TV

The Bachelorette NZ: How well do best mates Elliott and Richie really know each other?

We put the 20-year friendship of these two lovable larrikins to the test.

By Karyn Henger
For the past few weeks they've been vying for the affection of the same woman.
But if you thought this might get in the way of the beautiful friendship between The Bachelorette's Elliott Gilchrist and Richie Boyens, you'd be wrong.
These two loveable larrikins, who've been friends for 20 years, are as tight as ever.
In fact, some might say that now the Wanaka-based pair, who met as kids playing soccer, are only closer.
You'll recall, Elliott, 32, was sent home in episode one of the reality TV dating show, at the first rose ceremony, but then invited back because Lesina regretted her decision.
Richie, 32, joined the show a few weeks later as an intruder, and both have since been doing their best to win the heart of Lily McManus.
Elliott says that when he was sent home Richie knew things hadn't gone well, because filming for the show had only just begun.
"But we didn't really talk about it," Elliott says.
"He just said 'what happened?' and I said 'I don't know' and then I turned my phone off for three days. When I turned it back on I had all these missed calls [from the production team]. They were like, 'Where are you? Come back. She's had regrets.'"
Despite his shattered confidence he did return, but not without his best mate by his side.
The pair explain that Richie had been on the producers' radar and had been asked to be an intruder, but Richie says he wouldn't have gone unless Elliott was going too.
"If Elliott wasn't going back I wouldn't have done it. It was definitely the best thing having one of your best mates doing it with you," Richie reveals.
Richie and Lily have been getting along very well.
The boys say the strength of their friendship is in the way they've helped one another through tough times.
Four years ago Elliott prolapsed three discs in his back "and that was probably the toughest time in my life," Elliott recalls.
"Mentally... I couldn't get off the ground for months. I was cooked, and I couldn't have done it without the big fella coming round to see me every day.
"It was the worst time in my life.
"He says the things I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Everyone needs a friend like him."
Richie, too, is philosophical about that time in their life.
"It was a tough time for both of us to be honest. I wasn't in the best spot either. I was going through stuff with my business and relationship and we just needed to see each other most days.
"Elliott has been kind of my psychologist for the past four years."
So what's it been like, then, competing with your best friend for the same girl on a reality TV show?
It's certainly not something they've done before, they agree.
"But it was never a problem," Richie insists. "We've backed each other the whole way and there was no way we weren't going to back each other now."
The TV production crew would have loved it if they'd butted heads, they joke.
"But it was just never going to happen!" Richie adds proudly.
With that in mind, we put a few tough questions to the pair to test them on how well they really know each other.
Watch our video, above, to see the hilarious results.
Video by Melissa Tapper. For more great videos check out our Youtube channel.