‘The Bachelor’s Emily O’Brien Saved From a Disaster by Being Eliminated

Emily O'Brien on The Bachelor (ABC)

In a phone call this morning from Chapel Hill, NC, ousted bachelorette Emily O’Brien had some surprisingly harsh words for Ben Flajnik, this season’s “The Bachelor,” implying that he was thinking with another part of his anatomy other than his brain when it came to making decisions about Courtney Robertson, the 28-year-old model from Scottsdale, AZ, who is this season’s mean girl.

“He was going on how about how perceptive he was and he is going to see all these things,” Emily says. “I think we just didn’t understand the extent to which he was attracted to her in a sexual, physical way. We have all made decisions we shouldn’t have when we have that type of draw to another person. He had that with Courtney, so I am not sure he was thinking about things clearly.”

Also in this interview, Emily talks about how people have reassured her she dodged a disastrous relationship by being eliminated, how outraged she is at some of the things Courtney is saying and doing, but how life is good for her now and she is back on track.

In the end, maybe it wasn’t a bad thing you were sent home?
I do. I really liked Ben and I really enjoyed our one-on-one time together. My respect for him has gone down certainly since the show has aired and I have gotten some perspective on things. I have had people say I dodged a bullet; I have had others say I dodged a locomotive with a nuclear bomb strapped to it. I don’t know if I would put it that way, but I am sure we were not meant to be together. He was not the right guy for me. I started to feel that a little bit toward the end but that has been completely confirmed watching this season.

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How shocked were you to not receive a rose?
To be completely honest, I wasn’t totally shocked. When Ben pulled Courtney aside, I thought it was a last glimmer of hope for me. I thought, “Maybe he is finally listening to all of us and seeing what we all see,” but I think I kind of knew at that point that he was going to keep Courtney and that Rachel and I were going to go home. It was just a feeling I had.

Viewers are outraged by the moves Ben is making, especially in terms of Courtney. Watching it, are you surprised by anything?
I have seen the outrage. I have been surprised by it. I think as much as Courtney might not be anyone’s cup of tea, she is still a human being. It has got to be difficult for her to hear what people are saying and to know that she is not being particularly well received. I was a little bit surprised by how well Ben connected with Courtney on their first date in Sonoma. I was watching it with my mouth open thinking, “No wonder he was so closed off to me when I tried to speak to him about Courtney not showing her real self to Ben,” because I thought she was real charming. They certainly had a connection that wasn’t there between us. Everything started to fall into place when I watched that episode and saw how well they got along and how, obviously, attracted to her he was. I didn’t see that when I was there.

Watching Courtney’s behavior at home now, are you, “Oh, my God. She is an awful person. How can she be saying this stuff?”
I was shocked by a lot of the things. A lot of the mean things she said to me were to my face and I give her credit for that. I felt defensive about some of the things said to the other girls. Girls I absolutely think the world of. Every single one of those girls that I became friends with was a gem and has a huge heart, so it is difficult for me to hear someone talk badly about them, especially knowing how great they are. If was a viewer, watching by myself, I know I would be reacting negatively to her. There are some things that no level of editing there is … they are just inexcusable. Having been on the show, I know those things were not provoked by someone being mean to her first. That is the part that is most infuriating to me now. I am not sure totally what the intention was. If it was some sort of defense mechanism, or if she went on the offensive to throw everyone off. I don’t know the reason behind it. I can say those things did absolutely did happen and they were shocking to me in real life and shocking to me when I saw them on television. I think in some ways Courtney thought she was being funny even though no one was laughing.

What is your impression of seeing Ben skinny dip with Courtney?
In terms of the skinny dipping, I think other girls have said this, I don’t have a problem with it. It sounded like fun. We probably would have liked to have done it, maybe as a group. I understand the motivation behind wanting to do that with a guy that you like. I still think you should have some element of respect for the other people there. It was very early. We were only in the fifth week. If you made that choice and you decide to be intimate with someone in the ocean in Puerto Rico in this romantic setting, you have that on your mind now, instead of making these connections with everyone. It wasn’t a level playing field. It clouded Ben’s judgment a little bit. He had that physical intimacy on his mind instead of taking things with each woman one step at a time. I don’t really disrespect him. I understand why he did. He was obviously very attracted to Courtney. I wish he had been more respectful of us and taken a second to think, “This won’t keep my mind clear and help me to make the decisions I need to make to getting to where I need to be.”

