'The Bachelorette': Ashley and J.P. talk about their life post-show
This season of "The Bachelorette" may have finally come to a close, but Ashley and J.P.'s publicity tour has just begun.
Only hours after the finale aired Monday night, the newly engaged couple did the media rounds in New York City, where Ashley is planning to join her fiance in a month after she finishes studying dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania. After hitting a slew of morning talk shows, the couple got on a conference call with a handful of journalists to talk about their experience on the show and plans for the future.
In between all the mushy talk, a few interesting tidbits did emerge: Ashley said things between her and her evil sister -- who we likened to Kat Von D -- are now swell. (Sure.) Ashley said she only let Ben get down on his knee and propose because the moment was "a blur." (Or the producers urged you to milk the drama?) And J.P. has not, apparently, been calling Ashley by her favorite and totally repulsive pet name, "Cupcake," as much as she would like. (They're totally doomed.)
A condensed and edited version of the transcript follows.
At what point after your confrontation with your sister did you straighten things out?
Ashley: You know, we actually never resolved it in Fiji. She left and it was still unresolved. Then I think it was when we got home that we talked about it a little bit, but it went unresolved for a while until she started watching the show air, and then she called me up and said, “I am so sorry. I completely see it now. I was too quick to judge." So it took a little while that she came around.
Was there ever a moment where what she said really caused you to reconsider picking J.P.?
Ashley: To be honest, I knew that I would follow my own gut and I would not let anyone else influence me, and that is what I loved about this whole journey, is I have got to trust myself. Now, the truth is, I knew my sister was being tough, and I knew that she was so stubborn that she would never take it back even if she had to change her heart. I knew that she would grow to love him. And once she saw us together, I had no doubt that she would see what I feel, and things would be all right and things would be great, and actually they are. They are close now, and they actually joke about it. So, all is well.
Were you hurt when she said she thought you were more into Brad than J.P.?
Ashley: OK, so I knew she was completely, like, off with her judgment and, you know, when she said that she thought I was more into Brad, I thought, “OK, I am not going to listen to anything she says because what I feel for him is completely different from what I felt for Brad.” So, at that point, she lost me.
J.P., did you reconsider proposing after the showdown with Chrystie?
J.P.: Nothing that happened between me and her sister had any influence on my decision to propose. I always knew that I was going to propose, I guess. Pretty much two to three weeks prior I knew it was going to happen, so I was just afraid that her sister's comments and opinions would influence the way she felt about me, but I was hoping that she would trust her gut, trust her heart and not really listen to her sister, and it turned out all right.
Ashley: Oh! That is an easy question. I mean, I always said that if I left with somebody that I love, it wouldn't matter if I was engaged or not. I mean, obviously going into it — you go through so much that you hope to be at a point where you feel comfortable enough to be engaged. But with J.P., I cared about him so much that if he was not ready for that, I was prepared to just leave with him in a relationship.
Why did you let Ben get down on his knee and propose?
Ashley: Well, I can tell you, for me, I know the whole thing is kind of a blur obviously going into it. The last thing I wanted to do is hurt Ben, being the great guy that he is. So, when he was — I mean, it is a blur to me, but I remember, you know, trying to talk to him and then feeling like I was not sure what to say, and then he got down on one knee and it was just — I had to pull him up. It really was a whirlwind, and I think it is really hard to understand my fear there in that moment with all eyes on you and cameras on you.
J.P., how would you rate your confidence going into the final rose ceremony?
J.P.: I was confident that — and I don't want to sound cocky at all — but I was confident after our Hong Kong date that I would be the last guy standing. I knew that what Ashley and I had was special and that there was really no way she could have with anybody else what the two of us had together.
If you had been in Ben’s position, how do you think you would have reacted?
J.P.: To be honest, I never really thought of that hypothetical situation because I felt so strongly that she was going to say yes for a while that I really never put myself in that mind set. I can understand Ben getting upset by it. I mean, right now if Ashley were to walk away from me, I would be devastated. So if Ben felt even a fraction of what I feel, I can understand him being hurt and sad.
Ashley, J.P. is Jewish and you’re not. Are you excited to learn about his faith?
Ashley: At first, I was nervous that his family would not be accepting me, but obviously that is not the case. ... The truth is I have been surrounded by a few — like three of my closest friends are Jewish, so I know a lot about it and I know a lot about the religion and the culture.
Would you raise your kids Jewish?
Ashley: I think that I am open to whatever JP wants to do, if he wants to raise our kids that way — Jewish — yes, actually, whatever you want, because I am very open and I do not — I am not really set on anything, so whatever makes him happy makes me happy.
J.P.: And religion was never really a factor for me at all. I'm in love, so I'm in love and you can't control it, and I know my family is going to love whoever I love, so it was never an issue when we talked about including holidays and Christmas with the family and Passover with my family, and it hasn't been a stumbling block at all.
How are you going to avoid the pitfalls past couples on the show have encountered?
Ashley: All I can tell you is that this show really brought us together. It built a really good relationship, I think. We confided in each other, we learned how to communicate, you know. We dealt with jealousy, we dealt with insecurity, we dealt with so many things early on. We built this great foundation, and now we are out here in the real world. We have been engaged for two months, but I feel like we have been together for years.
Do either of you have plans to do more television, like “Dancing With the Stars”?
Ashley: I don’t think you’ll be seeing us on TV unless you TiVo-ed those episodes [of “The Bachelorette”].
J.P., are you ready for Ashley’s dog to move in?
J.P.: I always knew that it was a package deal with Ashley, so I am welcoming Boo’s arrival.
Ashley: He is already practicing his dog voice.
J.P.: That is not happening.
And J.P., have you been calling Ashley “Cupcake”?
J.P.: Occasionally. Not as frequently as she would like.
Ashley: Oh, he will.
— Amy Kaufman
Photo: Ashley and J.P. after the proposal in Fiji. Credit: ABC.