'The Bachelorette' star Ashley Hebert eliminates three more bachelors
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/21/2011
The Bachelorette star Ashley Hebert eliminated three bachelors and narrowed her love search to eight men during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' seventh season.
Nick Peterson, a 26-year-old personal trainer from Tampa, FL, was eliminated during the fifth episode's Rose Ceremony, while William Holman, a 30-year-old cellular phone salesman from Galloway, OH, and Ben Castoriano, a 28-year-old lawyer from New Orleans, LA, were both eliminated during their two-on-one date with Ashley.
"I'm devastated. It's really hard to say goodbye to love. It's one of the hardest things to do. I can't really put love into words, you know? It's a really strong feeling, and I think that's where Ashley and I were headed, and I kind of thought that she did too. I guess it wasn't as much as I thought it was," Nick said following his ouster.
"I'm definitely upset. It sucks. I don't want to be standing here right now. I want to be in there [with Ashley]. I came here to find love, and I didn't. I can't believe it ended this way. It's not what I expected and it hurts. I think she's missing out on a perfect husband. I really do. I think there's somebody out there for me. I don't know when I'll meet her if I ever will, but hopefully I do."
The Bachelorette's fifth seventh-season episode began with the remaining 11 bachelors traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Once they arrived and got settled into the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, host Chris Harrison met up with the men and told them there would be a one-on-one date, a group date and a two-on-one date over the course of the next week. There would be a rose up for grabs during each date -- and if the bachelors on the one-on-one and two-on-one dates failed to receive a rose, they would be ousted immediately.
Ashley said relocating to Chiang Mai would serve as a new beginning for everyone and if things were to remain on the same course, she felt the journey could bring her a "very happy ending."
Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, then was told he'd be accompanying Ashley on the week's only one-on-one date.
Ben F. said he believed his romance with Ashley had been good up to that point and was excited to see where they could take it. Ashley also suggested they had a mutual attraction between them but it was an unspoken bond. She wasn't totally convinced Ben F. was ready to let someone into his life and be in a loving relationship.
Ben F. and Ashley's date consisted of enjoying Thai culture together, as they shopped and ate in the local marketplace. Ashley admitted she thought Ben F. was cute when she first met him but had gotten even "hotter" in her eyes because she was beginning to get to know his personality better.
"Coming into this date, I didn't know if there would be that romantic -- this spark or attraction or the thing that was going to make me always want to touch him or hold his hand, and it was there. It just feels right," Ashley said.
"How beautiful is Ashley? I'm starting to see her as a potential fiancee or wife of mine," Ben F. said.
The couple painted small umbrellas together and then sat on a bench next to the religious temple. Ben F. wanted to kiss her because they both felt they were in such a romantic spot, but Ashley said they couldn't because it would be sacrilegious and public affection wasn't allowed in the presence of the temple.
"I really feel like Ben likes me. I really do feel that. There's so much tension building up in this moment that I just want to jump on him," Ashley joked, later adding that she was comfortable with Ben F. and felt like he had already been her boyfriend for awhile.
Afterward, Ashley and Ben F. enjoyed a candlelit dinner together outside.
"It was one of the most breathtaking settings I've ever seen in my entire life. There are thousands of flowers arranged in this intricate pattern surrounding our dinner table -- just really amazing. It's incredible," Ben F. explained. "I think feelings are really starting to develop, and we had a wonderful day today. I know it's going to be a wonderful evening too."
Ben F. then discussed his recent wine-making career. He told her he wasn't ready to seriously date and take a chance on love one year ago because he connected feeling love with his father's passing. His dad died four years ago, and Ben F. said he had been guarded because he was missing part of his heart after the incident. He was "an emotional zombie" because he didn't think he could feel the same way again as he felt before his father had passed away.
Ben F. went on to say it made him the man he became, because his father was a great role model.
"I count my blessings," he said, adding that he tried to become less selfish and wanted to become a better friend and brother after he grieved for quite some time.
Back at the hotel, the other bachelors learned who would share the group date with Ashley.
Constantine Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Atlanta, GA; Ames Brown, a 31-year-old portfolio manager from New York, NY; Nick; Blake Julian, a 27-year-old dentist from Greenville, SC; Lucas Daniels, a 30-year-old oilfield equipment distributor from Odessa, TX; Ryan Park, a 31-year-old solar energy executive from Corona Del Mar, CA; J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from New York, NY; and Mickey McLean, a 31-year-old chef from Cleveland, OH, accompanied Ashley on the week's group date.
