The Bachelorette’s Emily Maynard was Ricky Hendrick’s fiance before he died

Emily Maynard from The Bachelor 2011 Season 15 with Brad Womack

UPDATE – Congrats to Emily Maynard for being named The Bachelorette for Season 8!

Millions of viewers will be tuned in Monday night when the 15th season of ABC’s reality romance competition The Bachelor premieres at 8/7c featuring Brad Womack taking a second stab at finding true love among 30 beautiful women assembled from all over North America. For most of the women contestants it will be the first time they will find themselves in the national spotlight, but the same cannot be said for Emily Maynard, a 24-year-old blond beauty originally from Morgantown, West Virginia.

Emily’s tragic story and triumphant recovery is covered in detail in this installment of The Bachelor Files:

The Bachelor Season 15 File 2011 on Emily Maynard

Emily Maynard was engaged to former NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series driver Ricky Hendrick for about six months when he died tragically in a plane crash along with nine others while en route to a race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 24, 2004. From

En route from North Carolina to Martinsville Speedway to watch the Subway 500, which would later be triumphed by Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, the plane apparently trickled into dense fog, before slamming into the Bull Mountain area tragically killing all ten passengers aboard.

The Bachelor's Emily Maynard and Ricky Hendrick photo
^ Emily Maynard and her deceased fiance Ricky Hendrick

Among the members of the Hendrick Motorsports racing team who died was Ricky’s uncle (and team president) John Hendrick and his twin daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer Hendrick. The crash was a devastating blow to one of the most respected families in NASCAR, but just when things were at their darkest they were given a small ray of light thanks to Ricky’s 19-year-old fiance Emily Maynard.

Ricky’s father Rick Hendrick talked with Scene Daily in June of 2005:

“Emily came over to the house the night after the memorial service and told us [Hendrick and his wife, Linda] she was pregnant,” Hendrick said. “At the lowest time of our life, it was like a miracle that happened for us because we get a chance to have a piece of Ricky left.”

“I can’t describe how happy and how excited we are,” Hendrick said. “We can’t wait to see that baby’s eyes. When she told us, it was hard to even believe. It was like God had given us back something. We had lost so much.”

Emily Maynard gave birth to daughter Josephine Riddick “Ricki” Hendrick on June 29, 2005.

The Bachelor's Emily Maynard's daughter Josephine Riddick "Ricki" Hendrick
^ Emily Maynard’s daughter Josephine Riddick “Ricki” Hendrick

Since giving birth to little Ricki Emily has used her connections to NASCAR to further her career in broadcast journalism, first as a host of the Speed Channel’s podcast Emily On The Scene in 2006 and then as host for the nationally televised behind-the-scenes series Three Wide Life.

Promo image for Emily On The Scene hosted by Emilt Maynard

At the time of being cast on The Bachelor 15 Emily Maynard was working as an event coordinator at the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. which includes the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care, a pediatric intensive-care facility named for Ricky after his father Rick Hendrick and mother Linda Hendrick donated $3 million to the hospital.

Emily Maynard’s name surfaced in the tabloids in late 2006 when rumors linked her to NASCAR driver Dale Earhardt, Jr. The National Enquirer went so far as to announce that the two were engaged in this story from their January 29, 2007 issue (Click to enlarge):

National Enquirer story claiming Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was going to propose to Emily Maynard

The 2007 story was completely bogus but it does appear as though Emily and Dale, Jr. dated for a brief while prior to Emily dating Ricky Hendrick. There is no absolute concrete proof one way or the other, but here is a photo of Emily Maynard and Dale Earhardt, Jr. together from an unknown time period:

UPDATE: Thanks to the emails from a couple Dale Jr. fans I have a bit of clarification regarding his relationship with Emily. According to one of the emailers, “They never officially declared themselves a couple, but did go out together and spend a lot of time with one another in early 2006.” Another emailer said that Dale and Ricky Hendrick were friends and that’s why she felt comfortable approaching him, because she thought Ricky would have approved. (Thanks so much readers! I should have known a post having anything to do with NASCAR would get an immediate response with people in the know!)

The Bachelor's Emily Maynard with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr

**** If you know anything one way or the other about the Dale Earnhardt dating Emily Maynard rumor please drop us a line at starcasmtips (at)!

I can’t imagine Emily Maynard won’t instantly win over Brad Womack and make it far this season! In addition to being absolutely gorgeous she’s overcome a crippling tragedy and has emerged a strong woman with a beautiful young 5-year-old daughter. And with her background in journalism she will most certainly come off well on television, which in addition to all her other positive qualities should help her win over television audiences as well. I think her odds are very good at walking home with that final rose, and if not then I think we will be seeing that beautiful face again this summer when Emily Maynard takes her own stab at romance as The Bachelorette!

