Miss Alabama USA 2012 Katherine Webb offered a clarification after confirming she’s dating AJ McCarron, the starting quarterback at the University of Alabama.
“I’m not trying to sabotage Alabama,” Webb said.
Some might consider it a necessary disclaimer, since she’s an Auburn University graduate.
Webb, who was raised in the Columbus-Phenix City area, confirmed the romance on Friday. “Yes, we are in a relationship,” she said in a phone interview with the Ledger-Enquirer.
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Now that their relationship has made national headlines, some football-based questions have surfaced.
Does Webb still love Auburn? Can she honestly cheer for McCarron and his Alabama teammates?
With the intense rivalry between the two schools, are Auburn-Alabama romances ever OK?
Webb’s answers: yes, yes and yes.
"Honestly, it's just a game," she said of the football rivalry.
She plans to travel to Florida to watch Alabama compete against Notre Dame in the upcoming BCS national championship game. Webb said her time as Miss Alabama taught her how to put some allegiances in perspective.
“When you’re a representative of the whole state, you have to kind of bypass your own feelings and love everyone,” she said.
Not everyone’s a fan of that approach.
“I think I’ve had a little bit of backlash from my own alma mater,” said Webb, 23. “Of course I’ll always love Auburn.”
Webb, who advanced to the top 10 in the Miss USA 2012 pageant, said she first met McCarron in person when he attended this year’s Miss Alabama USA pageant, which was held Dec. 7-8 in Montgomery.
Prior to that meeting, they knew of each other due to a series of Twitter exchanges.
“I had not seen him (in person) until I went on stage and saw him in the front row,” Webb said. Since she lives in Los Angeles, Webb said she initially wasn’t too familiar with McCarron’s achievements on the football field.
After the pageant, their relationship progressed.
“We decided to make it official this past weekend,” said Webb, who is home for the holidays visiting family in Alabama.
Even though they’ve already been called the “Romeo and Juliet of Alabama,” Webb said their connection is deeper than trophies or tiaras.
“It has nothing to do with the status,” said Webb, explaining why she’s attracted to McCarron. “He has such an amazing heart. He realizes that family and friends and the people closest to you are most important.”