INTERVIEW: DeAnna Pappas dishes about her 'Bachelor' rejections
By Steve Rogers, 11/22/2007
Home viewers got to see the drama play out over consecutive nights, but it's been a tough three-month span for eleventh-season The Bachelor bachelorette DeAnna Pappas.
Late this summer, Brad Womack ended the filming of his The Bachelor season by surprising everyone and deciding that he'd rather see his final Rose Ceremony rose go ungiven than give it to DeAnna (ABC aired the finale on Monday night). And then two and a half months later, he rejected her for a second time during the show's After the Final Rose reunion special that aired on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, DeAnna, a 25-year-old realtor who currently resides in Neunan, GA, talked to Reality TV World about why she decided to give Brad a second chance; what she'd tell critics who thought her decision was unbecoming a self-described strong, independent woman; whether she's now any less confused about Brad's reasons for rejecting her; what she'd do if he were to suddenly have a change of heart; and whether she'd be interested in giving a revival of The Bachelor's currently-dormant The Bachelorette sister series a whirl.
Reality TV World: Although viewers only saw it last night, the After the Final Rose special actually taped last Friday. How have the last five days been for you? [ABC screened the show's season finale for the special's participants and studio audience before the taping]
DeAnna Pappas: The last five days have been a little overwhelming obviously, because no one knew the outcome of the After the Final Rose special and it was hard having to come home [after the taping] and having to deal with being rejected again for a second time and still being confused.
Reality TV World: During the special, you kept mentioning that you'd continued to keep thinking about Brad every day since the final Rose Ceremony. Has that changed in the last five days?
DeAnna Pappas: I still think about him, but it's on a different level. It's like -- I'm so just completely confused, I have no idea what happened and I don't think that I got any of my answers. But now it's more like well, for myself, I'm trying to figure things out.
Reality TV World: I was expecting to ask you if the special gave you the answers and closure you were looking for, but after watching it, it looks like you weren't really looking for closure, is that right?
DeAnna Pappas: No, I was looking for closure, one way or the other. Whether the closure was for myself to be able to move on or whether the closure was to be with Brad and we could move on and further our relationship, I was looking for closure. Did I get that? Yes, in a certain sense, I guess, because I have to move on.
The Bachelor star Brad Womack informs DeAnna Pappas of his final Rose Ceremony decision (Photo credit ABC/Craig Sjodin)
Reality TV World: So you really went into the special expecting Brad to have changed his mind and looking to resume a relationship with you?
DeAnna Pappas: Yes, I really had all the hope that I would go there and he would have realized that we could be together or he should at least give the effort to have a relationship.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that he let you walk out of his life again at the conclusion of the After the Final Rose special?
DeAnna Pappas: Gosh, "was I surprised," humm... I guess a little bit, but then again, I really had no expectations going there for the After the Final Rose [taping]. I know what I wanted, and I know what I was hoping for, but I really had no expectations because when you have expectations you get let down.
Reality TV World: And what was it you were hoping for, were you hoping to resume the relationship?
DeAnna Pappas: I was, I was hoping I would go there and we would be able to have a relationship to see if we could get to that point, because it's so confusing how someone can look you in the face and say "You're everything that I've been looking for in a woman, I see you as soulmate" and all these things but [then say] "Sorry, I have to let you go."
Reality TV World: During the show, you presented yourself as a really strong, independent woman and Brad even commented on that several times. Can you understand how the idea that you'd be willing to give Brad another chance might surprise some people?
DeAnna Pappas: I guess I can understand that, because I am a very strong and independent person. It's the way that I've had to grow up, and it's the only way that I know how to be. I guess when people see a woman who is very strong and very independent it's hard for them for see how someone [like that] would give someone else another chance. But for me, if I believe it's meant to be or I believe it's right -- and I do believe that he is a fantastic person -- I believe that he deserves a second chance because I can only imagine how confusing things were for him at that moment.
Reality TV World: So what would you tell people that say that isn't the type of behavior they'd expect from a strong, independent woman?
DeAnna Pappas: What would I say to people?
Reality TV World: Ya, how would you address somebody that would question you on that?
