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'The Bachelor' bachelorette Renee Oteri: I don't think Juan Pablo Galavis uses his daughter as an excuse, he's a class act

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/13/2014 

The Bachelor bachelorette Renee Oteri, a 32-year-old real estate agent from Sarasota, FL, is still in the running for Juan Pablo Galavis' heart.

Renee is a single mom to an eight-year-old named Ben, and Juan Pablo has been very dedicated to treating Renee differently than the other women as a result. The Bachelor star has taken their relationship slowly in fear any physical activity might upset her son, so Renee was the last of the girls he kissed this season despite her apparent urge to get things moving.

Renee has managed to avoid the drama in the house and tends to take on a motherly role when her fellow bachelorettes are emotional or need someone to talk to.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Renee talked to Reality TV World about her The Bachelor experience thus far. Below is what she had to say. Check back with us soon for more from her interview.

Reality TV World: Outside of his interactions with you, there's been some criticism that it seems like Juan Pablo uses his daughter as a crutch or an excuse, especially in situations when he feels uncomfortable or guilty. Do you think that's fair criticism, or as a parent yourself, what's your perspective on that?

Renee Oteri: No, I mean, I definitely understand where he's coming from. I don't know if Camila is watching or not -- I doubt it, but I mean, I understand that he's, I don't know. He's definitely more cautious at times, but in the heat of the moment, sometimes you just kind of let it go. So, I don't know.

Sometimes I feel that he acts -- and everyone does this -- they act on an emotional high or low, and that's just -- we're human. I don't think he did anything wrong. I don't think he's using Camila as an excuse. So, I don't know, I think he's pretty responsible and I don't know. He's a class act. I feel bad for him because of the criticism.

Reality TV World: Watching the episode back in which you girls took a trip to Vietnam, what did you personally think of Juan Pablo's decision to invite Clare Crawley to swim in his suite's pool and then take that late-night swim with her in the ocean? Many viewers got the vibe the couple did more than makeout in the water but Clare denied the speculation. So do you think he crossed any lines by making those choices, taking his daughter into account and everything?

Renee Oteri: You know, honestly, my only thought on that is I really felt bad for Clare. I feel like he didn't -- honestly, I just feel like he didn't take full responsibility in that, and just watching it, kind of pushed it on Clare. So I felt really bad for her, because I think she was hurt by that. So that was tough to watch.

But I mean, that's my only thing. I just wish he would've been like, "Hey, we did what we did -- whatever that was -- and we both participated. We both made that decision and let's just drop it." But instead, it kind of really got blown up between the two of them and, you know, they still talk about it -- even in New Zealand. So it was, I don't know, ugh, I don't know. I felt bad for her, honestly.

Reality TV World: There have been a few different media reports about Juan Pablo since the show began airing that are pretty negative. From watching the show back or reading any of the reports, do you still feel the same way about Juan Pablo now as you did when filming ended or you left the show? And if not, what's changed? 

Renee Oteri: Oh no, absolutely. I mean, I definitely know him, and obviously people are going to write things and say things that may or may not be true.

But I mean, honestly, you really do get to know each other really, really well, and yeah! I still feel the same about him now from the moment I met him and our relationship got stronger and stronger. So, yeah, I don't have anything -- I can't, I mean, I have nothing negative to say.

Reality TV World: Based upon what Juan Pablo told you and the other women he was looking for in a wife, and then looking back on his elimination decisions and actions with the girls so far this season, do you think he truly was looking for the qualities he had insisted to you girls?

Renee Oteri: Yeah! I truly believe that he wants to get married. I mean, honestly, he wants that and he wants four kids. And I do believe that. Obviously it's, I mean, watching it now, it does seem like he's kind of wishy-washy. But I don't know. I know, deep down, that's what he wants. He wants to get married and he wants to have a family. So.

Reality TV World: What were your general thoughts about Nikki Ferrell and Clare? Both girls seem to be frontrunners at this point but are also the least-liked women in the house. Did you think jealousy played a role in how the other women perceived them or do you think the bachelorettes who had issues with either Nikki or Clare were justified in feeling that way?

Renee Oteri: Well, honestly, I can only talk about my personal experiences with them. That's one thing I really made sure [of], that when I started this whole journey, I just really wanted to form my own opinions and not listen to gossip -- not listen to anyone else's opinions and just form my own.

So that's what I have done and am still doing, and you know, so jealousy? I mean, yeah, girls are always going to be jealous. It's just the nature of the beast. But I mean, I don't know.

Reality TV World: You always hear how girls on The Bachelor see themselves at the end fairly on in the season -- they envision themselves being the woman he picks and proposes to. At this point, how confident were you that you'd be the girl to end up with Juan Pablo?

Renee Oteri: Oh gosh, you know, it's hard. Because when you're together and you're on your one-on-one date and everything else, you feel that and you're like, "Yes, this really could be happening! This really could be it!" And you know, it's hard. It's a completely different style of dating, so it's like a rollercoaster, you know?

You go up and down, and you go up and down with your emotions all the time. It's hard. You got to kind of stay focused and hang on to your moments with him and hang on to your memories with him and what's in the future. So, I don't know, I mean... Like I said, some days you feel super confident and other days, you just don't.

Reality TV World: Chris Harrison dubbed Andi Dorfman the dark horse of the group, and I feel like Andi has gotten a similar edit to you this season -- positive but we haven't seen all that much compared to say a Clare. What did you think of Andi while you were on the show and what are your thoughts on her relationship with Juan Pablo now that you're getting to watch the episodes on TV?

Renee Oteri: Yeah, I mean, Andi is a great, great girl. She is very strong, very independent. I like Andi a lot! But it got hard. Things definitely -- it got hard for her, you know, and her name wasn't on the [one-on-one] date card week after week after week. I totally get that. So, no, Andi is awesome. She's awesome. And she's coming out of that funk. She had her date last week and it's all good.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Renee talked to Reality TV World about her The Bachelor experience thus far. Above is what she had to say. Check back with us soon for more from her interview.

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