Here’s a photo sent in by a reader from a Ricky Hendrick Facebook fan page with Emily proudly showing off what looks to be like an amazing engagement ring:

The Bachelor's Emily Maynard shows off her engagement ring and former fiance Ricky Hendrick

Here is a YouTube video slideshow of Emily Maynard and Ricky Hendrick photos followed by excerpts from an interview with Nashville Lifestyles’ “Single In The City” from 2009 to close things out. If you have any other info on or photos of Emily you would like to share please drop us a line at starcasmtips (at)! (We welcome and encourage positive comments!)

What three words describe you best?
Free spirit, real and honest

What three words describe your ideal partner?
Funny, laid back and modest

Emilay Maynard from the Three Wide Life television show
^ Emily Maynard poses for a Three Wide Life promo photo

What trait or habit would keep you from going on a second date with someone?
Obviously I wouldn’t go out with someone who was disrespectful, but also I’d say no to someone who had nothing to say. Nothing is worse than an awkward silence.

Where do you spend time, aside from work, by yourself?
I love putting on a baseball hat and going to the movies in my pajamas. Other that that, in my bed because I love to sleep.

Describe your idea of the perfect date?
I think with the right person, even the most ordinary date can be perfect. However, I’m not going to lie, if a candlelit dinner on a beach were involved I probably wouldn’t complain!

And here’s Emily Maynard’s intro video clip from The Bachelor in which she talks about Ricky Hendrick’s death:

Check out our other Bachelor File posts on Chantal O’Brien, Ashley Hebert and Shawntel Newton! For photos as well as very brief bios and Q&As with the other contestants be sure to check out our “Brad Bunch” post HERE!

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60 thoughts on “The Bachelorette’s Emily Maynard was Ricky Hendrick’s fiance before he died

  1. A Nascar groupie using the Hendricks’ tragedy for screen time. Gee, I wonder what her motives are for being on the show?

    1. Very well said Kari!

      Sara is sour and appears to leave drama tracks everywhere she goes! Her hand prints and foot prints should be erased as these were very “ugly” comments. If you want to leave your mark on something, look directly in the mirror and put a smile on your face because I can tell that Sara frowns a lot. I’ve never been on this site before but after reading those negative comments… I will not be back!

      FYI.. please do not xomment becaue I won’t be back to read them AND go and brush your mouth out Sara with CLOROX. I don’t even know any of these people but no one deserves it when 96 % of the people in the world are already negative by heart!

      1. What landed on your butt and stung you? I think Sara is right. Sure looks like she has used all the connections in her life to help her along.

    2. How horrible of Sara to say. How absolutely unfair. Shame on you. Emily has class and deserves to move on and talk about her past. Sara obviously has motive issues to infer wrong motives on someone seemingly so innocently just talking about their past. Horrible Sara! Truly go look at who you are on the inside and try to get your suspicions about people out of the gutter.

    3. Sara–I’m am sure you are just as ugly on the outside as you are inside…do not be bitter towards beautiful people!

      1. I can’t believe that some people would think that she is just trying to use the Hendricks name. Unlike most of those women on that show she has moved slow and made sure of Brad’s intentions and her own feelings before allowing him to meet her daughter. She has been though a lot and it has been a few years since his death and I think that she is ready to find love again and someone to be a father figure in her daughters life. Emily seems so sincere and does not seem like she is there for the attention.


      1. I think Emily and Brad need to give themselves a chance at happiness. People can be so mean and callous and the internet gives them free reign at judging so harshly. They need to ignore the blogs, tabloid stories, television “reports” of their relationship, and focus on each other. I truly hope they start with a clean slate today and work on each other and being a fantastic couple. They could have a beautiful life together. Remember the give and take that comes with a relationship! Best of luck!!!!

  2. I think she is very sincere and he seems to be very taken by her! These people are all on tv it doesnt matter what their motive is they get air time regardless. I think she is a beautiful woman who has survived a tragic loss who does wonderful things for the charity she volunteers for and she has a child to think about as well! It wasnt just his and his families tradgedy it was hers too and you should not judge others for their situation everyone has a sob story and this is hers and she has lived every moment of it with the loss of the love of her life and her best friend. The words you say may hurt her and that is not right if we learn anything from tradgedy it should be that everyone hurts, and we all want to heal and why shouldnt this beautiful woman have a second chance at love? I wish her luck in her journey and I know that everything will work out as planned by the one person who plans everything!

