Emotions ran high on The Bachelorette Monday night as host Chris Harrison interviewed Emily Maynard, the single mom from Charlotte, N.C. who spoke openly about her recent split from Bachelor Brad Womack.
Noticeably absent while Maynard sobbed through much of the interview was Womack. Why didn’t he show?
“I think it was too hard for him,” Maynard tells PEOPLE. Since becoming engaged on The Bachelor season finale, the duo had been dogged relentlessly by the paparazzi and served as the subject of false tabloid reports.
“He wants privacy just as much as I do. The only reason [I did it] is because I don’t want people following me anymore. I have a daughter I have to protect,” Maynard says.
“That was my main reason for coming here. If I didn’t have that I would have just let it ride and never been on TV again.”
Maynard traveled to Los Angeles last month to sit with Harrison at the Bachelor mansion – a task that wasn’t easy for her or Harrison.
“Once I found out it was just Emily, I reached out to Brad because I didn’t want there to be an awkwardness or hard feelings,” Harrison says. The day of the interview, “I talked to Brad. I knew how emotional he was. We talked, and there’s still a lot of love between them, but it was too difficult for him to talk.”
Despite the split, the couple remain very close, talking and texting nearly every day.
“I know that I love him and more than anything he’s a friend to me and he’s been a friend to me,” Maynard says. “I’ll always love Brad.”