'Bachelor' Brad Womack: I had no idea about Emily's NASCAR past
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/02/2011
The Bachelor star Brad Womack has confirmed he was clueless about bachelorette Emily Maynard's extensive involvement and history with NASCAR racing before they participated in the eight-on-one group date during Monday night's episode.
Maynard had previously revealed to Womack that her fiance Ricky Hendrick died in a tragic plane crash, but she withheld the details that he was a racecar driver and crashed his car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- the same track where the group date was held, ending his career -- until Womack pulled her aside and questioned her forced smile.
"I want to be very clear: I had absolutely no idea the extent of Ricky's involvement with NASCAR. I never -- not for anything in this world -- would have taken Emily to the racetrack in Las Vegas if I had known. It was only in the middle of the actual date that I found out everything about Emily's past," Womack wrote on his People blog.
While Womack said it was important for he and Maynard to address her past in attempt to move on with their future and gain "closure," many of the other bachelorettes grew green with envy over how much special attention the 24-year-old children's hospital event planner from Charlotte, NC, was receiving from The Bachelor star -- a development that Womack admits irked him.
"Trying to comfort Emily as much as I did obviously caused some drama during the final part of the group date. I empathize with the women because I know time is limited, but I also wish everyone would have been more understanding," Womack said. "I know it was an emotional experience for her and I tried my best to comfort her while not overstepping my boundaries."
The Bachelor star also wanted to clarify that he did not repeatedly pull Maynard aside to talk because his connection with her was stronger than with the other women.
"In no way did I feel sorry for Emily (because I think she's moved on). I simply wanted to be there for her in a time of need. I would have done the exact same thing for any of the women that were there on the date," Womack added.
Womack said he cared for the southern sweetheart and wanted to make sure she was happy, while he admired her "tenacity" for still going through with the group date that reminded her so much of her past.
"I was very proud of Emily for driving the car instead of shutting down. It showed an immense amount of strength and courage on her part. It actually seemed like something Emily needed to do to be able to move forward and try to find love again, so I'm actually glad everything happened as it did (although that may seem selfish on my part)," Womack explained.
In addition to the group NASCAR date, Ashley Spivey, a 26-year-old nanny from New York, NY, and Ashley Hebert, a 26-year-old dentist from Philadelphia, PA, both accompanied Womack on the week's two-on-one elimination date -- which Womack said he based on the fact that he had developed "concerns" about "the Ashleys."
"I chose 'the Ashleys' for this date because my feelings for both of them were strong enough that I had to put myself in a position to make a very hard choice. It may not make sense to some of you, but that's the best way I can explain it," Womack said.
However, Womack insisted he was not aware of that -- as Monday's The Bachelor broadcast showed -- the two women had become such good friends during their brief time on the show.
"One thing I didn't realize is how close they had become in the house. I honestly didn't know that they were 'best friends.' I didn't intentionally put these women against each other -- I promise that," he added.
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Womack added that choosing between "the Ashleys" during Monday night's episode was the hardest decision he had to make during his whole The Bachelor experience, but explained he chose Hebert for one simple reason.
"My decision boiled down to just one thing: My feelings for Ashley H. were stronger. I can't define that specifically; it's just one of those things. It is what it is," Womack said.