Ex-’Bachelorette’ Contestant West Confronts Rumors About Wife’s Death

by | June 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Interviews, The Bachelorette

West Lee (ABC)

West Lee (ABC)

“Bachelorette” Ashley Hebert bent the rules and decided to eliminate only one sap instead of the usual two on last Monday’s episode. Unfortunately, the one roseless dude ended up being West Lee, whose wife’s death seemed a little too much for Ash to handle.

The 30-year-old lawyer from South Cackeylackey talked to reporters on Thursday about how he felt about being ousted, the sordid rumors about his involvement in his wife’s death, and what he thinks of Bentley—and hyper-happy Ryan P.

Did it hurt to be the only guy booted off on last Monday’s episode?
It stung a little that I was the only one she chose to leave, definitely. I knew that I was one of the few people on the chopping block that night.

Ashley seemed to doubt you were ready to move on from your wife’s death and also said she felt those shoes were too big to fill. How much do you think your wife’s death factored into Ashley’s decision to let you go?
I mean, obviously that’s what she told me. She said that she had some concerns about it and that she wasn’t sure that I was ready to move on. I think that that was a legitimate concern for her. I’ve dated some women in the past who had that same concern.

So, it was not surprising to me that she would bring it up. I have no reason not to believe that was one of the big reasons that she let me go, but I also think that there was a lack of chemistry there. I don’t necessarily think that she was feeling that chemistry with me, so I think that played a role in it too.

Watch Lee’s Exit:

How did you feel about the rumors and interviews by your in-laws that implied you were involved in your wife’s death?
Well, when I went on the show, I knew that my past would be there again. I knew that was a possibility and that might be brought up, and I’m okay with that. I have no skeletons to hide, per se.

So that wasn’t a big deal, but I was shocked her own mother and stepfather would drag their own daughter’s name through the mud like that. I don’t want to say too much because obviously it’s just been talked about and talked about, and I would just prefer that Sarah’s name be allowed to rest in peace at this point, but they were never really involved in her life.

Her mom left her at an early age and a lot of issues that she had were directly as a result of their actions. So, I don’t know. Maybe it was just a thing where they’re trying to pass off blame or deal with their own sense of regret. It’s natural when you lose someone, especially a daughter, that you’re going to wonder what you could have done differently to save her.

Sarah knows I loved Sarah, and I never would have done anything to hurt her. God bless her soul, may she rest in peace. Anyone that knows me and my family and anyone that knew us knows how much I loved her, and I never would have done anything to hurt her. So, I’m not going to worry about anything that her mom or her stepdad might say.

I know that her real father knows that I loved her and I always did my best to take care of her, and I know that he knew I loved her. So, I’m not too worried about what they have to say or what people who aren’t in my situation think. It’s a tragic situation, and I hate that it’s gotten to be what it was. I really do feel bad about that, but it is what it is.

Looking back, do you think it difficult for you to open up to Ashley, considering you lost a loved one?
Right after Sarah passed away, I probably tried to start dating a little too quickly, and not because I was ready to date. It’s because I had this void inside of me. I was hoping to distract myself from it or fill it with something. That just did not work. I just had these strong feelings of love and loss. It took a long time for myself just to be alone. I was not emotionally available to people for better or worse. Finally, I think I reached a point where I was able to put myself back out there, and so I think I went on the show at a good place. It had been over three years. I picked myself up off the ground, passed the bar and got a good job, great friends, and great family. I was so happy again on an individual level, and that’s when it occurred to me that I was ready to share it with someone else.

What did you think of Bentley?
It’s tough to say, because I really liked Bentley…he seemed genuine. He talked about his daughter all the time…and then to see all this stuff on the show was a bit of a surprise. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, but at least in my experience of Bentley, he was a good guy. I like him.

Why are the guys hating on Ryan P.? Did you feel the same way?
I think he’s a really nice guy. He’s solid, he’s sweet, he’s smart, and I think he just means really well.

The thing about him is, is he’s sort of the human equivalent to a puppy. He’s just got high energy all the time and he’s got this joy for life. He’s just so happy about everything, and puppies like people—you love that quality 95% percent of the time, you know?

But the thing is, we’ve been together in such tight quarters for several weeks straight at that point. There was no diversion, no TV, no nothing. So, it was just like we had all reached that 5% percent mode, and it has nothing against Ryan. It had more to do with us just being tired. We were kind of sleep deprived all over the place, and we were just getting kind of cranky at that point. So, it wasn’t Ryan. Ryan’s a great dude.

Who do you think is right for Ashley?
Based on my gut and interacting with people, I really thought that J.P. was going to be one that she picked just because they have that natural chemistry. You could see whenever we were on a group date together, she tended to gravitate towards him, and there was just an easy kind of connection that was evident.

As far as another person, probably Ben F. He’s just a really easy to get along with guy, super fun. He’s just always so laid back no matter what the situation is. I thought that was really cool.

Catch an all-new “Bachelorette” Monday on ABC at 8/7c.