William and Ben C. were surprised when they realized they were the only two men left, revealing that they would be the bachelors to go on the two-on-one date with Ashley. William especially seemed to be dreading his upcoming date.
"The two-on-one is a nightmare date, because no matter what, it's a 50/50. It's like flipping a coin. Somebody's going to be going home at the end of that date. It's intense," William said.
During Ashley and Ben F.'s date, Ben F. told her he wanted to travel in a relationship and spend nights in, cooking and having wine parties with friends. He said he wanted to make her the priority and spoil her, while growing together.
"Ben was saying everything that I was hoping to hear, and after our date tonight, I realize that I could see a life with him -- an everyday life. For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling hopeful," Ashley said.
"I'm really, really happy that you're here, and I'm more happy to hear how ready you are to be here. So, Ben, will you accept this rose?" Ashley asked.
Ben F. accepted her offer, took the rose, and could only see things getting even better between them. They then enjoyed a dancing fire display with women who were holding small torches, and they shared a kiss. Ashley said there was a lot of chemistry between them and could see herself falling in love with him.
The next day, the bachelors met up with Ashley and learned they would be working out with world renowned Muay Thai boxing trainers. The guys were all excited to give it a try, yet later admitted it was an extremely tough workout. They trained for about three hours, and the men were sweating profusely.
Ashley then took a taxi with the guys to a boxing ring and explained they would be set up in matches against each other. They were told they would be required to box an opponent in front of a cheering crowd.
"I've seen it on TV, but Thai boxing is brutal. At this point, I'm just totally freaked out, thinking, 'This is going to be ugly no matter what.' I've never been in a fight in my life. We could end up with bruises, black eyes, and broken noses, but who knows. Ashley's worth it," Ames said.
J.P. was also worried about fighting, because he felt he was smaller than mostly all of the other men he could possibly be competing against. He just didn't want to end up "looking like a little girl," and said he would try his best to "kick some ass."
Blake was paired up with Lucas, and Lucas said he wanted to show Ashley that love was worth fighting for. However, Blake ended up winning, but Ashley admitted she was beginning to think the date was too dangerous and didn't want anyone to get injured. J.P. was then matched up with Mickey. Mickey started out in great shape, but then J.P. turned around, came back strong, and won.
Ames and Ryan then were required to box each other. Ryan got a couple of good blows in to Ames' head and won the fight. Ames insisted he was fine, but Ashley and the other bachelors could tell something was wrong and that he wasn't okay. They claimed Ames looked "woozy" and his eyes were very bloodshot.
Nick fought Constantine and Constantine won, but the attention was still focused on Ames. Ames was staring off into space and didn't look present, so Ashley grew worried and scurried off to try and find some help. Afterwards, Ames hopped into an ambulance to seek treatment.
"Watching Ames drive away, I'm hoping he's okay, but I'm scared right now. I had no idea that it would go this far, especially for Ames," Ashley said.
Ames was brought to the local hospital, and Ashley couldn't believe the boxing turned into such a bloody fight between the guys. Ashley said the date blew up and back fired in her face. Once they left the scene and night came, they all sat comfortably around each other, relaxing and having some drinks -- ready to take on the rest of the date despite the long exhausting day.
However, Ashley was concerned about Ames and wanted to check in with him, but she didn't know whether Ames would join everyone on the group date. To Ashley's surprise, Ames had not made it. With Ames missing, the group date continued but Ashley said she felt there was a "dark cloud" hovering over the date and expressed how the mood had drastically changed for the worst.
Ames eventually showed up but was not entirely his old self again. The men were happy he returned and Ashley was so relieved. She pulled him aside and asked how he was feeling, and Ames told her he felt disoriented and dizzy. He had trouble talking to Ashley and telling her how he felt, but he attributed his inability to communicate well to a minor concussion he had suffered.
Ames joked that the doctors told him his injury was just that he had fallen in love, and Ashley found his comment sweet.
Blake then got some one-on-one time with Ashley and he said he had to step things up and try to move their relationship from the stagnant friendship level they were stuck on. Ashley confessed they were moving slowly, but she thought it was okay. Blake then worried whether Ashley was even attracted to him because she had not been showing him much attention.
