By Daniela Agurcia

We all fell in love with Paige Duke, the small town girl from South Carolina on season three of CMT’s reality dating show, Sweet Home Alabama. We interviewed the down-to-earth sweetheart, learning about her experience as the bachelorette and how listening to her heart led her to choose her true love, Jeremiah Korfe.

It seems as if the decision was an easy one for Duke; she connected instantly with the country boy. It was love at first sight: Korfe was physically her type, and they clicked from the start. In fact, on the first day of meeting the guys, she wrote a letter to her mom and said, “And then there’s Jeremiah. He’s the only one I can’t stop thinking about, and it scares me.” Fortunately, the feelings were mutual. Korfe even snuck love letters into Duke’s boots, telling her how much he admired her.

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Even though a lot of fans rooted for Duke and Bubba Thompson to end up together, nothing could keep fate from taking its course. Duke shares, “Bubba is an amazing, awesome guy, but I never felt the spark or chemistry with him. Yes, I want him to be in my life forever, but you can’t make your heart feel something it doesn’t feel.”

Duke and Korfe received a lot of criticism once the show ended, but they learned to deal with it. “When one of us would get upset, the other one would get us both back in the right mindset,” she explains.

Thanks to the editing of Sweet Home Alabama, the show may have given viewers a different impression of what Korfe was truly like. Even though fans mostly saw his bad boy image, he actually has a sweet side. Duke claims, “People didn’t see anything about the letters. They didn’t see how he would look at me or how long he would hug me.”

When asked what he thought about how he was portrayed on the show, Korfe refuted his image by telling us, “I’m more of the work hard, play hard kind-of guy, and even if I do have a bad boy side, the show made me look more like a whiner, lonesome guy than a bad boy.”

What seems to have saved Duke and Korfe’s relationship is that they stayed true to their hearts. Duke, a true believer in finding the perfect one, gives us her insight on following your heart, saying, “Gosh, if you don’t follow your heart, you will always live with regret. So what if things don’t turn out like you thought? You still never regret something that once made you smile.”

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As for the most important thing to focus on when starting a new relationship, Duke shares, “Honestly, once the must-haves on your list are checked off – things like the same morals and values – and you’re able to create a solid foundation for your relationship, I’d say that the butterflies and feelings that come from a new relationship are most important. That’s especially hard to find as you get older.”

“After I was hurt a few times, I never thought I’d feel so excited or get butterflies over a guy. I became sort of jaded and closed off. I didn’t want anyone to ever have the power to hurt me,” Duke adds. “I had been waiting a long time to feel what I felt with Jeremiah.”

The sweet, southern belle and country boy were a perfect match from the start, and since the end of the show, their relationship has only become stronger. Duke and Korfe are a great example of pushing everything else aside and following your  heart, having overcome much criticism to ultimately find true love. As long as the feelings are real, maybe finding love on a reality show is possible after all.

Duke made it clear that she truly believes there’s someone out there for everyone, sharing these inspiring words: “I don’t think people should settle just for the sake of not being alone. It’s cliche, but don’t find the one you can live with; find the one you can’t live without.”