DeAnna Pappas: [I'd tell them] everyone makes mistakes [and] people deserve second chances. Everyone makes mistakes in life and no one is perfect, who am I to judge the next person on the way they live their life or the decisions they make. I believe that everyone deserves second chances.
Reality TV World: During the special, you said how you could understand why Brad didn't propose to you but still couldn't understand why he let you walk out of his life. After talking with Brad, do you think you better understand his reasoning?
DeAnna Pappas: (laughing) No, I don't. No I don't. It's still pretty confusing for me still to this day. Two and a half months later, it's still very confusing for me to see how he could have walked out of my life.[and] how he could let me walk out of his life.
Reality TV World: Have you talked at all Brad at all since the special was filmed on Friday?
DeAnna Pappas: No, I haven't
Reality TV World: If he suddenly called today and said that he was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you, how would you approach that?
DeAnna Pappas: Oh god
Reality TV World: Give him a third strike?
DeAnna Pappas: If he called me today and asked me that, I really do not know how I would respond because I felt like I gave him not one chance but two chances and he had me in tears and vulnerable in front of America and broke my heart twice. I don't know that there would be any repair on that, he would really have to go out of his way and prove to me that he's in it forever.
Reality TV World: [Like the rest of the cast] you signed a confidentiality agreement that didn't let you talk about the show until after it aired. Were you able to talk about what happened to you on the show with anybody? Did you have someone to talk about your feelings and emotions with?
DeAnna Pappas: This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My sister and my brother are my best friends and to come home and not be able to tell them that my heart was breaking and to just smile and say "You'll just have to watch and see" was the hardest thing that I've ever had to so.
The only thing that just happened to be to my benefit was that Brad did [ask the producers to] fly my dad out there -- apparently to ask my dad's permission [to marry me] and it never happened -- so luckily my dad was there that night, after the final Rose Ceremony. That was so good to me on so many levels, because I could speak to my dad, I could ask his advice and throughout this entire crazy journey I was able to talk to my dad. That helped me get through this whole thing.
Reality TV World: Did Brad ever talk to your dad at all after the final Rose Ceremony or were you the one who had to explain the situation to him? Was that something the producers did?
DeAnna Pappas: The producers and myself had to explain the situation to my father, he never got to talk to Brad.
Reality TV World: So your father was the only one that was able to comfort you over the last couple of months?
DeAnna Pappas: Pretty much. I mean of course, I talked with the producers and they were amazing. Between the producers and my dad, I spent so much time talking to these people and trying to understand and they were trying to understand -- it was pretty much confusing for every single one person.
Reality TV World: We obviously saw your initial reaction during the special, but now that you've had a few more days to think about it, does the disconnect you felt between Brad's comments that he'd been thinking about you every day and his lack of interest in pursuing your relationship further make any more sense to you?
DeAnna Pappas: Watching the show on Tuesday night was just as hard for me, it was very hard for me to watch. I guess this morning when I woke up it was it little clearer. There's still a lot of confusion there, but it's a little clearer and I think that with time, maybe it will come to me. And maybe I never will get the answers, I don't know.
Reality TV World: What part is clearer?
DeAnna Pappas: It's a little clearer to see how he could let me go. I mean he knows that I'm a very strong person. I believe and I know that he believes that I am well deserving of the kind of man that can promise me the world, that can promise he'll be there for me, and can be as strong for me as I'll be for them. And I think with Brad, he knows I deserve that but he can not 100% commit that to me. He can not give that to me. And I think that's why he had to let me go.
Reality TV World: So it's clearer to you, but it still kinda bugs you that that's the way it went down?
DeAnna Pappas: Of course it bugs me, that that's the way it went down. I'm the type of person where if something is that great, and you have found this amazing person that you've been looking for your entire life, how can you be that stupid to let them walk out of your life? Because they may never come back.
Reality TV World: Do you believe Brad's comments that his heart also got broken?
DeAnna Pappas: I do believe so, yes. I believe that every word Brad said is very genuine and true. I believe that it crushed him to sit there and watch me cry at the final Rose Ceremony, then watching again on national television, and then seeing me cry again at the After the Final Rose [taping]. I don't think any bit of that made him feel good what so ever.
Reality TV World: What were you thinking when you heard Brad make his "I felt you deserved better" and "I thought I was taking the high road" comments? From a viewer's standpoint, he kinda seemed like a politician that was trying to keep to on-message with the same few "talking points."