    1. I like Emily Maynard but she keeps thinking about her other love so why should she go on the show Bachelor when her whole heart is out to ricky H. I mean she can have some of her heart out, but brad is not going to pick somebody who is going to be sponsering her love dream , that would make brad feel bad and he thinks why would I pick her because all she thinks is Ricky and his past. Otherwise I LOVE Emily Maynard I know she wants somebody but why would he want her for anything maybe for a friend but not a husband.Emily is nice ,caring and and even names her little girl as a nickname as Ricky. Thats another reason why I wont pick her. I think she shpuld find someone else thats not on a tv and a live world show.Maybe she can find someone with more privicy about her past.Otherwise as I said I love Emily and I hope her my whole world that she will get him’.I HOPE!!!“ “

      1. I think the comment that you made was just ridiculous…obviously you haven’t ever lost someone! I think her naming her daughter Rikki is a GREAT WAY to memorialize her loved one who passed.

  3. who cares! She is not that important. Another groupie with a child out of wedlock. Only thinking of pleasure….. Attention seeker like the rest

    1. Tommy,

      Don’t be a hater because you can’t get a beautiful woman like Emily!

      You should also read the WHOLE story before commenting.

      Groupies are usually one night stands…..she was engaged to Rikki YOU MORON!! Now shut your mouth, hit the gym and clean up yourself, including attitude and you might stand a chance with a beautiful, caring, smart woman like that!

      1. Karen, you are the moron. Let’s see….she dated Ricky Hendrick, he died. She then goes over to Dale Jr but can’t work it out. Uses THEIR contacts to work in NASCAR and then goes on the wh0refest known as “The Bachelor”.. Yeah. If there was ever a gold digging whore she’s it.

    1. I think Emily Maynard looks like a pretty barbie doll.I wonder if anyone told her that before in public!!!!

  4. What has the world come to when fellow human beings cannot even for a moment see the good in others? Sara…when was the last time YOU lost someone in a tragic accident? Experience the loss and then try and pass judgement.

  5. I hope Braf picks Emily at the end cause she is a very pretty gal. I was so glad that she got into that race car on the monday night show.I’m so glad that she showed those girls up at the track. I thinkj she did great bye getting into that race car. I watched it the last time Brad was on it and I was glad to hear he was doing it again. I’m from New Hampshire I watch every monday night.

  6. Being someone that knows Mr. Hendrick I think some of you guys comments are way off base. She dated RICKY for over 5 years and didn’t get pregnant until 5 days AFTER he DIED you moron. She tried it out with Dale for a little bit. I am pretty sure when Rick Hendrick is your father in law (even though they didnt get a chance to get married) you will have contacts in Nascar. Man some people are just some jealous haters. Come to North Carolina sometime. All our women are sweet and beautiful like her.

    1. That would have made Emily 13 years old – she was 18 yo when he died. And Rucky would have been 19 years old (dating a 13 yo)Sorry, don’t buy that.

  7. Rick Hendrick owns the teams of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers. She has the suppport of this family, I don’t think she needs to “dig.”

    1. Emily is probably taken care of due to the fact that the Hendricks are her child’s grandparents-they want the very best for Ricki I am sure. Emily just needs a nice guy to start a family with and someone that she can share her life with. The Hendricks are like “Nascar Royalty”. Go Emily!!!!!

  8. It`s kinda selfish, but, I hope Emily does not hook up with Brad. I say, Emily for The Bachelorette. Yeaaaaaaaaaa!

  9. I love emily but I don’t think Brad is the guy for her. He is awesome but I just don’t see her leaving her life in NC and Nascar to go to TX, and she shouldn’t. I also don’t see Brad adjusting to her life in NC or Nascar either. Chantel is my pic, just a better fit. Again though…i do hope i see Emily in bachlorette

    1. I agree with Sandra….both nice people, but will have a lot of hard choices of giving and taking to make it work.

  10. I’ve always heard, “If you can’t say something nice about a person, don’t say anything at all”. Please Sara use this suggestion.

  11. Are you people insane? How can you judge ANYONE from snippets of info on a reality show. We have no clue how much time Brad has really spent with each girl.I’m sure he knows them better than we do. If he did indeed propose to one of these young ladies, I hope they both went forward with the best of intetions. Its not a conventional way to meet your spouse, but who’s to say their feelings aren’t real. People do meet and marry under all kinds of strange circumstances. For some the attraction is instantanious for others it happens over time. Best wishes to Brad and whom ever he has choosen to perhaps share his life with. Everybody deserves a chance at happiness.

