'The Bachelor's Emily O'Brien: Courtney Robertson wasn't a nice girl
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/17/2012
The Bachelor bachelorette Emily O'Brien, a 27-year-old PhD student from Chapel Hill, NC, was eliminated along with Rachel Truehart, a 27-year-old fashion sales representative from New York City, NY, during Monday night's Rose Ceremony by Ben Flajnik -- narrowing The Bachelor star's love search to four women during the ABC reality dating series' sixteenth season.
During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Emily talked about her The Bachelor experience -- including why Courtney Robertson and Ben's decision to skinny dip together didn't bother her all that much, why she wouldn't be happy if Ben ended up with Lindzi Cox or Kacie Boguskie, whether she is currently single, and what led her to believe Courtney just wasn't a nice person no matter her reasoning her behavior.
Below is the second portion of Emily's interview. Click here to read the initial half. Also check back with Reality TV World on Monday for our exclusive interview with Rachel!
What was your reaction when you found out that Courtney went skinny dipping with Ben? Did your opinion of Ben change at all?
Emily O'Brien: In terms of the skinny dipping, I think other girls have said this and I completely agree, I don't have a problem with it. I think it sounded like fun. We probably would've liked to have done it as maybe a group. I understand the motivation behind wanting to do that with a guy that you like, but I still think you should have some element of respect for other people there.
It was very early. We were only in the fifth week at that point and I think that if you make that choice and if you decide to be intimate with someone in the ocean in Puerto Rico in this romantic setting, you sort of have got that on your mind now instead of really developing these connections with everyone. I don't think it was really a level playing field anymore after that.
I think it sort of clouded Ben's judgment a little bit because I think he had that sort of physical intimacy on his mind instead of taking things with each woman one step at a time. I don't really disrespect Ben for that. I understand why he did it. He's obviously very attracted to Courtney and wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and I understand that.
I just wish that he had been a little bit more respectful of us and taken a second to think, "Hey maybe this won't keep my mind clear and help me make the decisions that I need to make to get to this point where I need to be, which is looking for a life partner, not looking for someone to just hook up with."
Since you saw red flags while you dated Ben, would you say maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that you were sent home?
Emily O'Brien: (Laughs) I do. I think I really liked Ben and I really enjoyed our time together -- our one-on-one time -- but my respect for him has gone down certainly since the show has aired and since I've gotten some perspective on things. I've had some people say that I've dodged a bullet and others say I've dodged a locomotive with a nuclear bomb strapped to it. (Laughs)
I'm not sure that I would put it that way, but I think for sure, we were not meant to be together and he was not the right guy for me. I started to feel that a little bit towards the end, but that has been completely confirmed in my mind watching the season.
Some people have been saying that Ben deserves Courtney if he chooses her and she deserves him. What are your thoughts on that and which remaining bachelorette do you think would be a good match for him?
Emily O'Brien: I think that there's some really great girls that were there, and I mean I have to be honest at this point, I won't be happy if Ben ends up with Lindzi or Kacie B.
I think they deserve someone a little bit different and someone who is maybe a little bit more on their level -- a little bit more grounded -- and I'm not sure that I think Ben and Courtney deserve each other, but certainly I think they're what each other is looking for. So, in that sense, I think that if they end up together, they might be very happy with each other. We'll have to see!
Would you ever be interested in being The Bachelorette star? Do you think the process works?
Emily O'Brien: This is a great question and I think that the same problems that exist with regular dating exist in The Bachelor world, so to speak. I think that it takes awhile to get to know someone and you put on sort of your most attractive face in the first few weeks or months in a relationship and you're trying to get to know someone.
As you get more comfortable with them, you start to show more of your true self I think, and I think that's true in any relationship I think in real life or on TV. I just think the time is so limited, that it's difficult to get to that point of really knowing the real meat of someone and who they are and what makes them tick in that setting.
I do think though that it works. It can work. I think that a lot of it depends on your mindset going in. I think that you have to be very certain of what you're looking for and try to prevent yourself from becoming destructed. I think you have to take it seriously. I think that you can't look at it as a time to just go on great dates and travel.
I think you have to be aware of the effort it takes to make connections and to determine if someone's values line up with yours. So, yeah. I absolutely think that it works.
