He talks about what really happened with Nikki, whether Michelle and Craig hooked up, Natalie and Jesse's romance, and more

By People Staff
Updated August 12, 2010 01:00 AM
Credit: Kevin Foley/ABC

Juan Barbieri, known for breaking man code during Jillian s Bachelorette season, moved into the Bachelor Pad for “fun and a one in 18 shot at $250,000. Ironically, it was woman code (as in “You’re going to pay for hurting our friend”) that did him in the first week. He spoke exclusively with PEOPLE about what really happened with Nikki, whether Michelle and Craig hooked up, Natalie and Jesse’s romance and more. – Carrie Bell

What drew you to the spin-off?
I certainly didn’t do it without hesitation. But at the end of the day, it was a neat opportunity to do challenges, make new friends and possibly meet a girl. The fun aspect is really high. The money is also quite a draw. Even though it is a long shot, it sure beats your chances if you re sitting at home.

You said that if you had a choice between finding love or winning the money, you d take the cash.
I was being playful. In reality, if I had found the love of my life, mother of my children, I would forgo the money. You can t put a price tag on that. But I knew I had a better chance of winning the money than finding the one out of 11 girls.

The reason you were eliminated is because of your history with Nikki. Viewers only got part of the story and it made you seem like a jerk. What s your side?
Nikki tends to embellish and exaggerate and she uses the terms relationship and dating differently than I do … We had been corresponding online and she seemed like a sweet girl. She invited me to Chicago. I had never been and was eager to visit. We had a wonderful weekend together. She was a wonderful host. Everything went as normally and naturally as you can imagine and then I came back to L.A., my life and other I was dating. We kept in touch but at no time did we ever talk about pursuing it. I took it for what it was and she obviously took it for something more. The next time I saw her was six weeks later on the reunion cruise. Before we boarded, I said I wasn t interested in continuing our relationship and that it would be best to be friends. She didn t take that very well and that s where the animosity started.

Women stick together. Obviously, that played a part in your elimination. Do you think you will have some explaining to do on the real dating scene?
When it comes to my real dating life, it has no impact. Anyone who takes two minutes to hear the story gets a clear picture on the situation. Now, do online choose team Juan or team Nikki and like to talk trash? Of course. I learned long ago to tune it out.

Who would you like to win?
I guess I d give it to Kiptyn. I hate to say it because he has so much going for him and he doesn t need it, but he d do good things with it. I m not sure he has it in him to do the sneaky things necessary to win.

Were you surprised at how quickly Natalie and Jesse hooked up?
Yeah. They had an instant connection. They are each other s type in every way. I don t know if it will last. They live in different states so that makes things difficult.

Did Michelle and Craig hook up on the first night?
That never happened. Tenley was dreaming or it was Natalie and Jesse who had already been making out and slept next to her. Craig and Michelle were on the other side of the room and I know for a fact they didn t do anything inappropriate. If it was Tenley s strategy to start a rumor about someone already on thin ice to rally the troop against her, it was well-played.

As you all slept in one room, which woman looked best waking up?
Gia always looked great. Some girls walked in to the house all dolled up and Gia came in with no makeup, hair down and a T-shirt and could not have looked more beautiful.

Want to take a guess at Gwen’s mystery age?
No idea and no comment.