Finally, someone asks the question JP Rosenbaum has been waiting for: What makes him the best kisser in the world and is his fiancee Ashley Hebert just as good?
Ashley says there’s just an electricity that comes from JP and even early on The Bachelorette, before she knew he was The One, when he kissed her she thought, “That’s the best kiss I’ve ever had.” (Stop rubbing it in!) JP says it takes two and, yes, she is also the best kisser he knows.
Their combined energy makes its way through the phone during their long exit interview with the media, the day after the Season 7 finale and After the Final Rose special.
They’ve been on a media whirlwind — Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America, Regis & Kelly — starting right after last night’s finale. So they haven’t had too much time to plan their wedding or do much else besides talk about how great it is to finally be able to talk about each other.
In their interview, they discuss their plans to move in together in New York — along with Ashley’s dog, Boo — and start living a normal life, away from the TV. JP said he was confident after their Hong Kong date that he would be the last guy standing in the end. He said he hasn’t watched any of runner-up Ben Flajnik’s scenes from the finale, which is probably good since Ben and Ashley did a lot of making out and mud bathing.
During the interview Ashley calls JP “babe” and JP said they have a lot of little pet names for each other — yes, including “Cupcake.” But will REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” be their wedding song? Maybe!
Read on to learn more about Ashley’s favorite part of the finale (surprise, it’s not the proposal!), which Bachelor/ette alumnus gave her the strength to get through everything, whether they plan to raise their kids in the Jewish faith, and how they plan to survive the franchise’s infamous curse. “We have a fairy tale, I’m not gonna lie,” Ashley says. “It’s not perfect, but it’s great. Now it’s great. It’s a real relationship, it’s not like we’re in La La Land!”
Ashley, at what point during the trip to Fiji did you and your sister Chrystie straighten things out?
Ashley: We actually never resolved it in Fiji. She left and it was still unresolved. And I think it was when we got home that we talked about it a little bit. But it went unresolved for a while, until she started watching the show air and she called me up and said, “I’m so sorry. I completely see it now. I was too quick to judge.” It took a while but she came around.
JP, you and Chrystie obviously had a nice moment on the After the Final Rose, but did you have a chance to talk afterward?
JP: Absolutely. The first time we got to speak after we got back from Fiji, Chrystie was so sweet, so supportive. It was a different person I was talking to. Now it’s ancient history. We’re close.
What was going through your heads during JP’s proposal speech? Which was very good, by the way.
Ashley: It was great! I mean, I think I was just waiting to hear what he had to say. As a woman, or as a girl, you always dream of this moment. So I was kind of living in it and I just wanted to hear everything he had to say.
JP: I was just so comfortable. It felt right and it just naturally flowed. And when I was standing there with her next to me, it was as if nobody else was around and that’s how it had always been with us from the start. So I wasn’t nervous. It just all felt natural and I was happy with how it turned out.
With everything that went down with Ashely’s sister, JP, did you ever think. “I’ll tell her that I love her, but I won’t propose”? And, if so, Ashley, what would you have done if he had said he loved you and wanted to be with you but didn’t propose?
JP: Nothing that happened between me and her sister had any influence on my decision to propose. I wholly knew that I was going to propose, pretty much two or three weeks prior I knew it was going to happen. I was just afraid that her sister’s comments and opinions would influence the way she felt about me. I was hoping she would trust her gut and trust her heart and not really listen to her sister. It turned out all right.
Ashley: I always said that if I left with somebody that I loved it wouldn’t matter if i was engaged or not. I mean, obviously, going into it you go through so much that you hope to be in a point where you feel comfortable enough to be engaged, but with JP I cared about him so much that if he wasn’t ready for that, I was prepared to just leave with him in a relationship. Just continue our relationship outside of it. We didn’t need the engagement.
You guys were able to see each other a couple of times while the show was airing, unlike some past contestants. What are you going to be doing different from previous couples on the show? How are you going to guarantee that this is going to work?
Ashley: We definitely were able to meet up every other week, but I do believe that past contestants have done the same thing. So it’s nothing different from what past contestants have done. But — I don’t really have the answer to that, because I don’t know what they did. I don’t know who the past contestants were, how their relationship was. All I can tell you is that, the show really brought us together. It built a really good relationship, I think. We confided in each other, we learned how to communicate. We dealt with jealousy, we dealt with insecurity, we dealt with so many things early on. We built this great foundation and now we’re out here in the real world. We’ve been engaged for two months, but I feel like we’ve been together for years.
