'The Bachelor' Exit Interview with Emily O'Brien: I Won't Be Happy if Ben Ends Up with Anyone but Courtney
'The Bachelor' Exit Interview with Emily O'Brien: I Won't Be Happy if Ben Ends Up with Anyone but Courtney
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Emily O'Brien made quite an impression on Bachelor Ben from the start -- on the first night, she got his first kiss and performed a silly rap about her unique profession, epidemiology.

But over time, O'Brien's impressions on Ben only worsened, and her fun side got overshadowed by her rivalry with this season's villain (and Ben's current favorite), Courtney Robertson. Her warnings to Ben about Courtney fell on deaf ears, and he chose to meet the model's family rather than Emily's at last week's rose ceremony.

Like so many of Ben's former bachelorettes this season, she fought hard for him, but now Emily counts herself as lucky that she went home without a rose or a ring from Ben, and won't be happy if any of her friends in the cast end up with The Bachelor either. Ouch! Read on for highlights from Emily's post-elimination conference call:

On how she felt when she was eliminated:
To be completely honest, I wasn't totally shocked. When Ben pulled Courtney aside, it was sort of like a last glimmer of hope for me. I thought maybe, you know, he's finally listening to all of and seeing what we all see, but I think I kind of knew at that point that he was going to keep Courtney and that Rachel and I were going to be going home. Just a feeling I had.

On whether she thinks Ben was intimidated by her intelligence:
You know, I think that Ben and I connected really well on an intellectual level. I think that he also saw sort of a goofy, fun side of me and I try not to take myself too seriously and I think that came across to him. At least, that was my intentions. So, he really didn't seem intimidated, but it's a possibility. Most of the time, I felt very comfortable around him and I think he felt comfortable around me also, so I think that we were - we are pretty much on the same page on that regard.

On how she feels watching the show back, specifically seeing Ben and Courtney's connection:
I have seen the outrage and I've sort of been surprised by it because, you know, I think that as much as Courtney might not be anyone's cup of tea, she's still a human being and it's got to be difficult for her to hear what people are saying and to know that she's not being particularly well received.

But, yes, I was a little bit surprised by, you know, how well he connected with Courtney on their first date in Sonoma. I was watching it and just sort of, you know, with my mouth open thinking, "No wonder that he was so closed off to me when I tried to speak to him about Courtney maybe showing - not showing her real self to Ben." Because, I thought she was very charming and I thought that they certainly had a connection that wasn't there between him and me, and everything sort of started to fall into place when I watched that episode and saw how well they got along and how obviously attracted to her he was. I didn't see that when I was there, and I think I maybe would have acted a little bit differently. I would have maybe stepped up my own game a little bit if I knew that he was connecting with other women on that level. But yes, watching it, everything is starting to make a lot more sense to me.

On whether she was really falling in love with Ben or just being competitive:
I'm, you know, fairly competitive. I think most girls on the show have some element of competitiveness to their personalities and they - I think that it's really hard to disentangle that when you're there, when you're in the moment. I think that I was probably on the right track to fall in love with Ben. I definitely was not in love with him when I left. But, I saw some things in him that I really liked and, you know, I felt we had some really great times together.

It's hard because you're in these beautiful locations and the dates are perfect. Everything's set up for you and you're with this great guy whose - you know, is also there, completely focused on you and also wanting to find love. So, it's hard to know how much of it is the environment and how much of it is what's really going on in your own heart. But, for me, I tried to sort of adjust and adapt as time went on and ignore everything else other than what was going on between the two of us. And, in that sense, I felt like my feelings were strong. I wasn't at the point of being in love, but I certainly really liked the guy and I certainly liked the direction that things were going.

On whether she thinks Ben would be making a mistake to pick Courtney:
You know, it's hard to say "mistake." I think what might be right for me or what I maybe was looking for coming into the experience is maybe different than what Ben was looking for coming into the experience. I know he was open to finding love, but from the beginning he said, "You know, I'm not here looking for a wife. I'm here looking for someone to fall in love with."

So, in that sense, it's possible that, you know, whoever he ends up with, it really fits the bill of what he's looking for at this point in time. He's a great guy and he's not really the type of guy to let others tell him what to do or how to think, and he kind of marches to the beat of his own drum. So, I think that given that he really liked whoever he ended up with it, obviously since he chose them, I'm not sure that anyone really could have said anything to detract from that because he's, you know, very much an individual and trusts his own judgment, and I think those are good, strong qualities.