I think that the real test comes after the show is over and if you can survive the day-to-day with someone and all of the reactions that you get from being part of the show. So, I think that that's where a lot of couples falter, because I think that they're just not prepared for that.
If you saw Courtney again and you could tell her one thing, what would it be?
Emily O'Brien: I haven't actually thought much about this. I would just express regret that she had a hard time. I saw definitely in the last episode that she was struggling with the situation and I don't like to be the cause of someone's pain. I don't think that she deserves that.
We're very different people and I'm not sure that she's someone that I would really want to be an important part of my life, but I certainly think that it's sad that she had a hard time on the show. I think that it's also very sad that she's probably having a hard time now with some of the fall-out and some of the things that people are saying.
I think she has feelings just like anyone else, but I would just say she needs to take this as a lesson that if you want people to like you, you have to change your attitude to be nice and polite and respectful and you can't say mean and spiteful things. That's something where I would just wish her luck and wish her the best and hope that we could be on good terms.
There are rumors out there that Courtney did end up picking Courtney in the end. If that's true and they got engaged, do you think they'll make it down the aisle and actually get married or break up before the wedding?
Emily O'Brien: You know, I don't know about the rumors. But if Ben does choose Courtney, it's hard for me to say. To be honest, I didn't get to know Courtney really all that well and looking back, I'm thinking maybe I didn't really know Ben all that well either. If he chooses Courtney, then I think I really didn't know him.
So, in terms of how compatible they are, I think that's still -- I still don't know the answer to that. I think that, like I said before, it's difficult for every couple to deal with the public reaction to the show. Ben's a strong person and Courtney's a strong person and I think that they're both individuals and both know what they want. If they are together and if they can stand the public reaction, then they could be very happy.
If you were in Ben's shoes and a woman confronted you about her concerns about another bachelorette in the house, how would you respond and interpret that news?
Emily O'Brien: I mean, to be honest, I think that the most bothersome thing to me about the entire experience was the double standard that I felt was there in terms of speaking with Ben. He asked at the start of the cocktail party in Park City and several other times throughout the journey for openness and honesty and that's really the only reason that I ever even talked to him about Courtney.
If he had said, "Please just trust me and don't worry about anything else," then obviously that's what I would have done instead. He did ask us to be honest and I tried to put myself in his situation and if it were me, I think I'd realize pretty quickly that I was only setting a small part of the picture in my time with the women -- that there was a bigger picture there.
I think I'd really want as much information as I could get and if that information was coming from people who I respected and multiple people, then I hope -- I think -- I would have taken it to heart. But you know, and I think he did do that with some of the other women's opinions about other things going on in the house.
But he didn't apply that same standard of wanting complete honesty with Courtney and I kind of felt like he was in her corner from day one. So, if it were me, I would try to maintain a little bit more objectivity and sort of take a step back and realize that people are taking a risk if they come to Belize with that type of information, and they wouldn't do that if it weren't an issue of substantial important.
To some viewers, it seems as if Courtney did have real feelings for Ben but might've treated the other women poorly or put them down at times because it was a type of defense mechanism to protect herself and maybe conceal some insecurities she had. Do you think that could have been the case or do you believe she's just naturally not a very nice person?
Emily O'Brien: Yeah, I think it's an excellent question and it's hard because I don't know Courtney in real life. People act strangely in these environments, so it's difficult to say if that's the real her or not. In terms of Courtney as a person throughout this whole thing, I think she's very competitive. I think she's very good at getting what she wants with men.
I think it's possible that those little jabs or snarky comments were a tactic to try to intimidate all of us and get us all sort of off our game and to take the focus off of Ben and to put it onto herself, which I think worked really well for her.
Honestly, my impression of Courtney was that she was just not a nice person no matter how you slice it or dice it. I think that some of the things she said were just hurtful and mean and a lot of them were not provoked.
The things about Kacie B. -- who everyone in the house loved and who was just the biggest sweetheart and who I personally wouldn't have been very nice to Courtney -- just the comments were unprovoked. But that's what makes me most angry and I don't think that anyone else displayed that kind of behavior.
So that was the most off-putting thing for me. Was it a defense mechanism? Probably. But it's hard for me to excuse someone and say, "That's just the way she is." To me, there isn't much of an excuse for acting that way, especially when everyone else is also feeling a little bit insecure -- a little bit unsure of the situation. And then it's hard for all of us. It wasn't just hard for her. It was hard for all of us.
