By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Monday, June 13, 2106
Cynics snicker at the whole concept of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Place men and women in ridiculously romantic settings, have them compete for one person's affection, have the final two get engaged and then see if a marriage ensues.
Untenable? Based on the show's track record, yes. Most of the relationships fall apart once true reality sets in, as opposed to reality TV.
Atlanta's Andi Dorfman and Josh Murray played into that trope. They looked great on TV. They seemed like the perfect couple. Eight months later, with the cameras gone, their relationship was, too.
Presumably, they'd both fade into the reality TV world sunset, ready to move on with their lives off camera.
But Dorfman found a way to stretch her rhetorical 15 minutes of fame with a Simon & Shuster book: "It's Not Okay." It came out last month and paints a less-than-pretty picture of Murray, with Dorfman calling him an "emotional abuser" who was insecure, jealous and often mean behind closed doors and in at least one case, public. (Reviewers on Amazon were split down the middle on the book, 35 percent giving it 5 stars, 35 percent 1 star.)
Murray isn't disappearing either. He has joined an E! reality show "Famously Single," debuting Tuesday, June 14 at 10 p.m. A relationship expert Dr. Darcy Sterling will teach him and seven other semi-famous people such as Brandi Glanville, Aubrey O'Day and Pauly D about how to be better partners in hopes of securing that true magic union.
Publicly, Murray is choosing not to dissect his relationship with Dorfman or counter-attack with his own take on why their relationship failed. It's very likely he will address and face some of his shortcomings on the E! show but he wasn't going to do it in a promotional interview he did with me last week.
Murray, who recently moved from Buckhead to the Smryna-Vinings area not far from the new Braves park, has not read Dorfman's book and has no plans to do so. He has only heard some of her allegations from reporters who have passed them on to him.
"How am I supposed to comment on a fictional story?" Murray said. "It saddens me and it's unfortunate, she has chosen to characterize me in such a negative way. I respect the private relationship we had those eight months. I personally choose to go through life building people up, not tearing them down. I sincerely pray for her. I only wish her nothing but the best."
He said he was himself on "The Bachelorette." "I can't speak for how she was," he said, implying ever so subtly that maybe she wasn't.
Instead, he explained why he joined a show like "Famously Single."
"I thought it was a great opportunity for me to learn more," Murray said. "Before 'The Bachelorette,' I hadn't been in a relationship in four or five years. I don't date a lot. I need to date. I need to learn what I like and don't like. I needed this little push in front of the cameras. I feel I'll be held more accountable in front of a bunch of people. It makes you do things that may be uncomfortable in the normal world. By doing this, it forces me to date. You need to be uncomfortable to grow in life."
He has no regrets about doing "The Bachelorette" despite the end result. The closest thing he said that sounded like something he might have done differently if given another shot: "I would have asked [Andi] more in-depth personal questions, learned more in our off time."
In reality, he said, "I'm actually very very shy when it comes to going up and approaching a woman I'm very attracted to," he said. "I'm afraid to get involved... If there's a possibility of me hurting someone, I won't begin a relationship. I need to learn to go and put myself out there."
Murray considers his desires pretty traditional. "I'm a family guy," he said. "I want a wife. I want kids. But I can't do that sitting around waiting for her to come to me. I need to be more proactive. I need to learn that. I'm getting older." (He's 31.)
He said he enjoyed being on "Famously Single" and getting to know the others on the show. He admits he knew very few of them, outside of Pauly D of "Jersey Shore" fame and NFL player Willis Mcgahee. (I didn't recognize four of the eight names such as model Jessica White and "Celebrity Big Brother UK's" Calem Best.)
"I don't consider myself famous or a celebrity many of them are," Murray said. "They have to deal with what I deal with on a much bigger scale. It puts everything in perspective." He said he did go out of his way to not instigate drama like other castmates did.
Did he hook up with anybody? He wouldn't say but he said he didn't go in thinking he would. He said he has a "brother sister vibe" with former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" castmate Glanville. (They are seen in a trailer in a bed, appearing close.)
I did ask if he was over "Bachelorette" runner up Nick Viall admitting to having sex with Dorfman on live TV, an issue that Dorfman said in her book did not sit well with Murray.
"I don't hold grudges," Murray said. "We talked it out. I like to be friends with people."
A former pro baseball player and financial advisor, Murray now distributes sports performance and weight-loss products for Advocare, whose slogan is "We build champions through physical and financial wellness." (Reviews? Mixed.)
And he said he loves charity work. "If I can use my platform in a positive way, if TV does that, that's great. But for me, these shows are about me finding someone. That's the most important thing. Once I find a wife and have a family, I'll want to live my life. I'll be happy if nobody knows me."
Through all this turmoil, Murray said he has also spent the past six months grappling with his beloved American Bulldog Sabel suffering from cancer. The eight year old had chemo and an amputation.
"I've had her since she was eight weeks old," he said. "I was transitioning out of pro baseball. I got her. I ended up coming to Georgia to play football. She's been with me my whole adult life."
Good news: she is now cancer free:
"Famously Single," 10 p.m. Tuesdays starting June 14, 2016 on E!