Jarrod Woodgate cries during the Bachelorette finale with Sophie Monk. Picture: Channel 10
Jarrod Woodgate cries during the Bachelorette finale with Sophie Monk. Picture: Channel 10

Ex-Bachelorette stars speak out

In four seasons The Bachelorette has produced many colourful characters, some genuine love stories, mateship, scandals, and juicy storylines.

Some of the boys have had positive experiences. Some haven't.

In this expose, news.com.au talks to three of the more prominent bachelors from the past four seasons; Lee Elliott from season two, David Witko from season one, and Jarrod Woodgate from season three.

They reveal some juicy details about what is really like to be on the Channel 10 reality show.

Related: The Bachelor: Alex Nation, Cass Wood on behind-the-scenes drama

LEE ELLIOT

Georgia Love and Lee Elliott pose on Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Sam Tabone
Georgia Love and Lee Elliott pose on Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Sam Tabone

Lee Elliott found the love of his life on The Bachelorette with Georgia Love back in 2016.

The Melbourne-based couple recently moved in together, but if there is one beef 37-year-old Elliott has with the show, it is how he and Love's story played out back in 2016.

"I've never really spoken about this before, but the way the story played out, it wasn't about myself and G's love story, it was about Matty J's (fellow finalist Matty Johnson) heartbreak story," he says.

"That was the one thing that upset me about the whole thing, because I don't think people were allowed to see our real love story."

Matty Johnson, Georgia Love and Lee Elliott.
Matty Johnson, Georgia Love and Lee Elliott.

But looking back now, that's one minor aspect in the scheme of things.

Hand on heart he says he could not have expected a better outcome with meeting Love and winning the final rose in Singapore.

Elliott remembers it was well into the early hours of the morning when he finally got a "yes" from Love.

He had been sitting in a hotel room with a producer, who was ordering truffle fries from room service.

"I was so nervous, there was a point there I don't think I was actually breathing during the filming," he said.

Making it harder was the fact that he and Matty J had become friends,

"I genuinely can't remember a year where it could have gone either way," Elliott said.

After the tense final rose ceremony, Elliott, 37, and Love, 30, couldn't be torn apart.

"We finished filming and everyone was around us and we were making out for probably quite an inappropriately long time, and that was fair enough probably considering the situation," he said.

"The executive producer eventually stepped in and sort of broke us up and had a talk, and this was the time we could actually exchange mobile phone numbers."

While it doesn't work for everyone, Lee believes the way he dated Love, under the glare of the cameras, away from everyday life, phones and social media, was actually kind of old fashioned in a way.

"I actually loved it," he said.

"Throughout this whole process, we didn't get to know each other by how many mutual friends we have on Facebook, or looking at Instagram.

"We genuinely just met and fell in love the old fashioned way, and I'm old fashioned too."

Back in Melbourne, Love has a regular gig as a Channel 10 news reporter and Elliott is a plumber but also runs the Together Events party business, alongside fellow former reality TV alumni Nick Russian (Temptation Island 2002) and a group of friends.

Georgia Love and Lee Elliott arrive at the 2017 Logie Awards at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Picture: Jonathan Di Maggio
Georgia Love and Lee Elliott arrive at the 2017 Logie Awards at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Picture: Jonathan Di Maggio

He isn't a victim of social media trolls as many former reality TV stars are and he remains good friends with pretty much his entire group of men who competed for Love's affection.

Elliott plays tennis with some of them in Melbourne every week.

"It's been incredible," he said of The Bachelorette and meeting Love.

"I was always open to it, but I just never imagined it would be so amazing."

Bachelorette experience: Positive

DAVID WITKO

 

David Witko. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis
David Witko. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

For David Witko in 2015, the Sam Frost year, his experience on the show can be summed up in one word - dreadful.

Cast as the villain with producers playing up the fact the 35-year-old was an "international male model", he didn't come across well.

The reality for Witko, who actually was one of Australia's top male models for 14 years, his life and work, fell apart after the show.

Witko was signed to one of Australia's top modelling agencies Chadwick Models and actually did work around the world.

The phone stopped ringing as he was ridiculed online throughout the country.