JP: We really feel like the hardest part is definitely behind us. We’ve had to experience some things that no one on this planet will have to experience and we’ve gotten past some pretty rough times, but we’ve come through the other side and we couldn’t be happier. And now we’re just looking forward to starting our lives together.
When Ben got down on one knee and you knew you weren’t going to pick him, what was going through your mind? And JP, when you were watching that last night, what were your thoughts?
Ashley: Well I can tell you, for me, I know that whole thing is kind of a blur. Obviously going into it the last thing I want to do is hurt Ben — I mean, great guy that he is. So it’s a blur to me but I remember trying to talk to him and feeling like I wasn’t sure what to say. And then he got down on one knee and it was just, I had to pull him up. It really was a whirlwind and I think it’s really hard to understand unless you’re there in the moment with all eyes on you, and cameras on you. I think it’s really hard for people to understand.
JP: I actually haven’t watched any of Ben’s clips from the finale so I never even saw it. I decided weeks ago that I wasn’t going to watch it. We came out the other side so happy with what we have. What I’ve watched of the finale was Ashley and me together. It’s the way I want to remember it.
When did you realize that JP was the one, was it in Fiji or before that?
Ashley: That’s such a hard question to answer because there’s so much that’s going on. You’re dating other men and you’re going to continue to date other men. I think pretty early on my heart was pulling me in that direction but I wanted to use all the time that I had to really be sure that this relationship was one that was going to last. You know, early on, everything that happened with Bentley, I wanted to make sure that my radar was on. So I continued to date the other guys but my heart was pulling me in that direction for a long time.
On Regis and Kelly this morning you admitted to being the first to tell him you loved him. Do you feel like you were breaking the rules in saying that to him?
Ashley: Umm. What do you think, babe?
Ashley: I mean, it’s hard. I think it’s really hard because when you care about somebody so much and you see them in this tough situation, all you want to do is be honest with them and tell them how you feel. There may have been a moment where I felt like I needed to just kind of let him know how I was feeling.
JP: And it wasn’t a blatant — it wasn’t as obvious as my “I’m madly in love with you.” It was something much, much, much more subtle than that. But it put my head in the right place.
JP, how would you rate your confidence going into that final rose ceremony? Did you believe wholeheartedly that Ashley was going to choose you over Ben or did you go into it with a fear that you would be crushed by the outcome?
JP: I was confident that — and I don’t want to sound cocky at all — but I was confident after our Hong Kong date that I would be the last guy standing. I knew that what Ashley and I had was special and there was really no way she could have with anybody else what the two of us had together. I think I even said it in the finale, that she can love both of us but she can only be in love with one of us. I really felt it for weeks.
Ashley, what was your reaction to Ben’s response — or lack thereof — after you eliminated him? Did it surprise you that he was angry? JP, had Ashley chosen Ben, do you think you would’ve handled it the same way?
Ashley: Going into it, I had no idea what to expect. My expectations were that he would be more sad. I got a sense that he was more angry than I anticipated. And in the moment I can understand that. Watching it back, I can certainly see where that anger came from and it makes more sense to me now.
JP: To be honest I never really thought of that hypothetical situation because I felt so strongly that she was going to say yes for a while that I really never put myself in that mindset. I can understand getting upset by it. Right now if Ashley were to walk away from me I would be devastated. So if Ben felt even a fraction of what I feel I can understand him being hurt and sad.
Do you plan on seeing JP’s family while you’re in New York?
JP: Yes, we have no idea when yet because she has school stuff going on, I have to get back to work. It’s definitely going to happen soon, we haven’t planned anything just because we didn’t know where press would take us. There were too many unknowns at the moment. But yes, sooner rather than later.
Do you guys both plan on staying friends with any of the guys from the show? If so, who?
JP: Absolutely. When you spend 24/7 with a group of guys, it because a small fraternity, I guess. So I’ll definitely stay in touch with a bunch of them. I haven’t been able to speak to any of them since they left the show. I’m anxious to reach out and say hi. I would say Mickey and William and Ames. There’s a bunch of guys that I’m going to pick up the phone and call.