  12. Sara- I think you should think before you write things. Things you have said are hurtful, you don’t know Emily and neither do I so there for we have no room to judge. So far what I have seen from her is nothing but kindness, I feel she is very warm hearted and just needs to find the right guy so she can settle down.

  13. Stephan your a moron too! Saying she didn’t get pregnant until five days after he died. How is that possible was she saving some of his sperm in the freezer? Hopefully Brad doesn’t pick Emily he doesn’t deserve her. Whoever he picks they won’t last long anyways the Bachelor is a stupid show. You can’t go on a show and find your true loveand be happy forever.

    1. Nate – you are the moron – why can’t you find trus love on a TV show?? I’m guessing you find yours at bars or strip clubs……go home lil boy.

  14. Why do people judge someone they do not even know?? I don’t know Emily and that does not give me the right to talk bad about her like some people above are doing. For what I can tell she seems like a really nice person and she has a softness and kindness in her voice that is undescribable. Her daughter is cute as a button. I never watched the Bachelor until this season and the only reason I got into it was because of Emily. Her story of losing the love of her life was very sad and I hope she does find happiest… if it be Brad, me ;)…, or someone else. BUT i’m just going to take a whild guess and say that Brad will pick Chantal because I can see more chemistry. Chantal is emotional but all women are emotional really. Us as guys just have to learn to help them the best we can during their emotional times. Women are totally different then men but they also complete us in everyway possible. Best of luck to all three Brad, Chantal, and Emily!! 🙂

  15. I knew from their first date that Emily was gonna be the one. Some of the episodes left me wondering what the hell he was doing, But I think hepicked her right off the bat!

  16. So we all know Emily is the most beautiful, most level headed, sweet… she’s the package deal! Brad is most obviously going to choose her, especially after last week’s episode!

  17. Emily is the most beautiful, most level headed young lady on the show. She never got into it with anyone. She would just see back an watch. She has alot of respect for her daughter, her family, The Hendrick’s Family and herself not to get in the middle of all those women that act crazy and should not be on the show anyway.
    If Brad picks her, I hope that he is being true to her and does not hurt her. She truly seems to be a wonderful, kind hearted, loving and caring person. And she does just want to start a new life with a husband and a father figure for her daughter. Good Luck Emily. You deserve the best in life.

  18. Emily is the sweetest girl ever and I really think Brad is a great guy. They deserve to be together. And Ricki really needs a father figure in her life since she lost her real father before she was even born. It’s such a sad story but I just think it goes to show that you can find love even after such tragedy. We love you Emily and Brad! Best wishes!

  19. Who really cares? Nobody knows these people. Emily is fine…although she doesn’t appear to be very smart.

    1. So Sarah Anderson, you in particular are obviously quite jealous of Emily, as this is the second time you’ve taken the opportunity to claim that Emily is not smart. YOU, my dear Sarah are the one who is obviously unintelligent and ignorant!

  20. I think Emily and Brad Deserve each other , for they compliment each other. Also Ricki would bennefit the most as well, because Brad loves his family ,his nephews and necies and would be great for Ricki to have consins her age.Brad also to me would never try to replace the memories of her father but would help Emily to deal with those issues and by doing so in creating new memories as a wonderful family. Brad is the luckiest man to have her come in his life as well as him in hers. GOD BLESS BOTH OF THEM forever! Emily would fit in anywhere as long as they are together.

  21. I LOVE EMILY AND BRAD!!!! I am so so so happy they found each other. They make the perfect couple. There is hope for the bachelor (the show) after all! Good luck you guys! You can do it!!

  22. Did anyone notice that Emily’s engagement ring above is the same one brad gave her tonight on the finale after show?

  23. She is pretty but she is a golddigger!! I dont know her but for what I read is obvius. Who knows if her daugther is Ricky’s daughter. Did the family make a test? I was thinking the whole time ” why She talk about Ricky in the show all the time” Now I understand the cashflow!!! Now she dont want move to Austin with Brad? Why?? Money bank is in North Carolina,Nascar guys in NOrth Carolina?? is not dumm!But Brad is not an angel! so will be good each other.

  24. Whether you Emily lovers believe it or not, but saying “how can anyone judge her without knowing her” is hypocritical. You most likely don’t know her either, and yet you have made a judgment that she is sweet and perfect. Being naive is just as bad as being wrongfully cynical!

