"Everything came out in the tabloids more recently than the divorce proceeding started -- that's just how Tennessee works," he tells Country Weekly of the split from Whitney. "I had moved on by that time and it was a great time for me to try my luck with Paige."
Donny is one of 11 guys from the country, who live in a house with 11 big-city residents, each of them trying to win Paige's heart. But he admits there are challenges in the living arrangement that have nothing to do with the beautiful young woman.
"We [country boys] are all used to giving someone a handshake and looking them in the eye and being a man about it -- and some of the city guys, when they first stepped into the house, wouldn't even look you in the eye," he explains. "We called them out on it the first day and said, 'Look, we don't have to like each other but at least give us a handshake and look us in the eye.' Even after we said that, they would say, 'Nah, we're good,' and keep walking. [Contestant] Shawn [Bigos] from New York, he's just used to so many people and passing them on the street and not saying hi. That just rubbed us the wrong way. But that's going to happen when there's that much testosterone and people are developing feelings for Paige."
Household tensions aside, the 32-year-old is keeping his eye on the prize. "She's a Southern belle, so that's one plus," he gushes. "She's beautiful, so that's two plusses. Everybody loves her and she's got a huge heart, which is a huge thing for me. I had no doubt that it would be a great opportunity."
Donny's divorce from Whitney was finalized late last year, and while the news of her new romance was initially a shock, he makes it clear he harbors no ill will. "I would honestly say I wish her well in whatever she's doing," he notes. "Everything that happens is supposed to happen."
'Sweet Home Alabama' airs Friday nights on CMT at 9:00 PM ET.