All season long, Courtney Robertson had no choice but to remain silent while being vilified on TV and by the press as the most hated and calculating woman in Bachelor history. But now that “After the Final Rose” has aired, and it’s been revealed that she did, indeed, win Season 16 and Ben Flajnik’s heart, she can finally speak out.

Opening up exclusively to Wetpaint Entertainment, she set the record straight on how she really feels about the photos that allegedly prove Ben cheated on her, where the couple currently stands, what she would do differently if she knew then what she knows now, and those ridiculous "Bachelor baby" rumors. 

Wetpaint Entertainment: Thanks so much for speaking with us!
Courtney:
Sure! I just wanted to thank you guys for keeping everything so positive. There’s obviously a lot more to reality TV than meets the eye and I really appreciate that you didn’t judge me too soon.

There was a lot of anti-Courtney sentiment out there for a while, to put it mildly. Do you feel like that’s starting to turn around?
Definitely. I just spent the weekend with Ben in San Francisco and people kept coming up to us and offering words of encouragement. So yeah, things seem to be getting better.

Credit: Splash News

The Bachelor cameras may be gone, but the paparazzi are still all over you guys. The tabloids don’t seem ready to leave you alone either. How do you handle it?
We try not to pay attention to it. I guess positive stories don’t sell, so no one wants to run the truth. All they care about is selling magazines so they come up with these crazy, scandalous stories that are just so ridiculous. I mean, I’m carrying the Bachelor baby? At first, it made me really angry, but I’ve made peace with it.

Still, it couldn’t have been easy when those so-called photos of Ben “caught cheating” came out…
Of course, initially it was upsetting. But at the end of the day, if I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t be with him, period.

Here’s the thing: I have a lot of platonic guy friends and Ben knows that. But I was very careful after the show wrapped not to get too close to them in public or put myself in a situation where a photo could be taken and something could be misconstrued.

Ben just didn’t have his guard up the way I did. He has a lot of female friends and he’s a playful, flirty guy who likes to party with everyone. I get that about him and I’m completely fine with it. He’s a really warm and social person.

But he became a target. The tabloids hired people to follow him everywhere, just waiting for the chance to snap a photo of anything they could to make it look like he was doing something shady. I think you can take a photo and make it look like anything if you really want to.

Am I thrilled about the photos? No. But I believe him when he says he didn’t cheat.

Credit: WENN.com

Are you still cautious when it comes to your male friends?
It’s funny. I was in Santa Monica last week and I ran into a guy friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years. He picked me up and twirled me around and I was thinking, “Oh god, I hope no one takes a picture.” But at the end of the day, Ben and I just have to live our lives and hang out with our friends and ignore the nastiness.

You have a lot of faith and trust in Ben…
I do, because he had it for me. After everything that was shown on TV and said about me, he stuck by me. He didn’t walk away. He trusted and believed in the real me. I can’t tell you how much that meant.  So yeah, I’m definitely giving him that trust right back.

What’s the plan in terms of you moving to San Francisco?
I’m hopeful it will happen by summer. We’re not in a rush, but neither of us wants to be in a long distance relationship for very long. For now, we have a lot of fun, little trips planned. But I do love San Francisco and can definitely see having a happy life there with Ben.

Ben’s family really seemed to embrace you during the finale. Are you still close with them?
Yes! I love Julia, his sister. We talk all the time and she’s really helped me get through all this. Ben and I even double dated with her over the weekend and had a blast. And his mom is an amazing lady.

Are you in touch with anyone else from the show?
Casey Shteamer will be a friend for life. She had my back from the beginning and I couldn’t have gotten through this without her.  And I had lunch with Jaclyn [Swartz] and Rachel [Truehart] when they were in town. But all the girls are pretty spread out. Maybe we’ll all get together at some point down the road... but it’s definitely not as bad as people might think. Everyone’s moving on and there IS life beyond The Bachelor.

Final question: If you could go back in time knowing then what you know now – that you’d get painted as this huge villain, get beaten up by the press, get ganged up on and reduced to tears during Women Tell All – would you do it all over again?
Absolutely. Would I have handled myself differently when it came to the other girls? Of course. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I found Ben… and he made everything worth it. 

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