Travis and Nicole started The Amazing Race 23 as the ones to beat, but things took a sharp turn after Nicole struggled with the angklung Roadblock in Indonesia, requiring Amy's help and ostensibly incurring her husband's harsh criticism. But the ER doctors, who placed third after Nicole took 21 tries (!) to do a flour drop, insists that their tense relationship in the back half of the season was all editing. "There's definitely a lot more to us that was not aired, and that's fine," Nicole tells TVGuide.com. "But we gave them other material and they ran with it." Find out what you didn't see on the show, why Travis says he was hard on his wife, if they thought they cheated and more.
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Why did you have so much trouble with the flour drop, Nicole?
Nicole: I don't know. I was trying to time it. The first time I did it, I was pretty close, so I tried to do that repeatedly, but it didn't work! It took probably an hour. ... We thought there would be another Roadblock that would potentially be more physically intense, so that's why I decided to do it.
Travis, you seemed very agitated waiting.
Travis: I was actually doing fine. Towards the end of the Race, I was more encouraging. What you saw on television was a small portion. But in reality, I was actually very optimistic. I felt then same way I still feel: Nicole's never going to give up. She was going to keep working. My only concern, which I said two or three drops before she got it, was that I don't want her to lose confidence and get flustered. Right after I said that, she put one in the water, and I said, "Oops, I think she lost confidence." And they showed that! In the Race, you never know what's coming, so there's always a possibility [to catch up], so I wasn't that discouraged. I thought it was going to be really difficult because we were down to the toughest teams. They would have to make a mistake for us to catch up, but they didn't.
You guys obviously had high expectations of yourselves. A lot of fans think you, Travis, were too hard on Nicole.
Nicole: Well, first of all, it was definitely disappointing to come in third. We went on the Race to win, so yes, I didn't want to disappoint Travis, just like anyone wouldn't want to disappoint their partner. No one wants to disappoint anyone. But as I said [on the show], it's life. Things don't always work out the way you want it to work out. We're very, very happy for Jay and Amy.
Travis: I consider myself pretty darn competitive. The one thing we said in the beginning, which I still believe, is we came on the Race knowing we can win and some other teams came on hoping to win. To not win when you know you have the capability of winning is really tough. Although it appears on TV that I was really, really down on Nicole, I really wasn't. It was just my level of expectation is so high because I've seen Nicole for 14 years excel tremendously at everything. For me, it was unusual to see her struggle at anything. It was me, not her. I think that was the hardest thing for me. Unfortunately, I get caught up in the moment and it takes me longer to bounce back. In our private time is when I'm better able to do so.
You think your bad moments and critical comments of Nicole were overblown?
Travis: Yes, way overblown. It wasn't portrayed on air, but I think we were the most loving couple around. That's the only disheartening thing about television. Phil, consistently during the Pit Stops, would say, "When Nicole and Travis come up here, we feel like we have to pull a bed out!" None of this aired, and I understand why. One time Nicole and I kissed, and Phil was like, "Oops! I hope there wasn't any tongue involved!" That side of our relationship wasn't really shown.
Nicole: There's definitely a lot more to us that was not aired, and that's fine. But we gave them other material and they ran with it. We get it.