Atlanta’s Bachelorette Andi Dorfman tells all

On her new book, the most awkward sexual encounter of her life, and how things went horribly wrong with Josh Murray
Andi Dorfman
Photograph by Nomi Ellenson

Andi Dorfman new book It's Not OkayIf you’re a fan of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises—and really, how could you not be?—perhaps the most surprising star in recent seasons has been Andi Dorfman, who made it to the top three of The Bachelor in 2014 and was chosen to be The Bachelorette later that year. Unlike most of the contestants in the show’s dubious history, Dorfman actually showed off a sharp brain and an even sharper tongue. Even more surprising? Despite the show’s absurd conceit—26 potential suitors vying for the affections of the star, with cameras rolling—Dorfman actually fell in love with Josh Murray. It seemed like kismet. Both lived in Atlanta. Both were sort of ridiculously hot. But then it all went horribly wrong. Along the way, she kept a journal, which ultimately became It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After, which comes out Tuesday.

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is hosting Dorfman for a book-signing and Q&A on Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m., at Big Sky Buckhead, 3201 Cains Hill Place NW. The event is free, but the MJCCA is asking that you RSVP here.

Among the disclosures in Dorfman’s book:

  • She describes a fantasy suite evening with Nick Viall, the loathsome runner-up to Josh, as “the most cringe-worthy, lady boner-killing, awkward sexual encounter of my life.” As he “gazed adoringly into my eyes,” she was sure he was going to tell her he loved her. Instead, he asked to play their favorite game, Would You Rather. His question? “Would you rather make love or f—?” Dorfman writes, “We’d gone from passionate, tingle-producing kisses to a debilitating arid joke in a matter of one conversation.” Nick, she writes, was all about the cameras. That handwritten note he sent her during the reunion show, asking her to take him back? He’d emailed it to the producers first, then rewrote it by hand so it could be used as a prop.
  • Josh, whom Dorfman refers to in the book as “Number 26,” at first praised Andi’s career-driven mindset, she says, but soon made it clear he wanted to be the breadwinner—trying such careers as selling penny stocks and hawking health supplements, she writes—while she took the role of “domestic goddess.”
  • Toward the end of their relationship, Josh’s smile was “just a mask covering the control he exerted in private. He had an uncanny way of manipulating situations and conversations to make me feel like the worst person in the world,” she writes.
  • She says he called her “selfish and unappreciative” and the most miserable person he’d ever met. “If we didn’t get invited to a red-carpet event, he’d say it was ‘because of my actions with Number Twenty-Five [referring to Nick].’ If I talked to another man, I was a ‘whore.’ If I disagreed, I was ‘argumentative.’ If I defied him, I was a ‘bitch.’” Later in the book she writes, “I wasn’t being beaten and battered . . . but I was staying in a relationship that I knew was lethal.”

The 29-year-old Dorfman spoke to Atlanta magazine about her time on the shows, what she misses about Atlanta now that she’s living in New York City, and what her dating life looks like now.

Andi Dorfman
Photograph by Nomi Ellenson

How does it feel to share these intimate details from your time on the shows? You’re really frank about men, sex, and relationships.
It was a journal that I wrote throughout the show. So some of it poured out in an emotional, irrational way. When I made the decision to make it a book, I decided I was going to do it with 100 percent authenticity. That meant being honest about what happened, for better or worse—the emotional, irrational, rational. I wanted transparency, so people could relate to it.

I’ve developed a thicker skin than I’ve had. People say stuff. People judge. That’s how the world works. I have to focus on the people who are empowered by the book and who say, “Thank you so much, you got me over a breakup.” Those are the opinions that I have to count on.

Why did you use numbers to refer to the men, instead of their names?
It wasn’t the legality of it; everyone knows who these people are. The number system came from an empowering standpoint. This is about the break-up, not the names specifically. Maybe it was my inner feminism, but who wants their exes in their stories? Let’s call them numbers, and feel empowered by it.

You talk about how Josh was a giant regret—in fact, “Regret” is the name you gave him in your phone after you broke up—and that he called you a “whore.” You also refer to Nick as an “asshole.” Have you heard anything from them lately?
None of us really talk to each other. I’m pretty sure they’re aware. None of us ask each other for permission. We live separate lives.

Josh told Us Weekly: “It saddens me and is very unfortunate that Andi has chosen to characterize me in such a negative way. I pray she finds peace.” That sounds a lot like “Bless her heart.”
Well, we’re Southern. I’ll take it.

You write that you regret ever being part of The Bachelor franchise.
That was said from an emotional, irrational standpoint. At the end of the day the show gave me so many friends, travel, and experience. I fell in love on this show and experienced a distinct love that I had never felt before. I’m pretty darn lucky to have done what I did. To have bitterness would be a slap in the face to the show, when it gave me so much insight into life. I’m a normal girl from Atlanta, so I can’t help but be grateful.

You also say, in the book, that you hate when people ask how you could have left your job with the DA’s office. But do you miss it?
Every day I think about the job. I think people sometimes forget that I got a law degree and that it’s mine for life. I can go back whenever I want. Nobody says that lane is closed. I talk to people there all the time, and every time I tell them I miss it they say, “You’re crazy.” They’re super supportive.

Now that you’re living in New York City, what do you miss about Atlanta?
I miss barbecue. I loved Hal’s [The Steakhouse] and Umi and 10 Degrees South. Fox Bros Bar-B-Q—so good.

Now that the book is done, what’s next?
I loved the writing process. I would love to write more. And I’d like to do a roundtable, like The View or The Talk—something related to social issues and things that are current.

Are you dating?
I’d say I’m happily single.

And are you going to watch the new season of The Bachelorette, which premieres later this month?
Yeah. I love JoJo [Fletcher, the newest Bachelorette]. I haven’t met her but talked to her, and it seems like she’ll do a great job. The guys will totally drool over her. The feminist in me loves that, seeing all those guys vying for the girl.