Blake explained how he needed a little positive reassurance, and little to his knowledge, he was soon going to receive it.
Afterward, Lucas gave Ashley a little golf lesson, and she said she was "pretty turned on" by their interactions. Lucas told her he was concerned that her type was strictly someone like Bentley Williams -- who had previously left the show and deceivingly played with Ashley's emotions for his own satisfaction -- because he could see the flirtatious in her eyes when he was around.
Ashley explained her initial instincts may not be right in the end, and although she did feel something for Bentley in the beginning, it was important for her to start thinking longterm. Ashley then grabbed the date's rose and walked over to Blake.
"I know sometimes you question whether you should be here or how I feel. So, I just wanted to give you the reassurance that you deserve. So, I'm in this if you're in this, and I think we have great potential if we keep moving forward," Ashley told Blake while offering him the rose.
"I agree with that whole heartedly," Blake said, accepting the rose.
Blake told her how great it felt and that it served as a step in the right direction. Blake then kissed her and said the moment they clicked was in Chiang Mai -- a story that would be great to tell their kids someday.
The next day, Ashley embarked on her two-on-one date with William and Ben C. She told the men she could relate to the situation because she also had to go on a two-on-one date during The Bachelor's fifteenth season with Brad Womack with fellow bachelorette Ashley Spivey, one of her good friends.
Ashley admitted she needed to see which relationship could work and hoped they would be themselves so they could paint a clear picture for her.
"I don't see Ben C. intimidating in moving forward. It's going to get a little bit more ruthless. Ben C. is going to end up going home," William said boldly and proudly.
The two men guided Ashley on a raft built from wood down the river, and once they arrived at shore, they shared a picnic together.
"I can be the funniest guy in the room, I can be the most romantic guy in the room, I can be the biggest dick in the room," William said, referencing how he would most likely be the one to stick around over Ben C.
William then pulled Ashley aside to have a serious talk. He told her she wasn't really on the minds of some of the men on the show and explained how Ben C. confessed to the other bachelors that he was looking forward to dating via online websites when he got home. Ashley was shocked he would tell the men that because he should have known someone would tell her.
"We're kind of open with each other, but he said, 'I'm going to clean up after I get out of here. This is what's going to happen. I can't wait to get back to town," William explained.
Ashley got some anxiety, worrying the other men might have felt that same way about her. She said she was feeling some insecurity and had "a knot in her stomach" over the situation. William's warning let Ashley to make a quick decision.
"My heart is racing right now, I'll tell you guys that," Ashley told Ben C. and William once she returned to the picnic blanket. "So, I want to end this two-on-one portion of the date right now. Ben, I'm going to be sending you home right now."
Ben C., caught completely off-guard, said okay but asked if they could talk. Ashley told him what she had heard, and Ben C. said he was sorry they could not discuss the issue because it wasn't the case.
"I've considered my time with you very seriously, and I was serious about getting to know you up until two seconds ago. Anything that someone told you about what I said, to be honest with you, is a little bit of a betrayal because I think that person knows I was kidding around. It's really hard for me to actually hear that right now," Ben C. said.
Ashley said she was dreading the moment where she'd have to send Ben C. home, but after what she had heard from William, it relieved her of any doubts and sealed the deal. She said she felt awful and couldn't risk keeping someone around if he didn't feel strongly for her.
"I have this pit in my stomach and I have no idea what's going to happen anymore," Ashley explained.
"I'm in complete shock. I'm just completely blown away. I have no idea what just happened. It was totally unexpected. Coming into this, I was really hoping to be optimistic that Ashley could be the one that lasts. I wanted this to be my thing. I wanted to fall in love. I wanted the dream just like everyone else," Ben C. said following his ouster.
"I'm upset that William tried to sabotage me. I don't think that William will end up being Ashley's husband. They've got their own path to go down now. It's very disheartening to come this far to ultimately realize this wonderful, amazing love story is not going to ultimately be mine. What a terrible way for things to end. Terrible, terrible way for things to end. It's a shame."
The two-on-one date continued with William, and Ashley said her first date with him was the best one she had ever been on. Ashley explained how she hoped their sparks would begin to fly again between them, while William said he was excited to spend more time with her and was finally happy again after he made the mistake of taking the previous roast date overboard.
