Credit: Splash News Photo: Ricky Hendrick and Emily Maynard in 2004

Emily Maynard was engaged twice before helming Season 8 of The Bachelorette — once to Bachelor Brad Womack and, before that, to the late Ricky Hendrick, who is also the father of Emily’s daughter Ricki. On The Bachelor Season 15, a visibly emotional Emily told the other girls in the house about the tragedy of losing Ricky in a plane crash back in 2004. Ricky continues to be a big part of Emily’s life, even after his death, and his parents even appeared with their granddaughter on Emily’s Bachelorette season. So, what kind of man was Emily’s first true love? We did some research to round up an in-depth look at Ricky’s life and continuing legacy.

Ricky Hendrick (full name Joseph Riddick Hendrick IV) was born April 2, 1980, and began his car racing career at the young age of 15, following in his father’s footsteps. Ricky retired from racing in 2002 after sustaining injuries in a grinding crash in Las Vegas, according to a NASCAR.com profile.

Ricky died on October 24, 2004, in a plane crash. According to Catchfence, while flying to a race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia, the plane crashed in the Bull Mountain area after passing through a dense fog. Among the 10 Hendrick Motorsports racing team members who were killed were Ricky's uncle, team president John Hendrick, and his twin daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer Hendrick. 

Ricky and Emily, together for four years, were engaged for just six months before Ricky’s tragic death. She found out she was pregnant just days before Ricky’s memorial.

"Emily came over to the house the night after the memorial service and told us [Hendrick and his wife, Linda] she was pregnant," Ricky's father, Rick Hendrick, told Scene Daily in 2005. "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. 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 gave birth to little Josephine Riddick "Ricki" Hendrick on June 29, 2005. Emily and Ricki live in Charlotte, North Carolina, near Ricky’s parents. In March 2012, ABC moved production of The Bachelorette from Los Angeles to Charlotte to accomodate Emily's desire to avoid uprooting her daughter for the show's filming. Emily's season finale — in which she got engaged to Utah entrepreneur Jef Holm — aired July 22, 2012. She and Jef ended their relationship in October.

Source: RickyHendrick.net, NASCAR.com, Catchfence, Scene Daily

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