Graham Bunn talks about 'Bachelorette' star DeAnna Pappas' rejection
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/30/2008
Despite the chemistry Graham Bunn visibly shared with DeAnna Pappas, he feels they simply weren't a good fit on a romantic level.
"I don't think we were right for each other... I don't think I could have fallen in love with DeAnna," he told reporters during a Thursday afternoon conference call.
"I think that she and I suffered from a severe case of miscommunication. I don't question that her feelings were very strong for me, and I also shared some strong feelings for her. Where we were in the process may have been different. Because obviously as much as she wanted me to open up and say that I was falling in love or that I was ready for marriage, I never heard those things directed towards me in an individual setting."
The 29-year-old former professional basketball player from Raleigh, NC was sent packing by Pappas during last Monday night's The Bachelorette twelfth-season episode after she visited the hometown of her four remaining suitors.
"I was not surprised at all to go home at that Rose Ceremony," Bunn told Reality TV World during the conference call. "I knew that she and I had gone through some difficult times. And what she says on the bench [after I was eliminated] is very revealing -- there was some things that I knew she wanted me to get to a place that I couldn't get to in the timeframe she needed me to get there."
Bunn described Pappas' decision to give him the boot as a "totally understood mutual decision."
"I think we both agreed that in that setting she and I were not the right match," he explained, adding it still didn't make the ouster any easier. "I know that both sides felt pain the night that I left, and causing her pain was something that I never wanted to do. Obviously it was a painful thing for me to leave her knowing that we wouldn't be hanging out anymore and we wouldn't be spending time. So leaving the show was difficult."
Since he seemed to butt heads with Pappas on more than one occasion during The Bachelorette's twelfth season, Bunn debunked recent rumors that he actually tried to quit the show but was convinced to stick around for the Rose Ceremony that led to his elimination.
"I have not heard those rumors," he told Reality TV World. "There's no truth at all to that."
However if Bunn had received a rose at that ceremony, he's not sure he would have accepted it.
"I'm honestly not sure what I would have done," he said. "She actually asked me that afterwards, and I wasn't sure. Going into the ceremony I didn't know what would have been the best thing for her -- and myself included -- because I was not getting to where she needed me to get. But fortunately for us both, it was kind of a mutual thing. And she took the initiative... It's just - marriage is very important and marriage is a very serious thing. And I think that she took a lot of onus in that concept."
Bunn said that he had a hunch he wouldn't be receiving a rose from Pappas after she met his family on the hometown visit.
"When she was getting ready to leave I had felt major questions about DeAnna and I's future together. Or for her and for myself that maybe she and I were not the right couple or not the right connection for a lasting relationship," he explained. "After meeting my family, and my attraction level to her remaining where it was, I felt sitting there knowing that she was getting ready to leave and ready to share the same type of relationship with three other people, I kind of questioned whether she and I could make it long term."
While Bunn said his parents thought Pappas was a "beautiful girl" who has "a lot to offer some very lucky gentleman," he added he was taken aback upon hearing his mom Karen tellThe Bachelorette star that her son has "not really had a lot of serious girlfriends... that last past four weeks" and is also "sort of lonely."
"I was very surprised," Bunn told Reality TV World about his mom's comments before conceding he has "moved around quite a bit" and hasn't "had an extreme amount of serious relationships."
"The ones that I do [have] obviously they haven't been serious enough to bring home. I haven't always included my mother and father in those experiences. So I think she was talking more so out of what she knew," he told Reality TV World. "I know she loves me to death and anything she said was said not in a hurtful way but just out of knowledge that she has about my dating history."
In addition, Bunn attributed his mom's comments as "more so that DeAnna was doing a lot more than she thought."
"DeAnna had mentioned that she was falling more for me than I was for her. And I think my mom's comment about the four weeks was that was about the amount of time that I had been spending with DeAnna and that she must be doing something right because it was difficult for me to really invest time, and invest those experiences, and bringing her home," he said.
"I think my mom just wanted her to realize that he's opening up to you in different ways. Maybe not ways that you're so used to, but ways that's how he expresses himself. So I think it was just misconstrued a little bit or she didn't voice it in the right manner."
Bunn also admitted his parents weren't shocked by the ultimate outcome of his The Bachelorette journey.
"My parents were not surprised that I didn't come home with DeAnna as my fiance or girlfriend," he said.
Bunn added had he and Pappas enjoyed "the natural evolution of a relationship," he thinks they might have "opened up" more with each other.
"The better you get to know someone, the easier it is to open up," he said. "We were moving along in that direction. It just wasn't at the speed that we both agreed upon."
Still, Bunn said he "wouldn't have opened up faster" if given the chance.
"I honestly opened up as much as I could -- in an honest, genuine manner. I never told her anything I didn't mean, and that's something that you can't change. I was never going to tell her something she just wanted to hear. And I think anyone that watched the show can see that," he said before admitting his fatal mistake.