Do you think the times Courtney cried over Ben and got emotional over him were genuine?
Emily O'Brien: Oh yeah, I absolutely think Courtney has the capacity to feel emotions, I think, for sure. But I think, you know, it's hard to know if she really feels something for Ben. When I watch it, she doesn't seem all that interested in what he's saying. It's just like she's trying to get him to really, really like her and I think it worked well.
The crying, you know, we all cried. It was an emotionally draining situation, but I'm not sure that the tears were 100% percent for him, because she would turn around and say things like, "If he didn't take me on a one-on-one date, I was going to leave."
If you're really head over heels in love with somebody and emotionally invested and if you want to take things forward, you don't make demands like that. You say, "I trust you and I'm there for you and I'm looking forward to spending more time with you."
You don't threaten them and demand things of them in order to get what you want. So the emotions, I know, were real. Whether those took the place of genuine feelings for Ben, I am not convinced that they did.
Since you've been watching The Bachelor's episodes from home, have you just been shocked about Courtney's behavior and say to yourself, "She's just an awful person for saying these things about me and my friends?"
Emily O'Brien: Yeah, I mean, I was shocked by a lot of the things. A lot of the mean things she said to me were to my face and I'll give her credit for that. For me, I just got really defensive about some of the things said to the other girls -- girls who I think the absolute world of -- I mean, every single one of those girls that I became friends with was just a gem and had a huge heart and was so fun.
So, it's difficult for me to hear someone talk badly about these people, especially knowing how great they are. If I were just a viewer and watching by myself, I know that I would be reacted really negatively towards her. I think there's something that no matter what level of editing there is, it's just inexcusable.
I know from being on the show, those things were not being provoked by someone being mean to her first. That's the part that's most infuriating to me now and I'm not sure totally what the intention was there, if it was some sort of defense mechanism or if she wanted go on the defense to try to throw everyone off, I don't know what the reason is behind it.
But I can say that those things absolutely did happen. They were shocking to me in real life and they were shocking to me when I saw them on television. So, I still don't know what the reason is. I would love to hear what it is. I think that in some ways, Courtney thought she was being funny even though no one was laughing.
I think an important part of acting appropriately is to recognize other people's reactions to what you're saying and doing. As soon as the first comment came out of her mouth and she realized that people weren't laughing and that people were actually kind of hurt, I think that should have been a clue to change course and maybe take a more pleasant approach to her time with us.
Are you currently single or dating anyone? How has life been since the show?
Emily O'Brien: It's been great. It's been great. Yes, I've been dating. I'm spending many hours -- many, many hours -- of the day in the library working on my dissertation and hoping I graduate in May. So, I have gotten right back in the swing of things and enjoying watching the show and yes. It's been great.
What do you think your family's perception of Ben would have been if you brought him home while you were still on the show versus what it would be now after watching the show?
Emily O'Brien: That's a good question. I think that Ben is a genuine guy and I think that he's very down to earth and kind of -- he's a regular guy. He's super nice and friendly and I think he would have gotten along really well with them.
At that point, I wouldn't have known about everything that had happened between him and Courtney and neither would they, so I think that just from a general first impression, I think they would have loved him and I think he would have loved them.
Watching the show, I think their opinions probably would have changed. My dad has always been a man of really great character and I think that he's hoping I will find someone who also has great character and great respect for his life and for other people. I think that Ben's behavior really called that into question.
So I think had I brought him home, they probably would have had quite a few questions watching the show and seeing sort of this different side to him than they knew in person, which are the same questions that I have.
If Ben ended up choosing you in the end, looking back on everything, do you think your relationship would have lasted or would you have broken things off?
Emily O'Brien: It's a great question. I just don't know. I know there are several things that I would be really, really upset about and really disappointed about. And who knows if Ben would have shared those things with me throughout the course of the last few months and before they aired.
It probably would have taken some time to build up trust again and I think I would have been just pretty flabbergasted by some of the things that went on. If that would have been a deal breaker for me, I really don't know.
Like I said, I didn't get to the point of actually falling in love with him. So, if those feelings were there at that point in time, then I may have been a little more forgiving. But I know myself and I think I would have had a really difficult time watching some of what transpired.
Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for our exclusive interview with Rachel!