Yeah, it’s pretty safe to say Nicki Sterling is NOT a fan of Courtney Robertson. Nicki still has respect and affection for Ben Flajnik and, in her exit interview after The Bachelor Season 16 overnight dates, she told reporters she wouldn’t say a bad word about him. Courtney? Whole other story.
“I will say [Ben’s] a great person,” Nicki said. “Do I feel for him watching it? Yes. Do I feel that he's being tricked and fooled by Courtney? I do, and I, I think that he's doing what a lot of guys in this situation would.”
She knew Courtney “was kind of mean” while they were taping, but watching the show back she was even more surprised by Courtney’s comments. (Forget the other bachelorettes’ mean comments... Just sayin.)
“Did I buy her apologizing to him for hurtful things she said about the girls in this last episode? No. I didn't buy it at all,” Nicki said. “From my stand point, it looks as though she realized that her making it to the end with him, her chances of that might be hindered by the ways she's treated other people so therefore she starts to backpedal.”
Aaaaaaand there’s more:
“I don't buy it that she loves him, I think there's too many other factors. I think that she can gain a lot from this experience. And I feel that he was almost a prize instead of, you know, a soul mate in this, essentially in her eyes.”
Nicki said if Ben picks Courtney, she wouldn’t be surprised if they had already broken up. If Ben picked Lindzi Cox, on the other hand, Nicki would be surprised to hear they had already broken up. Watching the show back, Nicki saw the strong connection between Lindzi and Ben that she never saw between them during filming. So she’s hoping Ben picks Lindzi.
Read on for Nicki’s full conference call interview:
You didn't really get as much one-on-one time with Ben as Courtney and Lindzi, and even Kacie. Do you think that, that played a factor into his letting you go, or do you think it was just a matter of compatibility or something like that?
Nicki Sterling: I don't really think it played a factor, and the whole time I knew that the time we spent together, even though it was short, you know, it was very meaningful, and I felt that that give him enough to know that what we had was really good, and, and, in my mind I was taking it as a compliment, you know, he didn't need that extra time to kind of figure out that he wanted to keep me around, he, he liked what he saw from the time he was getting with me, and so I, I don't think that played a role in the end. I think, you know, just like he said, I think it boils down to him just having strong feelings for two other women.
Do you still feel like you were in love with him and you knew him well enough to be in love, or do you think it was, you know, maybe just the situation?
I absolutely knew, and to this day, would say I was in love with him. It was very real, and I know it seems like a fantasy world, and however I felt as though I really got to know him very well, and my feelings were very true and very deep for him, and to this day I tell you he's a great person. And, and, you know, I don't regret falling so hard so fast at all, and I mean looking back it hurts just as bad to see it now as it did then, but, no it was definitely real, the feelings were real, you know, you, in that situation, you, you get to know somebody a lot quicker than you would in the normal dating scene, and, and I got know a lot about Ben really quickly and liked what I saw, and my feelings were really, really great really fast, so it was definitely real.
What surprises you most when you're watching the show back?
Honestly, I don't know. I don't know if there's specific surprises, and I would say one thing that I feel good about seeing is some of the connections that I didn't really understand Ben having throughout the deep end and while filming and I didn't see that, and watching it back I now see, for instance, he and Lindzi's connection, I didn't get a good grasp on that while I was living with her. But watching it back, I now understand why he kept her for so long and, and of course I'm surprised and shocked to see how hurtful Courtney's words were that came out of her mouth, and I mean, I knew while filming, that you know, she was kind of mean, but watching it back I didn't know exactly how mean and how soon the comments started to show, so I think that's probably the biggest surprise.
He has two women left, Lindzi and Courtney. Who do you see him with and why?
I see him more so with Lindzi, and she's very laid back and easy going, and I feel like their sense of humors are very compatible. And my hope is that he picks her.
Do you think it would be a mistake if he picked Courtney?
I do think it would be a mistake if he picked Courtney, as I said in my [Diaries of the Departed] exit interview, I, he made a mistake by sending me home, and I think he would make one by picking her.
Do you think your relationship with Ben progressed more slowly or was that just sort of how the viewers saw it?