DeAnna Pappas: (laughing) That's kinda how it felt for me, honestly. They were very politically correct answers. I don't understand, for example, what "taking the high road" is for him -- I don't understand that. That still baffles me.
Reality TV World: How awkward were those After the Final Rose hugs you two had, especially the one at the end of your joint interview? You didn't look very comfortable at all.
DeAnna Pappas: Oh gosh, for me it was like I had fallen in love with this person. I knew that my life was meant to be with him and then sitting there at the After the Final Rose ceremony taping I felt like I was sitting in front of someone I didn't know. This wasn't the man that I fell in love with, so to have him continuously trying to touch me or hold my hand throughout the taping was very awkward for me and very uncomfortable because he's shoving me away but at the same time he's doing those little things right there. It was very awkward for me.
And then to hug him, and when he told me whatever he said -- "You have no idea how much I'll miss you" [I think] -- that was very hard for me to address and to hear him say at that moment.
Reality TV World: I was just going to ask about that "I'll miss you more than you'll ever know" comment he whispered to you at the end. Considering it came right after he had once again made it clear that he wasn't interested in you, do you think that pretty much summed up the mixed signals Brad seemed to be sending?
DeAnna Pappas: Absolutely, absolutely. He [had just] spent however much time telling me he couldn't be with me, [that] he couldn't have a relationship with me, and then as I'm leaving, he makes a point to give me a hug and tell me that I have no idea how much he'll miss me. That's very hard for me to understand, very hard for me to hear, and very hard for me to deal with.
Reality TV World: Did you have an opportunity to talk with Jenni [Croft] during the After the Final Rose special? If so, what did you two say to each other?
DeAnna Pappas: Jenni and I actually didn't get a chance to talk to each other during the special
Reality TV World: Have you talked to her since then?
DeAnna Pappas: I have talked to her since.
Reality TV World: Can you share a little bit about what you two talked about?
DeAnna Pappas: We pretty much just talked about life after the show, like what's it like for her and what it's like for me. Was she getting noticed places... I wanted to let her know that I thought she was an amazing person and it broke my heart to see her get her heart broken on the show and it was pretty much vice versa, she had the same feelings for me. It shocked her, and when she got sent home, she wanted me to end up with a fairy tale ending -- and to know I didn't get that, it broke her heart.
Reality TV World: Have you heard from any of the other bachelorettes besides Jenni?
DeAnna Pappas: Since the show is [now] done airing, I was able to get to get McCarten's phone number today and I love that girl, she's an amazing person and I'll be friends with her forever.
Reality TV World: At the end of the special, Brad admitted he has some "issues" he needs work on. Do you believe he sincerely believes that or do you think it was just more of his political-rhetoric type of comments?
DeAnna Pappas: You know, I don't know. I believe that I know that he's a great person. I believe that I know that he was honest in the things that he said to me. When he said that, and to watch me walk away, I would hope that he is being honest and true and that he realizes that he does have things that he needs to work on.
Reality TV World: What are some of those things that you believe he has to work on?
DeAnna Pappas: Obviously the commitment [thing] (laughing) Honestly I don't know, because if I had it figured out I might be able to give you a better answer.
Reality TV World: Going back to the actual final Rose Ceremony, did the fact that Brad mentioned he'd already eliminated Jenni before revealing that he was also eliminating you give you false hope? It seemed needlessly misleading and has been one of the things that's upset a lot of viewers
DeAnna Pappas: I knew as soon as was walking out [of the limo]. I saw Brad's face and I knew by the look on his face that he wasn't going to ask me and you can tell the look on my face when I look down when I'm walking towards him that I know. [But] when I stood up on the podium and he looked at me and said that he had just sent Jenni home, a small bit of relief came over me [and I started thinking] "maybe I was wrong, he is going to ask me."
I think out of respect for myself, he felt he needed to tell me. I don't know, out of respect for me, he felt like I needed to know that [he had also sent Jenni home], because we were very honest with each other throughout the entire process.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for The Bachelor? Had you applied for the show before?
