Credit: Splash News Photo: Courtney Robertson Shops at The Promenade in Santa Monica on Feburary 3, 2012

Finally — people with actual names are going on the record to talk about The Bachelor Season 16’s Courtney Robertson. Up to this point, only her family members and long-time ex Chris Slawson have spoken out in her favor, with all the other tabloid rumors quoting unnamed sources that could be people who don't even know her.

On February 15, fashion photographer Jim Jordan tweeted a link to a video he shot of Courtney, which was posted to her Facebook page. @bachspoilerfans asked “@Jimjordanphoto Is Courtney anything like the person The Bachelor is [portraying] her be? Is she more down to earth then that?” Jim replied, “So different! She’s a super cool, down to earth girl.”

And today ABC15 in Arizona posted a four-page online interview with Kate Brunst and Liz Hermansky, who have been friends with Courtney for more than 15 years. Just having them on the record discounts the idea Courtney herself seemed to suggest (most likely with the help of editing) that she only has guy friends. In the Q&A, the ladies go rumor-by-rumor to refute specific tabloid claims. Here are a few excerpts from their long interview:

Credit: Francisco Roman/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Courtney Robertson Steals a Kiss From Ben Flajnik on The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 6

How good of a best friend does she make ?
Kate:  The best kind. She is kind, thoughtful, and one of the funniest people I know. Her laughter is contagious. She wants the best for her friends and she is always there when you need her.
Liz: Courtney is an amazing friend. She is caring and thoughtful and her positivity rubs off on those around her. She is honest and loyal, and supports her friends when they are going through a tough time. You can’t help but have a great time when you are around her; she brings laughter and a smile to every situation. She is fun-loving, laid back, and is respectful and kind to everyone she meets. I can’t say enough good things about Courtney. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

She has been called a serial cheater, the meanest contestant ever, and a maneater, why do you think that is?
Kate: Courtney is not a mean-spirited person. The show might contradict that, but those who actually know her, know better. It is JUST a show, after all. Infidelity is not Courtney’s style. If she is in a monogamous relationship, it is just that… monogamous. As far as Courtney being a “maneater,” you’re either the heartbreaker or the heartbroken. It’s a crappy situation no matter which way you cut it.
Liz: Those hateful labels are completely false, and it is heartbreaking to watch your friend’s reputation being slandered. Courtney is one of the most honest and loyal people you will ever meet, and there are “anonymous sources” out there trying to discredit her character.  America loves the drama and the public is quick to believe the false gossip. The viewers have bought into how she is portrayed on the show, and the media is fueling the drama by only choosing to portray her in a negative light. Her family and friends have tried to stand up for her, and they are choosing not to print the positive things that we have to say. I spoke to US Weekly at length before the “maneater” article and gave them lots of positive information about Courtney’s character, personality, sense of humor, and fun loving attitude. They chose to omit all the positive information, and instead used anonymous sources to continue to portray her in a negative light.

There’s been a lot of talk about Cavan Clark, the photographer whose friends are claiming she cheated on him and/or dumped him to be on The Bachelor.
Kate: Courtney never cheated on Cavan. They had a great relationship while it lasted and she has nothing bad to say about their time together. They didn’t work out.  They had been broken up for months before she even decided to go on the show.
Liz: There is no truth to that. Courtney and Cavan had broken up long before she chose to go on The Bachelor.They had a great connection and had a lot of fun together. She still thinks very highly of him.

Credit: Christopher's Kitchen Photo: Chef Christopher Slawson

There are also claims Courtney has always had guys taking care of her.
Kate:  In some cases, it could be quite the opposite. Mostly, she has had relationships where this is equal.
Liz: Courtney is an independent woman, and doesn’t need to be “taken care of”.  She has been supporting herself since she was 19, and has never relied on a man financially.

In Touch Weekly reported she dumped Dylan Hall when she found out he was making less money than she thought.
Kate: This is my favorite — Courtney and Dylan were together for 3 years and living together for 2. It’s astonishing that someone would make claims like this when they were sharing a life, a roof, and bills. She knew for 3 years what his financial situation was, but she loved him anyway.  Sometimes relationships just don’t work.
Liz: Courtney and Dylan’s relationship ended because they grew apart. The breakup had nothing to do with how much money he made.

Chris Slawson, who is also originally from Arizona, seems to be her only ex-boyfriend standing up for her. Why do you think that is?
Kate: Chris and Courtney were a huge part of each other’s lives. They went through a lot together, from teenage years into adulthood. He really knows her and that’s why he is standing up for her.  hey care about each other and want the best for one another.
Liz: Chris was Courtney’s first love and longest relationship. He is the most credible source on what kind of partner Courtney makes, as he dated her on and off for 7 years. He has nothing but wonderful things to say about her.

Credit: Splash News Photo: Courtney Robertson Laughs With a Friend in Los Angeles, February 2012

What do you think of the way she’s been portrayed on the show?
Kate: I think it was in poor taste to create such a persona for ratings. The Bachelor is supposed to be a show about finding love, not a hate campaign. There is such conviction in the press calling Courtney “The Devil” or a “Succubus”.  Those are some serious statements, and very hurtful ones at that. The fact that she is being persecuted for things she said is ironic when her words pale in comparison to the media’s portrayal of her. People need to take a step back and take a look at themselves before they start throwing stones. I will say, knowing her sense of humor, I found the majority of her comments hilarious.  I guess a joke just doesn’t have the same effect when taken out of context.
Liz: I think she has been really misunderstood on the show. She has a witty and sarcastic sense of humor, and often times that is coming across as catty. Anyone who knows her understands her humor and knows that she’s not trying to be mean. She works in an extremely competitive industry, and she is assertive and confident. She is not one to let others walk all over her, and had a difficult time when the women called her names and treated her with disrespect.

How does she feel about the way the press has been treating her? How is she getting through it?
Kate:  She is upset about it, as anyone in her situation would be.  She is handling it gracefully and with her chin up.  She knows that her friends and family wholeheartedly support her.
Liz: This has been the most difficult time in her life. Could you imagine seeing yourself on magazine covers portrayed as an evil villain? Would you want paparazzi waiting outside your house to photograph your daily activities? Her strength is admirable and she has been taking the punches day by day. She tries to maintain a positive outlook and is thankful that her friends and family are supporting her during this rough time.  She is hopeful for the day that she can move on and live a normal life.

Is she being fake on the show or is she being her true self?
Kate:  One thing Courtney is not, is fake.  I think that she was herself as much as she could be in that situation.  Courtney is fun-loving and laughs a lot.  So far, the show doesn’t air much of that.  She is completely herself with Ben though, nervousness and all.
Liz: It’s amazing what they can do with editing. They seem to be really trying to make her the villain.  By cutting her only as negative and catty, they are feeding America the drama. They film the women continuously for a week, and then cut it down to a two hour episode. They can pick and choose what clips they show, and attempt to make characters along the way. When you watch her with Ben, she is her true self. When she is alone with him, I see the same laid back, fun loving girl that her friends and family know and love.

Read the full Q&A for more.

Sources: TwitterABC15.com

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Credit: 5min.com Photo: Will Courtney Robertson Tell Ben Flajnik She Loves Him? — Bachelor 16 Hometown Dates Sneak Peek! (VIDEO)