However, on last night's Season 7 finale Ashley finally got that romantic ending she'd been looking for.
On a beach in Fiji she tearfully accepted a proposal of marriage from the last man standing kneeling: None other than fan favorite J.P. Rosenbaum.
The 34-year-old construction manager from Roslyn, New York faced a tough grilling from her family and beat out Ben Flajnik to win Ashley's heart in the end.
But did Ashley find true love? Or was it all rigged for the viewers' benefit?
Rival Ben -- who said the experience turned him from a boy to a man -- seemed to make a better impression on the Hebert family, but to no avail. Even the healing mud bath he and Ashley took together didn't help his cause, even though, as he put it "When you're lubing each other up with mud it's really erotic."
And he did not seem to handle rejection at all well. After Ashley turned him and his gigantic rock down he said "What I don't need you to do is sugarcoat it. You can't leave something like this on good terms. It's impossible. ... Right now I'm in utter shock and disbelief. Things don't end unless they end badly."
The happy couple said that Ashley is going to finish dental school and then move to New York, where she and J.P. will get their own place. But don't pick out a hat for the wedding just yet. He said they'll start talking about wedding plans "Once things are a little more stable."
Uh oh. Are those good old-fashioned delaying tactics we hear in his voice?
Or is something more sinister? 'The National Enquirer' is raining on Ashley and J.P.'s parade by claiming that the whole thing was rigged from the start and that she was in on it.
According to the 'Enquirer,' Ashley admitted she picked J.P. as the man she wanted to marry early in the season, and sources charge that producers then had to concoct scenes to make the show more exciting -- including turning 29-year-old Bentley Williams into the villain.
The tabloid quotes a source close to the show as saying that "Ashley really wasn't a strong 'Bachelorette' and producers knew it. ... Usually the contestant understands that she has to perform. They'll act out their own little scripts while the producers nod and wink."
Acting every bit the cartoon villain, Bentley, who left in the third episode, made crude on-camera remarks about Ashley's body, her "boring" kiss and "overall unattractiveness." But without him the show was, well, pretty dull so he was brought back to humiliate her further a few episodes later.
Show host Chris Harrison even confessed that Ashley's scenes were edited to make her look like a pushover. "It's an entertainment show, first and foremost," he said.
In an interview with 'The Philadelphia Inquirer' last month Ashley confessed that "I knew where my heart was from very early on. I wanted to give every guy a chance but by the time of the hometown dates, I was probably 95 percent sure. ... I don't know that I have made a good Bachelorette."
She went on to admit that, "If I'm not into somebody, I have a hard time faking it, and I think in this environment, you have to be able to do that sometimes."
The Season 4 winner, Jesse Csincsak, said that "Ashley wants to please the producers, but in the back of her head, she's not standing behind her decisions. ... You're seeing two different sides -- what the producers want and then her doubting her decisions."
Ashley's 'Bachelorette' successor has not yet been cast, but on the back of this bland season, producers have hinted that the format could be shaken up for Season 8.