During the last installment of "The Bachelorette," earnest Texas Sean Lowe seemed like a shoo-in to win the girl. His down home attitude, wholesome good looks and family focus seemed just right for single mom Emily Maynard. Alas, he got his heart handed back to him and now he returns to the ultimate group date as the newest star of "The Bachelor" on Mon. Jan. 7 at 8:00 p.m. In a conference call with journalists, Lowe talked about taking a second shot at love on national television, the drawbacks of a house full of estrogen, and why he doesn't care if he sees another rose again for as long as he lives.
Even though Maynard is back on the market (she split with the bachelor she chose, Jef Holm, before they could walk down the aisle), Lowe never considered trying to pick up where they left off. "I heard about their split at our final destination [of 'The Bachelor'], but I think even before we did 'The Bachelor' I knew she wasn't the one for me." Not that he has any animosity toward the woman who shot him down on national television. "Jef's a good guy… and I hope for happiness for her in her future." He added that watching her relationships with finalists Jef and Arie play out on television helped him get over her more quickly than he might have otherwise. "I realized over time she's not the one for me, and I knew she had her doubts about me. The woman I spend the rest of my life with, I don't want her to have any doubts."
It seems he may have gotten a good idea of who's right for him on "The Bachelor." "The producers did an excellent job [of casting]," he said. "I told them I wanted girls who were well suited for me, and I got to know [the producers] really well while I was on 'The Bachelorette' and they got a good sense of who I am, but I was blown away by the amount of wonderful women [they found]. Smart, accomplished, funny… I get to a point [on the show] where I have so many wonderful women, I don't know what I'm going to do." Though of course he can't say if he came away from the experience with a fiancee, he does say, "I had no idea I would become so attached and so emotionally invested in multiple women. I'd heard about that happening on past seasons from people who'd done the show, but I thought that would be so hard to [find love]. But it can happen, and it did happen."
If you're wondering, Lowe did have a checklist for what he was looking for in the perfect girl. "First, I really wanted to find my best friend, someone I can see myself spending every day with… I was looking for someone who is smart. A woman's intellect is probably the sexiest thing for me. So, funny, a good heart, and possessing all the characteristics you want in a wife." But don't look for Emily look-alikes. "If they're expecting me to follow a certain type of woman, they'll be disappointed."
Lowe says that, despite the show having a pretty lousy track record for creating lasting relationships, he was never deterred. "I've never paid attention to the track record for past relationships. I knew my feelings were very real and genuine for Emily, so I thought I'd give it [another] try." Even though Lowe said he went into "The Bachelor" with an open mind, he admitted, "I'm not going to propose to anyone if I have any doubts. If I have any doubts at all, there's no pressures to propose. I can continue our relationship in the real world, or I can say no to both the final two women."
He struck out on "The Bachelorette," but says the experience showed him he could find love on a television show. "My feelings for Emily were very real, and most of the people who watched the show could definitely recognize that," he said. "[But] I wouldn't have accepted 'The Bachelor' unless my heart was definitely mended. Fresh start is a great way to put it." He did say that he took "a week" to make the decision to do "The Bachelor," though. "I talked to the family and I prayed about it. I am in a situation where I wand to find the love of my life, and, as crazy as it sounds, I think you can find that on 'The Bachelor.'"
That doesn't mean he went strictly by the book on the show. "I've never been one to conform to the rules, so you'll see me break quite a few rules this season." Although he got a reputation as a prankster on "The Bachelorette," he said, "I think I'm funny, but I'm not a prankster. But you'll see a prank or two this season because I think people have come to expect that from me now… With Emily, everything they aired had me being a little more serious… because Emily is very proper. This season they'll see me a lot more relaxed and goofy, so to speak. You're not going to see all serious conversations."
One thing you may not see is the suggestion of sex on the "sleepover" dates. Though Lowe would neither confirm nor deny rumors that he's a "born again virgin," he did say that he saw those dates with the final three women as an opportunity to bond more than anything else. "I wanted to use it as time to spend alone, together, off camera. I think it's valuable time I didn't want to bypass, and it's an optimal opportunity to get to know those women better."
Given that Maynard was a single mom, Lowe addressed the topic of children. One contestant on the show is a single mom, though he said. "That's not a deal breaker for me at all. With Emily, I said it almost made her more attractive to me because I saw the love she had for her daughter in her eyes, and that's what I'd like to see in the woman I marry." Not that he's in a rush to reproduce. "Of course I want a family. I value family very much. But I can take my time with having kids. Ideally, I'd like to take a couple of years before we start adding children to the family. But I would be prepared to take on that situation right now if I needed to."
One of the enduring elements of the show is cattiness amongst the women, and this year appears to be no different than anything. "There's gonna be drama and a little cattiness. I think that's inevitable when you have this much estrogen in a house. But I was pleasantly surprised to find these women put their hearts out there." Too much cattiness, however, was a turn-off. "It's almost inevitable for it to happen, but it always irritated me when girls got caught up in the drama and lost focus on the reason we were all there. I just wanted them to focus on the relationship." And for those who complained about their fellow competitors to Lowe, he tried to keep an open mind about who was right and who was just crazy. "I went into it wanting to form my own opinions, but at the same time you can't ignore it when multiple women are saying bad things about a person. At the end of the day, I made the decision that was right for me."
If he did pick a lucky certain someone, though, she'd better get used to the idea she may not get a traditional bouquet from Lowe again anytime soon. "In my past I've given out some roses, and I'm going to give out a ton this season. But after this, I'd be happy if I didn't see another rose for the rest of my life."