'The Bachelor's' Chantal O'Brien: 'Brad was downplaying what we had'

chantal-obrien-bachelor.jpg Chantal O'Brien was the also-ran in Brad Womack's second time around on "The Bachelor." She talks to the press about her experience, her new man and the next "Bachelorette" season.

During the final rose ceremony, Chantal says she was just trying to keep it together.

"At that point, I was just trying to tell myself to not cry and not freak out ... I was just really trying to hold myself together at that point."

The "After the Final Rose" reunion didn't go much better for Chantal, as tension was palpable between her and Brad as she tried to get an explanation for why he made the choice he made. Host Chris Harrison suggested that Brad was downplaying his feelings for Chantal by saying that she "deserved to be" at the end and Chantal agrees.

"Yes, I definitely think Brad was downplaying what we had. I think it's pretty undeniable when you watch the show what we had and that it was special," says Chantal. "We did have great chemistry and it was special, but he's probably in a tough situation right now."

Despite the tension, Chantal says she isn't harboring any ill will towards Brad or Emily.

"There's no part of me that's angry. I was more surprised by his answer. In all honesty, I do feel that I'm in the space I need to be, so I almost feel like I should be thanking him for the decisions that were made."

Part of that good new space means a new boyfriend. Chantal has moved on to a new man, who she says is "great and super supportive and has not been watching the show, which is a bonus," as she laughs.

A lot of people were hoping she'd be the next Bachelorette, but it is this new man who kept Chantal out of the running.

"It really was never an option to do 'The Bachelorette' because of the fact that I was in a relationship. My relationship came out very unplanned. I met this person through a mutual friend and it completely caught me by surprise, but was obviously a very good surprise," says Chantal.

"I definitely would've loved to do the show had I not been in a relationship," she continues. "I think Ashley is gonna be awesome. She definitely has this funky personality and has a ton of energy. If anything, those guys are gonna need to step up their game to keep up with her."

"The Bachelorette" premieres Monday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo/Video credit: ABC