In January, five weeks after the Springfield, Mo., banker asked school psychologist Helene Eksterowicz to be his bride on the second season of The Bachelor
, the pair, both 28, parted ways at Buerge's behest.
So, are you two still in touch? "I've tried to correspond with her. I've forwarded [by e-mail] some jokes and left a couple of phone messages for her." Jim Belushi recognized you at the Super Bowl? "He was a huge fan of the show. He said, 'I know you're going to pick Brooke,' and all I could think was, 'Uh, he's going to be disappointed.' "
Love life update, please: "I've been dating a model from Minnesota [Play-boy.com Cyber Girl Audra Lynn, 23, whom he met at a promotional appearance in January]. It's very casual. We're taking it slow."
Coming up? "I have big political aspirations. I definitely want to be on the city council in Springfield. Then maybe a senator for the state."
Trolley's, a local restaurant you've invested in, serves Buerge (pronounced "bur-gee") Burgers. "That was my partner's idea. I like the Bachelor Party—it's a mega-martini for four."
He lost out on The Bachelorette
, but the gregarious Detroit mortgage company co-owner, 32, won enough hearts to earn five visits on Oprah
, as well as the lead role in the fourth installment of The Bachelor
, airing this fall.
Hard feelings? Nahhh. "I learned a lot from Trista. I hope to handle all the ladies I meet with the same respect and sincerity that she handled all of us with."
Lard feelings? Though you'd never know it from his goofball antics and happy-go-lucky dance moves, "I went on the show looking the worst I've ever looked and not feeling that great." (But quit calling him Fat Bob—he's now nearly 40 lbs. lighter.)
On his 2001 divorce: "It's allowed me to evaluate what I truly need to do to make a relationship successful. I take that seriously."
BOB'S ROCK AND ROLL PAST
Bob has offered to sing at Trista's wedding...and he actually has credentials. Fat Amy, a band he formed with friends in 1993, opened for the likes of They Might Be Giants and Fastball. Why Fat Amy? "It was for one of our girlfriends who called everything 'phat,' " he says.
Despite having his pick of 20 women at Joe Millionaire's
French chateau, "I knew during the show that none of those girls [including winner Zora Andrich] was for me," says the L.A. construction worker, who pocketed $500,000. "I don't think I did it for them, either."
Let's get fiscal: "The money is sitting in a money market account. What if I go through a dry spell for the rest of my life?"
Freebie central: "Restaurants say, 'This is on us.' That is something that I have learned: In America, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Now that I have a bankroll, I have stuff being thrown at me. It's kind of appalling."
His dream girl: She's "blonde, with big boobs, a little waist and a big, thick bubble butt."
STRETCHING HIS 15 MINUTES...
"Some events go into overtime," he says, "and maybe this is one of them."
In a KFC ad with Jason Alexander.
On-set with Cedric the Entertainer.
Grappling with fame on Mad TV
The 32-year-old San Francisco media entrepreneur who started it all—The Bachelor
No. 1—broke up with event planner Amanda Marsh nine months after the show's finale and is now a pitchman for the online dating service Match.com.
Any rarin' romances? "I was so public about my dating life once, I've decided to be more private about it now. I'm single now and that's all I'll say."
Good guy to know: "Being recognizable is sort of the ultimate icebreaker. When I'm out with friends, for good or for ill, I'm a good conversation starter. I can introduce them to people."
Call Dr. Phil: "Because of The Bachelor
and Match.com, people think I'm a dating expert. Some say, 'Hey, I can't win back my ex-wife. What should I do?' Well, I'm not really sure what you should do!"
Invaluable life lessons: "I've learned that people never forget what they see on TV, and that they recognize me more when they're drunk."