'The Bachelorette' star Ashley Hebert says goodbye to three bachelors
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/28/2011
The Bachelorette star Ashley Hebert eliminated one bachelor, watched another one quit, and gave a third a piece of her mind -- narrowing her love search to six men during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' seventh season.
Blake Julian, a 27-year-old dentist from Greenville, SC, was eliminated during the sixth episode's Rose Ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, Mickey McLean, a 31-year-old chef from Cleveland, OH, felt defeated and chose to leave out of frustration after Ashley had revealed she finally received closure following a meeting with former bachelor Bentley Williams -- the two-faced bachelor who feigned affection for Hebert when they were together but repeatedly bashed her in private before eventually deciding to leave the show and break her heart -- who flew to Hong Kong to talk to her because she had been unintentionally pining for him ever since his exit.
"I was fairly confident that I would be around next week, but apparently that was in my head, not hers. The fact that she brought Bentley all the way over to Hong Kong to talk to him, it just speaks to the fact that she recognizes a connection when she sees it, and we didn't have one," Blake said following his ouster.
"I want someone who I respect and look up to and, at the same time, want to spend everyday with. Basically, I just want a friend. That's what I'm looking for, but I don't know what she's after -- not me."
The Bachelorette's sixth seventh-season episode began with Ashley reflecting on her old and current feelings for Bentley. Bentley left their relationship at a "dot-dot-dot" status instead of a terminating "period," -- an idea that haunted her as she continued on with the process -- which led Ashley to believe the book of their love story still had pages left to turn.
Ashley explained she needed closure with Bentley to give the guys 100% percent of herself, to eventually be the best wife she desired to be, and to be happy getting to know and forming relationships with the eight remaining men in Hong Kong waiting for her who deserved to be in the competition and win Ashley's heart.
Host Chris Harrison arrived at Ashley's hotel suite and told her Bentley was in the same hotel, and she would be afforded the chance to talk to him and address him about all her thoughts, concerns and feelings. She needed to get to the bottom of everything that had clogged her mind for weeks and refrained her from being able to truly open herself up and find love.
"I need more than vagueness. I don't want to convince somebody to love me, obviously. But if he's thinking about me, I want to know, because I felt for him and what I still feel for him is so strong. If it's real, then I want to figure it out, and if it's not, I completely understand but I need some closure so that I can move forward," Ashley told Chris.
Chris told her to push him for details and not leave the room with any questions. Ashley requested some time to think about what she wanted to say, as she was shocked about his return and had to absorb the emotional news she had just received.
"When Chris told me that Bentley is here in this hotel, I felt really shocked that he flew all the way up here. I still feel the same way I did when he left -- still really excited if there was potential or if he felt the same way. I'm scared that staying here is keeping me away from a really good relationship," Ashley said while walking to Bentley's hotel room.
"I'm just anxious to see what happens and what comes of it... There's a risk that I could go in there and get hurt today, but that risk is worth it because I need to get to a place where I can be happy. If Bentley says he made a mistake and he's not leaving, then I think that there's still hope there, but I don't know what will happen in the end."
Bentley opened the door and the couple hugged. Ashley gave him a peck on the lips and they sat down on the couch and talked. She told him she had a "really, really hard time" when he left and felt guilty because the other guys didn't know how upset she was because he left. She told him the bachelors thought it was just her insecurities that were putting barriers up between them.
Bentley said if she was ready to come to Salt Lake City after The Bachelorette to move there, and he said he couldn't believe he went home because of how much he missed everything, including her. Ashley said she believed in fate but couldn't be left with his open-ended explanation of their relationship.
Ashley said she just couldn't let him completely go, but then he changed his train of thought and told her she was on The Bachelorette for a purpose. He said she should follow through with the process and pursue her original intentions with all the men, while admitted their relationship didn't look very promising.
"I think you know where I'm at and I think you know where I'm coming from a little bit. I think you're here for a reason... I think that knowing that I'm home, it doesn't look good for me and you. I would implore you to do all you can to see what you have here, I guess," Bentley told her.
Ashley told him to be a man and admit their relationship came to a "period."