Ashley: I’m open to being friends and staying in touch with all the guys. I mean, one thing that I said at the beginning and I stand by is, I had such a great, respectable group of guys and I’m hoping that we can all be friends after this. We all went through it together so we all experienced something that people haven’t.
Ashley, what were you thinking when you saw the engagement ring? It’s gorgeous.
Ashley: Oh my goodness it is absolutely gorgeous. I’m looking at it right now, actually. I think going into it I didn’t know what I liked but as soon as I saw the ring that JP picked out I was blown away. I love that it was simple and sparkly! It was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think that he could’ve picked out a better ring for me.
Have you managed to have your first kind of public date yet? Or do you have any idea what you want to do for your first date in public?
JP: Our first date or our first date in public? Our first date will probably be ordering something in and sitting on the couch and watching TV. Our first date in public? We haven’t even thought about that yet. We’ve got a lot going on. It could be coffee. It could be, I don’t know, brunch somewhere. It could be dinner.
Ashley: A jog in the park, perhaps?
JP: A stroll. Not so much a jog.
Are you looking forward to getting back to the quiet life? Are we going to see you on TV again?
Ashley: I don’t think you’ll be seeing us on TV unless you TiVo-ed those episodes.
You guys only told that “Cupcake” story on the premiere, but fans kind of took to it. So JP, are you calling Ashley “Cupcake” now?
JP: Occasionally, but not as frequently as she would like.
Ashley: He will, don’t worry.
JP: I’ve got a lot of other pet names thrown in the mix.
Is “Can’t Fight This Feeling” going to be your wedding song?
JP: It will definitely be played, that’s a guarantee.
Ashley: It could be our wedding song.
JP: It might be.
Who do you guys think will be the best Bachelor — Ben? Or maybe Ryan or Ames?
Ashley: I think Ben would be really, really good. I know the girls would love him. But I also think Ryan or Ames would be good. Any of those guys would be great and we would love to watch any of them.
JP: Yeah, it was such a great group of guys that you really can’t go wrong, I don’t think, with any of them. We’d certainly watch Ben or Ames or Ryan if any of those guys was the Bachelor.
Can you talk about your plans for the next two months? When are you planning to come to New York? Where do you think you’ll be living? And can you talk about your dental practice, will you be establishing it in the city?
Ashley: It’s still kind of up in the air right now. I know I’m going to be moving to New York within the next probably month or so. And I’m still finishing up school at the same time. After that I think I’m going to take some time, apply for my license and allow the dust to settle, then probably start practicing. I really don’t even know where I’m going to be practicing. It’s all up in the air right now. There’s so much going on.
Were you at all upset that ABC or the producers didn’t tell you what was going on with Bentley? When Rozlyn supposedly had an inappropriate relationship with a producer, they told Jake but didn’t do anything like that for you. Were you angry that they never brought that to your attention?
Ashley: I do have to say that, in my defense, I didn’t know anything, I wasn’t shown any videos. And in their defense, I have to say that there was a part of me for a second that was thinking “Why wasn’t I shown?” But you have to think that, this journey is about — the producers can’t run and tell what he said, she said. It’s about your own experience, your own journey. So I understand. There definitely was a part of me that was upset for a short period of time. But then you realize that, that’s what this is all about. It’s about your own journey and your own experience. And it led me to such a great man that I wouldn’t change anything. Because there’s a part of me that thinks that the hard times really brought me and JP closer together. And now we have this very strong relationship and I don’t know that I would go back and change anything.
Heading into the final dates with your family, Ashley, it seemed really obvious that you wanted to choose JP and wanted your family to like him. Did you take a moment to think, if my sister is really going to loathe JP for the rest of my life maybe I should reconsider?
Ashley: To be honest, I knew that I would follow my own gut and I wouldn’t let anyone else influence me. And that’s what I loved about this journey — I got to trust myself. The truth is, I knew my sister would be tough and I knew that she was so stubborn that she would never take it back even if she had a change of heart. I knew that she would grow to love him and once she saw us together I had no doubt that she would see what I feel and that things would be all right and things would be great. And actually they are. They’re close now and they actually joke about it. So all’s well.
JP can you tell us a little bit more about what you do? You’re a construction manager. Can you talk more about that?
