'Bachelorette's Ryan Park: Ashley Hebert said she didn't deserve me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/28/2011
The Bachelorette bachelor Ryan Park's televised search for love came to a premature end with Bachelorette Ashley Hebert surprised him by eliminating him prior to her hometown dates with her final four suitors.
However, confused by her prior lack of expression of concern of her claim that she didn't feel they had a strong romantic connection, Ryan returned to the show and unsuccessfully asked Ashley to give him a second chance during Monday night's broadcast of The Bachelorette.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Ames talked to Reality TV World about his The Bachelorette experience -- including how Ashley told him she felt she didn't "deserve" him, why he feels he clashed with some of his fellow bachelors, how he felt he repeatedly got the "short end of the stick" during his time on the show, and why he felt Ashley "shutdown" on him.
Reality TV World: In Ashley's blog, she said she understood why you needed to talk to her and receive closure because she felt you had sensed she wasn't confident in her decision to send you home and she never really voiced any concerns she had about you. So was she right? Did you ever sense she wasn't sure about letting you go?
Ryan Park: Yeah, well as I said earlier, we really really did have a connection even though I think it was maybe downplayed a little bit and the connection she had with some of the other guys was up-played, but I mean, she started crying when she was letting me go.
And then the reasons as far as not having passion or whatever, what wasn't shown was when she said a comment -- besides that I was the perfect guy and all this stuff, this and that -- but she thought that she didn't deserve me.
That stopped me in my tracks. When I walked out, I was like, "Oh my gosh." And now watching this and seeing her say over and over how she's unsure of herself, now it makes that much even more sense. But for her to say something like that, that was like, "What?! I'm here. I'm here for you. Don't sit there and say that you don't deserve me."
So, yeah. I felt that maybe there was a little regret from her, and I thought that it may come out in the hometowns when she went and saw people's families if there wasn't a chemistry there or similarities or if she didn't envision herself joining one of their families -- of her other suitors. So, I just wanted to see if maybe there was -- maybe she felt the same way I did -- that she's regretting.
Reality TV World: As you've mentioned, many of the other bachelors tended to get annoyed with you and bashed your personality as insincere. What was your reaction to that and what do you think their issue was? Do you believe it was simply because you were "too happy" or do you think there was more to it than that?
Ryan Park: I believe by the end of it all that it came out pretty clearly that they didn't feel that I was insincere. I believe that's going to come out pretty strongly because that's definitely not what I got. I mean, even from the most vocal out of the bunch, who obviously was [former bachelor Blake Julian], but even at The Men Tell All special after everything, it all smoothed over.
We dealt with a lot of rain during [filming]. I don't know about previous [seasons]. We were in pretty tight areas and I gotta make fun of myself. It's true. I'm just kind of happy being, so to speak, and there were times that we were sitting around after being cooped up weeks on end and people get grumpy and unhappy about being in those situations.
But I still maintained, I guess, a positive demeanor from early in the morning until late in the evening, and I can kind of see how that could get on some people's nerves. I definitely learned a lot about myself through that. Never before -- I mean, I have wonderful friends -- and never ever have I ever been called insincere or [disingenuous] before in my lifetime.
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There was a little of that early on because I think it's kind of -- call myself unique, but I think it's different in that most of the time when you do see someone looking really happy on the outside or whatever, it's trying to cover up something inside.
I definitely don't blame the guys for thinking that way upfront, but those gentlemen that were around much longer realized that wow, there's no mask. The proverbial mask is not coming off of me, and that's just the way I live my life.
Reality TV World: You were the bachelor that waited a long time before receiving his first one-on-one date. Do you think that played a major role in Ashley not finding a romantic connection with you in that before you even got a real chance to create the spark she had already fallen for other men whom she had spent a lot of time with? Or do you think the passion was just naturally missing?
Ryan Park: No and that's exactly why -- one of the main reasons I went back to Fiji. I felt that yeah, I really got the short end of the stick and that she really had developed those connections with the other guys. Ashley's so darn genuine that I really think just naturally she started narrowing down.
Instead of wanting to continue being open to multiple guys, she started shutting down and focusing her energies on the few that she clearly saw a potential future with. So yeah, I feel like getting that one-on-one date so late played a major role in it. Now, if I had had the one-on-one earlier, do I think the outcome would be different? Maybe.
But like I just said, earlier, what I see is that her connection with J.P. is extraordinary and I'd be a fool to think that just having a one-on-one date with her earlier would have changed the outcome of what I believe is going to be the end place for the two of them.
Reality TV World: You mentioned how your one-on-one date with Ashley didn't give you much of an opportunity to develop the passion Ashley was looking for. What would you have preferred to do on your date together?
Ryan Park: Well, I would have liked to do some adventure. I'm a definite outdoorsman. I like adrenaline a lot and it would have been fun to do something maybe a little scary and exciting and fun together and in a place where I can just grab her and kiss her, frankly.
