'Bachelor' Arie Luyendyk Jr. Responds to Jef Holm's Bet That His Relationship Won't Last (Exclusive)

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Arie Luyendyk Jr. isn't sweating the negativity after hisBachelor debut -- well, most of it, anyway. 

The 36-year-old race car driver had fans divided after his announcement as Bachelor No. 22 in September seemed to come out of nowhere. Months later, he admits it can be hard to stay away from the not-so-nice comments, but for the most part, he can take it. 

"What negativity?" he joked while sitting down with ET on Wednesday. "For me, some of it is funny... the show is obviously about love, it's about finding that person, but it's also really funny and it's easy to poke fun at." 

"I like to poke fun at people and I can take it," he continued. "So, you know, it makes it fun." 

The Bachelor has a different response to recent comments made by his former friend and Bachelorette castmate, Jef Holm, who claimed on Twitter that it "doesn't matter who gets out of the limo...I'll give 5k to the charity of @chrisbharrison's choice if @ariejr lasts 1 year with anyone." 

"I know Jef's throwing some shade at me a little bit, but we haven't spoken in four years," Luyendyk reasoned. "He would have lost his own bet, I guess." 

"I'm concentrating on me and this whole experience. I'm not even going to get into that," he added. 

The Arizona realtor seems to have taken the same approach inside the Bachelor mansion, telling ET that he doesn't think he "dealt with" the drama at all. One thing that did surprise him, however, was the drama surrounding his decision to give Chelsea the first impression rose after she assertively pursued him two times before some of the other women had even gotten to speak to him once. 

"I was surprised that there was so much negativity on the first impression rose," he said. "Going into that first night, I was very nervous, and I don't know who's there for me, and she made me feel like she was really invested in me. Pulling me aside and talking to me really gave me that confidence in us." 

"That first night, I was really trying to sort out who was there for me, who is maybe expecting a different Bachelor, who was there to get an Instagram following. There was so many things going on through my head, and I was just trying to find a genuine person," he explained.

Luyendyk -- who confirmed he fell in love with two women, but refused to reveal if he proposed, teased that after night one, Chelsea "was one of the front-runners" -- as well as Maquel for her Indy car entrance, and Becca, for making him get down on one knee during their first meeting. 

"It definitely made it feel a bit more real, and it was fun," he recalled. 

Meanwhile, Luyendyk says next week's episode, which he wines and dines Becca on an extravagant date, marks "the turning point to where I became really comfortable." 

"I'm a bit more relaxed, way more myself, and I think it's because we start to get into those one-on-one dates, where it's just me and that person, and we're having a conversation," he shared. "It really helped." 

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more on the show in the video below. 


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