"She was put in a position where she was dating people that were willing to say or do what they felt she needed to hear in order for them to grow together, and I really wasn't willing to do that as much as I should have been," he said. "If I had to go back and do it again I would just try to make a concerted effort to express some of the things that I felt I was expressing through actions, and through our interactions, more vocally. Because I think that's something that she needed. She needed that reassurance from me that I was trying and I was opening up."
Bunn opened up best after his failure to receive a rose, which led to a somewhat heated exchange between him and Pappas. However he assured reporters there was no "anger" on his part "in any way."
"It was just kind of the realization that the process itself was over because it was an unbelievable thing to go through," he said. "I did have a special connection with her. And I think she had been very open about that; that she and I shared something that she didn't share with anyone else."
While Bunn added he's "sure" she also shares something special with the other three remaining suitors as well, it was still upsetting to know she "would move on" from her connection with him.
"I just don't think that it would ever be healthy for she and I to be friends," he explained. "So I just knew that that would probably be the end for us -- speaking or having any kind of connection. And that's just a rare thing to think about -- you go through something and you share some things with someone and then you never talk to them again. So that was just kind of a sad moment."
Since misery loves company, Bunn decided to share some of that sadness with Pappas by giving her a handwritten letter that she opted to read after he left the mansion, the words of which seemed to make her begin to question her decision.
"It was a way to open up. It was a good-bye. It was something that I had written after the hometown date, just some things that I had realized about her and myself and what she and I shared," he told Reality TV World about the letter.
"What I wanted to leave her as a lasting impression of me as a person more so than me as someone that she can never get to open up or get out of me what she needed. And it was just something that I felt like she needed to hear or needed to read. I knew that if that was the time for me to go, that I might not be able to put into words everything I wanted to say in the brief amount of time that I was given."
While viewers never got to see the content of Bunn's letter during Monday night's episode, he was disallowed from divulging its contents to reporters during the conference call. Instead, an ABC publicist said the letter will be discussed during The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All special on Monday, June 30 at 9PM ET/PT.
"It was just a way to make sure that she had something from me to let her know how I was feeling about the process and about her, and what I wanted for her in life, and that I was grateful for the time that she and I had spent together," Bunn said about the letter.
"[Casting] asked me if I would be interested in doing the show. And unfortunately for me, at the time, I was going through a family crisis and I was leaving town. So I was unable to actually go through the traditional process," he explained. "When I got back from home, they asked me if I would come in for an interview even though I had missed the window of time where they were looking."
Bunn accepted the interview but subsequently turned down an initial offer for the show.
"Then I was called back and decided that, 'Hey, you know, God only knocks so many times, so this is kind of a sign that maybe you should take a look at it," he said. "So I ended up doing it."
While Bunn saw a picture of Pappas when approached by the casting director, he told Reality TV World he had never seen any of The Bachelor's eleventh season, in which Pappas was rejected twice by Brad Womack.
"I had never seen her season and still have not seen her season," he said. "I had heard the story. And some of the other guys, obviously, talked about it a lot. And just through her interaction I ended up knowing quite a bit about Brad because she definitely brought him up quite a bit with me."
Bunn said that marriage was "totally my goal" as the reason for his participation.
"The entire reason for going was to meet some amazing person that would complete the voids that have been left by an unsuccessful dating past," he explained. "That was something that I definitely looked forward to and I was exploring."
As for Pappas' remaining suitors -- Jason, Jesse and Jeremy -- Bunn characterized Jesse as "the worst of the three."
"I'm not saying that he doesn't offer a lot but I just think the other two guys offer more," he explained. "I believe Jason and Jeremy would make better partners to spend the rest of her life with. I don't think that you're missing anything in the edit of Jesse. I think you might be missing something of the edit of DeAnna."
When asked to elaborate on that, Bunn offer "no comment." However he did single out a favorite.
"Just watching the show, it would be difficult for me to say that she could find true love with any of the guys except for Jason," he said. "Jason offers her the best well-rounded choice and someone that can fully fulfill all her needs and wants in life. But that doesn't mean that that's how she feels. That's just my opinion."
Bunn said he isn't currently dating anyone but added the show has changed the way he approaches it.
"It definitely is going to change the way that I approach it -- definitely there is someone that I would like to sit down and speak with, that I think the experience has shown me that sometimes words mean more to some people than actions," he explained. "If you just vocalize what you're feeling I think that would make a huge difference in somebody's vision."
Bunn said it had been six months since he last played basketball until his hometown date with Pappas.
"I had been playing professional basketball in Germany and severely broke my shooting hand, which it took quite a while to heal because I broke it in several places," he said. "I will not be returning to play professional basketball anymore. Living outside the country right now is not something that I'm looking to do so."
Instead, Bunn said he's planning to start a non-profit organization.
"I've filed with the government to start my own non-for-profit charity. So that is not up and running yet," he said. "I do have a t-shirt line that donates proceeds to a charity that I've been working with for the past several years here. The t-shirt line is 46 NYC. It just donates proceeds to the Sunflower Children Organization which is a humanitarian outreach program that helps children all across the world [that] provides survival and development care for forgotten children throughout the world."