With his brand new reality show My Antonio premiering in just a few days (the show airs on the east coast on Sunday night at 10p), Antonio Sabato Jr is talking about being skeptical about finding love on reality TV, being surprised by his ex-wife, and more. Check out the interview highlights below.
Were you at all skeptical of actually finding true love? "I was very skeptical. But I think relationships are tough no matter what -- whether you're in the real world or in front of a camera. This is not a scripted show either. I wanted to be real to who I am. When we get down to the core, I wanted to find out if these girls were here for me and for the right reasons. Maybe the majority is here for the limelight and fame, but maybe there is one here for me. The odds are not on my favor, but you never know."
During the first episode, you actually eliminate one girl just minutes after meeting her. What made you kick her to the curb so quickly? "If I feel there is no real connection, then she had to leave. I didn't want to make the show fake or keep people around just for the sake of it. I told VH1 beforehand that if at any given moment I wanted to send someone home, it is my choice, even if it wasn't on elimination night."
What was it like having to juggle all those women at once? "It is different, and I am certainly not that person. I like to date one person at a time and am very private. Dating nowadays is hard anyway. Ultimately it is about my life and hopefully finding the right person."
An unexpected moment on the show occurs when your ex-wife, Tully Jenson returns, saying she's still in love with you. Were you blindsided? "My manager and co-producers knew, but I was the only one who didn't know. I was blown away. What you see is what you get on the show. It shocked me. As a matter of fact, I had to leave and go back to my place because I really had to think about it. I haven't seen her in many, many years and am a completely different person than when I was 18. I was intrigued by this person and wanted to know, 'Why are you here? What's going on? Are you trying to be famous?' Yeah, it was shocking and unbelievable."
Did the women have to do anything crazy to prove their love to you? "I wanted to shock and scare these girls sometimes. I asked VH1 to give me pretty much everything, like diving with sharks and skydiving from 20,000 feet. I asked for a lot of crazy stuff – but didn't get everything I wanted though."
You have two children from other relationships. Do they know you're on this reality dating show? "They don't know anything about it... I am a proud father, and I believe I am a really good dad. I love my children, and they adore me. [My kids] know I am doing a show, but I am a actor and have been doing this my whole life, so they really don't pay too much attention to it."