While Michael Stagliano won $125,000 on Bachelor Pad, he lost ex-fiancé Holly Durst to fellow contestant Blake Julian. The 27-year-old winner spoke to reporters about learning of the engagement on television, how he really feels about the couple, and what he plans to do with the money.
Did you hesitate at all about choosing "share"?
Michael Stagliano: One of the things I thought about in the deliberation room was that I could have said ... "Holly, you got Blake out of this and that's great and you know what? I'm going to take the money out of this." I think the audience and people watching wouldn't have [thought] he's horrible for doing that. But the bigger part of me was screaming that I shook Holly's hand before this, I shook her hand during it and I shook her hand on stage ... that we were going to split and I made her that promise and it's important to me to keep promises I make especially to people I care about.
Are you upset by the way you learned of Holly and Blake's engagement?
Stagliano: Going into the finale I was on very good terms with [Holly]. I was really proud of us and proud to be her teammate ... but I don't think there's another way to say it. It was really shi--y what she did and what happened. Holly and Blake said, "We tried to call you." They got engaged on Sunday, the finale filmed on Tuesday, they had maybe 36 hours so I don't get what that sentence means. It's 2011, if you dial my number I'll pick it up. Even to take it a step further, just out of respect for me, which I've certainly shown Blake and Holly ... I would have not gone on stage. I would've put my foot down and said there's no way we're going to let this happen, that we're going to let him get blindsided and not find out about the engagement until he's on national television and in front of a live studio audience. I really feel like that was really terrible.
How do you feel about Blake?
Stagliano: Did I really get to know Blake? No, but I think you can tell a lot by someone's actions and by what they say. Two shining examples are that if you knowingly manipulate a woman to have feelings for you and kiss her and promise her things and then when she figures out that's not the case and is upset about it, for — on national television — you to call her a b---- and "Hurricane Melissa" — a good guy doesn't do that. Also, none of this aired, but Blake made a deal with me and came to me after the kissing contest and said, "This is where Melissa and I are at, we're on the outskirts, I want to make a deal with you where I take Holly on the date for strategy reasons, I'll keep her safe as long as you keep Melissa around." He was shaking my hand and looked me in the eye ... saying it's purely strategy, I'm going to be respectful and not do anything ... you have nothing to worry about. I just don't think a good guy does that.
So do you have any regrets from your time on Bachelor Pad?
Stagliano: It seems like a half-truth when people say I don't have any regrets. I do regret some of what happened, namely putting trust in Blake. Blake and I agreed to let Holly go on that date and I spoke to Holly about it and I trusted Holly enough and trusted where we were at in getting back together, maybe a little bit too much, because after Holly went on that date everything changed. So I regret that moment. But in terms of falling in love with her, no I don't regret that at all. I'm a lover, I love falling in love ... so feeling that again with Holly was really refreshing and I'm really glad for it because now I'm on the other side of this whole thing and I'm totally ready to date again!
What will you do with the prize money?
Stagliano: I plan on going on a vacation ... somewhere warm with a beach and with Holly and Blake not around.