Arie Luyendyk, Jr.: Friend Defends Bachelorette Contender, Downplays Producer Relationship

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A friend of Arie Luyendyk, Jr., is speaking out to defend the reality star against allegations that he is on The Bachelorette for the wrong reasons.

The dashing Indy Car driver has been wooing Emily Maynard with his looks, sense of humor, openness and good-natured demeanor ... but is it all a farce?

Recent reports have suggested he may not be as sincere as he seems, and have cited his relationship with Cassie Lambert, one of the producers.

Well, his friend Kristina Owen tells Wetpaint that Arie is there for the right reasons, and did not get the boot from Emily as Us Weekly claimed.

Emily Maynard, Arie Luyendyk, Jr.

The Bachelorette spoilers have Arie as one of the top contenders, but Us claimed Emily “cut [Arie] on the spot” when she found out about Cassie.

Not the case, says Kristina.

"People assume it was this really intense, long-term relationship – but that’s not the case," she says, adding that it's "blown way out of proportion."

Owen says that while Arie Luyendyk, Jr., does know Lambert, she's merely an old acquaintance, and hasn't been "begging him" to be on the show.

Kristina says that in actuality, The Bachelorette producers (including Cassie) happened to call Arie regarding another driver they were considering.

"They wanted Arie to be a reference," she said, but having heard about Emily Maynard, "towards the end of the call, Arie threw something out there."

"He said, “Listen, if you’re still looking for people, I’d love to do it.” They asked him if he was serious and he said yes. They told him that they had everyone they needed, but they would keep him in mind if a spot opened up."

A month later, it did, and the rest is history.

He was NOT given any special consideration when it came to Emily, contrary to reports, Kristina adds, noting that Emily is aware of Cassie.

"Yes, she was made aware of it," she told Wetpaint. "But what’s been reported isn’t what really happened. Not even close."

What do you think? Do you believe her? Is Emily Maynard engaged to Arie, or one of the other top contenders? Comment below ...

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