We watched The Bachelorette all season as DeAnna Pappas whittled 25 men down to the final two: Jesse Csincsak and Jason Mesnick. And while many thought Jesse to be an unlikely choice, the effervescent snowboarder from Colorado ultimately won the Southern belle’s heart and is currently engaged to the woman of his dreams. Answering reporters’ questions in a conference call the morning after the season finale aired, DeAnna said she was ”shocked” that rejected suitor Jeremy Anderson returned, adding, ”I know it can be hard to understand and that sometimes hours later you wish you’d had the guts to say this or that, but it’s actually a good thing, because I hope I cleared up things for him.” DeAnna and Jesse also explained why they chose May 9, 2009, as their wedding date (it’s one year after the day they were engaged) and why they chose to hold the ceremony in the Bahamas (”that’s where we fell in love”). The couple said they’re planning to keep homes in Atlanta and Colorado so that they can spend the winters in the powder and the summers with D.’s big Greek family. After the conference call, we got some private time on the phone with the two to talk about the Bachelorette experience, their other plans for the future, and what they’ve learned about each other post-show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your favorite moment of the show?
DEANNA: My engagement!
JESSE: Probably the second I proposed and she looked at me and said yes and I knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this woman.
People always say big moments in life, like engagements, are often remembered as a blur. Any one thing that sticks out?
DEANNA: My favorite about that entire moment when he proposed to me is that nothing else around us mattered. Even though there were cameras everywhere, crew people, producers, nothing else mattered. It seriously felt like it was just the two of us.
JESSE: Something that stands out to me that’s funny is at the very end of last night’s show when she goes, ”I can’t believe I am marrying the guy with the pink shoelaces!” That cracks me up.
Now that the circus is over, what’s on the agenda?
DEANNA: I think we’re just focused on doing the normal stuff. We want to go to dinner, and we’re dying just to go grocery shopping together. We just want to be in public together.
Did what you wanted out of this whole process change over time?
DEANNA: Oh, absolutely. I went into this process thinking that I had everything figured out and that I knew exactly what I wanted, and then somewhere along the way I guess I realized that I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did. I’ve always dated the same type of guy — this typical guy — and maybe it took all of those to lead me to the person that I was meant to be with, because Jesse isn’t like any guy I’ve dated, but it’s the best thing in the world and it’s what I’ve always wanted in the long run. He puts me first, and he is that person that can make me smile every day, doing these crazy, romantic, nice things just to make me smile.
NEXT PAGE: ”He just makes me a much better person.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said many times that Jason and Jesse brought out different sides of you. What was the most important thing that Jesse brought out in you?
DEANNA: He has definitely made me a little more relaxed. He brings out this easygoing side. I’m not a morning person, things easily upset me, and he definitely brought out the side of me that just lets me know that it’s okay and that there’s no sense in wasting time acting like that. He just makes me a much better person.
Did you watch any of the show together?
JESSE: We actually made a pact that we weren’t going to watch any of the show together, but last night we did sit down in front of the TV and drank some champagne and watched the whole episode together.
And what did you think of your portrayal on the show?
JESSE: I’m me, and what you see is what you get. I don’t change for anyone. I don’t think even if you did try and edit me that I could be edited. I’m just a pretty normal guy, your average Joe, and I think that’s what you saw on TV.
So, DeAnna, what do you think of that ring?
DEANNA: Oh, God, it’s beautiful, and I can’t stop staring at it. I’m staring at it right now as I’m talking to you. It’s absolutely perfect; everything that I’ve always wanted.
Jesse, how’d you know to pick out that 2.3-carat rock?
JESSE: I didn’t. I went in there and just picked out a ring that I liked, and it just so happened that we have the same taste in rings.
DeAnna, is there one thing about Jesse that drives you insane?
DEANNA: [Laughing] He’s always been single, you know, so he has his routine first thing when he wakes up in the morning and all he does is get up, make coffee, and sit down in front of the computer to start answering e-mails and doing his business, and that drives me up the wall. I’m like, geesh — get up and get awake first before you start ignoring me.
How about you, Jesse?
JESSE: The one thing is that she’s a very busy and popular woman and she’s on her phone either e-mailing, texting, or talking, and trying to carry on a conversation with her while she’s doing that drives me insane.
How excited are you that ABC gave you that honeymoon gift to go to Greece?
DEANNA: We’re ecstatic. It’s always been a dream of mine to get to Greece, and I would love to go with my entire family, and this just makes it that much better. It was a long, hard road, and the outcome is just better than I could ever imagine, and that ABC gave us that gift is awesome.
NEXT PAGE: ”The tears were real.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What are you most excited to see, Jesse?
JESSE: Endless sunsets with her. I just can’t wait.
DeAnna, would your friends call you every week after the show aired to guess who you would eventually choose?
DEANNA: Absolutely. My friends and family — everybody is crazy. They put up poster boards with photos of the guys’ faces and X’d them off as they left each week. Their final four would change each week, and it was a fun process to go through. Everyone was so scared to say anything because they were like, ”If you choose this guy, I don’t want to have said anything bad about him,” and I was like, ”It’s okay. It doesn’t matter who I choose. Everyone is going to love him.”
What percentage of people were right?
DEANNA: It’s funny, by the time it got to final four, the majority of my family was correct, and all of my cousins and the majority of my best friends. They were all correct.
Jesse, is that the longest you’ve ever gone without snowboarding?
JESSE: Yeah, I think it was the longest I’ve ever gone. I usually snowboard about 300 days a year, and I would say this year I’ll be lucky to get about 75 to 80 days in. I missed the shred stick for sure.
DeAnna, when the guys would come and stay in the house with you, was there a limited amount of time they could actually spend hanging out, or could they just chill with you anytime and you were never alone?
DEANNA: There is a lot of downtime. Those quick 30 minutes where I’m in between getting ready for a date, we would all hang out by the pool and make breakfast or something like that, so there is actually a lot of time to get to know each other.
Are you going to learn how to snowboard?
DEANNA: I am. Hopefully I’ll catch on quickly.
JESSE: She’s all paranoid, but she’s a natural athlete, and she’ll kill it.
You said you’d live in Atlanta during the summers. Are you heading there soon?
JESSE: We’re actually getting ready to go back to Ohio [Jesse’s home state] to spend time with my family, and then we’re going to take a short trip up to Mount Hood so I can take some photos for snowboarding and D. can learn how to snowboard, and then we’re going to drive back down through Yellowstone National Park to Colorado and then truck it down to Georgia to spend some time with her family and friends — until the winter!
Is there anything you would change about the whole experience?
DEANNA: No way. I definitely live my life with no regrets, and I definitely did this experience with no regrets. The tears were all really real, the happiness was real, and the outcome of the show was much better than I ever could have imagined in my entire life. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m very thankful.