JP: We are primarily builders. Every project we work on is somewhat different. We can be in a consulting role working for a developer, a bank, an insurance company. Or we can be building a building or we can develop ourselves. We’re, uh, we do a lot of things — Ashley is falling asleep over here. Every project’s different, but primarily we’re builders.
Being dumped by Brad on the previous season, did that make it more difficult for you to break the news to Ben?
Ashley: I definitely think that it primes you to be a little bit more sensitive in breaking up with people because you certainly know how it feels to be broken up with on national television. And it’s not a nice feeling.
Do you wish you had an opportunity to confront Bentley and, if so, what would you say to him?
Ashley: To be honest, maybe there was a point when I first found out the things he was saying that I was angry at him, but that was so long ago and I have JP. To be honest, I forgave him a while back. I don’t have any interest in talking to him or seeing him. I’m so far removed from all that. So I wish him well and hopefully he can wish the same for me.
How are you feeling about this move to New York? Ashley, you are going to a new city but you are also moving in together. Ashley, your dog is going to have a new home. How are you going to deal with that and all things that go into moving in together?
JP: I always knew that it was a package deal with Ashley. I am welcoming Boo’s arrival.
Ashley: He is already practicing his dog voice.
JP: That is not happening!
And Ashley, how are you feeling about moving in?
Ashley: I am really excited to, first of all, just be with him because obviously we’ve been separate for a while. I have no hesitation about moving in. I definitely don’t have any anxiety about it. I think we’re ready for that. I don’t have a lot of shoes, luckily, but he cleaned out a closet for me. Isn’t that sweet? We’ll get our own place with a big closet but for now, he cleaned out a closet for me!
Following up on the Bentley thing, Ashley said she didn’t want to talk to him. JP, do you have any desire to talk to him or confront him?
JP: No, I think he made his bed, now he can lie in it. He showed who he was. The worst part of it was watching Ashley see it for the first time and being hurt by it and all the people judging her based on what they saw and not being able to defend Ashley. That was the hardest part. And like she said, the Bentley phase was so long ago. I have nothing to say to the guy. It’s over in my book.
After the Men Tell All, Ashley, did you get advice from Ali Fedotowsky, Jason Mesnick, and DeAnna Pappas — specifically from Ali about how to stay in a healthy relationship?
Ashley: Yeah, I definitely spoke to Ali. She was definitely somebody that was really helpful throughout all the hard times. […] The most important thing is she’s been through it and she, I think, she faced a little bit of criticism and she had very similar things happen to her. So I felt like she actually knew what I was going through and I almost feel like she gave me the strength to get through it, in a way. Just the things she was saying — it was like, “You’re right, you’re right.” She’s been removed from it for so long. She had some great words of wisdom. And her relationship with Roberto, obviously they made it through all this. So we talk about some things that we’re going through and she definitely helped us.
Were you upset in general that Chrystie didn’t approve of JP or was it because you already knew JP was the one you wanted?
Ashley: I think it was probably both. Of course I wanted my family to really love him as much as I did, but I think for me it was, at that point in time I had been away from my family and friends for so long, I just wanted somebody to be there for me and somebody to support me, regardless of what my decision was. I felt alone through all of this and I wanted her there to make me feel like whole again. And instead it was almost like she pushed me farther away by saying that. But, you know what, it allowed me to really be alone and make that final decision based on what I was feeling. So maybe it was the best thing.
Although it was just mentioned quickly, your sister said she thought you were more into Brad Womack than JP. How did you feel about that?
Ashley: I knew she was completely, like, off with her judgment and then when she said that she thought I was more into Brad I said, “OK, I’m not going to listen to anything she says” because what I feel for him is completely different from what I felt for Brad. So at that point she lost me.
What kind of time frame are you considering for a wedding and would you ever consider televising it for the viewers?
JP: We haven’t given any serious thought to it, just because we have so much going on. […] We’re not going to wait five years to get married. We have to take it one step at a time. And once things settle down, then we’re going to start talking about a wedding seriously. As far as having it done on TV, we talk about it in jest sometimes, but no real thought has gone into it.
Also during the After the Final Rose, Chris said moving to New York might not be the best place to avoid the media and paparazzi. Did you ever consider moving somewhere new, like Ali and Roberto in San Diego?
