Bob Guiney: Matt Baron/BEImages
Liane Bonin
May 26, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Andrew Firestone is so over. ABC has announced the latest lovelorn star of ”The Bachelor” (debuting this fall) and it’s none other than ”Bachelorette” favorite Bob Guiney. The mortgage broker from Michigan softened the hearts of female viewers everywhere with his self-deprecating humor, but ladies who fell for the cuddly teddy bear may be in for a surprise this time around. talked to Guiney, 32, about handling groupies, his rock star career (really), and why being divorced may make him the smartest bachelor yet.

Even surrounded by hot male models, you managed to steal the show on ”The Bachelorette.” What’s your secret?
I honestly have no idea. What I hear from most people is that they liked the fact that I was honest and had a really good time, which is refreshing. This is going to sound awful, but there aren’t too many perfect tens out there, so chances are people who are overly judgmental should look in the mirror.

You weren’t shy about calling attention to your weight on the show. Were you unhappy with your looks?
I heard people say that my ribbing on myself must have been to hide my insecurities. But I think it shows how secure I was. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life and I still went on the show. I’m halfway responsible for people thinking of me as less than these other guys because I did make fun of myself, but I don’t walk around and have people sticking their noses up in the air and puking. I’m back down to my regular size, but I’ve never had a problem getting a date in my entire life.

Did Trista break your heart?
Even though I had a connection with Trista more as a friend than in a romantic way, you still have that sense of rejection when you’re let go from the show. But after I left I definitely looked at it as a great move on her part. I think she made a brilliant choice with Ryan. It was so obvious he was enamored with her that anyone who’d stand in the way of that would be crazy.

On previous ”Bachelors” we’ve seen crying and cat fighting. Any strategies for coping with bad reactions?
When my band was on tour we would have fans who were definitely more crazy about the idea of the band than a reality with me, and I’m hoping that gives me a little knowledge and compassion. Plus, having been on the other side, I think Trista handled herself so well. She was sincere, and it’s hard to fault someone for that.

Speaking of your band Fat Amy, any thoughts of returning to the rock & roll lifestyle?
I left music to get into a more stable work environment. We still write and record together, but I would never quit my day job. Still, after I broke up the band, three songs we had written got picked up for the CBS show ”The Education of Max Bickford.” And sure, after ”The Bachelorette,” my phone started ringing again. I wouldn’t look down my nose at an opportunity, but the show isn’t about that. It really is about finding someone.

Does being divorced give you a different perspective than previous Bachelors?
I think it does. I’m a little older than previous Bachelors have been, and not to take anything away from them, but I take the whole idea of being married extremely seriously. I think my ex-wife was a great person, but you can have two great people and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re supposed to be married. I jokingly say I don’t want to be Ross from ”Friends,” but I never planned on getting divorced, and it taught me a lot about myself and marriage. I definitely don’t want to mess up again.

You’re writing a book. Are you revealing ”Bachelor” secrets?
I had been told Oprah wanted me to be on her show before I got on a plane for home, and the woman sitting next to me said, ”You must have the most perfect life.” And I couldn’t help but say to her, ”You know, I just came off the worst year of my life.” I’ve tried to play down the weight issue, but it wasn’t just the result of two leg surgeries. I had also gotten divorced, and that’s emotionally exhausting. You get depressed. It turned out this woman was the chief editor of Penguin Publishing. She told me that since there’s such a huge number of people who get divorced under the age of 35, a lot of people could benefit from my story. Kind of like ”The Bachelorette,” it just sort of happened.

Have you gotten any great advice from other Bachelors?
Trista and Ryan have taught me about not getting caught up in the frivolous stuff. How many dates are you going to take on the Goodyear blimp? There are definitely these exotic dates which are romantic and enchanting, and it’s got to be difficult to see through all of that to make the right decisions. But out of respect for the women taking the time to be on the show, I want to be honest and above board.

Are you completely sick of roses?
On ”The Bachelorette” they asked me what I thought we should get instead of a rose, and I said a Kettel One and tonic. I know they have a certain format as far as the roses go, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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