On what happened to her relationship with Ben after she warned him about Courtney:
After our date in San Francisco, I thought that we were really on a good, solid path and I got to see a goofy and smart side to this guy and I really liked what I saw. But, that sort of fun, relaxed side, I think, disappeared pretty quickly once I talked with him in Park City and after that conversation, I just felt like there was sort of a negative element that became a part of our relationship. I think now after that conversation, he started to sort of see me as antagonistic to what he wanted, at the time at least, which was Courtney. So, I did get the feeling that he was sort of going through the motions with me after that, and, you know, it's disappointing, because I wish that he'd responded differently. I wish that he had sort of supported me and encouraged me at that point and not reacted in the way that he did, which was sort of telling me to be careful and what almost felt like a threat at the time. So, I think that that made me a little bit uncomfortable in my interactions with him directly after that. And, at some point, I think that we sort of got back on track to where we needed to be, but I think it was just too little, too late.

And, I think that there were some red flags in my mind, too, that I'm looking for someone who respects my opinion and respects me as a person and when I have a concern, they take that to heart and, at least can respond in an appropriate way and in a way that's supportive of me and understanding. That's not the way that I felt that he responded.

On Ben and Courtney going skinny dipping:
I understand the motivation behind wanting to do that with a guy that you like. But, you know, I still think you should have some element of respect for other people there. It was very early. We were only in the fifth week at that point and, you know, I think that if you make that choice and you decide to be intimate with someone in the ocean in Puerto Rico in this romantic setting, you sort of - you've got that on your mind now instead of really developing these connections with everyone. And, I don't think it was a level playing field anymore after that. And, I think it sort of clouded Ben's judgment a little bit because it was - you know, I think he had that sort of physical intimacy on his mind, instead of - instead of taking things, you know, with each woman one step at a time.

On how she feels now about getting sent home:
I really liked Ben and I really enjoyed our time together -- our one on one time. And, my respect for him has gone down certainly since the show has aired and since I've gotten some perspective on things. And, you know, I've had some people say that I've dodged a bullet. I've had others say I've dodged a locomotive with a nuclear bomb strapped to it. I'm not sure that I would put it that way, but I think for sure, we were not meant to be together and he was not the right guy for me. And, I started to feel that a little bit towards the end, but I - that has been completely confirmed in my mind watching the season.

On which girl she hopes Ben ends up with:
I have to be honest at this point, I won't be happy if Ben ends up with Lindzi, Nicki, or Kacie. I think they deserve someone a little bit different. And someone who is maybe a little bit more on their level, a little more grounded. I'm not sure that I think that Ben and Courtney deserve each other, but certainly I think they're what each other is looking for. So in that sense, I think that if they end up together, I think they may be very happy with each other. We'll have to see.

On whether Courtney's behavior could just be a defense mechanism:
In terms of Courtney's approach to the whole thing, I think she's very competitive. I think she's very good at getting what she wants with men, and I think that it's possible that those little jabs and those sort of snarky comments were a tactic to try to intimidate all of us and get us all off our game, and to take the focus off of Ben and to put it on herself, which I think works really well for her.

But, you know, honestly, my impression of Courtney was that she was just not a nice person no matter how you slice it or dice it. I think that some of things she said were just hurtful and mean. A lot of them were not provoked. Things about Kacie B.,who everyone in the house loved and thought was just the biggest sweetheart. Just the comments that were unprovoked. That's what makes me most angry. I don't think that anyone else displayed that kind of behavior, so that was the most off-putting thing for me. Was it a defense mechanism? Probably. But, you know, it's hard for me to excuse someone and say that's just the way she is. To me, there's not really much of an excuse for acting that way, especially when - you know, that everyone else is also feeling a little bit insecure or a little bit unsure of the situation. And then, it's hard for all of us. It wasn't just hard for her. It's hard for all of us.

On whether she believes Courtney's feelings for Ben are genuine:
I actually - I think Courtney has the capacity to feel emotions. I think, for sure. But, I think that it's hard to know if she really feels something for Ben. When I watch it, she doesn't seem all that interested in what he's saying. She seems like she's trying to get him to really, really like her. And, I think it works well. The crying -- you know, we all cried and it was an emotionally draining situation but I'm not sure that the tears were one hundred percent for him because she would turn around and say things like, "If you didn't give me a one on one date, I was going to leave." And, if you're really, you know, head over heels in love with somebody and emotionally invested and if you want to take things forward, you don't make demands like that. You say, you know, "I trust you" and "I'm here for you" and, you know, "I'm looking forward to spending more time with you." You don't threaten them and demand things of them in order to - in order to get what you want. The emotions I know were real. Whether or not they came from a place of genuine feelings for Ben, I'm not convinced that they did.

(Image courtesy of ABC)