Ousted bachelorette Nicki Sterling, who made it to third place in Ben Flajnik’s heart before being eliminated in Switzerland in this week’s episode of “The Bachelor,” takes time out from her work schedule to weigh-in in on all the delicious controversies from this season of the dating series — Ben’s skinny dipping in Puerto Rico with Courtney Robertson; the bad attitude displayed by Courtney, who is one of the two semi-finalists for the bachelor’s heart, who she labels “malicious;” and Nicki also expresses the opinion that if Ben did pick Courtney to present with the final rose, that she wouldn’t be surprised if the relationship is already over.
Read on for the juicy dish revealed by the 26-year-old dental hygienist from Hurst, TX:
Do you still feel that you were in love with him? Or do you look back and see it was the situation?
I absolutely knew and to do this day would say I was in love with him. It was real. I know it seems like a fantasy world. However I felt I got to know him very well and my feelings were very true and very deep. To this day, I say he is a great person. I don’t regret falling so hard so fast at all. It hurts to look back, but my feelings were real.
Watch Nicki’s Reaction to Being Eliminated:
What surprises you most when you are watching the show?
I don’t know if there were specific surprises. I would say one thing, some of the connections I didn’t under Ben having throughout this season, while I was filming, I didn’t see that. I now see his and Lindzi’s connection. I didn’t get a good grasp on that while we were filming. Watching it back, I now understand why he kept her for so long. I am surprised and shocked to see how hurtful Courtney’s words were. I knew while filming that she was kind of mean. I didn’t know how mean and how soon the comments started to flow.
This week, Courtney told Ben she didn’t want him to think she was fake. Did you believe a word she said? Do you regret warning Ben about her?
I do not regret warning Ben about her in the least. At that point, I was just starting to fall in love with this guy and I felt that if I didn’t say something and he ended up hurt, I would be somewhat to blame for it. Did I buy her apologizing to him for the hurtful things she said to the girls? No. I didn’t buy it at all. From my standpoint, it looks as though she realized that her chances of making it to the end could be hindered by that, so she backpedaled. That is my take on it. The Courtney I got to know wasn’t sincere in that manner. I didn’t believe the tears and I didn’t believe the apology.
Did you see the photos of her trying on wedding dresses that came out today?
That is news to me. I didn’t know that. I am shocked. I would have to chew on that a while.
Can you pick one word to describe Courtney?
I would say malicious, just because, I feel, she knew what to do in each situation in order to get attention and make it to the end.
You say you didn’t have a change of heart about Ben. A lot of women when they saw the skinny dipping episode say it changed their minds. Did it change things for you?
It stung a lot to know that was the same week we had our one-on-one and had our real moments together. I try to put myself in Ben’s shoes. Do I wish he had said, “This is not a good idea. The girls will get upset.” Of course, I do, but he is a guy. He is 29-year-old guy being seduced by one of the most attractive women on earth. I can’t fault him for it. In that moment who is to say any other guy would have done anything different? She worked her magic and it worked. It doesn’t change my opinion of him. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t know how many other guys would have done anything different.
Did you know how close he was connected to Courtney because of it?
I think I chose to block it out. In the back of my mind, I could only imagine what type of level they took the relationship to after that. However, did I want to believe it was something more than we all had without having to get naked? That is a whole new story. I honestly was so disgusted with everything by the time that that happened that I didn’t choose to see how they reacted around each other. I didn’t want to focus on whether he was feeling more for her than anybody else, so I chose to block it out.
Do you think she really loves him?
At this point, no. I don’t buy it that she loves them. There are too many other factors.
The report is things may already be over between Ben and the woman he choose? What is your reaction to that? Would it surprise you?
I feel as though it would depend on who was chosen. I think that if Courtney was chosen, I am not surprised at all. I don’t see how Ben would be able to watch this season and not be extremely upset with her and disappointed. Essentially, it is like seeing another person than he got to know. If it was Lindzi that he chose, I would be surprised for that. From watching Lindzi on screen, she was there for him and was very open and honest with him. If it was her, I could see it lasting.
Kacie B. used the word manipulative to describe Courtney. When I look at Courtney’s wedding dress photos, I think it could be a publicity stunt. Do you think that is possible?
Surely not. Surely not. If so, I didn’t think there were people who would go that far for publicity. I would hope that is not the case. That would be … there are no words to describe what that would be. Somebody’s heart is on the line. I could not believe that anybody, even as manipulative as Courtney would take it that far.
If Ben does a Jason Mesnick and decides he made a mistake and wants you back, would you be open it?
No, no, no. If I am going to be with somebody, I want to be their No. 1 choice. Not their second; and definitely not their third. So, he is a great person, I wish him the best, but I am a firm believer that if a man wants to be with you, he will make it happen. I feel that I gave him every bit of info he needed to see if it was the life he wanted and it wasn’t, so no.
To see more of what Nicki has to say — as well as the other women from this season of “The Bachelor,” tune in on Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC when the “Women Tell All.”