'The Bachelor' Ben Flajnik: I was butt patting girl, not grabbing her butt
By Reality TV World staff, 03/17/2012
The Bachelor star Ben Flajnik has further elaborated on his prior insistence that recently published photos which appeared to show him kissing a woman while grabbing her butt when he was briefly split from fiancee Courtney Robertson in February aren't what they appear to be.
According to Flajnik -- who had already denied the photos showed him kissing the woman and claimed she was just an old friend when The Bachelor host Chris Harrison asked him about them during Monday night's After the Final Rose special -- not only wasn't he kissing the unidentified woman, but he was just giving her a friendly butt pat.
"I have not hooked up with another woman -- on my father's grave. Those women they mentioned are my friends in San Francisco," Flajnik told People in an interview published in the magazine's new March 26 issue on Friday.
"But Ben, there are photos of you kissing someone and grabbing her rear," People writer Monica Rizzo replied.
"If you look at the pictures, I'm not kissing her. And that's a butt pat. My friends grab my butt. I'm physical and affectionate with friends -- guys and girls," Flajnik insisted.
"Maybe you just needed to let your hair down. [At the time] we were still in a rough place. But I believe he didn't cheat," added Robertson, who also participated in the interview with Flajnik.
Last week, Us Weekly -- which originally published the photos which appeared to show The Bachelor star kissing and groping three different women during a single weekend in February -- reported Flajnik's claims that the women are old friends is not true and he only met them the same month the photos were taken.
"I'm not kissing those women in those photos. I'm not kissing those women. It's as simple as that. I mean, if you look at those photos, I'm not kissing anybody," Flajnik told Harrison during the After the Final Rose special.
"On my father's grave, I haven't kissed another woman, I haven't hooked up with another woman, I haven't cheated on Courtney -- none of that. Those are friends from San Francisco, those are past photos, these are things that are just tabloid fodder."
During the People interview -- which is the only post-finale interview The Bachelor couple has done so far -- Flajink and Robertson also acknowledged the negative backlash to his selection of the controversial Robertson has been difficult.
"It was really difficult. I had a lot of people coming up to me and saying, 'She's a bad person,' and I had to keep my mouth shut. Even my mom fed into the fodder a little bit. I didn't have a lot of support," Flajnik said.
"I wanted him to let me be there for him," Robertson interjected.
"But I kind of ran away from it. It was cowardly," Flajnik added. "It became so much. I just cracked."
Flajnik, a 29-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, also reiterated his recent comments that he has no regrets about picking Robertson, a 28-year-old model from Santa Monica,CA.
"I did not make a mistake. People who don't know her say that," Flajnik said.
While Robertson also expressed frustration with The Bachelor viewers' feelings about her, she also took some responsibility for the situation.
"People have been saying Ben made a mistake the whole time. I wish we had more support," Robertson said.
"Look, I was crazy about Ben. It was hard for me to hear [the other bachelorettes] talking about their dates with him. So I was sassy and a little sarcastic, and that didn't come off well," she explained. "A few times I did twist the knife a bit. I'm not denying that."
However, Flajnik defended Robertson by insisting the season's other bachelorettes had also exhibited less-than-stellar behavior.
"Those other women weren't angels either. All the women were capable of that behavior," he insisted.
Even though they've been engaged since The Bachelor's final Rose Ceremony was filmed on November 16, Flajnik and Robertson also told People they have never actually discussed getting married.
"Marriage isn't something we've even discussed," Flajnik said. "We realize we have a long way to go before that. But we're in love with each other."
But Robertson said that while the couple is currently maintaining a long-distance relationship, she hopes to move closer to Sonoma within a few months.
"We're thinking long term," she told People. "I'm going to try and get up to San Francisco in the next few months. We'll move in together, and if things go smoothly, we'll definitely plan a wedding. Right now it's 'Let's have fun getting to know each other.'"