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Sonoma's 'Bachelor Ben' single again

Single ladies who swooned over him in "The Bachelor" may have another chance at love with one of Sonoma Valley's celebrity winemakers: Ben Flajnik.

The reality TV star and his fiancee, Courtney Robertson, have called it quits, several celebrity news websites reported Friday.

Reached by cellphone, Flajnik declined to comment on Friday, and he would not answer questions about the news reports. His mom, Barbara Flaj-nik, also declined to comment.

'The Bachelor' Season Finale

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But in a joint statement issued to InTouch magazine, the couple said they had grown apart.

"After meeting over a year ago, we have decided to end our romantic relationship. The ups and downs weighed heavily on us both and ultimately we started to grow apart because of the distance, time apart, and our need to focus on our respective careers," the couple said.

"We have nothing but the utmost respect for each other, and both feel this is the right decision," they said of their split. "We continue to remain friends and will support each other in future endeavors. Thanks to everyone for your love and support, it's been quite a ride."

But the breakup, if real, doesn't seem to be too ugly. The couple was spotted together at Benziger Family Winery less than a week ago, according to a source, and Robertson was waving happily to fans. And within the past week, Flajnik tweeted a photo of Robertson out in the vineyards for pinot noir harvest and another picture of a nicely roasted chicken that he cooked his fiancee for dinner.

Flajnik, who grew up mostly in Sonoma, starred on the 16th season of "The Bachelor," the hit ABC show where 25 women compete for the leading man's hand in marriage. In the show's finale, which aired in March, Flajnik proposed to Robertson.

Most couples who wind up engaged on "The Bachelor" don't last. And after Robertson's performance on the show, many viewers didn't expect this couple's fate to be different.

Just what happened, and whether Flajnik will find a new heartthrob in Sonoma, remains to be seen.

You can reach Staff Writer Cathy Bussewitz at 521-5276 or cathy.bussewitz@pressdemocrat.com.


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