Credit: Kristina Owen    
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The Bachelorette

Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s Best Friend Speaks! Separates Fact From Fiction on The Bachelorette — Exclusive

We’re just 6 episodes into Season 8 eight of The Bachelorette, but dashing Indy Car driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr., has already established himself as a breakout star. On-screen, his good looks and kind, good-humored demeanor have Emily Maynard hooked. Off-screen, however, reports have suggested he may not be as sincere as he seems about finding true love.

And what to make of his history with Cassie Lambert, one of the show’s head producers? We had heard Emily wasn’t thrilled when she found out Arie and Cassie once dated, but a new report suggests she was so irate, she “cut [Arie] on the spot” when she found out about their prior relationship.

Speaking first and exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment, Kristina Owen, owner of Letter K Consulting in Scottsdale, AZ and one of Arie’s closest friends since high school, opened up to us about the Arie she knows… and what the real story is when it comes to Arie, Cassie, and Emily.

Credit: Kristina Owen    

Wetpaint Entertainment: How do you know Arie?
Kristina: We met sophomore year of high school and we’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since.

And the two of you have never dated?
Nope. Never. It’s never been like that with us. From the start, we were just good, good friends. Now, we have more of a brother-sister relationship.

What kind of friend is he?
He’s the best. He’s the guy in my life that always gives it to me straight. There’s no BS between us. He’s very honest and he’s always there for me. What you see is what you get and he definitely wears his heart on his sleeve.

What do you know about his relationship with Cassie Lambert?
People assume it was this really intense, long-term relationship – but that’s not the case. The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

It was in 2003 so Arie was really young. She was an Indiana girl and knew a lot about racing. She drank beer and hung with the boys. But Arie told me it was never a relationship. Like I said, I’ve been one of his best friends for ages and I’ve never even heard her name until now.

Credit: Wetpaint Entertainment    

So all these years later, how did he end up getting cast on the show?
Well, it was partly because of me. I’m a huge fan of all the shows and when I found out Emily was going to be the next Bachelorette, I told Arie he had to do it. I was going to apply for him!To me, Emily is so his type. I told him all about her and showed him pictures. He thought she was really pretty and he loved that she had a kid.

Then, totally by coincidence, the Bachelorette producers (including Cassie) called Arie on a conference call regarding another driver they were considering for the show. They wanted Arie to be a reference. Towards the end of the call, Arie threw something out there. He said, “Listen, if you’re still looking for people, I’d love to do it.” They asked him if he was serious and he said yes. They told him that they had everyone they needed, but they would keep him in mind if a spot opened up.

A month later, he got a call inviting him to a last-minute casting meeting. Five days after that, he was on a plane to Charlotte. But Cassie was not at the casting meeting and he was definitely NOT given any special consideration when it came to Emily.

It all happened so fast. Arie went in with zero expectations, but I knew he and Emily would be perfect together.

Without spoiling what happens down the line, is it safe to say Emily eventually found out about Cassie and Arie’s history?
Yes, she was made aware of it. But what’s been reported isn’t what really happened. Not even close.

Arie’s a good-looking guy. It’s pretty clear he can have his pick of women. Do you think he’s ready to commit to a young mom who has a kid?
He has dated a lot over the years, no doubt about it. But when he’s in a committed relationship, he goes in whole-heartedly. He is so thoughtful and loving – he’s just had bad luck when it comes to love. He’s been ready for someone like Emily for a long time.

His last relationship was with a woman who had two kids. He was so in love with both of them. Things didn’t work out, but I can say 100 percent he’s ready to get married and he’s ready to be a dad.

06.19.2012 / 07:41 AM EDT by Beth Sobol
Related: The Bachelorette, Reality Gossip, The Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr

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