Even Katie Thurston didn’t know what she was promising when she declared her Bachelorette ending was a “first” for the franchise.
After appearing on season 25 of The Bachelor, which aired in early 2021, ABC named the Washington native their season 17 star. She subsequently started filming in Palm Springs and met 30 contestants, including bartender John Hersey. She sent the California native home during week two of the competition.
Blake Moynes, who originally competed on season 16 of The Bachelorette in 2020, joined the cast when there were 14 men remaining. The Canada native admitted that he reached out to Thurston while Matt James’ season was airing and felt like they would have a connection. After two of Thurston’s top four quit — Greg Grippo and Michael Allio — she gave Moynes her final rose, sending home Justin Glaze.
Thurston and Moynes’ proposal aired on the August 2021 finale of The Bachelorette. The twosome told Us Weekly at the time that they weren’t in a rush to move in together as they navigated their post-show future. By October, she admitted to Us that the twosome were “winging” things as Moynes traveled to Africa for work.
“The short version is we’re figuring it out. We don’t know. This is very new to us still. I’m just focusing on myself, he’s focusing on him, and if we work doing that, great. If not —” Thurston told Us before trailing off backstage at Whitney Cummings’ comedy show.
Days after the performance, Thurston and Moynes announced their engagement was over. She subsequently told her Instagram followers that the twosome “owe it to each other to step away” from their relationship because it wasn’t working.
“We were together for six months [and] Blake and I are very level-headed and mature, and we communicate very well on our thoughts,” Thurston told fans on October 31, 2021. “And we just both knew if this was how our first six months was as a couple, going forward it was going to not be in our best interest for our happiness to stay together.”
Moynes, for his part, admitted things haven’t “been easy” for him as he returned to social media post-split on November 9, 2021. Later that month, Us broke the news that Thurston was seeing Hersey. Her rep later confirmed the news via a statement: “It’s known Katie and John became close friends post-season. John has been there for her through all the major changes in her life, and they are excited to explore this newly found romantic connection.”
Scroll through for a complete timeline of her relationship with Hersey: