By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Former Atlanta prosecutor and "Bachelorette" contestant Andi Dorfman holds nothing back in her surprisingly riveting new book "It's Not Okay," eviscerating her former fiance Josh Murray, calling him an "emotional abuser" with a nasty temper and a jealous streak.
On the show and in public in 2014, former Atlanta-based baseball player Josh Murray came across as the "perfect" boyfriend: kind, passionate, compassionate and supportive of Dorfman's career and her signature feistiness. But once the cameras were gone and true reality set in, fissures opened up quickly.
In her book, she painted Murray as an insecure control freak more concerned about himself than her. Among his sins, according to her: he'd critique her use of social media, prohibiting her from "friending" males, became easily jealous when she talked to any guys and was unforgiving about her sleeping with "Bachelorette" runner up Nick Viall although they were not an official couple at that point.
"I ignored the red flags" before picking him, she said in an interview to promote her book and an appearance she is making at Big Sky Buckhead June 2 on behalf of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta's book festival. (It's free but RSVP here.)
UPDATE: 9/1/2016 Murray is now dating Amanda Stanton, courtesy of "Bachelor in Paradise.
Dorfman knew it was over in late October, 2014 at a friend's wedding. She had arrived early and was not at the guest house when he arrived. He was in a foul mood and when a friend innocently asked him if he was happy, he became instantly defensive. "What kind of question is 'Are you happy?' he snapped. "Has someone been telling you I'm not happy or something?" He then gave her "The Death Stare" and accused her of saying negative things about him with her friends, which wasn't true at all.
Later, Murray asked how many of her friend's male buddies she had slept with. Dorfman's reality: none. He was even peeved that he wasn't assigned to sit next to her but across from her. She decided to leave his sourpuss alone and he decided to just leave. Soon, he called her the b-word, loud enough for others to hear. "My humiliation had hit an all-time high," she wrote. "I was tired of the snark, tired of the childish behavior, tired of the accusations, and now I was tired of him."
She said he emotionally manipulated her. She felt her identity subsumed by his. She felt like she had to walk on eggshells around Murray. Over nine months, "I was trapped in a relationship that made me feel utterly worthless and dismally defeated." She felt she stuck around as long as she did in hopes of recapturing the heady early days of blissful love.
Murray, in a statement, chose not to respond to the specifics of her accusations or even deny them. Instead, he opted for this:
“It saddens me and is very unfortunate that Andi has chosen to characterize me in such a negative way. I respect the private relationship we had for those 8 months and I wish her nothing but the best. I pray she finds peace and happiness in her life."
Murray is appearing on an upcoming E! reality show "Famously Single," where eight celebrity types live in a house and try to figure out ways to improve their ability to be in relationships. It debuts June 14. A new trailer this week shows him cuddling with former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" cast member Brandi Glanville. Others in the house: "Jersey Shore" vet Pauly D and singer Aubrey O'Day.
In the interview, Dorfman said she tried to put herself in Murray's shoes. "I think he came on the show with an idea of what he wanted from me. But what you want isn't necessarily what you need. Maybe he didn't want a career driven person after all."
After the breakup early last year, she was homeless, having left Murray's apartment in a huff. She had also quit her prosecutor job at the Fulton County District Attorney's office.
"I was fairly new at my job," she said. "I had been there two years. I loved my job. I wasn't burned out. But I also realized I had a law degree for life. I could always go back. For now, I've taken a different path."
Dorfman said she wasn't originally planning to write a book but after the breakup, she began journaling.
Kelly Travis, who appeared on "The Bachelor" with Dorfman, allowed Dorfman to stay with her. Travis was the one who suggested Dorfman take her journal notes and turn her story into a book. Simon & Shuster gave her a nice advance and she spent the next year writing.
"It was very cathartic," she said, chronicling all the wine she imbibed and Febreze she used on her clothing since she didn't immediately pick up her full wardrobe from Murray's pad. "I kind of purged my feelings on paper and it definitely served to be therapeutic."
She quirkily chose not to identify the bachelors by name, instead calling obtuse, self-centered Juan Pablo Galavis from the 18th edition of "The Bachelor" "Number One" and each of the other men from "The Bachelorette" "Number Two" through "Number Twenty Six."
The two that mattered most were "Number Twenty Five" Viall, who came across on TV as manipulative, unpleasant and kind of a douche. She was aware that the other guys found him offputting, but she liked his intellect and his intensity. He was the complete opposite of Murray, who was "Number Twenty Six."
"It was kind of empowering," she said. "Obviously, it's no secret who these people are. I wasn't covering up their identities. I wanted to just place the men on the same level."
When Viall was on live TV after being rejected, he asked her why she chose to "make love" to him if she wasn't in love with him, she was embarrassed. She hadn't planned to reveal that. But now that it was out in the open, she decided to detail what happened in the Fantasy Suite, which featured no cameras. In the book, she said he creeped her out when he asked her in the middle of having sex whether she thought they were "making love" or "f***ing." She said it broke the moment and made it even easier to decide he wasn't the right one for her.
When I interviewed Murray and Dorfman together in July, 2014, both disapproved of Viall's disclosure. Murray's anger, clearly toxic to Dorfman based on her own writing, was clearly angry about it when he spoke with me: “To be honest, it was very classless and disrespectful. It just shows the type of person he really is. I don’t associate myself with Nick. That’s over and he’s of no concern to us or our lives.”
Side note: at that time, I asked readers how long they thought the couple would survive in marriage. More than 50 percent thought they would last at least 20 years. (Sorry, optimistic romantics!) About 23 percent chose the more cynical "They won't ever get married." (Good job cynics!)
By the way, there was one factoid in the interview that certainly doesn't hold up to scrutiny in Dorfman's book:
What Andi likes about Josh that she feels is different from her and complements her: “To not sweat the small stuff. I get a little uptight. Josh has the ability to laugh things off.”
After a couple of months recuperating post break up last year, Dorfman decided to go all "Sex and the City" and find an apartment in Manhattan.
"I just wanted to run away from Atlanta and the memories from when we were engaged," she said. "So I threw caution in the wind."
So far, Dorfman has enjoyed a whirlwind of parties, charity events and bar hopping in the big city, playing the part of Carrie Bradshaw. "Just to be able to take in this energy and culture has been amazing," she said. "My friends joke that I need to stop posting on Instagram photos of the skyline. 'We know you live New York!' I can't help it!"
Ironically, she said she has seen Sarah Jessica Parker on the street in her neighborhood. But she's never had the nerve to talk to her. "I just look from afar," she said.
And since her point of celebrity is about her dating life, I had to ask: is she dating now?
"No one in particular but I am dating," Dorfman said. And the guys she meet have no idea she was on a reality show because (thank goodness for her) most folks who watch those shows are women, not men.
She said she feels no pressure to get married. Unlike her Southern friends, who mostly married young, she said being single in your late 20s in New York is no big deal. "There isn't this pressure to necessarily settle down," she said. "I just need to find a guy who is nice to me and I want to be nice to. It's that simple. A genuine partnership. The two of you against the world."
Clearly, Murray was not that man.
Thursday, June 2, 7:30-9 p.m.
Free, with RSVP
Big Sky Buckhead
3201 Cains Hill PL NW, Atlanta