Ashley: No, I think — I mean, JP’s in New York, he’s settled here, he has a great job, he’s happy here, and I’m open to moving wherever. I think New York is different from L.A. I think it’s going to be different. I think it’s going to be a lot less [attention] than if it we were to live in Southern California. I don’t think it’d be like if we were living in Madawaska, Maine, but I think we’re going to be OK here. I think it’s what you choose to do with it, you know?
It’s obvious you two are very happy as a couple since the finale filmed, but is it really like the fairy tale you imagined or has it been a rocky road, facing challenges? Have you had your share of arguments?
Ashley: I don’t know if we’ve had arguments. I think we definitely disagree on certain things and we view things differently, but we talk through them and we get through them. We have a fairy tale, I’m not gonna lie. We really do have a fairy tale, but like the world saw, there are ups and downs. He had some tough times in Taiwan. I had some tough times early on. It’s not perfect, but it’s great. Now it’s great. It’s a real relationship, it’s not like we’re in La La Land.
JP: Once filming wrapped and we went back to our homes and we were just able to be “us” — even though we were hidden from everybody and under secrecy — nothing faded, everything just got stronger. So any sort of build-up based upon living in Fiji and going on these crazy dates — even if you’re worried that things aren’t going to be the same once you leave, it just got better. So, once we got through that I knew we were going to be great.
Ashley you said JP is the best kisser. What makes him a great kisser? And, JP, is Ashley a great kisser?
JP: It’s about time someone asked that question!
Ashley: I have to tell you — I know there are a lot of girls on this line — I have to say JP is the best kisser, I mean, that I’ve ever kissed. And even very early on when I wasn’t 100 percent emotionally attached to him, when I kissed him I thought, “That’s the best kiss I’ve ever had.” I don’t know what it is! There’s like this electricity between us and just the way he kisses? Ugh!
JP: Hold on a second. [Pause while he kisses her]
JP: My reaction is, kissing really takes two. I could be the best kisser in the world, but if she’s not kissing me back then it’s going to be awful. So I think she’s the best kisser I’ve ever kissed as well. And it takes two, it really does.
Ashley: Thanks babe!
JP: You’re welcome.
Your sister said that you and JP were opposites. Can you talk about how you are different and maybe how that brings out a different side in each other?
Ashley: I think when people think about relationships and who is best for them, they immediately think of the person who is similar to them. And for me, I think I need somebody to balance me. I’m definitely high energy. I’m silly and goofy. And I just need somebody to balance that out. And also I think JP is definitely more reserved, sincere, he’s quiet, but I bring the fun out of him.
JP: Definitely. I think we complement each other just so well and that just makes it work.
Ashley: Even though we’re different, we have this relationship where we have an equal mixture of fun and seriousness and romance. I don’t know, we just have everything that you probably want in a relationship and we each bring a little bit of that to that.
After the proposal, there was a little scene on the beach. On the first episode Ashley told the guys she knew her husband was in that room. And JP said his reaction at the time was something like I don’t know what the bleep this girl is talking about. But it turned out to be you. Did you guys kind of get a lot of laughs out of that, when you brought that up to her?
JP: At the time we didn’t even know we were on camera.
JP: I was just being completely raw and honest.
Ashley: I’m telling you, that was THE best part of the finale for me. That moment was so real and so him and funny. I love that that was included in there.
Last night Chrystie said she’s welcoming JP with open arms and can’t wait to spend a lot of Christmases with him and Ashley added, “Uh and Hanukkahs!” Ashley, are you excited to learn about the Jewish faith and culture? Have you guys talked about your different faiths? It’s a little early to talk about kids, but that’s obviously something to consider. What kind of conversations have you had?
Ashley: At first I was nervous that his family wouldn’t be accepting of me, but obviously that’s not the case. I mean, we’ve talked about it. The truth is, three of my closest friends are Jewish, so I know a lot about it. I know a lot about the religion and the culture. I’m open to whatever JP wants to do if he wants to raise our kids Jewish. Yeah, whatever you want. ‘Cause I’m very open. I’m not really set on anything, so whatever makes him happy makes me happy.
JP: Religion was never really a factor for me at all. I’m gonna love who I’m gonna love and you can’t control it and I know my family’s gonna love whoever I love. So it was never an issue. We talk about splitting holidays and Christmas with her family and Passover with my family. It hasn’t been a stumbling block at all.
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