The Bachelors, Michael Frood and Mike Bullot, share why they both decided to leave the Bachelorette NZ early, explaining they'd both come to the same sad conclusion.
When shaggy-haired Bachelorette NZ intruder Michael Frood walked out of the TVNZ 2 dating show, women around the country dived into his private messenger on social media, hoping to steal some time with the laid-back kumara farmer. But it was too late – the rural handyman has already found romance!
"I've met a lovely girl from home," smiles Mike, who had a serious relationship of eight years before the show.
"She's a local and we met the old-fashioned way, out on the town. She'd been away travelling but came back and happened to be out when I was."
While he won't disclose her name because it's early days, Mike's enthusiastic about the possibility of long-term love.
"I was honest with her and said, 'I've been on this crazy show and I think you're really cool, but this is going to be a rollercoaster,'" he recalls. "But it's been good – I'm happy."
It's a far cry from his last day in the Bachelorette mansion, when Mike announced at a rose ceremony he was self-eliminating because he was the only contestant not to get a one-on-one date with Bachelorettes Lesina Nakhid-Schuster and Lily McManus.
"I tried my best throughout the group dates, putting myself forward and giving quite a lot, but I just wasn't getting anything back," he shares.
"I was patient and stuck it in there and was down to the top four for Lesina, which meant I was potentially taking her home to meet my parents. And I didn't even know this girl!"
Despite attempting to stifle the wait with humour – including his famous naked synchronised swimming routine – and pulling Lesina aside to discuss his hopes for a one-on-one opportunity, Mike went dateless.
"I'd confronted Lesina about it and asked what was going on, and she couldn't give me an answer, so I made the call to leave. I stepped forward and said I was sorry, but I feel like I haven't been given the respect I deserve."
Mike – who turned the show down at first before accepting a second invitation to join as an intruder – has no regrets about leaving.
"For me to go into the situation was super uncomfortable and I'd taken time out of my workplace and life," he says.
"Going on TV and exposing yourself is a really gnarly thing, especially for a country kind of guy. We don't talk about feelings, so to do all that but not receive anything back was pretty disheartening."
After stepping out of his comfort zone to meet beautiful doctor Lesina Nakhid-Schuster on national TV, intruder Mike "McDreamy" Bullot says he's now given up on finding love.
"I'm not in a searching mood, I'm not looking for anything," admits the sailing coach, who describes the outcome of his on-air romance journey as disappointing.
"If the right person comes along I'll be open to it, otherwise I'm pretty comfortable doing my thing."
Part of the frustration, he admits, was that he let his emotional guard down far more than he intended to – but ultimately walked out on the show feeling let down.
Opening up for the usually private businessman – whose five-year marriage to celebrity chef Chelsea Winter ended 18 months before going on the show – was really difficult.
"It was all so far outside my comfort zone, and facing the cameras and all the questions was very unnatural and unusual," Mike confesses.
"I went in pretty open to meeting someone, who I hoped was going to be amazing. My walls came down a lot and I gave a lot, but I was getting very little back."
Despite spending the most time with Lesina – and sharing a few passionate kisses – the pair struggled. He tells, "By the end, it became pretty apparent our personalities and values were very different, and I realised Lesina was maybe better suited for some of the other guys.
"I don't think the others were asked as many questions and I was treated differently, and I don't know why. So I made the decision to leave."
While Mike hasn't spoken to Lesina since the show, he's formed a special long-term bromance with fellow contestant and clothing designer Richie Boyens, 32, who has moved into his Auckland home since filming wrapped.
Richie – who is among Bachelorette Lily's top three suitors – is quick to back his mate, enthusing, "It's been amazing living with this dude because he looks after me. You don't meet people very often who aren't afraid to tell you what you need to do in life, in a very compassionate way."
Turning to his buddy, Mike jokes, "Stop it, you're making me blush. That's cute," before Richie throws around the possibility of the former sailing champ becoming NZ's next TV Bachelor.
Mike concludes, "Ultimately, I enjoyed the experience and got to meet a really broad range of great guys from around the country, who I otherwise wouldn't have. We had lots of fun. But if it comes to meeting someone again, I want something enjoyable and easy."
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