If you remember Ed Swiderski, you remember the infamous green shorts he wore on The Bachelorette Season 5. (They even have their own Facebook fan site!) Despite the shorts — and the fact that he left part-way through the season to go back to Chicago for work — Jillian Harris picked Ed over Kiptyn Locke and Reid Rosenthal in one of the most dramatic finales EVER.

Jillian and Ed got engaged in 2009, but they announced their split in July 2010. The news was slightly overshadowed by Bachelor 14 couple Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi’s breakup special, which had just aired a few days prior.

Credit: C.M. Wiggins/WENN.com Photo: Ed Swiderski at Michigan Avenue Magazine's Second Anniversary on May 10, 2010

So what is Ed doing now? Wetpaint Entertainment gave him a call to find out more about his life, and catch up on some ancient history that still seems to follow him around two years later. “Even when me and my friends are out in the city anywhere — it’s so funny how you know there are a lot of people that watch that show because people still recognize me,” Ed said. “It’s fun. It’s definitely fun.”

Ed will be moving from Chicago to San Francisco — and his technology company is launching a site that may be of use to future reality TV contestants. In terms of his relationship with Jillian, he admits he wasn’t exactly living a monastic life while on that mid-season break from the show, and he agrees with Jillian that the attention he got from other ladies was a factor in their breakup. But there may be hope for an eventual Ed and Jillian reconciliation. Don’t hold your breath for it, but we’re nothing if not delusional optimists when it comes to Bachelor Nation couples getting back together. Ed is single and he *did* say “there’s always a chance” he and Jillian could give it another shot. And now that some time has gone by, maybe he’s grown up a bit?

Read on for more from Ed, including scoop on how much contestants are paid (tip: haggle!), and his take on the increasingly crazy casting process.

Wetpaint Entertainment: Why did you decide to go on The Bachelorette to begin with? Were you one of those guys who was nominated by a friend or did you just apply yourself?
Ed Swiderski: Not either, actually. I was just walking down the street one day in Chicago. A guy walked up to me with a clipboard and basically offered that he was looking for [contestants] to be part of a TV show on ABC. He didn’t really say what it was. It was kind of this weird thing. I actually kind of avoided him and I just said “No thanks,” you know, “I have a career and it probably isn’t going to work for me.” They took a picture of me and asked a couple of questions. They ended up e-mailing me about a month later [asking if he could send a video highlight reel] just kind of explaining who you are. […] I actually never did it. I didn’t do anything that they told me to do. They ended up coming to Chicago and interviewing me in person. And the reason why is [they were] literally like two blocks from my house, it was really convenient. I figured what the heck, you know. I went down there and talked with them for about an hour or so and they got their little interview and casting process. But, yeah, I never had any interest in it to begin with, it just kind of fell in my lap.

Were you ready and looking for love at the time or was it basically a whim? Did you think down the pike what would happen if you won?
No, I didn’t think down the pike what would happen if I won, but I was definitely getting out of a relationship so I was definitely on the prowl. And I figured “What the heck?” But actually, between the time that we started the casting process and when we actually left for the show was six months or so, so I ended up dating and whatnot beforehand. But yeah, I was definitely not prepared for [an engagement].

You recently confirmed in your blog that you were not paid to be on the show. Do you know if that's still the case for contestants or if they changed things?
No, you know, I mean everything is negotiable. I’m sure you understand how the business works. I was one of the few guys that had a kind of a professional career. Not knocking the other guys, but there were guys that were going through a period of changes with their careers or they had real flexible schedules. Where for me, I had income, I had a steady job, I had a great job at Microsoft.

So when you say it’s negotiable, though, like in the contract when you sign up as contestants, you can haggle?
Oh yeah. I don’t think the average person is prepared to go through that process. Typically, the people that go on the programs, any reality shows, I don’t think they realize what kind of opportunities they might have until afterward. In retrospect, we know that we probably would’ve been able to negotiate something… but like I said, for me it was never really a concern. It was about life experience, just having fun. So many people out there go into a situation thinking, “Hey, I can probably make some money from this from the start.” But that was never really on my mind.

You left the show for work. Was that the only reason you left or were you thinking it just wasn’t what you were expecting it to be?
No, no, it was 100 percent because of work. I mean, it was my life, my future at Microsoft. It was really starting to wear on me. I had co-workers who were trying to contact me and so — I think Ali [Fedotowsky] had a similar experience when she was working at Facebook at the time. I kind of empathized with her when she said she had to leave, because I absolutely did. Of course I had only been on a few dates with Jillian at the time. I knew that there was a spark there and I didn’t know the degree. But certainly it was a genuine feeling of “I gotta get out of here.”

Credit: WENN.com Photo: Ed Swiderski and Jillian Harris on Live With Regis and Kelly on July 29, 2009

Why did you come back? Did you call the producers or did they call you?
Actually it was a combination. I was able to kind of get things realigned at work and get access to my work stuff. So I had talked to producers — we actually kept in communication throughout. It wasn’t like one person calling out of the blue saying “Hey do you want to come back?” It was always something that I knew that might’ve been an option for me to go back, but I wasn’t sure if they would invite me or what the deal was. But then they kind of said “Look, you know, we think there’s a connection with you guys and it might be worth you coming back.” Of course I thought there might be a connection too, like I said, I didn’t know that the degree was, but I knew there was something there.

Do you know if Jillian told the producers “I miss Ed, I wish Ed would come back?” Do you know if that had something to do with it?
Yeah, I’m sure she’ll tell if you ask her, we were both kind of thinking the same thing, like “I wonder what’s going on” and she was thinking about — she has admitted several times to me she was saying “It would’ve been great to have Ed here.” I’m sure she did talk to the producers. We end up being pretty close with the producers. They want a good outcome. Their job is to create a match. If they can do that, then that’s better TV. … The ultimate outcome that they want is definitely a good couple. So I’m sure production talked with her, there were definitely conversations about bringing me back.

