Michelle Young and Brandon Jones had a devastating breakup during the finale of The Bachelorette. During fantasy suites, Michelle knew she was falling in love with Brandon, and he made it clear to her family that he was ready for a future with the Minnesota native. However, Michelle’s feelings for Nayte Olukoya were stronger, and she had to say goodbye to Brandon during the season 18 finale on Dec. 21.
The breakup was extremely emotional, especially since Michelle knew how much her family loved Brandon when they met him earlier in the episode. She was devastated to have to break Brandon’s heart, especially after how open and vulnerable he was with his feelings all season long. Michelle woke up on the day of the final rose ceremony feeling torn, and admitted that she was about to make the hardest decision of her life.
Going into the final rose ceremony, Brandon was confident that he was about to get engaged. “Michelle, from the first time I laid eyes on you, I want you to know that I truly saw you. From the first time I talked to you, I knew you were someone so unbelievably special,” he told her. “People always talk about love — that they found the missing piece. Michelle, I found that with you. I found something so unbelievably special with you that I won’t ever forget and I don’t think I’ll ever find again. I truly believe you’re the missing piece I’ve been searching for my entire life. I don’t want to spend another second without you. I don’t want to walk another day without you. I don’t want to wake up another morning without you. I will truly be the luckiest man to walk this Earth if I got to walk it with you.”
Unfortunately, Michelle had to break Brandon’s heart. “I have truly never met somebody like you,” she said. “I meant what I said with loving you. But I promised myself that I would continue to follow my heart and it’s not that I don’t love you, because I do, it’s just that my heart is in another direction. I have to go with what I feel.” She broke down in tears as she broke the news.
“I’m so sorry,” she added. “You’re this unbelievable person. I need you to know how much I care about you and that doesn’t just get turned off. You truly will always have a piece of my heart, Brandon.” Although Brandon was devastated, he told Michelle that he wished her nothing but happiness and promised to always be there for her.
Brandon and Michelle reunited for the first time on After the Final Rose to discuss the breakup. Michelle opened up to Brandon about why she told him that she loved him, just to dump him at the end. “Those were my true, honest thoughts and feelings,” she confirmed. “I cared and.I do care about your feelings. My decision to share that I was in love with you…I wasn’t sharing that because I had already made a decision. I was sharing that because it was something that I had been holding back because I didn’t think I was capable of falling in love with two people and it was really hard for me to come out and talk about it.”
Michelle admitted that she felt she would have been doing a “disservice” to her relationship with Brandon if she didn’t tell him the truth about how much she loved him. “If I would’ve known my decision in that moment and still had strong feelings, I’m always the person to think about somebody else,” she explained. “But in this unique position, I wanted to be completely honest about where I was at, and that was that I was in love with you.”
Brandon said he was confused about why Michelle chose Nayte, whose feelings she “constantly had to question,” but said he understood that she was just following her heart. He also thanked her for helping him to be vulnerable throughout the journey. In the end, they ended on amicable terms, and Brandon wished Michelle and Nayte the best.