When this season of The Bachelorette
started, Oregon lumber trader Tony Pieper was so excited about his possibilities with Emily Maynard that he showed up with a glass slipper
on a satin cushion, just to prove to the Bachelorette how invested in "the fairy tale" he was.
But Tony's other, even bigger investment got the better of his chances with Maynard. At first, his son back home was a source of common ground for Tony and Emily, whose role as a single mother has featured heavily this season. But on Monday's episode, Tony got so distraught
over missing his son that Emily felt compelled to send him home -- a decision she announced so gently that even Tony was visibly unsure if she was comforting him or kicking him out. Tony spoke with the media in a conference call yesterday about his tough time on The Bachelorette, whether he thinks things could have been different between him and Emily, and who he now thinks is the best guy to join her family:
On how hard it was for him to be away from his son:
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It was definitely much tougher than I ever imagined. I did go on the show and I thought about it for a long time, like, "Is this the right thing to do?" I could be gone ten or so weeks. I've never been away from him for more than four to five days. I knew it was going to be tough but what I told myself was that I'm looking for a family, I'm looking for love, and I know my son wants that too. I'm happy, he's happy, and there's just that one piece missing. I just didn't realize when I was on the show just how much it would affect me that I couldn't see him. I could talk to him and he was the cutest thing in the world. That just gets to your heart.
On his "laid back" approach with Emily:
I grew up playing sports so I'm one of the most competitive people you'll know. But I didn't wanna be that overly aggressive guy. It wasn't my nature to start pushing guys out of the way. That's not what I do in normal life so that was a little difficult for me. I'll tell you one thing. I was there for the right reasons and so maybe that was one thing. I know a lot of the guys were too, but maybe some of them were in it for the competition, so that made them a little more aggressive. To me, everything happens for a reason and I was just going to go in there, be myself, and see what happens.
If he wasn't missing his son so much, could he and Emily have made a connection?
We just had so much in common and I really didn't get that much time with her off the bat. I think we would've grown closer. There was an initial connection there but just because I didn't really have that much time and obviously, my son was the only thing I could think about... days feel like weeks. It was just hard. After a good amount of time passed, I was missing my son so much, and I didn't have time to get to know this girl. Maybe if I did, it would've been easier to think to myself, "This could be the love of my life." But I just don't feel like I had enough time to really make that decision.
Would he have gone home on his own, if Emily hadn't asked him to leave?
Yes, I definitely was at that point. And like I said, I just didn't know enough about her. I just didn't have that much time with her. I don't know if I could've lasted another week being there. I probably would've gone home on my own very soon after.
At the time, did he expect or understand that Emily was eliminating him?
To be honest with you, I wasn't quite sure if she was going to eliminate me. We were talking and she obviously saw that I kind of broke down a little bit. She knew I was missing my son but when she came out, I didn't really know what was going to happen. I had no clue I was going to get eliminated at that point. Once she got more into it, it all kind of made sense and I respected her for that. I was most likely going to be voluntarily leaving anyway and I think she saw that. I didn't expect it.
On reuniting with his son after the show:
It was one of the best days of my life. He came running up and I hugged him and I kissed him. It's like he grew five inches in three weeks! It was one of the best days of my life! It was happiness. I can't even describe it, it's like a piece of my heart was back.
Who's the best guy for Emily?
I might have a little bit of an opinion. He was the guy who was my best buddy in the house and I grew really close to him, and that's Sean. As far as Sean's morals and values, I think he's a fantastic guy. Yeah, I think they'd be a great couple!(Image courtesy of ABC)