And so, in the end, Antonio picked Brooke and they kissed their way into the sunset…or did they? Below, Brooke speaks candidly about the state of her relationship with Antonio, her feelings about the competition and reality TV romance and what additionally she’d like to get out of this experience.
Well, thank you. That’s really, really nice to hear. No one’s been able to tell me that yet.
Where is your relationship with Antonio at this moment?
I’m just going to be honest with you: I am not in touch with Antonio. We haven’t spoken in probably two, three months.
The show was shot when?
In January. We couldn’t really court, because we weren’t allowed to be seen in public, so it’s very difficult to try to have a relationship behind closed doors. We had just met and we tried to pull it off. We saw each other for probably a couple of months after the show was filmed, and then we just decided it was best to see other people, and I haven’t heard from him since.
You did give it a try though?
Oh yeah. We put effort into it. I met his children. We would go hiking on the weekends in his back yard in the woods. We saw each other on the weekends, being very careful not to let anyone else see us. If he had any sort of job interview in L.A., he would stop by and visit me in my home. He’s adorable. We had a great time — as good of a time as you could have indoors with no outside contact. It was really nice getting to know him and his children.
Was it weird making the transition from reality show romance to real-life romance?
Yeah. The reality of Antonio’s life is that it is very, very mellow and structured. He is a great dad. He cooks his kids breakfast, he takes them to school, they come home, he cooks them dinner and in between he gets a workout in. I think that’s great for him. He’s a family guy and he takes care of his kids. So, that was different.
No jumping out of planes, then?
Well, when you put two people together and they can’t do that kind of stuff, there has to be a lot of conversation and a deep, spiritual connection as far as establishing a foundation for a relationship. He thought that should come with time, but to me, I just felt like we didn’t have much to talk about. Don’t get me wrong: I had fun with him and his children. That was great. But do I wish we could have done some more exciting things? Of course. We could have said, “Hey, let’s put our relationship on hold and resume when we don’t have to be behind closed doors.”
Is that still possible? If Antonio called you tomorrow and said, “Let’s hang out,” what would you say?
I think we could be really good friends. I’m not mad at him. You can’t say a bad thing about Antonio SabĂto, Jr. He is beautiful and he has a very kind heart. And yeah, if he called me and wanted to go to dinner, sure. As far as picking back up in some sort of serious, committed relationship, that would take some time.
Looking at the situation in a different way, regardless of the final outcome, is it satisfying to have won this competition for the sake of competing?
Oh yeah. I’m competitive by nature. To win anything is satisfying. It was really great because once I won, I got to spend the weekend in Hawaii with Antonio, and it was a great time. I didn’t go into this thinking I was going to walk out winning. I went into this for the experience and for fun and thinking that it would be great to meet some other women. It wasn’t until he let Tully go that I thought, “Oh my God, I have a chance of winning this.” To me, he and Miranda were not a match from the beginning, because she’s so fearful and she doesn’t have an athletic bone in her body. But winning was still a great shock and immensely satisfying. Do I wish $1 million would have come with it? Yes! That would have been icing on the cake.
Did you have a strategy? I wondered if you speaking with Yvonne on the boat while everyone else was hanging all over Antonio was your way of strategizing.
I think it’s important to have a relationship with a man’s family, because the family was there first and you’re going to be brought into that bond. It’s always great to be on good terms with the in-laws, especially the mom. So that wasn’t strategy. The only strategy came from these relationship classes, which now it looks like are biting me in my butt. Basically, I just wanted to be the lady and let him be the man. I just tried to use Dr. Pat Allen‘s strategy, so I’d let him speak first. I’d let him ask the questions. I wasn’t as aggressive as the other 13 women. Sitting back and letting him come to me was, in a way, my strategy. Also, at night, when you’d watch these women drink, they almost became train wrecks. I think a lot of them self-sabotaged in a way. They could have done more by not saying a word or not picking up a drink.
What are your overall thoughts on Yvonne?