  25. When it comes to my opinion about Emily’s evident love for her deceased fiance and being ready to ‘move on’ it can be compared to a scene in the movie ‘Bounce’ with Gwyneth Paltrow. In the movie, her character also looses her husband in a plane crash and becomes a single Mother. When she is questioning her new relationship with Ben Affleck in the movie, her friend explains to her that no matter who she chooses at this point, that person will only ever be there because her husband is not. In Emily’s case, the same thing applies. She will always be in love with and cherish her fiance, and whomever she chooses to be with, will only be there because Ricki is not. But that’s okay. That just means that the person she chooses should be even more flattered and feel even more special because they will know that her feelings for them must be extraordinary to be chosen as her new love…the one that is meant to fill the void of her lost love and give her and her daughter the opportunity to have a second chance at the life they deserve. That person should be over joyed to have her and her daughters love returned to them. I don’t know her personally, but from what Emily has presented herself as is, a real person with a real life and real issues and a real committment to her daughter and making the best decisions for them to ensure both of their happiness and their safety. I respect the fact that she presents her and her daughter as a ‘package deal’. If both of them aren’t ‘in’, nobody is ‘in’! I hope the best for her and Brad. I would love a reality show happy ending…otherwise we just all wasted a couple hours of our lives the past few Monday nights, but she deserves someone that is trustworthy and someone that will ‘man up’ and not be insecure about taking over the role in both of their lives that Ricky is no longer here to do. In Brad’s defense, he deserves Emily to get over the insecurities of watching the ‘edited’ version of the show and realize that he needed to go through the experience which includes being open to a certain level of intimacy with the other ladies in order to have a confident and secure outcome. Emily…pay attention to the episodes when he meets with his therapist and his therapist encourages him to open up and let himself experience as much as he can to feel confident that he is making a serious decision and not a rash decision that wasn’t properly thought out! I hope they get themselves out of the lime light and give their relationship a real shot. Good luck to them both and I’m rooting for ya!!!

  26. Emily, I think the number thing that you learned from the show was you could love again.I saw on one of the sites that you said you would never date anyone that was disrespectful.You are not following what you said.get back your self esteem.Ricki does not deserve to be with someone like Brad that has anger management issues.You knoe in your hrart of hearts that Brad is wrong and he is too old to make much of a change.Brad also knows that he would not be able to use his control on you.You grew up to soon.You hae come a long way.Wait for the right love.Your girlfriends certainly see it.Listen to them.They can see it like I can.Be well, you deserve to be happy

  27. I think emily seems to be so sweet and the perfect girl for bad. She seems to be the best mother out there. I wish the best for her and Brad!

  28. I am not sure if Emily is sincere? She is an extraordinary beauty, however, it seems to me that a lot of the things she says on the show are calculated. Beauty is power and she seems to know how to use hers to get ahead, no shame in that. On the other hand, Brad is a total con artist, he says the same things over and over to all 30 girls! Hopefully, Emily does not end up with him in the end for her sake!

  29. Emily Maynard is a gorgeous lady. Who cares if she uses her connection to advance her career. At least she does it a classy way. Many others do worse things just to get screen time. Look at Kim Kadashian. A sex tape for crying out loud…

  30. I can’t help but noticing how different this woman looked in her older pictures. It’s pretty obvious that she has had some plastic surgeries(her face is definitely shortened, her nose is thinner and her cheekbones also is altered) done to make her look a certain “stereotypical” way. And honestly, she looked so much better in the “before” pictures. I simply don’t understand why people do these stupid things to make themselves look so dumb. And you know what, I don’t believe that she really loves herself, because no one who truly loves him/herself would put themselves under the knife so they could look certain ways, like what others want them to look…sad..

  31. what some people don’t know about emily. 1. emily comes from a very wealthy family in west virginia. her dad owns a large lumber company. she grew up with a lot of money. 2. she met her fiance at their home down in the florida keys 3 doors down from the hendricks home. she moved to charlotte, n.c to be near ricky hendricks.. 3. she was not dating dale earnhardt jr.. he was a good friend of ricky hendricks and his dad mr. hendricks. he promised mr. hendricks he would see emily thru the hard times she was going thru. dale jr. is like a son to mr. hendricks (after losing his son) and mr. hendricks became like a father to jr (after losing his father) about the same time. 4. emily does charity work at the ricky hendricks center hospital that his parents donated three million $$ to. there you have it she is not a gold digger. she already has the gold and more.
    hope she can be happy again with jef holm. they make a cute couple + little ricky.

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