When they weren't fighting each other, Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom fought hard to stay in The Amazing Race 12. But, alas, luck would not have it and Taiwan was their last stop. They were eliminated after they took a local resident's advice that taking a subway would be faster than dealing with traffic in a cab. That decision dropped like a nail in the coffin of their nearly three-year relationship. Why? Read on. (Amazing Race's season finale airs Sunday at 8 pm/ET on CBS.)
TVGuide.com: Ousted on your birthday. Ouch. Did you get to celebrate in any way?
Jen: Once we got back we went out with family. But being in Taipei, Taiwan, that was enough for me.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of Taipei, you two know Taiwan and Thailand are two different countries, right?
Nate: Oh. Yeah. [Laughs] On the show I said, "I like Thai food" and my mind obviously wasn't thinking that I was in Taiwan. I was just kind of spaced. I definitely know Taiwan is different from Thailand.
Jen: You know I didn't even realize that until just now. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: The big question: Are you two still together?
Nate: After the race we actually did take a few days apart to just kind of cool our heads. Then we put things in perspective and we realized that we do love each other a lot. So we are still together. We don't live together. But we're still very much an exclusive couple.
TVGuide.com: How'd you make that happen?
Nate: It was the bumpiest ride we've ever been on in our life. But to tell you the truth, we've learned so much about ourselves individually and what we really want.
Jen: And how to handle certain situations. Because we pretty much came across any type of situation any couple will ever be in. Now, being back home, everything's so easy.
Nate: We're changed people.
TVGuide.com: I hope so, Nate. Because you said some horrible things to Jen. You told her you couldn't stand her. And you said it with venom. You also said, "You're the worst person I ever met."
Nate: I meant, you're the worst person at this. At what we were doing.
TVGuide.com: And when you called her the B-word?
Nate: That's the one that I'm most ashamed of. And, I admit it. I made mistakes. I do love Jen and I told her after everything that I genuinely was sorry.
TVGuide.com: What did your mother say to you after she saw the way you talked to Jen?
Nate: My mom laughed. My parents know us both quite well. And anyone who knows us knows we're both people who say things without thinking all the time.
Jen: We forget that, to other people, it might sound a little inappropriate or vulgar. But I think that's what Nate and I take out of this race. "Whoa. We need to watch what we say." We've got to imagine the impact it's leaving.
TVGuide.com: In your last episode, Jen said, "I want to rip the dreads out of his," meaning T.K.'s, "head." What did he ever do to you?
Jen: I'm going to choose not to speak about that.
TVGuide.com: Wow. What happen off-camera?
Jen: Nothing happened off camera at all.
Nate: Jen speaks her mind. And we were not happy to see T.K. and Rachel. But we didn't hate T.K. and Rachel for who they were. We just hated them for where they were in the race. We would have disliked any team in their shoes. It wasn't personal.
TVGuide.com: Looking back it's all so foggy. Did you two ever win a leg?
Nate: We came close numerous times. But we didn't win one leg or one prize the whole time.
TVGuide.com: Oh, wait. You came in second to Azaria and Hendekea. It's coming back now. The look on your face. What did you expect — that they were going to let you go ahead of them?
Jen: Everyone keeps saying that. They had just won the three legs. And I was disappointed like, "Gosh, we were right there." I wasn't like, "Come on guys, let us go first. " I don't know why it came about that way.
TVGuide.com: How happy were you when Kynt and Vyxsin did not U-turn you?
Nate: We thought Nick and Don had U-turned Kynt and Vyxsin. We didn't even understand it. We were like, "What?" "Huh?"
Jen: Because when we were making the flower garlands, we left before Kynt and Vyxsin were even halfway done. And then when we got there we were so confused that they could have possibly beaten us. Our taxi driver must have gotten lost.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of taxis, Jen, what was it like to drive in Japan?
Jen: Nerve-racking. Looking up and seeing symbols and not any type of language was mind-boggling. It was very difficult to navigate and I got out seven or eight times to ask people on the side of the road [for directions]. Hardly anybody there spoke any English.
Nate: Jen underestimates herself. Because she is not afraid to speak to people, she'll ask for directions, say anything to anybody no matter who it is. I think she's best at doing those kind of things. She may not think so, but she is.
Jen: Thanks, Nate.
TVGuide.com: In Africa, you milked a camel and delivered a goat. Back in Ireland, you two yelled at your donkey so strongly it started to shake. What have you learned about animals on this race?
Nate: That we need to be more patient. Animals are... how do I say this? Animals. They do what they do. They're going to react to how you treat them. Regarding the donkey....
Jen: We didn't treat the donkey that bad. And I have to add that we were running along fine with our donkey until Azaria and Hendekea came running by. They were slapping their donkey on the side with the clue. And theirs was going so much faster that I thought, "That's such a good idea." So I grabbed my clue and started smacking our donkey's butt and...
Nate: ... he stopped.
Jen: Four hours later, he moved. So imagine: We were out there for four hours trying to get that donkey to move.
Nate: Jen was shedding tears left and right.
TVGuide.com: What happened in Croatia when you were penalized for bumming a ride to the pit stop? Did you misread the clue?
Nate: Actually you can't take a private civilian's car. You have to take a public form of transportation. That's a rule. But we were in such a rush. And we wanted to finish first.
Jen: And after asking that whole line of white Mercedes taxis! We went to six cars. But no one would take us. The first guy who told us no was talking to the other guys saying, "Don't let them in."
TVGuide.com: Why, were you that wet and smelly?
Nate: I can't tell you the answer. But it cost us first place. So it was very aggravating.
TVGuide.com: You forgot to take public transportation in Croatia but in Taipei you took the subway when you could have hailed a cab. Why?
Nate: You have to trust the locals. It's their city. It was a gamble that could have paid off. But it didn't.
TVGuide.com: Did you get lost?
Jen: No, it was really just a much slower route because there wasn't one subway directly there. We had to get out and change. And it was like a big maze underground — red line, green line, blue line, the A1.
TVGuide.com: Did you realize at that point that you'd been eliminated?
Jen: I felt it in my heart and my gut. It was not a good feeling.
TVGuide.com: Then let's move to a happy thought: Which was your favorite leg?
Nate: Italy. Because it was the smoothest and we got to do a lot and the tasks were pretty cool.
Jen: I was just going to say Italy, too. Not that I didn't respect Nate before Italy, but it made me respect him more. We hadn't slept in two days. Then we had to drive five and a half hours in the middle of the night, up and down these windy mountain roads with a stick-shift car. Nate pulled through. I was falling asleep in the back while trying to navigate. But he was trooper. I was really impressed with him. Good job.
TVGuide.com: Oh, now you're nice to each other. Better late than never.
Jen: We were nice to each other during the race.
Nate: More than you would think.
Jen: A little bit. Once.
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