TAMPA — Former Tampa resident Josh Murray was the last man standing Monday night, winning the heart of Andi Dorfman on “The Bachelorette.”
The 27-year-old Atlanta attorney who had thought that Murray was “too good to be true,” gave him the final rose. That pleased Murray’s parents, his sister Stephanie and nearly 100 family and friends that watched the finale of the ABC reality show at the Cinebistro in Hyde Park.
The crowd cheered Josh Murray and celebrated his romance at a fundraiser for Tampa’s First Presbyterian Church, where the Murray family attends.
The 29-year-old said the moment of truth was the biggest day in his life. Murray presented her with a ring after a dramatic and emotional proposal.
Both said it was love at first sight, but Dorfman had been scared of her feelings. Murray said she was his one great love and he wanted to wake up beside her every day for the rest of his life. From the moment he saw her, he said, she changed his life.
Murray’s parents, Denny and Lauren and his younger sister Stephanie, a college senior, said they were excited and pleased by the outcome. The family has known for months that Josh was the final bachelor but did not know the details of the proposal.
“It was incredible and so beautiful,” said Lauren. “He spoke from the heart.”
“He was eloquent and you could see they are truly in love,” said Josh’s father.
Stephanie said she hoped to get a proposal like that some day. “It was funny and exciting and heartfelt. She was so adorable.”
But getting to the proposal wasn’t without drama.
The man who wasn’t chosen, Nick Viall, a 33-year-old Chicago software sales executive, took the rejection hard when Dorfman paid him a visit in his hotel suite prior to the final rose ceremony.
According to show host Chris Harrison, Viall tried to see Dorfman twice after she made her final choice. He also wrote her a letter.
A standout baseball player at Tampa’s Jesuit High School, Josh was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002 and played in the minor leagues. He later attended the University of Georgia and played safety on the football team.
His younger brother, Aaron, a Plant High graduate, was a quarterback at Georgia and now plays for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Earlier in the show, the Cinebistro audience laughed and cheered when clips aired from Josh’s visit with Dorfman’s parents and they said they found him ”a little too cocky.” But he finally won over Andi’s father and got his blessing.
During their final date, Murray also gave her a personalized baseball card that included her statistics — that she couldn’t dance and swore too much.
The watch party in Tampa was a fundraiser for the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tampa, which serves hot breakfasts on Saturdays to more than 100 homeless people.
Before the three-hour finale began, Lauren Murray told the crowd that “this is reality TV and it is about love and roses, but there is another reality outside and that is the homeless. And we want to share the love.”