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The 'Golden Bachelor' finale: Gerry Turner puts a ring on it. Who gets his final rose?

The Golden Bachelor is not just engaged; he’s getting married.

After nine TV weeks of flirting with 22 contestants, Indiana widower Gerry Turner, 72, finally – and blissfully – finds his professed love, dropping down to one knee for his proposal to Theresa, 70, during Thursday's "After the Final Rose” special that followed the season finale.

In Costa Rica with the final two contestants – Theresa, the financial services professional from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, and Leslie, 64, the Minneapolis fitness instructor, Gerry's final choice is pure Hollywood romance on a flower-filled outdoor stage.

“I love you 1,000%, and I’m never going to stop believing,” Gerry tells Theresa, working in callback lines to the couple's romantic high points. “Every day I choose you.”

Gerry goes on bended knee to propose to Theresa in the season finale of ABC's "The Golden Bachelor."
Gerry goes on bended knee to propose to Theresa in the season finale of ABC's "The Golden Bachelor."

'Golden Bachelor' Fantasy Suites recap: What happenned in the last episode?

As the wind blows through his sun-kissed hair, Gerry flips open the ultimate Bachelor offering, the Neil Lane ring box, to reveal the platinum engagement ring with a princess-cut diamond.

“Will you marry me?” Gerry asks.

Of course, with the sequin-gowned Theresa, the answer is not just yes, but giddy cries of “Yes! Yes!”

"The Golden Bachelor” two-hour wedding special is set for Jan. 4 (8 EST/PST), live on ABC, of course. And we’re all invited. Followed by a honeymoon in Italy, courtesy of ABC. Here’s how we got there:

What happened to Leslie in 'The Golden Bachelor'?

How did it go wrong for Leslie? She captivated Gerry from their first moments and claimed she was the inspiration for the song “Sexy Dancer” penned by one-time beau, Prince.

She and Gerry share the same sense of humor and made out passionately on Minneapolis streets during hometown visits week. Gerry even told her she was “the one” during Fantasy Suites week in Costa Rica, which seems like a lifetime ago.

Yet in an abrupt shift, Gerry is noticeably more distant from the finale's start. Leslie doesn't help by confessing her commitment fears during a first meeting with Gerry’s highly inquisitive daughters.

“It scared me a little bit,” Leslie tells them of Gerry’s “’til death do us part” scenario.

The choice might have been a foregone conclusion. Gerry is already so withdrawn that he noticeably pulls back from I-love-yous with Leslie.

“I love you very, very much,” Leslie tells him.

“That’s such a special sentiment,” Gerry replies. And then: "I can't." That's not what you want to hear.

How did the Leslie breakup go on 'Golden Bachelor' finale?

After exiting, and some solo tears on the concrete steps outside Leslie's hotel suite, Gerry seems like he'll have a come-clean moment, reappearing at Leslie’s door. After confirming that Theresa is his final choice, the talk does not go well. She's devastated.

“So everything you told me the other night was a lie,” Leslie says tearfully.

“At that time, that was the truth. Things have changed; things have evolved," Gerry replies.

There are more tears and balled-up Kleenex cries. It's a painful, sad farewell.

During the "After the Final Rose" meeting between the two, Leslie reveals her devastation about Gerry changing his feelings so quickly. "Your words just meant so much to me, that’s why I was blindsided," says Leslie. "Because I wasn’t sure how it changed or what happened."

After his words during the Fantasy Suites weekend, Leslie was sure she was "the one" as Gerry said.

"I picked out a dress, blue like your eyes. I wrote our vows. It was the happiest day of my life, except for the day I thought was coming," Leslie says. "Right now I'm heartbroken."

At the Costa Rican hotel, Gerry exits and cries into the supportive arms of host Jesse Palmer. He finally delivers the line that we have all repeatedly seen in countless promos, which actors might perform in future movie auditions: “I think the only time I've ever felt worse in my whole life was when my wife passed away,” Gerry laments through tears. “And this was a goddamn close second.”

Who received the final 'Golden Bachelor' rose?

And yet, as always, Gerry bounces back. Engagement ready for Theresa, the native Iowan and current Hoosier asks the Costa Rican volcano, and his late wife Toni, if he should marry the New Jersey woman.

Gerry knows it. His kids know it. Theresa has her detractors, but she stays in the fight until she has the ring. And they have a real connection.

Gerry plays coy before the proposal, twisting his Golden Bachelor mantra. “I came to the realization that you’re not the right person to live with,” Gerry says to a quavering Theresa. (Dramatic pause.) “You’re the person I cannot live without.”

Theresa, of course, loves it. After the ring, Gerry offers her the final, golden rose, gladly accepted.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Golden Bachelor’ finale: Who does Gerry pick, Leslie or Theresa?