"The truth is, I was broken and it's not easy for me to say that to you. If you came here for the same reasons Michelle Money told me... and leave me with me wanting you, you know what? Mission accomplished," Ashley said.
"If that's what you wanted, mission f***ing accomplished, but I thought you respected me enough as a human being to give me the closure that I needed if you were going to leave me at that point, and you didn't. That sucked and it's not fair to the guys right now."
"I feel like with where you're at in this whole journey and process, then maybe we should call it a period," Bentley confirmed.
"You should have called," Ashley said, adding that she was confused as to why he would fly all the way to Hong Kong to tell her he wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship. Bentley told her he just wanted to see her.
"I can't believe that I wasted so much time on Bentley -- both with him and thinking about him when he left. I needed this time away from him to really be able to see through him. He knows exactly how to talk to a girl to making them believe what he wants them to believe," Ashley explained.
He's that bad boy that wants to play women... he's such a player. He disrespected me to the core, and I don't understand what I ever did or what anyone could ever do to make somebody treat them that way. Bentley, if you're watching this, f**k you. I'm done with you."
The next day, Ashley said she felt refreshed and liberated after her talk with Bentley. She said she was ready to keep moving forward and would probably address the guys individually about the situation.
Lucas Daniels, a 30-year-old oilfield equipment distributor from Odessa, TX, then learned he'd be accompanying Ashley on the week's first one-on-one date in Hong Kong, and he said he was really excited to have been given the opportunity.
Ashley and Lucas observed a variety of neon lights along the streets of Hong Kong, and Lucas noticed that Ashley looked happy and had a different glow about her. He said he felt like they had been dating for awhile.
The couple then tried different foods together, and Ashley told him they were going to sail on a boat to observe the skyline and take advantage of its beauty in the best way possible.
"I would love to dance with her, I'd love to get that first kiss, and I'd love to get the rose," Lucas said during their date.
Ashley told him she was in a great spot in her life and then asked Lucas what the hardest thing was that he ever had to go through in his life. Lucas admitted his divorce presented him his biggest life's challenge.
Lucas went on to say he was in love for the first time with his ex-wife, but then things began to "go sour" and he didn't know why. Lucas added there was a moment when he knew that she wasn't the girl he was supposed to be with forever, and he realized they just weren't meant to be.
"God has a plan for me, and hopefully that's why I'm here," Lucas told Ashley.
Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA; Constantine Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Atlanta, GA; Ames Brown, a 31-year-old portfolio manager from New York, NY; Blake; Ryan Park, a 31-year-old solar energy executive from Corona Del Mar, CA; and Mickey accompanied Ashley on the week's group date.
J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from New York, NY, then realized he was the only man left out of the equation, meaning there was a great chance he could snag the other one-on-one date with Ashley, and he was more than thrilled.
During Lucas and Ashley's date, Ashley tricked Lucas when she planned to offer him the rose.
"On this date, I've learned so many great things about you. Most important thing is, you're just a real guy and that's what I'm looking for -- somebody that's honest and genuine, and someone that I can see an everyday life with. I saw that today, but I also learned a few things about you that I still have questions about. So, after thinking about it, I really want you to accept this rose," Ashley said.
Lucas thanked her and the couple shared their first kiss.
"I feel unbelievable. That's the best first date I've ever had in my life right there. We're hanging out in the Hong Kong harbor and we had our first kiss. I feel awesome, and I'm glad we got to move forward in this journey. I'm on Cloud 9," Lucas said after accepting the rose.
Ashley said every time she spent time with Lucas, she was surprised. She also appreciated his honesty, comfort, and his manhood, in that it made her feel protected and like a woman. She said it was one of the most romantic moments of her life.
The next day, the six bachelors going on the group date with Ashley met her by the water and learned they would be competing in a dragon boat race. Ashley explained Ben and Constantine would represent the blue team, Blake and Ryan were labeled as the red team, and Ames and Mickey were named the black team.
The men were required to find eight random people in the street to join them on their teams for the race, and the men attempted to seek out interested people, translators, and simply individuals who could speak English.
