Nick Peterson and Rachel Truehart were crowned Bachelor Pad's winning couple during Monday night's finale broadcast of the third season of The Bachelor reality franchise spinoff in which 15 former bachelor and bachelorettes and five "Super Fans" competed for a $250,000 cash prize.

Nick, a former seventh-season The Bachelorette bachelor, and Rachel, a former sixteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette, defeated former eighth-season The Bachelorette bachelor Chris Bukowski and former eleventh-season The Bachelor bachelorette Sarah Newlon to win Bachelor Pad's $250,000 grand prize. Rachel and Nick received votes from everyone in the cast expect Kalon McMahon, David Mallet and Erica Rose.

However, Nick, a 27-year-old trainer from Tampa, FL, was the only real winner of the game, as he decided to "keep" all the money for himself in the end and leave Rachel -- a 27-year-old executive assistant from New York, NY, who had opted to "split" the money with her partner -- without cash or a boyfriend.

During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Nick talked to Reality TV World about his Bachelor Pad experience and shocking third-season victory -- including whether he and Rachel have reconciled and become friends again, what he had his mind set on doing with the prize money pre-finale taping, why he thought Michael Stagliano stood up for Rachel in the end after he had claimed the $250,000 for himself, and what he plans to do or buy with his big winnings.

Below is the first half of Nick's call. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion. Also check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for our exclusive interview with Rachel.

Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship with Rachel now? Did you guys end up talking things out and becoming friends again or do you have no intention to fix things?

Nick Peterson: (Laughs) No, we haven't talked at all. And would I like to? Yeah, absolutely, but I figured I'd let it settle down a little bit for awhile because I know, especially with the finale airing last night, that she's going to be bombarded with a lot of questions. She's going to stand up for herself I'm sure, you now?

I would assume she's not going to say very nice things about me. (Laughs) So, I'm just going to let it settle down for a little while and then hopefully we can patch things up.

Reality TV World: In Chris Harrison's blog today, he said no matter what anybody thinks of your decision, you have to feel bad for Rachel. However, you just didn't really seem to feel any guilt or remorse for not sharing the money with her during the finale. So could you talk about that a little? Did you purposely disconnect yourself emotionally from the situation because you knew you were kind of screwing her over or were you just convinced you didn't owe Rachel anything?

Nick Peterson: Well, I honestly was going into it planning on sharing. My intentions were to share. We talked about it leading up to the finale, and then I saw the next two episodes before we filmed the finale.

So, we got to see them and I saw everything she said about me. She didn't want to be my partner. She said she was backed into the partnership and she just wanted to be with Michael. She tried to get us voted off just so she could go see Michael.

And you know, I was just like, "What?" I had no idea any of that was going on. I was completely invested in it and she wanted nothing to do with me. So I was like, "You know what? I've already done all this myself; I'm going to finish it myself. I don't owe her anything." She didn't want to be my partner, and then all of a sudden at the end, "Oh, now we need to be partners because money's involved."

Reality TV World: Just to clarify, the finale made it look like you really pondered your decision in that private room where you had to decide to "share" or "keep" the money. So was that accurate or did you go into the finale with your mind made up already?
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Nick Peterson: I had a very good idea that I wanted to keep it. Of course when the things are right in front of you, the "share" and "keep" signs, you start to think, "Well, maybe I should share it," you know? And then you start playing mind games with yourself, "Uh oh, what's she doing right now?!" (Laughs)

So I think my move, regardless, would've been to keep it. So, that's what I went with, because if she chooses "keep" as well, neither of us would get it. But if I chose "share" and she chose "keep," I'd get nothing. So is it better for me to get nothing or me to get it all?

Reality TV World: When you gave your speech before revealing you had decided to "keep" the money, some viewers thought you came across a little bitter and resentful in that you chose to keep the money as kind of a slap to the faces' of all the people who had no faith in your gameplay or didn't accept you into an alliance. Would you say that's true or did the reasoning behind your decision come from a more logical standpoint rather than an emotional one?

Nick Peterson: No, no, it wasn't to slap anybody in the face. I was just trying to explain myself, because if I just went up there and made my move and chose "keep," I was going to come across really bad. And so, I wanted everybody to see my side, because they didn't see much of me during the season. I was the underdog and I was the quiet guy. And that was my gameplan!

I was very -- I flew under the radar. I was in self-mode and I stayed out of all the petty drama, and I wanted everybody to see that and I wanted to explain myself. I wanted to explain the whole Rachel ordeal. Everybody saw the show, so I wanted to say, "Hey, you saw that she didn't want to be my partner." So I went on explaining why I'm about to do what I'm about to do. (Laughs)

So, I think a lot of people read the spoilers, and so I've been trashed a little bit. But a lot of people had a change of heart once they heard my speech and saw my side of it. So I'm glad I did it.

Reality TV World: How did it feel to get so much support from the audience and most of your castmates except for Jaclyn Swartz and Michael? The two of them seemed to think you were being kind of mean, so did their reactions surprise you and did their words hit home at all or was it just an annoyance at that point because you believed it wasn't their business to say anything?

Nick Peterson: Well, yeah, I was very thankful because the fans were very supportive, especially during the taping. And most of the cast, like you said, everyone but pretty much Jaclyn and Michael came up to me and said, "I would've done the same thing, good for you!" And that was good to hear.