Love Yvonne. I think that she is a lovely woman. Whether or not she played it up for the show, she’s got a hard side to her. I think she was a little hard on Tully, and that she came across as ruthless. But I understand where she’s coming from: she wanted an apology from Tully, and clearly she’s never going to get it. Yvonne is who she is, and you have to accept people for who they are. She happened to like me, thank God.
What do you think about Tully?
The only thing that Tully ever said that got to me while we were filming was that none of us were good enough for Antonio. I had a talk with her about that. I mean, I felt like it was positive in the sense that it showed that he’s such a good guy and that she was legitimately back for him because she missed out. The negative was that she had no idea who I was. I have high self value. She associated me with Christi and Jen and the party girls. That’s not me, but I did have more in common with them than other girls. She told me I was guilty by association. Whatever. But now that I watch the show, I feel for her. The second to last episode? How emotional. I wanted to cry. I was like, “No! Don’t let her go!” There was so much love there. I couldn’t believe it that he let her go before Miranda.
Your relationship with Miranda was interesting. You were very civil toward each other, even down to the end, although she had less-than-civil stuff to say about you in interviews. What do you think about her, and the “cheerleader” comment?
I think Miranda is quite interesting, and I think she will do very well. You could probably make a show about Miranda and her quirky self. She lives in a bubble and she’s a little OCD. I felt like she wasn’t always who you see Miranda to be. I felt like she had a different side when the cameras weren’t there. She was not a happy person, and I am a happy person. It could just be the fact that she’s from New York, and I’m from Mississippi. I sing and I dance and I’m kind of silly, but she takes till 2 in the afternoon to wake up and she doesn’t want any noise till then. We’re just two totally different personality types. Would we hang out had we not been put in that situation? No. But we did make it work. She made the cheerleading comment because I was happy, and I don’t think it was just because of the Survivor-type challenge. Just walking to different locations, I would sing, and it just annoyed her. She’s just not that way. So I guess she still doesn’t like cheerleaders, so whatever. That’s OK.
It’s interesting that you talk about your approach to let Antonio talk first, because you were also assertive with him. You openly questioned his career status.
Let me start here: I did not know who Antonio SabĂto, Jr., was before I did this show. I knew he created a name for himself, but the reality is that if you’re an actor and you’re doing a reality show, your acting career isn’t on top. I’m not an idiot. I just wanted to know what his goals were. What if he got in a car wreck tomorrow and no longer looked like he does? I didn’t know what he’d done as far as preparing a future. I knew that he had two kids. It was a legitimate concern of mine to know how he’d be able to provide, especially if he chose me and we had more children. But I thought his answer was awesome. He said that he’s been providing for himself since he was 16-years-old and he has the drive of 1,000 horses. He couldn’t have answered that in a better way. I don’t care if you have money, but as long as you have ambition and the wits about you to make the money, I’m good.
Was your request for a relationship contract also a product of your concern about the way things work on reality TV?
No. I like that it came across to you that way, but that’s not it at all. It’s again Dr. Pat Allen’s theory. I actually shouldnâ€™t have said it in the context that I did â€“ I should have waited till he was trying to sleep with me or whatever. I just wanted Antonio to know that I’m not an easy girl to be with, that if he wanted a casual, sexual relationship, that’s just not me. Basically, before taking that plunge, I wanted to know: how often are you going to see me, is it just going to be me and what are your long-term goals for me? I want to be courted, and regardless of an engagement ring or whatever, those things are important to know before I let someone in.
Looking back on everything â€“ competing, winning, breaking up with Antonio â€“ are you disappointed with the way this all turned out?
No. I would love for this to parlay into some great hosting career or some other great experiences derived from the show, but overall I have no regrets. I’ll never not nurse. I love what I do, but at the same time, it’d be nice to have some options.
Did you go on this show looking for exposure?
Yeah. I mean…I prayed a lot about appearing on it. The doors just opened, my employers told me that I could take a leave even for a month, and if I would have said no, I would have been the only block to the opportunity. I just did it. I just jumped in. I’m glad I did. Had the relationship worked out, I wouldnâ€™t have cared about parlaying it into exposure and opportunities. But since it didn’t, I’m hoping the exposure will enable me to have other work.