DeAnna Pappas: No actually, as bad as it feels to say, I had never actually seen a season before in my life. Some very good friends of mine are avid watchers of the show and they love the show and they said "You'd be perfect, you should go -- here are the auctions, go." And I went and they pretty much just kept calling back.
Reality TV World: So what were your expectations going into the show?
DeAnna Pappas: Going on the show, I wanted to 100% be myself. I didn't want to go on the show and anybody to look at me -- my friends, my family -- and say "that's not you, why did you do that," so I wanted to be myself. And my expectations when I got there [were] if I meet a fantastic guy who I connect with, who I can see myself marrying, then that's perfect, that's exactly what I'm looking for. And if I don't, then I'll go home and I'll give some other girl a chance at true love and to find this amazing man that they can spend the rest of their life with.
Reality TV World: What were your first impressions of Brad when you met him?
DeAnna Pappas: That he's beautiful (laughing)
When I stepped out of the limo [at the initial cocktail reception] that was my first thought, that he was beautiful. And that night, after I got my first one-on-one time with him -- something about it, I just knew I truly felt from that first conversation that this was the man I was meant to be with.
Reality TV World: During a conference call that [The Bachelor creator] Mike Fleiss did before Andy Baldwin's season, he admitted that in hindsight, not all of the show's previous bachelors had come into the show with a sincere commitment to finding lasting love. Prior to the final Rose Ceremony, did you think Brad was sincere about wanting to find a wife via The Bachelor?
DeAnna Pappas: I do think that Brad was sincere about wanting to find a wife, yes. I believe that he came on the show with the correct intentions and with all of the best of intentions.
Reality TV World: So after the way things unfolded, do you still feel the same way?
DeAnna Pappas: [Long pause] Yes, I do still feel the same way, although I think Brad realized a lot throughout this entire process and I know he wants to find that, but I'm just not sure if Brad is ready to have that.
Reality TV World: Several of the other bachelorettes we spoke to throughout the season thought you showed a different personality while with Brad than you did when you were with the other girls. Do you think that was the case and if so, why?
DeAnna Pappas: You know, I don't think that was the case at all. I saw a couple of your interviews with a couple of the girls [and] I'm not going to argue with Brad because I don't have anything to argue about. (laughing)
I am a very open, blunt, honest person and I was the same way with the girls and I was the same way with Brad. And I'm pretty sure Brad will vouch for that. It's funny how people make assumptions or people say things off a second that aired on a television show. I never hid who I was and I don't think those statements [the other girls made] are true.
Reality TV World: We already talked about this a little bit, but based on your comments on the special, it sounds like you believed that Brad basically promised he'd be giving you his final rose, is that correct?
DeAnna Pappas: I was very confident Brad was going to give me the final rose [and] that he was going to propose to me. I don't believe that I was led in any other direction
Reality TV World: Do you ultimately regret your decision to put your emotions out there with Brad?
DeAnna Pappas: Absolutely not, I learned so much about myself, about life, about love, and about other people. I don't regret anything at all, I have absolutely no regrets about this entire experience, about falling in love, and about Brad. Or about the other girls. I just have no regrets, no.
Reality TV World: What did you learn?
DeAnna Pappas: Oh man... (laughing)
I learned that it's not always bad to wear your heart on your sleeve. If you don't fall in love you'll never know what that amazing feeling is like. And I don't know about anyone else, and I have never lived in a house with fifteen different girls with fifteen different personalities who were all fighting for the same heart of the same guy. So I have learned that not everyone is as blunt and honest and outspoken as me, and sometime you do need to be a little more careful [about] the way you word questions or things that you say to other people.
I don't know, I just learned that you just need to let people into your life in order to have this amazing experience and it's made me happy and it's made me sad and it's made me be in touch a different part of my life and I'm very happy.
Reality TV World: When do you think you'll be ready to date again?
DeAnna Pappas: You know, I don't know, I don't know. It's not one of the things that are resting on the front of my mind right now (laughing)
Reality TV World: Yesterday, Fleiss mentioned that they're thinking of doing a The Bachelorette edition for this summer. If they do, would you be interested?
DeAnna Pappas: Of course I would. I believe in the experience and I believe that it can truly happen, and it happened for me. I'm sorry that Brad didn't have the feelings on his end, but I believe it and I think it can happen and I would be honored if they asked me to do it.