The last bachelor that made a mistake by not listening when his bachelorettes tried to caution him was when Jake Pavelka picked Vienna Girardi. If Ben picks Courtney, do you think he will be making a mistake?
It is hard to say mistake. I think what might be right for me or maybe what I was looking for coming into the experience is maybe different than what Ben was looking for. I know he was open to finding love, but from the beginning, he said, “I am not here to find a wife. I am looking for someone to fall in love.” In that sense, it is possible whoever he picks fits the bill for what he is looking for at this point in time. I think Ben is also a great guy. He is not really the type of guy to let others tell him what to do, or how to think. He kind of marches to the beat of his own drum. I think given that he really likes whoever he ends up with because he chose them, I am not sure anyone could have said anything to detract from that because he is very much an individual and trusts his own judgment.

At least in this last episode, it looked as if maybe Courtney does have feelings for Ben and the comments are a defense mechanism. If she offends you ladies then she doesn’t have to admit that maybe he feels something for other girls. Do you think that is the case or is she just bitchy?
It is hard because I don’t know Courtney in real life. People act strangely in these environments, so it is difficult to say if that is the real her or not. In terms of Courtney’s approach to this whole thing, I think she is very competitive. I think she is very good at getting what she wants from men. I think those little jabs and those snarky comments were a tactic to intimidate all of us and get us off our game and to take the focus off of Ben and put it onto her. My impression of Courtney was that she isn’t a nice person. No matter how you dice it, some of the things she said are hurtful and mean. A lot of them were not provoked. The thing about Kacie B., who everyone in the house loved and thought was the biggest sweetheart, the comments that were unprovoked that is what makes me most angry. No one else displayed that kind of behavior. That was the most off-putting thing for me. Was it a defense mechanism? Probably but it is hard to excuse someone and say, “That is the way she is.” To me, there is no excuse for acting that way when everyone else is also feeling insecure. It was hard for all of us, not just hard for her.

It is hard because we only see small parts of things. Do you think her crying about him is real?
I think Courtney has the capacity to feel emotions. For sure. It is hard to know if she really feels something for Ben. When I watch it, she doesn’t seem like she is really interested in him and what he thinks. She is trying to get him to really like her and, I think, it works well. The crying … we all cried. It was an emotionally draining situation. I am not sure the tears were 100 percent for him, because she would say things like, “If he doesn’t give me a one-on-one date, I am going to leave.” If you are really head over heels and emotionally invested, to take things forward, you don’t make demands like that. You say, “I am here for you and I am looking forward to spending more time with you.” You don’t demand things in order to get what you want.

Do you regret talking to Ben so early on about your feelings about Courtney. Did that start you off on a bad foot?
It is a great question. It is one I have thought about a lot over the past couple months. After our date in San Francisco, I thought we were really on a solid path. I saw a goofy and smart side to the guy and I liked what I saw. But that fun relaxed side disappeared pretty quickly after I talked to him in Park City. After that conversation, I felt there was a negative element that became a part of our relationship. I think after that conversation, he saw me as antagonistic to what he wanted, which at that time was Courtney. I did get the feeling that he was going through the motions with me after that. It was disappointing because I wished he had responded differently. I wished he had supported me and encouraged me and not reacted in the way he did, which was telling me to be careful and almost felt like a threat. That left me uncomfortable in my interactions with him directly. At some point, I think we got back on track to where we needed to be, but it was too little too late. I think there were some flags in my mind, too. I am looking for someone who respects my opinion and respects me as a person and when I have concerns, they take it to heart and at least can respond in an appropriate way that is supportive to me. I feel that is not how he responded.

How are things for you now?
I have been dating. I am studying many, many hours a day in the library, hoping to graduate in May. I have gotten right back into the swing of things and enjoying watching the show.

“The Bachelor” airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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