It's shaping up to be one of the more dramatic seasons in The Bachelor Australia history, with the women in contention for Matt Agnew's heart not only turning on each other, but on the Bachelor too.
Fans and contestants have been reaching for the popcorn as the rivalry heats up between the girls in the mansion, and in the last few episodes poor old Matt has become collateral damage in a case of she said/she said.
Tensions boiled over this week when Abbie Chatfield revealed to Matt that Monique Morley – a girl he described as "the whole package" – had sensationally called him a "disrespectful pig" behind his back. (Plus something much worse that we're not going to repeat).
As Matt fought to uncover the truth, Abbie was drawn back into the debate to re-affirm her version of events. Monique flat out denied saying it, and then doubled down on the lie when asked about it again.
In the end, Matt decided he couldn't trust her and asked her to leave the mansion. But as he reveals to TV WEEK, the fallout didn't end there.
"It caught me off guard," Matt, 32, admitted of learning about Monique's remark. "It's quite confronting for anyone to hear that. I don't think anyone goes through life thinking that's who they are. It was something I needed to address to see what happened. For me, the biggest issue came down to honesty and trust."
Monique maintains the comments weren't meant as an insult. "I don't remember exactly what was said," the 26 year old lingerie designer insists, "but if it was said, it was as a joke. It was taken completely out of context."
Watch: Matt sends Monique home. Article continues below.
Matt, who underwent an amazing physical transformation before filming kicked off, admits the thought of leaving the show did cross his mind after the drama kicked off so spectacularly.
"It did mess with my head a lot," he says. "After that cocktail party, I had a real hard time trusting [anyone]. I had no idea who was telling the truth and what was a lie.
"Leaving probably crept into my mind a bit, because it was a case of not knowing who I could trust. Until then, I'd been really optimistic about the experience, but then I had this moment that completely derailed me. It made me think, 'Have I made a mistake?'"
Not being able to turn to his loved ones for support certainly impacted him. "I lean quite heavily on family and friends in helping me navigate big decisions," Matt admits.
"That was probably one of the hardest parts of the experience – not having access to people who help me during tough times and making tough calls."
Fortunately, astrophysicist Matt had the help of on-set psychologists to get him through. "I had a really good support network within the filming crew, and access to psychologists that I made sure I used frequently," he explains.
"That helped me in terms of making sure I was in the right head space, and happy and healthy going through it."
Following the drama with Monique, Matt admits he needed extended time with the show's psychologists. "It did kind of have a mental impact," he explains.
"I spoke to the psychologists regularly after the rose ceremonies, but this was certainly one of the longer chats we've had."
The psychologists certainly earned their keep this season because Abbie, too, said she was "an absolute mess" following her bitter fallout with Monique, and didn't eat for days.
"I wasn't coping," she reveals. "I had to call the psychologist, and the minders were a bit worried. I didn't eat for three days. I just slept and cried. I really wasn't well." But she says it was her feelings for Matt that kept her going.
"There were times [I was tempted to leave], but because I felt so strongly for Matt, I decided to stay," she says. "I can handle a bunch of girls. I went to an all-girls school – I can deal with it."
Thankfully, Matt also decided to stay on. He's kissed plenty of suitors in his televised pursuit of ever-after. But he's prepared to put up with the drama in order to find love at the end.
"I'm here to find the person I want to marry and the person I want to start a family with,' he shares.
"I've got a real 'do it once, do it right' mentality so I'll be making sure I throw myself into it, be vulnerable and enjoy what comes from that."
And it's that sort of attitude that has helped him weather the storm.
The Bachelor Australia airs every Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:30pm on Bravo.
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