Ames and Mickey were optimistic they could win the race and hopefully Ashley's affection as a result -- maybe even a rose. Turns out, they actually did win the race, and Ashley was so happy with how the physical aspect of the date had played out. After the dragon boat race, Ashley and her suitors watched a couple get engaged on the beach. Ashley said she hoped it was a good sign for what was to come in her own future.
Afterward, they all had drinks outside a hotel and enjoyed some quiet time together. Ames was the first man to steal Ashley away, and he felt it was time for their relationship to move to the next level, as it had been progressing slowly but naturally. He escorted her to an elevator and kissed her while it was ascending. Ames then brought Ashley to the roof, and they observed the view together.
Meanwhile, the date card confirmed J.P. was chosen to go on the next one-on-one date with Ashley, and he said he was ready to dive right into it.
Back on the group date, Ben pulled Ashley aside and they had a conversation and kissed. He said in a private interview that his feelings for her had grown tremendously even though he labeled himself "the biggest skeptic of them all." He admitted his walls were down, and if that meant he got crushed in the end, he was willing to risk the hurt for the possible end result of finding true love.
Blake and Ben then discussed how annoying Ryan was, and they hoped Ashley would soon see the real him. However, Ashley apparently still had yet to find what the men so often complained about.
"If Ryan gets the rose, I'd be livid. I'd probably just pack up and go home," Blake said.
Blake just couldn't come to grips with how Ashley could like Ryan and the other guys at the same time when their differences were so obvious and monumental. To the men's surprise, Ashley ended up offering Ryan the group date's rose, and Ryan kindly accepted. While Blake was horrified at Ashley's decision, Ben was also less than pleased and wondered what she saw in him, because he "hated" Ryan.
The next night, Ashley and J.P. embarked on their one-on-one date together. Ashley said she was more excited for this date with J.P. than she had been about any others. They had a dinner together in the Kowloon Walled City and they sat in the middle of the Chinese Zodiac park.
"The last date that we had was right after Bentley left, and I had so much going on, that I wasn't able to focus on our date. So, I feel like tonight is the first chance for me to just lay everything out there and open up and take steps forward in our relationship," Ashley said.
J.P. said it felt good he had the first second one-on-one date of all the guys and that Ashley made him "feel alive." J.P. said he could see himself getting down on one knee about a month from the moment they spent together, and Ashley asked him what was driving that strong statement. He said his feelings for her were real.
"This may sound corny, but it just feels like we're meant to be a little bit," J.P. said. "I'm just comfortable, Ashley."
J.P. said he thought their first one-on-one date was perfect and amazing, and he was very confident he'd get the rose. Ashley then asked him when the last time was that he cried, and he told her it was when he and his ex-girlfriend broke up because he was "devastated." He said he still cared about her and wished her happiness, but he knew they were never good for each other.
Ashley said J.P. was the total package for her in that he seemed like a family man, was kind and caring, and she was very attracted to him. Because she was gravitating towards J.P., she felt it was necessary for her to confess everything that had happened with Bentley. Ashley told him she had an extremely hard time with Bentley's exit not because someone had left, but because Bentley had left.
Ashley told him she got her closure and wanted to be 100% percent honest with him. She didn't want to leave The Bachelorette feeling regret and as if she had unfinished business. J.P. thanked her for telling him and he appreciated her honesty. He took the news very well and told he wouldn't judge her. They kissed and J.P. said it just didn't matter to him.
Ashley then offered the rose to J.P. without the slightest doubt in her mind because she felt wonderful with him and knew their relationship was heading in a great direction.
"Tonight was incredible. I'm now more emotionally attached than I've ever been. Things are perfect. She and I are on the right track. I'm completely blown away by how I'm feeling. I'm crazy about her. Tonight is so perfect that I don't want it to end, and I don't think she wants it to end either," J.P. said after accepting the rose.
Ashley and J.P. then took a tram and went to the rooftop of a skyscraper where they drank wine and kissed again and again. They both agreed there was nowhere else in the world they would rather be at that moment, and Ashley said she felt comfortable and secure with J.P., like she didn't have a care in the universe.
