The Baltimore Sun

Brad Womack is 'The Bachelor' -- again -- as ABC series returns

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He who gets slapped ... gets to be "The Bachelor" again.

At least that's the case if you're Brad Womack, who famously rejected both Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas at the end of the ABC show's 11th season. He has another chance for a love match as the first bachelor to be allowed to choose again when the unscripted series begins its 15th round Monday, Jan. 3.

Already, it can be confirmed that Womack doesn't leave the show alone again. Having completed taping of the new episodes, he says, "I'm pleasantly surprised that I'm very much in love. No kidding. It worked, so (ABC is) allowing me to say that, and I'm happy to be able to. It went incredibly well, and that's a huge relief.

"I'll be honest: If I went there and didn't find someone or something I was looking for, I would have walked away (alone) again. And I think I would have been assassinated in public. This is a very real and true feeling, though, and I'm as happy as I've been in a very long time."

That, despite the new "Bachelor" season starting with Womack taking a face slap from the first of the 30 contenders to arrive by limo. Moreover, he has to face Croft and Pappas again, moments into the season premiere episode (hosted, as the series has been from the start, by Chris Harrison).

"It was completely surreal," Womack reports of starting "The Bachelor" again. "I was a ball of nerves, only because I didn't know how I was going to be received by the women. I don't think they knew it was going to be me, so in the back of my mind I was thinking, 'If they don't want me here, they're going to get back in the limousine and drive away. And I'm going to look like a complete schmuck.' And I'd get what I deserved, in some respects."

Womack claims that being approached to return to "The Bachelor" came as "a complete surprise. It had been over three years, and after my decision, I had chosen to lay low from everything. I didn't participate in any reunion shows or anything like that.

"Initially, I politely declined (to come back), then I thought about it a little and said, 'If you're truly interested, let's talk.' We did that, and it worked out."

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