I, on my end, I think that our relationship got off to a pretty good start, and you know, pretty deep, pretty fast. On his end, you know, hearing him refer to me as the dark horse, that lets me know that maybe he enjoyed my company in the beginning, but, and, didn't have such a strong connection until toward the end, and I'm fine with that, you know, he's said things, like “the more I spend time with her, the greater I feel, the stronger my feelings grow,” and I'm fine with that, you know, if it took him little by little to see good things in me, then that's fine, and although I'm aware that I probably had stronger feelings for him sooner than he did for me.
You said you were definitely in love with him at the time, but now that you've watched and really gotten the full picture, have your feelings changed towards Ben and how you feel about him?
Absolutely not. I, I thought, I got to know a really good person while filming, and I stand behind that. I, so I thought, I will say he's a great person. Do I feel for him watching it? Yes. Do I feel that he's being tricked and fooled by Courtney? I do, and I, I think that he's doing what a lot of guys in this situation would. You know, he wasn't able to see everything then, and you know, it was based on — his decisions were based on what he could see at the time. I was in love with him and I still have, I care about him and still have feelings for him but it's something I had to get over, you know. I came back and went back to my normal daily routine and it was hard but I'm finally getting back to that life I [had] before I started the show … but no … the person I think he is now is the same as it was … and I think looking back those things were true and real, and I would never say a bad word about that guy ever.
You seemed very surprised about your elimination, but did you see it coming beforehand at all? And if you didn't think it was going to be you getting sent home, then who did you think was going to go home instead of you?
I was very surprised. Just as Ben put it, that each time we spent together, and I felt greater and greater and more confident and more confident, and so I definitely was shocked. It's hard to say who I saw going home. I just did not think it would be me. And given that situation, you always feel what you have with him is greater than anybody else. So, for me, it was really a concept. I just didn't think it would be me. And how, I had no idea how his time with Courtney was versus Lindzi. And I guess in the back of my mind, my hope was that it would have been Courtney. But, you know, I, going into these things I didn't look at it like, “okay, well who do I have a better chance of staying than?” You know, it was just, I felt good about myself and my time with him, and so that was the reason I was shocked. It wasn't that somebody was staying over me. It was just I didn't see it coming, that's why I said it.
It seemed like Ben really hit it off with your family during your hometown date. What was your family's reaction when you got home? Were they disappointed you and Ben didn't work out, and if so, have they maintained that same mind set while watching season unfold? Or has their opinion of him slightly changed since they got to observe his relationships with the other women?
When I got home, their biggest fear was that I was very hurt and going through the heartbreak, I wouldn't be able to get back up on my feet and, you know, I think that they weren't sure, you know, they were just worried — they’re parents —but once they saw me kind of transition back into working and doing what I love and getting back on my feet then they look at it as, you know, a learning experience for me, and a good life experience, and they would have loved for it to worked out. They really, really enjoyed the time, the conversations they spent with him, and wouldn't have given their blessings if they didn't think so, and just as I do, you know, from them watching it, they feel as though Ben's being fooled. There's a lot of stuff he's not seeing by Courtney, and, or he's not seeing about Courtney. And you know, I think because my feelings were so great for him, they do now want to express that thought if they have them, about him. And you know, because that was somebody I loved, I fell in love with, and they respect that, and if anything, is just kind of a feeling for the guy because he got fooled just as I said before.
Chris Harrison said he believed Ben eliminated you because your relationship with him didn't seem as mature as the others he was building, and that you'd probably notice that while watching the season play out. So do you agree with Chris now that you've seen the season, and is it accurate to say that your connection with Ben wasn't on a very mature level yet?
Honestly, I love Chris but I don't agree with that. I felt that our connection was, our relationship was really mature, you know, we talked about really important things, he had a good grasp of my past. [They showed] a lot of my playful side, which I'm happy with, but that was only part of it, you know. We had a lot of really intense conversations. … So as far as my relationship being mature, I think it definitely was, you know. I wasn't one to sit there and beg him for reassurance, and I was confident in the person I was, and if he and I were suppose to work out, it would, based on me being myself. And I tried to maintain that attitude the whole time. And I tried to make some moments with him, you know, very meaningful, yet playful at the same time, because those are two things I think are important in a relationship.