You're just flat out now allowed to show affection -- public displays of affection -- in the Buddhist temple and it wasn't really encouraged walking around in the open square as well. So, somewhere where could have found some excitement or done some adventure and be free to display affection for each other.
And then also something for dinner where -- multiple guys had dinners on rooftops and things like that where it was just incredibly romantic. Or something that [William Holman] did, I mean I guess that was very public, but something like that. Maybe on a rooftop instead of in a park where there's some people around would have been nice.
Reality TV World: You already touched upon what you were thinking while you were waiting for Ashley to come talk to you in Fiji, but the show made it seem like you waited for a few days before she actually came and had the conversation with you. Was that actually the case, and if so, what was it like waiting all that time? Did it upset you that Ashley held off on meeting you for that long, especially since she seemed pretty certain that she had made the right decision?
Ryan Park: Yeah. I really did wait several days, which were long days of waiting. The truth is though, I was able to perform some work there, which is just a real testament to society these days, you know? It's not like I just sat there totally twiddling my thumbs, but it was brutal waiting. I wanted it that way -- It's not that I wanted it that way.
I just didn't want to interrupt what she had going on already with the other guys. So, she clearly had a set time schedule set up for other guys and she had to stick me in towards the end. So, I understand in a way.
Also in the call, Ames told reporters whether he would be interested in being The Bachelor's next star, what concerns he would have about the role, his thoughts about Ashley's final two suitors, and which one he believes she has an "extraordinary" relationship with.
What was going through your mind when you were first eliminated on the show and Ashley told you she didn't want to meet your family?
Ryan Park: (Laughs) A lot of things were going through my mind, as I think you can tell if you saw that, I was just rather surprised. I really didn't see it coming but after watching it, I completely understand. I see the connection she has with the remaining bachelors, but I just felt that we needed something more.
It felt like -- when she said she didn't have the passion for me or didn't feel the spark between us, it was strange to me because I felt that earlier. And I know that just because I'm saying I felt it earlier, that doesn't mean she necessarily did, but I thought she did. Our date was wandering around a temple and performing Thai Chi, which unfortunately wasn't shown on television.
It wasn't really the type of date that's so hot and steamy, and that was our first one-on-one date. I guess I could just sum it all up and say I was shocked.
Are you happy you flew to Fiji to see Ashley in that you got the closure you needed or do you regret going?
Ryan Park: No, I'm glad I did go. I wasn't ready to let go, but I just didn't really totally understand. I mean now, really everything becomes clear after watching it and seeing her interact with the other guys. But what wasn't shown on TV was some of the really good interaction that we did have together -- from the really good conversations we had.
It's just now very obvious that the passionate connection wasn't there for her, but I'm very happy I went back. I spent a lot of time thinking if there was more time it could be a really magical ending and so, I'm happy I got that closure I needed.
You said you wished you had more time to spend with Ashley to develop a connection, so do you think if you two had been in a different situation, time and place things could have worked out differently for you?
Ryan Park: Obviously timing has a place in every relationship, and I definitely do think Ashley and I could work. I still feel that way, but I'm one side of the coin. And also, at the progression of everything, who knows.
Maybe if we had a date earlier on it could have sparked something and maybe she -- I can't speak on behalf of Ashley, but I don't know if because her connection had grown so strong for [J.P. Rosenbaum] and [Ben Flajnik] it kind of closed her off to me by the time we finally had a one-on-one.
So I think that something could have been different had there been a little bit different circumstances, (laughs), maybe if J.P. and Ben F. weren't around. But that's just the way it is.
Is it safe to say you were in love with Ashley or are you still in love with her now?
Ryan Park: No, there's obviously qualities in her that I completely admire and do love about her, but I am not in love with Ashley.
Have you found love since the show has ended or are you dating anyone?
Ryan Park: I'm not dating anyone right now. I'm waiting until the show fully concludes. To be straight, I just had a complete fear of -- I wouldn't even go out for coffee with a friend that happens to be a girl for fear of having a picture pop up in a magazine claiming, "He's dating someone, right? Oh no! That spiny bad guy," you know? No, as of right now, my dating life is not exciting.
Did you approach ABC that you wanted to go back to Fiji or was it something you considered doing for awhile?
Ryan Park: Well, I did. I did approach them. It was a few days after being let go. I was talking with one of the producers who was just checking in to see how I was doing, and we got to talking about everything and how everything went down. I just felt like, I said, "Yeah, I feel like I had a bad deal and the short end of the stick." And then I started saying, "Gosh, I wish I was there. I wish she could meet my family."
And then it progressed into, "I don't want to be portrayed or come across like [former The Bachelorette bachelor Bentley Williams who quit the show but later returned to meet Ashley in Hong Kong to discuss their relationship] did when the guys got so upset, but I wondered if I did need a little more time. And then it was proposed that I could call [The Bachelorette host Chris Harrison] and ask what Chris thought.