The following night, the cocktail reception preceding the Rose Ceremony took place. Ashley felt that since J.P. responded so well to the Bentley news, she was excited to get the whole dramatic story off her chest to everyone. She sat down with all the bachelors and told them she had completely fallen for Bentley and never got the proper closure she needed to move on after he left.
Ashley told them she felt so good about all the remaining men and going through the tough experience with Bentley allowed her to open her eyes and realize what qualities she was looking for in a guy -- such qualities she saw in all of them.
However, the men didn't react to Ashley's news like she had expected, and they didn't take it lightly as J.P. had. Constantine said she preached about honesty, which was a contradictory statement since he felt she had kept things from them. Ashley told them there was a roadblock because of Bentley and she had to release that in order to open up to the men.
The information shocked the bachelors and she apologized, but the guys were really upset and began to question how seriously she felt for them if she had been so smitten with a bachelor who chose to leave her. The men were concerned that they wouldn't be able to compete with Bentley and felt second best in Ashley's heart.
"My biggest pet peeve is wasting my time, and I'm in Hong Kong, it's great. But she's wasting my f***ing time. I'm pissed right now. You put every f***ing minute into her, and then this happens," Lucas angrily commented.
"To sit there and learn, 'Well, he was my first choice but he took off, so I'll pick from you guys.' I don't want to play second fiddle to anyone," Blake added.
Blake pulled Ashley aside and told her the incident belittled the time he was there, knowing she had feelings for someone else the whole time that were stronger. He told her he hadn't gotten much time with her, and it just didn't sit well with him at all. Ashley cried and he asked her for a hug to comfort her, but he admitted he didn't know if it was worth his while to stick around and follow her around the world when she had someone else in mind.
J.P. said the guys who were upset with Ashley should just go home because they were making her feel bad, but Blake wasn't the last bachelor to stand up to Ashley.
Mickey told her he felt like she lied to everyone but acknowledged he might have been the only man brave enough to admit it.
"This makes me question why I'm here, because I look around the room and I see you building stronger connections with other guys than the connections you're building with me, clearly," Mickey told her.
"I just don't see what the hell you saw in that guy, and I keep telling myself that I think we have a lot in common, the same morals and respect for people, but if your gut is that that's the kind of person you're looking for, please send me home. I'm just not interested."
"There's two guys that need to go home tonight. Just make me one of those guys."
Ashley said if Mickey felt that strongly about leaving, she wanted him to take the initiative and go on his own.
Mickey then left and Constantine said he respected him for that.
"It's sad to say goodbye and I'm not happy to say goodbye. Unfortunately, I didn't accomplish what I came here for, but I think she's got a great heart and she's going to make somebody very happy. It's just that somebody isn't me," Mickey said following his ouster.
Ashley then broke down into tears and told the guys that barely anything she said came across the right way, and she said she was sorry for how they felt because she cared about them all so much. She knew it was hard night for everyone, but told them it was only going to get worse. Ashley then thanked them for sticking around, and admitted she was still learning about herself and how to make the process work.
The men felt good about how sincere and genuine she came across, and most of them seemingly let their anger and frustration go. Blake knew it was impossible to be cold-hearted when Ashley got so emotional, and he put himself in Ashley's shoes and understood how hard it was being in her place. He then said he was there for her and was truly invested in winning her love.
Ashley then sat down with Chris and cried because she didn't want the guys to feel defeated. She said she felt like she wasn't doing a good of showing her feelings for the men, and she only wanted to make everyone happy. Ashley realized her feelings for Bentley developed in a matter of a week, which just wasn't enough to say it was real love.
"I don't know what to do. I don't know how to do it," Ashley said in tears.
Before handing out the roses, Ashley explained how she thought the men were going to feel relieved like she did, but her news obviously had the opposite effect. She said her feelings for the remaining men were so much stronger than those she had developed for Bentley.
Besides Lucas, J.P. and Ryan, Ashley gave roses to Ben F., Constantine, and Ames.
(Photo credit ABC)
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