In her new book, I Said Yes: My story of heartbreak, redemption and true love, Emily Maynard Johnson writes about her life as a teenager where she fell into depression and tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. She also talks about meeting racecar driver Ricky Hendrick, falling in love and the tragic plane crash that ended his life at 24-years-old. She also talks about life as a single mom to her daughter, Ricki. Johnson takes readers on a journey throughout both of her stints on the hit ABC franchise The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and ultimately saying yes to the love of her life.
When Johnson was 18-years-old, the love of her life, Ricky Hendrick was tragically killed in a plane crash. A few days later, Johnson found out that she was pregnant with Hendrick’s child, thus beginning her life as a single mom.
Hoping to find love Johnson went on Season 15 of The Bachelor and became engaged to Brad Womack. When that relationship ended, she met Tyler Johnson at a local church but subsequently went on to Season 8 of The Bachelorette and got engaged to Jef Holm, a relationship that also did not work out.
Johnson’s life growing up was not simple. She writes about her struggles with being bullied and being shunned by her classmates throughout all of her years in school. She then went to boarding school but that also proved to be difficult for her. Johnson was hospitalized and diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which is inflammation of the facial nerves that causes paralysis. After missing school, Johnson felt even more isolated from her peers.
“I felt emotionally out of control. Unsure of myself. Stupid for not being able to keep up with my studies. Although I had friends, I felt alone,” Maynard wrote.
What followed was depression. Then a suicide attempt. This is when Johnson finally decided to leave boarding school and move back home.
When Johnson first met Ricky Hendrick, she lied about her age because she wanted him to like her. When he found out, they didn’t talk for over a year. When they did see each other again, they started dating and fell in love.
Tragedy hit on October 24, 2004 when Hendrick was involved in a plane crash. Johnson was supposed to be on the plane that day but due to a fight with Hendrick and not feeling well, she decided to stay behind. Just a few days later, she found out that she was pregnant.
The book focuses heavily on Johnson’s love life but also she writes about life as a single mom. Although she had help from her parents and Hendrick’s parents, she was ultimately on her own. When Johnson appeared on The Bachelor, her mom watched Ricki, who was six at the time.
While on The Bachelor, Johnson mentions time and time again that the things in reality are so much different than what is shown on television. She writes that the television show is not what it seems like and the struggles that she endured when she left Ricki alone. Johnson got engaged to Brad Womack but when that relationship didn’t work out, she got an offer to become the next bachelorette.
During the time in between shows, she met Tyler Johnson at a local church, they started talking more and it was during that time that she took the offer from ABC.
After getting engaged on The Bachelorette to Jef Holm and having that engagement not work out, Johnson decided to take time off dating. During that time, she and Tyler reconnected.
They married in 2014 and welcomed son Jennings in 2015. Johnson announced earlier this year that she was pregnant with the couples’ second child.
Throughout all of the heartbreak and all of the things that stood in Johnson’s way, she said yes to the love of her life, she said yes to happiness. I Said Yes: My story of heartbreak, redemption and true love, chronicles the journey that Emily Maynard Johnson went on to become the mother, wife and person she is today.