03/07/2006 AT 1:00 PM ET
The rules drove them apart: That’s the official word from The Bachelor: Paris couple Dr. Travis Stork and Sarah Stone, who say they have broken up.
In a joint interview with the Nashville Tennessean on Monday, Stork and Stone said that the rules of the ABC reality show, which forced Stork to keep his selection a secret following the show’s taping in November, ultimately led to their undoing, the Associated Press reports.
“You’re in Paris and you’re part of this incredible experience, this fantasy world, and then suddenly you come back to Nashville,” said Stork. Instead of pursuing the romance, “You’re forced to pretend you don’t know someone.”
Although rumors had surfaced following the finale that linked the two, Stork said revealing the outcome would have been a “huge breach of contract.” Instead, he added, the couple, who are both Nashville natives, went to great lengths to avoid one another. It wasn’t until the Feb. 27 finale that viewers knew Stork selected Stone out of 25 women on the show.
“I remember one day Sarah was running down the street, and I walked out my front door on my bike and I instantly saw this person darting across the street, through traffic. I’m like, ‘That s Sarah. Do I look, do I not? What do I do?’” Stork recalled. He ended up riding his bike in the opposite direction. “It’s strange to have to live that way.”
Stone said that if the two had met under other circumstances their relationship might have played out differently. “We wouldn’t have had all the baggage that comes from being on this show,” she said. “It would just be the two of us being able to hang out and get to know each other in a normal situation.”
Both say that they remain single and have fond memories of their experience in Paris. “We both agree and know that we ll be friends forever,” Stone said.