Did youskip to the last page of Reality Steve's spoilers on Brad Womack's 2.0 season of The Bachelor? If yes, you're probably wondering, "Who is this Chantal O'Brien girl?" Well, we know she's "the slapper" — the first girl out of the limo who slaps Brad on behalf of "every woman in America." Guess that's the key to a man's heart, because according to Steve, the Season 15 finale comes down to divorcee Chantal and single NASCAR mom Emily Maynard, with Brad choosing Chantal.
Update: At least, that’s what he said then — before the season even started. But with just two weeks left to Brad’s journey, Steve changed his story. His sources were wrong (again) and they say Brad is actually engaged to Emily, with Chantal as the runner-up.
So who is Chantal? Here's what Steve has to say about her:
"Chantal O'Brien: 28, Mercer Island, WA. Chantal is the daughter of Mike O'Brien, former Seattle Seahawk and owner of the O'Brien Auto Group chain in the Pacific Northwest, which you can read about by clicking this article from 2008. She works as her dad’s assistant at the corporate office and is divorced. Was married in 2005 and divorced in 2009. I'm well aware of who her ex-husband is, what he used to do, and what he does now. Not that hard to figure out once you know Chantal's last name."
Here's a portion of that article from 2008: "[Mike O'Brien] cherishes his trips to Palm Springs, Calif., and traveling with his family. 'My daughter (Chantal, 26) is my assistant, my wife (Billie Jo) is the boss, and my son (Connor, 13) is my other full-time job,' he said."
One of the reasons Steve says he knows he's right about the ending this time is "[b]ecause on Thanksgiving, Brad was in Palm Desert, California, with Chantal and her family celebrating Thanksgiving with them." Palm Desert is about 11 miles outside Palm Springs. "The O'Brien family is not hurting for money," Steve writes, "dad even owns a private jet, they own a vacation home in an exclusive part of Palm Desert called the Hideaways, and that’s where Brad and Chantal spent Thanksgiving with her family."
Update: But it turns out Steve was wrong about this, too. He said in his updated blog, two weeks before the finale, that “Even though you may find this hard to believe and it’s damn near impossible for me to prove it to you, trust me when I say the O’Briens did spend Thanksgiving at their vacation home in California. Brad obviously just wasn’t there as I was originally told.”
Here's a portion of a Seattle P-I story from 2007: "O'Brien lives on Mercer Island with his wife, Billie Jo, and football-playing son, Connor, 12, who will accompany him to Saturday's UW-Cal football game. He also has a married daughter, Chantel, 25." So that has Chantel with an "e," but everywhere else has Chantal O'Brien with an "a," which also seems to be the name of a girl who blogs about Paris Hilton.
Anyway, here's part of a 2004 story from the Semancik Foundation: "O'Brien, lives on Mercer Island with wife, Billie Jo, son Connor, 9 years old (who makes Mike play a lot of baseball), and adopted daughter Chantal, 21, a graduate of the University of Washington. He also has a private jet which he leases out as a separate business." This has her as "adopted daughter," so maybe that's something that will come up on The Bachelor as well?
Back to Chantal's ex-husband. The Fans of Reality TV (FORT) boards have done their usual speedy job of tracking down key intel. According to their sleuthing, Chantal was married to Jason Vena, the lead singer of a Seattle alternative rock band called Acceptance. According to the Facebook page People Who Want the Band "Acceptance" to get Back Together, "Jason Vena was the vocalist of Seattle band Acceptance until their break up in mid-2006. Based on guitarist Christian McAlhaney's post on the band's website announcing their breakup, Jason's desire to lead a 'normal' life was the primary reason for the band's dissolution. He has since retreated from the limelight and currently works for his family's car business in Mercer Island, Washington, residing with his wife."
The FORT boards also found a corporation called Chae, Inc., which is a car business in Bellevue, Washington. "It has listed as officers as Michael O'Brien (her dad) and Chantal Vena. Just another piece to the puzzle," the post says. And it looks like Jason Vena may also have found a new love. This Facebook account, which appears to be his, says he's currently engaged to Tawny Ingwaldson (quite the name!) of Bellevue, Washington.
Although Reality Steve claims he doesn't want to write gossip anymore, he hints at what could come out when "tabloids" dig into Chantal's past. "As I said, the tabloids will eventually get a hold of Chantal's ex, and her friends, and people close to her, and stuff is going to get out," he writes. "Can they weather the storm? Has she already discussed her divorce in detail with Brad? Is she willing to leave her father's business and move for Brad? Did she REALLY come on this show in hopes to get married or because she's out for fame and publicity?"
Maybe we're reading too much into it, but that statement — and some of the jealousy Chantal inspires among the other women, based on the spoilers — points to another Vienna Girardi situation. Something to keep an eye on for sure...