"It got to the point I thought there was nothing for me in Australia anymore," he told news.com.au.

"The Bachelorette really, really, heavily impacts on people's futures.

"I got to the position where I thought, that's it, I'm going to have to leave the country."

He was offered a psychologist by the producers of The Bachelorette after the show, but it didn't work out.

He believes there should be much more concern for the mental health of contestants on reality shows, especially those who are "cast" as the "villains".

"The support should be 100 per cent, but it's about five per cent, so there definitely needs to be more support," he said.

"There needs to be more awareness about what can happen, and the producers are aware of this.

"But they don't want people to know about this kind of stuff, because if they were aware, they probably would say no to coming on the show.

"I think it's part of their strategy."

Life after The Bcahelorette is not all glitz and glamour. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis
Life after The Bcahelorette is not all glitz and glamour. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

Witko claims the editing was against him from the beginning, as he donated money to Sam Frost's charity of choice at the beginning but it was never shown.

Now working on developing the Australian whisky brand, Pure Scot, Witko says his life is finally looking up.

"I think after all the tough times that I went through after the show and how I felt in regards to my mental state, and people's perception of what they had of me, it's really nice to see that time can heal," he says.

However, reality TV in his mind will be forever scarred.

"I've moved on from the whole thing and the whole concept of reality TV in general," he said.

"As years go by, more people see how fabricated it really is."

Bachelorette experience: Negative

JARROD WOODGATE

After failing to win Sophie Monk’s heart, Jarrod Woodgate tried again on Bachelor in Paradise.
After failing to win Sophie Monk’s heart, Jarrod Woodgate tried again on Bachelor in Paradise.

A year after his heart was broken by Sophie Monk, Jarrod Woodgate is finally in a good place.

But in Fiji when Monk told the world she had chosen Stu Laundy as her man, it was a different story.

To this day, Woodgate isn't in touch with Monk, whose relationship with Laundy seemed doomed from the start.

"When you see your life with someone and then you get shut down, that is very hard," he told news.com.au

"Basically, it wasn't mean to be.

"But you know what, I've become a better person from this whole experience.

"It has helped me mature and grow into someone I could never imagine I would be."

Refreshingly, Woodgate had no problem with how he was edited; he understood he was going on a show.

"They are going to have storylines," he said.

"You have to make the show interesting.

"For me it got to a point where I couldn't control it, I can't change anything I've done.

"I think because of that people respected me for just being myself."

Woodgate says he had no time for this year's most controversial contestant Charlie Newling, who demanded The Bachelorette Ali Oetjen be exclusive, even though there were three others left in the competition at the time.

He also has an interesting theory; was Charlie in it for the fame and another reality TV gig?

"You can't get to the top four and then turn around and pull that card out," he said.

"It's almost as if he was trying to open the door for another TV gig.

"He wasn't on the first series of The Bachelorette, he knew the rules."

 

Woodgate with Kiera Maguire who he began dating on Bachelor in Paradise. The couple split soon after the show’s end. Picture: Sarah Matray
Woodgate with Kiera Maguire who he began dating on Bachelor in Paradise. The couple split soon after the show’s end. Picture: Sarah Matray

Woodgate revealed he had a unique way of dealing with the pressures of The Bachelorette, the waiting around, falling for Sophie when she was going on date after date with other blokes: He kept a journal.

"When I had the first date, then you have to sit back and watch everyone else go on their dates, and that was really hard.

"Everyone comes back and they're all talking about their dates and you don't want to hear it.

"You have to find your own safe haven and mine was writing a diary.

"Every day I wrote a diary because it kept me kind of sane in a way."

Woodgate hasn't re-read the diary, but he will always keep it.

"I guess it's something to hang on to and show your kids in the future, so they can see, if they ever wanted relationship advice, don't take it from me!"

Woodgate now spends his time working at the family winery, Toms Cap, and he is an ambassador for Camp Quality.

He briefly found love on Bachelor In Paradise with former Bachelor contestant Keira Maguire, but despite the reports, he says they are not back together.

Bachelorette experience: He didn't find love, but positive

- Luke Dennehy is a Melbourne based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @LukeDennehy


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