[In Episode 9],Courtney told Ben she didn't want him to think she was fake and all that kind of stuff, did you believe a word she said, and do you regret warning Ben about her at all?
I do not regret warning Ben about her in the least. I, at that point, was really, really starting to fall in love with this guy, and I felt that if I didn't say something, if he ended up hurt in the end, then I would somehow take blame for it, so I don't regret that in the least. Did I buy her apologizing to him for hurtful things she said about the girls in this last episode? No. I didn't buy it at all, I, from my outlook, you know, from my standpoint, it looks as though she realized that her making it to the end with him, her chances of that might be hindered by the ways she's treated other people so therefore she starts to backpedal. That's, that's my take on it. And just because I never, the Courtney I lived with and got to know was not sincere in that manner and I, I didn't believe it when she was, I didn't believe the tears, I didn't believe the apology.
Courtney was spotted trying on wedding dresses, there's a bunch of pictures, what do you think about that?
Wow, that's news to me, I, I didn't know that. I'm shocked, I didn't know that news, I haven't been up on my gossip, so I would have to chew on that for a while. I don't even know. I'm kind of shocked right now. So I don't know, I'm sorry, I kind of, I don't even have an answer to that, I just, wow, my mouth is open right now.
If Courtney wasn't on the show, do you think your chances with Ben would have been better?
No, actually, I don't think it's a matter of chances, you know, comparing one girl versus another. I'm confident and I fully believe that if Ben and I were suppose to be together, we would, regardless of the other people around us, and that's what's helped me get through this process, so I, I don't, I don't think she affected my chances and if the connection's there, and he wanted to be with me and propose, then it would have happened regardless of who was around.
If you could use one word to describe Courtney and one word to describe Lindzi, and just expand on what that word, why you picked that word.
OK, let me think about this for a few seconds. OK. I've got one. Let me think of the other. OK. … Courtney, I would say “malicious.” Just because I feel that she knew what to do in the situation in order to build Ben's attention, make it to the end, do what you got to do, and for Courtney, I would say, or for Lindzi, I would say “easy going” or “nonchalant” rather. Maybe that one is a better one. And for Lindzi, we saw her, her comical side, you know, she's really good at dropping one liners, and how, and we always saw just a real laid back, nonchalant you know, never really got into drama, never got super emotional. I never really saw that super serious side of Lindzi, so watching it now, seeing how strong her feelings were for Ben, it, I'm glad to see that, because I didn't see that while I was in the house, so that would be my best, best one word descriptions for those.
You said that you didn't have a change of heart about Ben. A lot of women, when they have gotten off the show and saw the skinny dipping, that did change how they felt a little bit about his respect level for the women. Did that change things a little bit for you?
It stung a lot, and to see that, knowing that that was the same week I had my one-on- one and essentially, you know, our first real moment together, however I try to put myself in Ben's shoes. Do I wish that he would have said, “oh, not a good idea, the girls are going to be upset about this?” Of course I wish that, but he's a guy. He's a 29-year-old guy who is being seduced by one of the most attractive women on earth, you know, I mean, I can't, I can't fault him for it. He's a guy, you know, I mean, in that moment, who's to say what any other guy in his position would have done? You know, I, I mean, she worked her magic and it worked, you know, so it doesn't change my opinion on him, I mean, was I a little disappointed to see that? Yes. But in the grand scheme of things I don't know many other guys who would have done anything much differently.
Do you think that with the information that Courtney supposedly was trying on wedding dresses and now that you've seen their relationship and this sort of second side to her with him, do you buy that she actually likes him? Or do you feel, still feel that she was sort of in it to win it and, or do you think that they could possibly have a great relationship?
Honestly, I don't even — that is such new info to me, I don't even know how to take it, and my hope is that, by now, especially having a, you know, in Ben's shoes if he — it's like having to watch her, and see everything that he's seen on the show, surely she would not put him through something else, such as a wedding, if it wasn't genuine, and sincere and true love. So my hope is that if those are true, then it is coming from a place of love with her, and that they've worked it out, or whatever. You know, I mean, I would hope that, but I just, I'm shocked, I just can't, I can't believe it at this point, I don't, I don't know.
