TV

Lots of drama, no regrets: The Bachelorette NZ's Aaron McNabb opens up about his time on the show

Aaron McNabb has often been at the centre of the drama on the reality TV show, but he says he has no regrets.

By Karyn Henger
It all started off very well for Aaron McNabb.
The 27-year-old food technology teacher from Hamilton was an instant hit with New Zealand's first Bachelorette Lesina Nakhid-Schuster - scoring the first one-on-one date with the 32-year-old Auckland doctor and going on to enjoy many more electric moments with her.
Several of the boys commented that the pair appeared "smitten".
And if the series had ended on episode 12, where the couple enjoyed the most romantic, starry-eyed date ever in Argentina and Aaron sung to Lesina and dropped the L-bomb, we would have seen them riding off into the sunset together.
Watch Aaron and Lesina's starry-eyed date in Argentina from episode 12, below:
But unfortunately we moved on to episode 13, and that's where things started to unravel.
Lesina experienced her first red flag: How could Aaron feel love after such a short time? she asked.
Meanwhile, bubbling beneath the surface were growing tensions between Aaron and the other boys.
Of all the guys on the show, it would be fair to say that Aaron has had the most run-ins with the other bachelors.
First, he fell offside with Steve when he told Lesina that Steve smoked.
Lesina had asked, Aaron explained, but Steve felt he'd been thrown under the bus and was especially annoyed that he'd been singled out when other guys in the house smoked too.
Then he upset Logan by talking about him behind his back in a piece to camera that Logan overheard.
There was a drunken stoush with Jesse in a bar that seemed to be about the Steve incident.
And then intruder Mike Bullot joined the cast and Lesina's head was turned, causing Aaron to feel less sure about his place in Lesina's heart.
Clearly feeling the pressure he made a move right out of left field by pulling Lily aside to tell her that Liam had a girl waiting 'on the outside'.
He'd heard the news second-hand after Liam had confided in Jesse.
But while Lily was grateful to Aaron for passing on the information, sending Liam home as a result, some of the guys in the house believed he'd only done it to ensure that he wasn't the one sent home at the next rose ceremony.
Meanwhile Lesina observed, "You're always at the centre of the drama."
We're now at the pointy end of the series, with everything starting to get very real. In real life filming has wrapped, with Lesina, Lily and the bachelors back out in the real world.
This week Now To Love caught up with Aaron in the bowels of the TVNZ building, far from prying eyes and ears.
"How do you feel about watching yourself on TV at the moment?" I ask him and he can only smile and shake his head.
"At the start of the show my edit was amazing. That was easy to watch, I was one of the front runners," he says.
"Man, I didn't realise I was unravelling as much as they're making it out to be and its definitely getting harder to watch."
He has experienced some negative feedback on social media, and says that has been causing him to not sleep at night.
"I'm churning over comments from people and then thinking 'do I really come across like that?'
"Today there was a radio interview and I got called a douche by a radio presenter and I was well okay that's cool, you don't understand what's happening but cool to have your opinion.
"I'm trying the best I can to push things to the side and not really react or deal with it."
Despite the backlash he says he has no regrets about anything he did or said on the show.
"Every decision that I made I thought through for the most part, and I would have handled it exactly the same way if I went back in - so I
don't regret anything."
Aaron says the reason he told Lily about Liam was that by that point he was more friends with her than Liam and he was simply "looking out for a friend".
"I had heard something that could potentially hurt her and I knew she was a smart girl and she would take anything I said with a grain of salt and then get to the bottom of however she felt.
"I didn't owe Liam anything. And Jesse was probably gutted because Liam had only told him so the fact that it had even got to me was his fault."
Did he feel threatened by any of the bachelors in the house? I ask him.
And he says no - "I was the best one there for Lesina" - but he does admit Mike Bullot is the type of guy "who would make lots of girls in the world very happy.
"He's a top quality person. He's got a lot of layers to him and... there's so much value in the person that he is. I really respect him. I've got a lot of time for Mike."
What was it like competing with other men for one woman? I ask him, and he admits it was difficult.
"It's what we signed up for, but it's so unnatural. So if people are saying I was jealous its because yeah I was.
"I didn't want other people to [date Lesina]. Once I knew I liked her I saw myself with her.
"You don't really want anything to come between that but then the nature of the show is there's about 19 other things coming in between that.
"So it was hard to get my head around and then you have those things that take you away from your normal life - you don't have your best mates that you can talk to or the safely of your home network, and you're out of routine.
"I never thought I liked routine but going through that process made me realise that routine is my life. Being a teacher and very structured with holidays and teaching hours... not having that was super weird."
Will Aaron receive Lesina's final rose?
Aaron is contractually obliged to keep the outcome of the series confidential, but I can ask him how he'd feel if he received the final rose, or if he didn't.
If he didn't: "I'd be heartbroken," he says. "I was falling in love with her, for sure."
And if he did: Over the moon.
He's a man who's ready to settle down, get married and start a family.
But between here and there he'd be taking things slow.
"On the show I found out a lot of things about her that I really liked and at the start of any relationship that's what keeps you interested and as time progresses you find out more and more and more.
"In the real world, to begin with, our relationship would look like we're trying to figure it out. We'd still be very much at the beginning part of the relationship, so you'd be getting to know what real life is going to look like."