TELEVISION audiences around the country breathed a collective sigh of relief when she chose Stu Laundy as the winner of The Bachelorette 2017 tonight.
The finale, set in Fiji, promised to be a relaxing environment – but Stu found little relaxation from the get go.
Sophie’s sister Lucy grilled him as he was the first to meet the family.
“I read that Stu was a bit of a player,” she said to the camera.
But Stu shot that down pretty quickly.
“(This playboy image) sort of annoys me, to be honest.
“If you add up what I’ve done to chase your sis, they’re not really the moves of a playboy.”
Later, when speaking to the rest of the family, he said he was “extremely fond” of Sophie – but that it had been hard for him to be so open with children at home.
Stu’s rival Jarrad Woodgate, meanwhile, was feeling “really nervous” ahead of meeting the family.
As has been his trademark throughout the show, he did not hold back on the intensity.
“I have fallen in love with your daughter,” he told her mum.
“Sophie has made it so much easier for me to be me.”
He got a much softer run than Stu did – even making Sophie’s mum cry at one point before calling him “adorable”.
“Sandy and I definitely bonded in that moment,” he said.
“Now a lot of weight has lifted off my shoulders.”
Later, on the final date with Jarrod – he went all in.
“This is the best day of my life. It’s a moment I will never forget. It was a beautiful day and I spent it with a beautiful girl,” he said.
Jarrod threw all his cards on the table, telling Sophie that all he wanted was her – exactly the way she was – and that he would only “get better” as a husband and as a father.
“If Sophie chooses me, then life will be complete,” he said.
Stu was up next – and he was nervous from the start.
“I don’t want to leave without telling Soph how I feel,” he said.
“I’ve got one more chance – so let’s hope I can be open and be honest.”
He finally used the “l” word, saying he’d been in love once before and he was “in love again, to be honest”.
In the end, Stu’s words were enough to get him over the line.
Jarrod took the news well, considering he thought he had met the love of his life.
“I didn’t know what to think coming into today but I didn’t expect that,” he said.
“It’s alright. Every moment we’ve had together – all the moments and the journey we’ve done – you’ve helped me become a better person.”
To camera, he was less composed.
“It hurts,” he said.
“The love that I have for Sophie – she’s the perfect girl. She was the girl I wanted to grow old with and have a family. Just – not now.
“I’ll always love Sophie, that’s not going to change. It’s painful.”
Stu, meanwhile, was the man Sophie chose in the end.
“I just wanted to find love,” Sophie told Stu.
“For a relationship to work, both people need to support each other.
“You said loving me was the best thing you’d done in your life. I don’t think anyone’s ever said that to me.
“So I have two very important things to tell you. The first thing is I’m so sorry I misjudged you when I first met you. And the second thing is I’m in love with you.”
This may well have been the best finale for The Bachelorette to date.