I expected Jaclyn not to be happy, you know. Michael, I think Rachel made him look kind of bad there, and so I think to fix his image, he needed to jump on her bandwagon and jump on her side. So, I understand because he wasn't the nicest [person] to her anyways, so I don't think he had a whole lot of room to talk.

Reality TV World: While you argued your gameplay throughout Bachelor Pad was brilliant because you purposely avoided all drama and just coasted through under the radar, Rachel came back at you and just said you "lucked out." What's your response to that, and do you agree that luck played at least a little role in your win or would you take full responsibility for your fate in the game?

Nick Peterson: Well yeah, I mean, it's a game and there was luck involved all the way through. But there was strategy involved too, and did I "luck out?" I wouldn't say I was lucky to have Rachel as a partner, but maybe it was better than some of the other options. If [Erica Rose] would've remained my partner, I may have gone home a whole lot sooner.

So yeah, it may have worked out in my benefit, but it's not like ever since we became partners we were a strong partnership. So it was great that we were, in theory, partners. But you know, we weren't invested in each other.

Reality TV World: What do you plan to do with your winnings? Based upon your plans, will the extra $125,000 make a huge difference?

Nick Peterson: Who wouldn't want an extra $125,000 right?! (Laughs) I'm going to be very smart with the money. I'm not buying a lamborghini this week or anything. I'm going to invest quite a bit of it. I am going to buy me a new car though and get me a nice Jeep Wrangler. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: Do you have any insight as to why David Mallet and Erica voted for Chris and Sarah over you two? It seemed obvious Kalon McMahon was going to vote for Chris because they had been good friends throughout the season, but why do you think those two other people voted against you?

Nick Peterson: Erica was best friends with Sarah, so I saw that coming. I saw that one coming. As far as David goes, I don't know. I don't know! I think he was on the fence, a little wishy-washy, and he didn't know which way to go. I honestly don't know, I didn't ask him.

It doesn't matter and there's no hard feelings, so. It's a game and I know that along the way, people had to vote each other off and all that. I think you can't hold grudges or anything. It's part of the game.

Reality TV World: Chris apologized to Jamie Otis repeatedly for his behavior and suggested his family and friends were very disappointed with him and his aggressive gameplay. Do you think he really meant what he said and felt terribly for his actions, or do you think that was another strategy on his part to kind of gain sympathy votes and ultimately win the money -- which had been his goal all along?

Nick Peterson: Yeah of course I think he never expected to get Jamie's vote, so that's why I think it was a sincere apology. It didn't matter what he said up there, I don't think Jamie would've ever voted for him in the end, and he knew that.

Yeah, I believe it was sincere. When you're playing the game, when you're in the game, sometimes you're not thinking clearly. You're doing whatever you've gotta do to survive and you deal with it later. You just gotta do what you gotta do to get there.

And that's part of the game. That's just the way it's played. If you have to make amends later, then that's what you've gotta do. That's what he did, and yeah, I think it was sincere.

Reality TV World: If Chris and Sarah had won, do you think they would've had a similar outcome to you guys in that either Chris or Sarah would vote to keep the money or do you think they had a relationship strong enough to split the winnings fair and square?

Nick Peterson: I think they would've split it. I think they would've split it. They were romantically involved, and I honestly think that played a huge part. You see [Bachelor Pad season 1 winners] Natalie Getz and David Good, you know, they were romantically involved in the show. So they kind of had to share it.

And Michael and [Holly Durst], Michael wasn't going to take the money away from Holly. If there was ever a chance when someone would keep it, it'd be this case right here. Because we weren't a strong partnership, we weren't romantically involved at all, you know? We were thrown together last minute, and so this was the opportunity for that.

Reality TV World: Erica suggested Kalon's been seeing other girls and has been affectionate with them although he's dating Lindzi Cox. Based upon the rocky history Erica and Kalon had going into the show, did you think Erica was just trying to blow up his spot or do you think Kalon's capable of doing something like that to Lindzi?

Nick Peterson: Honestly, I don't know a whole lot about it. We were watching the show live last night, so I didn't hear a whole lot. Of course I wasn't out onstage when they were doing that, so I wasn't there.

I don't know what happened. I honestly don't know what she said about it. I heard something about -- I heard Kalon and Lindzi are still dating as of last night. And then she said something about him being on a date? I don't know, I'm sorry! I don't know what happened. It was all hard to hear because we were in a public place watching. 

Reality TV World: What's your reaction to Blakeley Shea and Tony Pieper's engagement? Some viewers have expressed maybe they moved a little too fast considering he had a son and others are wondering if they'll last. So what are your thoughts?

Nick Peterson: I hope they last! Those are two of my favorite people in the house. I love Tony. I love Blakeley. I'll stay in touch with them probably the most out of anybody and I wish them the absolute best.

Was it fast? Yeah, maybe. I don't know, but they've been seeing each other a lot and I wish them the best. She's already moved. From what I've seen she's already moved to Portland, OR, and they're probably making plans to get married. So, that's great! I hope it works out.

Above is the first half of Nick's call. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion. Also check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for our exclusive interview with Rachel.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.