With a 15 percent popularity rating at CBS.com, it's safe to say that Jonathan and Victoria are the least-liked duo to ever run The Amazing Race (Tuesdays, 9 pm/ET). As a result, few fans shed tears when the married entrepreneurs from California were Philiminated on this week's episode. Here, these two try to explain their combative behavior on the race, and insist there's more to their relationship than meets the eye.
TV Guide Online: Jonathan, you've said that you planned to be this season's villain. Think you accomplished that a bit too effectively?
Jonathan: Absolutely. I didn't know what it was going to look like, and I didn't know how much work it was going to be. I have to say that I apologize if I ever offended anybody, because it wasn't what I intended to do. CBS turned the story line toward Victoria and I when, in actuality, I went in there to terrorize everybody else. I didn't know what it was going to look like when I decided to give that raw emotion, and when I saw it up there, I was horrified myself. I didn't like what I saw, and I had to take a step backward and evaluate what that energy was and why people were running from it. I'm a big fan of the show; you will not find another person with a better understanding of the show than me. Most people have to rev up before doing the show; I never had to rev up because I knew what was going on from the beginning. I'm just a very confident person and it was a competitive race. Everyone makes mistakes, and I certainly made my share of mistakes out there.
TVGO: Your energy manifested itself in uncomfortable ways. It was difficult to watch the way you treated Victoria. Specifically, there's the time you hit her head with the car trunk. Later on, you shoved her in Berlin.
Victoria: Well, when he hit me on the head with the trunk, he did apologize — they just didn't show it. And I said, "Come on, let's just go. Forget about it." Obviously, he didn't do that on purpose.
Jonathan: Look at [last season's] Colin and Christie. They said the same thing I'm saying about [the editing]. I'm not making light of this, but CBS helped the story line a long way. There were a lot of good things that happened on the race that were never shown. We went into this knowing we were going to be the villains, so I almost gave myself permission to be bad. It went too far and that's what I'm sorry for. Victoria and I have reconciled in private, and we've talked about what was supposed to be and what wasn't supposed to be. The shove in Berlin was wrong. It was wrong and I should not have done it. I can't apologize any more because I really felt that it hurt. I quit the race at that point because it was such a dramatic moment. It took me seven hours to calm down. I didn't quit because I'm a quitter, I quit because I was very upset. I was very upset with Phil for the way he said, "Do you want to go and talk to your wife?" He had five minutes with me on the mat and he said that! I was very upset because I worked very hard — I should say we worked very hard — and if you notice, we came in second on almost every leg. We took the game very seriously, almost too seriously. But it was a lot of fun to do, and Victoria and I have been together for eight years, so we do have a core friendship that people didn't see.
TVGO: Victoria, you seemed to shrug off a lot of your husband's behavior. Were you more assertive off camera?
Victoria: I shrugged it off a lot, and I also gave it back to him a lot. They didn't always show me telling him "Get away from me" or "Back off" or just defending myself. A lot of times, they show me sitting there, which wasn't always the case. I did stick up for myself, and we did banter back and forth.
TVGO: Do you personally feel that he crossed the line?
Victoria: Obviously, that moment in Berlin was a heavy moment for us, and probably one of the most dramatic moments in our relationship. We don't fight like that; we're not physical with each other. So having the worst moment of your relationship aired on national television was pretty tough. That was the biggest one for me. With everything else, we knew what happened before, during and after those moments, so it was different for us. It wasn't just the six minutes of intense negativity that the audience saw.
Jonathan: I loved every moment of every second of the race. Yes, the stress came up from behind us and made us not great with each other, but independently, we ran the race very well. We just didn't run it well with each other. The lines blur between "Is it a race or is it a show about relationships?" When you are on television, it's a race about relationships. But when you're there, it's a race and it's a race for $1 million. And everybody is pushing you very hard, so you don't want to ever forget you are in a race, or else it will end very quickly.
TVGO: How have you reevaluated yourselves and your relationship since the race?
Victoria: Well, we've talked a lot about what was going on, and when you see the worst of the worst you know what you don't want to see again. When people have been together for a long time like we've been, you get very comfortable with each other. When you're in the first week of dating someone and you tell them to shut up, it has a lot more power than when you have been together eight years. Everything negative we said to each other — not that it was OK and not that our relationship is horrible like that — but you're so used to each other that you don't take that into consideration. We've definitely decided that whether we're comfortable or not, we don't want to be that vocally negative with each other. We've learned to draw the line and be more respectful of each other — whether we mean it or not, there's some things you can't take so lightly.
TVGO: If you were to do it all over, do you think you could keep this from happening again?
Victoria: I definitely do. I think we've learned a big lesson, and the next time around I don't think we'd fight or bicker. I don't think we'd bring it to that ugly of a place ever again.
Jonathan: I don't think we'll ever bring anything to that ugly of a place. Then again, if you have an explosive personality, you're going to be creative. I do know they could have softened it. This is a family show, they could have softened the blow. They knew going in that they were going to get this. If we gave them 200 percent, why did they have to use 200 percent? They could have used 180 percent. That was my feeling when I called them after the first week and said, "What are you doing? This is a family show." What was chosen for us, we did not choose. We gave them the good, the bad and the ugly. In the same breath, I'm very remorseful for the nerve that I hit. Victoria and I have a very strong relationship. We've been married for eight years — some people can't even stay together two or three years. We're very vocal with each other and I think there's a healthiness to that. We crossed that line past that healthiness.