Ashley said it was a test for them and she hadn't decided whether he'd be getting the rose. The two sat down and had dinner, and Ashley immediately addressed a big concern she had about William. She asked about him saying he was a "30-year-old boy" and what that meant, and William said he wanted to have fun and had a lot of things left to do.
After just a short discussion, Ashley realized the original feelings she had for William did not return, and she made another quick honest decision.
"We've been through a lot so far. We had such a great first date, and we had a little bit of a downfall, and my hope was really that we would get back to a place where we could just move forward. Tonight, I was really looking for that spark again, and I just don't think that it's there. I think that in this point in time, there's no turning back. I'm going to walk you out," Ashley said.
Ashley explained how she felt her and William were so compatible at first and never dreamed she'd be refusing him a rose, but she said she wanted a man and didn't find much in common with him anymore.
"The feeling I have right now, oh my God, is a feeling of a being a loser -- looking in the mirror and not being satisfied with yourself. I am the world's -- the world's -- biggest f***ing jackass... My life is full of sh-t. I honestly don't want to go home. I honestly feel something for this girl. I leave here, I go back to nothing. Simple as that," William said following his elimination.
"Oh my God. You sit back and you think about it, and you wish you could do everything in your power to be a man and not a f***ing idiot. I feel like I don't deserve anything. I don't deserve sh-t. I'll probably just end up slipping back into that dark hole that I have again and slide a rock over the top. I just want to curl into bed now and just not wake up."
Ashley said sending two guys home freaked her out and she didn't know whether people were being very genuine.
Later on, before the cocktail reception took off, Ashley said she felt like something was off and she wanted the men to be true to themselves. She explained how she didn't expect all the men to fall in love with her, but she wanted them to be honest at all times.
The men felt they didn't understood what Ashley was feeling, and Ryan wanted to be the first guy to clear the air and find out. He described their relationship as a "rocketship" and how it just kept getting better. He told her he was totally into her, while Ashley told him to be patient about getting a one-on-one date, because she was happy where they were at.
Ashley then asked Constantine if he felt closer to the guys than her and he said "naturally," basically just meaning he needed more time. Constantine didn't want to lie in that he felt he didn't know her as well as some of the other guys did. He later explained to the other bachelors how he didn't have the gut feeling inside him to just get up and say, "I want to marry this girl."
Constantine also expressed some concern about the possibility of having a hometown date with Ashley, and he said bringing a girl home would be such an important thing to him wouldn't be something he'd casually consider.
Ashley also kept reiterated how she needed to stop thinking about Bentley. She said she liked J.P. a lot but was scared to get hurt again like Bentley had hurt her so badly when he decided to quit the show. Ashley pushed that she needed closure with Bentley in order to move forward and open her heart up fully again.
Afterward, Ashley sat down with Chris and said she felt good about her core group of guys to move on with, but she told him Bentley was still on her mind more than she wanted him to be. Ashley was hesitant to tell Chris her feelings, knowing he would probably be unhappy with what he was going to hear, but she told him she simply missed Bentley and what could have been between them.
Ashley wanted to close Bentley off because her head couldn't suppress the memory of him, but her heart stayed with him no matter how hard she attempted to forget his face. Ashley told Chris she was desperate for Bentley's comfort when she was going through difficult times and wished he was still there.
Chris, surprised by Ashley's continued feelings about Bentley, listened to Ashley talk about she felt like she was lying to the other bachelors when all she wanted to do was respect and honor them when they had given so much to be there with her and compete for her heart.
Chris said it wasn't fair to the guys and Ashley agreed, saying she felt like she was cheating on them. Ashley said there was just something there and if it wasn't real, she'd be able to finally move on with her life. Chris told her she couldn't have "half her foot in the pool," because she "wouldn't fall in love like that."
"The only way I can be 100% percent in it with these guys, is if I can release myself from what's holding me back. I just want to have a clean break so I can start a real honest relationship," Ashley said.
Ashley said she wanted to just ask Bentley a couple simple questions, because she just wanted a man that wanted to be with her as badly as she wished to be with him.
"He left me with a 'dot-dot-dot,' and that just leaves me wondering," Ashley explained.
Chris told her he'd try to do something about her request, but he wouldn't be able to make any promises.