At the time there was some tabloid stuff, you were accused of having relationships with some ladies back in Chicago. Was any of it true at the time or was it all just driving you crazy? What was that like?
Yeah, I mean, I won’t get into the details but I can definitely say I was living my life as a bachelor. I’m not perfect. I was definitely enjoying all of the attention and, of course, if you admit that there’s any truth to the tabloids that [makes people think] all of it is true and that’s really not something I can do. I can say that there were definitely bits and pieces of things that were true, but there was certainly a lot of embellishment that was going on and it kept going for a couple weeks, which was pretty disturbing. But we got through it. We were strong. Jillian and I were tight so we both knew what was going on. We were both communicating together, so things went a lot better because we both supported each other.

Credit: WENN.com Photo: Ed Swiderski and Jillian Harris in New York on September 11, 2009

It’s interesting you mention the attention. Jillian recently posted something on her blog, “Love Lessons Learned From Ed.” She said that you liked the attention from other girls and it made her insecure and upset, and that was one of the reasons that led to the breakup. Would you say that’s true?
Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, she and I are on the same page about — unfortunately, we both agree that our downfall, we agree on the reasons why we didn’t work out. There definitely was — and I don’t think I’d be different from any guy in something like that, in getting the attention and actually just getting a kick out of it. […] But even to this day we talk almost every week...

Do you think you could ever give it another shot or is it pretty much “door closed, moving on”?
I don’t really know. There’s always a chance. I think that we’re both going through some major changes right now. I’m actually going to be moving out to San Francisco. I know she just moved home near her parents in British Columbia. So I know we both have a lot of changes going on...

What are you going to be doing in San Francisco?
I have a technology company called GreenCanyon and we have a project that we’re actually doing, it’s kind of funny, we’re building a website, kind of a social network for reality TV entertainment and people in the entertainment industry that are looking for different resources — like legal and agents and PR and stuff like that. So it’s kind of like a social network just for that audience. It’s kind of like a support group, really...

Are you going to be part of the San Francisco Bachelor world? Ben Flajnik is from there, and some other past contestants are from that area.
I don’t really communicate with many other people, other than a couple guys that were on my show. I’ve met a couple people that live out there — a couple girls from previous shows. But really I don’t know anybody out there. I guess it’s not really my — I’m very close with my group of friends I’ve always been close with. We went through an experience, [but] it doesn’t mean I’m going to make friends with them. But there are a couple of guys that I keep in touch with a lot. I keep in touch with Reid and Kiptyn and every once in a while some other guys on my show that I really liked that I’d probably hang out with in real life. But outside of them I guess I didn’t really hit it off with anybody else.

Do you still watch the show? Are you going to watch the new season of The Bachelor?
I’ve been kind of off and on. I watched the first one that was after ours and a couple more after that. I mean, who knows, it depends on my schedule. I’m a busy dude, if I have time to watch it I definitely will. We were doing a little video blog for a while, kind of fun with some of my friends. It just took so much time because they actually had a whole production team that was involved. If I’m going to do it I’d like to do some commentary and have fun with it, but I’m not sure yet if I want to do that.

Would you ever consider going on a show like Bachelor Pad?
No, not at all. I mean, I had a great experience [but] I really have my career...

You talked a little bit about Jillian and you don’t know what could happen in the future, but are you seeing anybody right now? Are you dating anybody?
No, nope.

We would love for you to go up to Canada and try again — or she could move to you.
Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds great, the thought of it, but in reality we were together for a full year, almost a year and a half. ... It might be a maturity thing, it might be a growth thing, it might be just kind of learning about other people but, you know, I think we’re both kind of in this mode of just at this point we’re just kind of moving on. But it’s hard because we’re very close still. Maybe it’s not the right path that we’re on, but who knows what could happen.

Your infamous green shorts from The Bachelorette went up for auction recently.
They did, yeah!

What happened with that?
They got like $1,000, it’s crazy. [Trista Sutter and Molly Mesnick organized the eDrop-Off auction of Bachelor items with proceeds going to the Red Cross.]

What were you thinking with those green shorts?
It was something where I was thinking, if I’m going to do this I’m going to stand out and have fun with it. And anybody that knows me and saw that, they knew right away that that was my kind of creative jokester personality coming out. [The editing] kind of made me look like I was serious. … The truth is, we were having a lot of fun with it. I have two different pairs of them actually on the show. … That was my way of kind of setting myself apart. I still wore them all the way up to about a week before [donating them to the auction].

Having gone through the experience in kind of an unorthodox way, just sort of being drafted off the street, is there anything about the show that you would change, or you think they could update or do differently?
I think it’s gradually kind of getting to be more and more into sort of this — I don’t want to call it a “circus” — but it’s definitely a little more about entertaining throughout. Even our series was a little [like that] but it just seem like they’re getting more and more crazy and they’re finding more “characters,” I guess, personas. That’s good for the show, you know, that’s what people want to see but I don’t necessarily think it makes for good — I don’t know, I can’t say it’s good TV or not ‘cause obviously it’s good TV. I just think they’re getting kind of crazy with their casting.

Yeah, they even had a girl with fangs. So you’re moving to San Francisco, you’ve got a new site starting, anything else you’re up to?
The charity that I run too is GEOTF.org. It’s a big education charity that I started with a few people that we’re helping out with schools and technology. ... Cmall World is the name of the site that we’re creating — that’s the celebrity network that we’re creating. So there’ll be more about that soon but it’s definitely going to be pretty big. We’ve got a big investor involved so it will be kind of cool.

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