie.

I want to jump forward a bit to the After the Final Rose special, which we shot about a week ago. Chantal hadn’t seen her breakup yet and was extremely emotional. Despite the fact that she says she’s now in love with another man and has moved on, you could tell she still had serious feelings for Brad and had a lot of questions to be answered. When Brad was sitting there with her you could feel the emotion and tension between them. She was really hurt and I’m not sure Brad really could have said anything to fix that. Chantal wanted to be assured that what she felt and what Brad said was real. As Chantal announced on the show she has found somebody since the show wrapped and has apparently fallen head over heels in love. I wish them the best and truly hope she finds what she’s looking for.

The proposal to Emily in South Africa was beautiful. As you saw on the special, what awaited Brad and Emily after The Bachelor wrapped was the surreal world of growing a relationship under the scrutiny of a desperate tabloid media, but that’s not their only obstacle. As she’ll admit, Emily is a bit insecure and had a lot of trouble watching Brad’s relationships with the other women — especially his journey with Chantal. Add to these issues the fact that week after week the two of them have to deal with ridiculous, irresponsible, and, at times, completely made up stories about each other in the tabloids, and you have a recipe for trouble. Despite all these negatives stacked against them, as you saw their resolve is strong and their love is true. They are fighting hard privately to make this work and I truly hope they do.

One thing that definitely helped them was bringing back the only people who know exactly what they’ve gone through. It was a bit bizarre but extremely cool to see Ali and Roberto, Jason and Molly, and Trista and Ryan all together on one stage at the same time. The stories and advice they had for Brad and Emily were perfect and exactly what they needed to hear. I know it really helped for them to realize they are part of a bigger family that is there to help and protect them.

It was another incredible season of The Bachelor that once again took us to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and believe it or not we’re about to do it again!  If you watched Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night you heard the official announcement that Ashley H. is our new Bachelorette. I’m very happy Ashley is coming back to be our Bachelorette, as I know she will be great and it will be a fascinating season. The new season of The Bachelorette will premiere May 23rd on ABC, and then season two of Bachelor Pad will premiere later this summer. So while we have a lot to look forward to and be excited about, I’m very hopeful Brad and Emily will keep fighting and make it work. On behalf of the hundreds of people that work so hard to make this show, I want to thank you for watching and making this franchise such a huge success. Beyond the great people on the show, my other great pleasure is hearing from so many fans about how much they love this show and what it means to them. While you anxiously wait for The Bachelorette you can keep up with all things Bachelor at or on Twitter: @thebachelortv and @chrisbharrison.

More on the Bachelor finale from EW:

The Bachelor season finale recap: Happily Whatever After

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