Don't call him "Bachelor" Bob (search) anymore.
Bob Guiney (search), "The Bachelor's" most popular single guy to date, is still smarting from a lawsuit -recently dismissed - by the show's producers, who sought to prevent him from promoting his current album, "3 Sides"
"I never felt so betrayed in my life," he says.
"I was under the impression I could release the album in November like I originally planned, but they asked me to wait until January 15 after Meredith (last season's "The Bachelorette" (search)) premiered to really promote it on television," says Guiney. "I agreed - even though it could have really been detrimental to the album."
But something changed, he says, after he attended the televised nuptials of Trista and Ryan Sutter on Dec. 10. Perhaps not so coincidentally, he had just ended his short-lived relationship with Estella Gardinier (search), the "bachelorette" whom he chose at the end of his season on the "The Bachelor."
Shortly after the breakup, Guiney and actress Rebecca Budig ("All My Children"), who met while taping a special for ABC Family, began dating. The couple is still together and happier than ever, says Guiney.
Does he think his breakup with Gardinier factored into the producers' decision to sue? "I would hope that wasn't the case," says Guiney.
"They accused me of being opportunistic - that's really the pot calling the kettle black," says Guiney. "Our argument became if Andrew (Firestone, the previous 'Bachelor') can go back and make wine, why can't I go back and make music?"
A federal judge agreed and last month dismissed the suit filed by And Syndicated Productions, a division of Telepictures, which sought unspecified damages against Guiney and his record label Wind-up. The ruling concluded the producers had not presented sufficient evidence to show the clause which bars Guiney's "participation" in any media outlet or advertisements is not overly broad.
Currently on a 40-city tour for "3 Sides," which included a sold-out New York City performance at The Cutting Room earlier this month, Guiney is relieved the ordeal is behind him - but is still baffled by it.
"It's like when you chew on an Excedrin - your headache is gone, but you've got this bitter taste in your mouth. How did I get to be the bad guy?" he says. "(The producers) were looking at me for pilots for talk shows and other things and kept me in Los Angeles for two months (after wrapping) doing projects to promote the show. I had given them copies of the album and they were like, 'We love it.' One producer even asked to be in my video."
While battling over the lawsuit, "Bachelor" executive producers tried to convince Guiney to be part of a group photo shoot of Bachelor and Bachelorette alums for People magazine's 30th anniversary issue. Guiney declined.
"It would have been hypocritical to be there and pretend at that point that everything was hunky-dory," he says. "I thought that going there to help them celebrate something that was costing me a tremendous amount of money in legal fees would have been bull."
Despite the ugly lawsuit, Guiney says he's grateful for his "Bachelor" experience.
"Meeting Rebecca - which wouldn't have happened without the show - made it all worthwhile. Ultimately I do have to thank the producers for helping me find love in the end because I did - I just didn't do it the way they wanted me to."