Wedding pictures aside, did you buy that she liked him?
I, at this point, no. I don't buy it that she loves him, I think there's too many other factors. I think that she can gain a lot from this experience. And I feel that he was almost a prize instead of, you know, a soul mate in this, essentially in her eyes.
Ben said in his blog that he wanted to tell you all the wonderful things he loved about you before he let you step into the limo, but ultimately didn't because he was afraid it would have hurt you even more. What are your thoughts on that? Like, would you have liked to hear the things he had to say, in order to maybe receive a little more closure and understand how he felt for you, or do you think that would have just made leaving even more difficult and heart wrenching for you?
Honestly, it was difficult, heart-wrenching either way, and at that point you're, you're taking in the words he's saying, but whether you're really grasping them and whether you can remember them once you get in the limo, that's a whole new story, you know. Your mind's racing, you're trying to get a hold of everything, so who's to say I would have even remembered as he gave me more nice things, and I, I don't feel as though it would have made a difference in getting closure from him. He made it clear as to why he made the decision he did, and for me, I, I'm very comfortable and confident with who I am as a person, and I know I can offer somebody really great things, and it, it wouldn't make a difference if he was to tell me really nice things, it's not that I needed to hear them to be OK with leaving and be OK with myself as a woman and, you know, what I had to offer him and so, that's sweet of him to say that, you know, he had more nice things to say. He just didn't get them out, but whether it would have hurt me more or made it better, I'd say, I'm indifferent on that, you know, on wanting him, you know, if he had a lot of good, nice things to say than why is he letting me go? But then two seconds where he's saying it all boils down to having stronger feelings for people. So I wouldn't, I'm on the fence about that, I don't think that either way would have made a difference, you know, I heard what I needed to hear to get closure and move on, and I guess that's all that's really important.
There has been a report that things are already over between Ben and the bachelorette that he picked at the end. If that's true, what's your reaction to that, and would that surprise you?
I feel as though if, I think it would depend on who was chosen. I think that if Courtney was chosen, then I'm not surprised at all, I don't see how Ben would be able to watch the season and not be extremely upset with her and disappointed, because essentially he's seeing a different person than he got to know. Now... if he picked Lindzi, and it's already over, then yes, I'd be a little surprised to hear that. I think that from watching Lindzi on the screen I feel that she was there for him and was very open and honest with him and I, if he picked her, I would see it lasting and being really real.
If Ben ended up choosing you in the end, looking back on everything, do you think your relationship would have lasted, or do you think you have would broken things off?
It’s hard to say because I'm such a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but if I was, you know, if I had to answer that, I think that if he did pick me then we'd definitely still be together, I think that. I don't think Ben would have done the show if he wasn't genuinely looking for somebody to share his life with, and for me, I wouldn't have stayed in that position and been in that environment for as long as I was if I didn't truly believe and want the same thing. So I think having both people being open and honest about what they want and where they want things to go, and seeing if things line up as far as lifestyle and where to go after the show, then there's no reason they wouldn't be together. I think, I think we definitely would be if he had chosen me, but then again, you know, he made his decision and you know, I just hope he's OK.
In your final words, you said you thought you were ready to be a wife with Ben, but then after your break up with him, you said it would take a while to feel that way again. Have you moved on since the show, or are you still in the process of sort of, getting over Ben and everything that happened? Like, are you single, dating anyone?
I'm still in the process of completely getting over everything. I'm definitely single, the idea of dating has not even crossed my mind since I left Switzerland, and it's been a good time for me. You know, I've been working, I've been hanging out with friends, I've been focusing on myself, so you know, really trying to get back to that strong, confident place I was at before I left for the show. And I'm, I'm getting pretty close to being back in that position, which, you know, I can in a sense contribute to just focusing on myself and not having anybody else around, dating, whatever. And so it's just the last thing on my mind. It's hard to really fall for somebody that doesn't fall for you back, and it's kind of a hard pill to swallow, and it's, it's going to take me a while, I think, to be able to put myself out there 100 percent like I did on the show, so but, you know, I'm confident it will happen at some point. I'm just not really ready for it.