After months of speculations, Emily Maynard was officially announced as the star of "The Bachelorette" next season on a Tuesday, January 24 edition of "Good Morning America". Soon after the news broke out, Ashley Hebert weighed in on the casting of her former fellow "The Bachelor" contestant.
"I was so excited for Emily!" Ashley told E! Online. "She really is the sweetest person I've ever met and I was really sad her and Brad [Womack] didn't work out because I thought they were a good match."
Hoping that Emily finds "the one" on the show, the fiancee of J.P. Rosenbaum added, "I know Emily is going into this with really high hopes that she does find her one true love and I really hope that after everything she's been through, I really hope she finds it."
Since she herself has been put in the same situation when starring in season 7 of "The Bachelorette", Ashley shared some tips to Emily. She advised her "to go in open-minded and have a lot of fun with it because when you look back you want to have really fond memories. When I look back, I see a lot of the negative that happened, so just stay focused on the positive and have fun with it."
When confirming Emily's casting on "GMA", host Chris Harrison has also gushed, "I think she's America's sweetheart and I think it will be a home run." Later in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he teased "the show is gonna be completely different on a lot of levels" with the single mother as the star.
On rumors that the production will be moved to Emily's hometown of Charlotte, Chris said the locations have not been confirmed and they are still "scouting all over the place." However, he did admit that "there will be a lot of compromises because of Ricki," Emily's daughter.
In a press release, ABC explained that the single mother is "looking for someone who makes her laugh, doesn't take himself too seriously and can be her best friend." Former Ashley's suitor Bentley was recently rumored to be interested to join the show's next season, but Chris denied it as saying, "Honestly, we haven't approached Bentley. I don't think he's approached us."
If the so-called villain from the "Bachelorette" last season indeed wants to compete for Emily's heart, he will have to pass Chris first. "I don't mean to be the big brother like I'm the gatekeeper, but he'd have to impress me," he said. "I love Emily. She's a friend of mine, and before I let any SOB on the show, I want to make sure he's a good guy."
Still, he added, "I wouldn't be opposed to him coming back... If he came back and seemed sincere, then it's up to Emily. I don't mind giving someone a chance, because then it's her choice. And you know what, crazier things have happened, maybe they end up happily married."
"The Bachelorette" season 8 is slated to premiere in spring this year on ABC.