Nick's dad thinks couple has 'as good a chance as anybody'
Nearly three years after he received his first rose on ABC's "The Bachelorette," Waukesha native Nick Viall gave out his final rose as "The Bachelor."
Viall proposed to special education teacher Vanessa Grimaldi in the season finale Monday night, following a week of dates in Finland.
Throughout the week, Grimaldi had expressed concerns to Viall and members of his family, who had traveled to Finland to meet her and runner-up Raven Gates. Grimaldi said she wasn't sure if she was ready to be engaged to Viall, while Gates expressed "no hesitations" about saying yes to a proposal.
In the end, Viall said, "I've been falling in love with Vanessa for a very long time. I feel like sometimes I've been fighting it, and I'm not fighting it any longer."
"I do love you. I am in love with you," he told her.
"When I'm with you, I'm the happiest I've ever been," Grimaldi said. "I knew this kind of love existed; I just never thought it was going to happen to me until I met you, so thank you for taking another chance on love."
Grimaldi said a tearful yes to his proposal.
Viall told Gates he feels love for her but he just doesn't know if he's "in love" with her.
"It was a very difficult thing to do," Viall told "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison on the live "After the Final Rose" special following the finale.
"I've been on that side before. I very much empathize with it," Viall said about Gates' position as runner-up.
During the live show, Grimaldi and Viall appeared together publicly for the first time since they got engaged. They admitted there have been challenges in their relationship so far.
"At the end of the day, we both love each other," Grimaldi said. "We want to make this work."
She said they are taking "baby steps" toward getting married and are optimistic about the future.
In a phone interview after the finale, Viall's dad, Chris Viall, who watched the show at their home in Waukesha, said the family thought it would be Grimaldi in the end after meeting the final two women in Finland.
"We just felt like the relationship between the two of them was stronger," he said.
The few minutes shown on screen were selected from a six-hour meeting. The family hasn't seen Grimaldi since then.
"We're hoping she can come visit us (in Wisconsin) in the next month or so," he said. "We've talked to her on the phone. She and (my wife) Mary have been communicating."
He said his son and newly announced fiancé have "as good a chance as anybody" to make their romance work outside "The Bachelor" world. "They seem very realistic. They both want to make it work. They’re both willing."
Chris Viall said he doesn’t see his son moving back to Wisconsin. "I think his days in the Midwest are done." He said he does think returning to Chicago, where his son lived before appearing on reality TV, would be an option.
It's been a long road to happily ever after for Viall. After being blindsided in the finale of Andi Dorfman's season of "The Bachelorette" in 2014, Viall dropped in mid-season on Kaitlyn Bristowe's season in 2015 and really shook things up when he and Bristowe slept together relatively early in the season. Viall was once again dumped in the finale, this time as he was down on one knee about to propose.
A polarizing figure on the franchise, Viall returned to reality TV in 2016 on "Bachelor in Paradise," but his narrative turned into a redemption story as viewers saw a more sympathetic side of Viall when his rival who had won Dorfman's heart, Josh Murray, once again won over a woman they both were interested in.
His season of "The Bachelor" gifted fans with the comic gold (or platinum) of Corinne Olympios and introduced the first black "Bachelorette," Rachel Lindsay, who is a graduate of Marquette University Law School.
It brought viewers to Milwaukee, Waukesha and Oshkosh during an episode featuring a string of dates filmed in Wisconsin, including one spent roller skating around the Milwaukee Art Museum and another spent shoveling cow manure at a dairy farm.
Viall's season included one of the best dates in "Bachelor" history: a dance lesson and performance with The Backstreet Boys in L.A. It also included one of the lamest: a never-ending "haunted" plantation group date in New Orleans complete with producer-instigated scares.
Viall took two pairs of women on dreaded two-on-one dates (where at least one gets sent home during the date) and shed more than a few tears throughout the season, solidifying his reputation as a sensitive dude.
Another reputation Viall embraced was that of someone comfortable talking about sex. From openly discussing a previous one-night stand with one of the contestants to talking through his intentions for the fantasy suites with ex Dorfman, this season did not shy away from topics only hinted at in previous seasons.
Arguably the toughest part of Viall's story starts now that he has to make his reality TV relationship work in the real world. Grimaldi is from Montreal and several of the couple's conversations on the show revolved around how they would compromise on where to live. On "After the Final Rose," they shared that Grimaldi would be moving to the U.S. and starting a charity for individuals with learning disabilities. Viall will be competing on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which premieres March 20 and is notorious for putting a strain on post-"Bachelor" couples.
"Vanessa and I have talked a lot about it," Viall said of his decision to compete on the show. "She was very supportive."