No joke, I called Chris in the evening early in the hometown dates that week and had about a 30-minute conversation with him on the phone, and sure enough, he said that it would be acceptable and I went for it. I was on a plane Friday night for Fiji, and I'm very glad I did it.
While you were in Fiji, the show made it seem like you waited a few days for Ashley. What was going through your head during that time? Were you sure you'd get a second chance or more worried you wouldn't?
Ryan Park: When I showed up to her place, she was so surprised it was classic. It was totally classic. I thought the show did a decent job of capturing that, but the energy was really high there, and I did feel like there was a chance.
I didn't feel that there was a great chance -- I mean, I knew going out there anyways that it was sort of like a longshot. But in life I'm someone that -- I guess I'll call myself an eternal optimist. It's just that I see the brighter side of things.
So I thought, "I've got nothing to lose here and I'm going for it." So, yeah, I was hopeful. Let's put it that way. I was hopeful. It's almost like the movie, gosh what is it? Anchorman! "So you're saying there's a chance?!" (Laughs) I might as well say, "You stay classy San Diego," right now too. (Laughs)
Ryan Park: Yeah, I believe she was good casting forThe Bachelorette, I mean a lot of people tuned in right!? (Laughs) I get asked this a lot, even in private from friends. They'll say, "Well, do you think she makes a good Bachelorette?" People give their opinions and what not, but what people have to realize is being the Bachelorette is hard. There's consistent -- so much scrutiny.
You have to be on everyday, all day long. I guess whatever flaws I humanly have or whatever -- I get tendencies, if they're even called flaws -- are going to be magnified exponentially. It's no secret that Ashley has -- she's just a normal girl that came from a small town and gets catapulted into the spotlight, and it's no secret that yeah, she has insecurity and some of her self confidence can be somewhat low.
That's why whoever ends up with her, whether it be J.P. or Ben, I believe that either one of those gentlemen will help make her feel stronger about herself. Do I feel like she makes a good Bachelorette? Yeah, I do.
I care for her deeply and I'm very happy it was her, so. (Laughs) But it's just unfortunate that she's been attacked so badly for her insecurities and then the elephant in the room, Bentley, and how he preyed on that unfortunately.
Are you interested in being the next The Bachelor star or participating in Bachelor Pad?
Ryan Park: As far as Bachelor Pad, no. As far as the program, I'm looking forward to watching it but I do not envision myself ever participating in it. As far as The Bachelor, you'll see in the upcoming The Men Tell All... As of right now, I'd just have to say that it's a maybe.
For starters, I actually have a real job. Not that the other bachelors haven't, but it's not something that I... But on the negative side, it sucks because your life becomes, I guess I'll call it a circus.
Your personal life becomes everybody's business, and that's not particularly exciting for me. On a positive note, I actually do believe in this. People say, "You know, there haven't been that many couples that stay together," but then I point out my normal dating life.
I've seen a few women over my life and it hasn't worked out. So, I do believe that it can work. I do believe that Ashley is really in love, and so I guess there's two sides and I just don't know if I would right now.
How do you feel you were depicted on the show? Do you think your edit was accurate and fair?
Ryan Park: I think generally speaking, I think they did a fair depiction of at least what I think my personality is. It definitely overplayed the giddiness by showing how my little-boy excitement comes out, but generally speaking, I think it was fair. That's all.
Generally speaking, I'd say it's a fair depiction but yeah, certain clips were overplayed and certain examples -- like when Ashley broke us up into two groups to rebuild the orphanage, she declared me to be the leader of the group.
J.P. was the leader of the other group and so, we walk in there and there's a lot of stuff to do and of course I was giving friendly advice of what we should be doing instead of just standing around, because I was supposedly the leader, but that wasn't shown on TV.
It was just, "Ryan's bossing people around." So, that was kind of like, "Huh. Alright. I get it." But it plays into it all, I guess. That's a small example. Obviously they just tried to magnify I'm annoying, like, "Am I real?" But hopefully by the end of it, the general viewer will realize that yeah, this guy is genuine.
What's your opinion on the last two remaining bachelors?
Ryan Park: Well, first off, they're both great guys. They're very different guys. You got J.P. who was born and raised a city boy his whole life, and then you've got Ben who has spent a lot of time growing up in the Napa, Sonoma area in the outdoors and then spending time in San Diego. He's more of your typical California boy. So, both guys are very solid guys that come from different backgrounds.
Really, I can see Ashley with both of them. I don't think you asked this question, but I think you may be eluding to it -- I can see Ashley with both of them, but I after being there and witnessing it and then watching it, her connection with J.P. is just extraordinary. So, I can see them resonating perfectly.