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EXCLUSIVE: The truth about Commando’s new romance with F45 trainer

The trainer's new relationship has friends and clients polarised.

By Woman's Day team
When The Biggest Loser stars Steve "Commando" Willis and Michelle Bridges split last year, it appeared their mutual separation was for the best.
But while Michelle, 49, has taken the opportunity to start fresh since the split, Steve, 
44, has thrown himself into another relationship, with F45 trainer Harika Vancuylenberg – and it's causing concern among friends and clients.
One source, who called Steve a "mentor" after training with him for more than a year, tells Woman's Day they noticed a change in Steve's demeanour late last year after he was rumoured to have met Harika on a boot camp trip in Tahiti.
"He changed when he started to see Harika.
"He turned a little more cold," the insider reveals.
"When he was with Michelle, I'd train at their house and it was so peaceful, so easy. He was very much into meditation and mindfulness."
The pair met in Tahiti. Image:Instagram
The source recalls that the shift in Commando's personality occurred in September last year, after rumblings of his and Michelle's split first surfaced.
Soon after that he had not only moved his workouts into a gym in Sydney's CBD, but 
he had befriended Harika.
The source adds that she very quickly stepped in to take care of the business side of things while Steve "stood back on the sidelines".
The sentiment was also expressed by another former client and friend, who had been training with Steve 
since 2011 and forked out $5000 for a boot camp with Steve in Tahiti.
Harika works as a trainer at F45. Image:Instagram
The client says they were dismayed to hear about Commando's new relationship.
"I was shocked when I heard they were together. She's just someone he usually wouldn't go for," the source admits.
Woman's Day is told the change in attitude became 
so much for two of his clients that they discontinued their membership with Steve.
"He's become quite distant since dating Harika. He used to be so friendly," one client tells. "He's changed since dating her."
Yet, while some clients feel Commando has changed, many others remain huge fans of the former Biggest Loser star, even with Harika on the scene.
"Absolutely, hands down, best trainer in Australia!" one client wrote on social media earlier this year.
"So grateful to you Steve, thank you for sharing your wisdom, knowledge and insight. I've learned so much from you," another gushed.
They had their ups and downs, but they had happiness. Image: Getty
The conflicting opinions come after footage of an altercation between a client and Harika was leaked last month.
Harika is seen yelling and pointing at the client, demanding she pay $1300 in personal training fees.
In the background, an unusually silent Steve refrains from talking. The pair reported the incident to police and were later granted an interim AVO against the client.
Harika and Steve were first snapped together walking hand-in-hand 
in February, just days after his ex Michelle, with whom he shares son Axel, four, was charged with drink driving.
Yet it's believed the pair had known each other for some time, with a Woman's Day source alleging Harika pursued Steve in November 
in Tahiti.
"Harika was all over him, constantly asking for selfies. She very actively pursued Steve on that trip."

Michelle’s big move!

While Steve continues to dominate headlines, Michelle looks ready to get away from 
it all.
In a recent Instagram 
post, she hinted at a sea change for herself and Axel. "Today sets the tone for a whole new chapter. Life," she wrote.
Michelle is hopeful for a new start and 
future happiness with son Axel. Image:Instagram
Earlier this month, Michelle was seen packing up hers and Axel's belongings and moving out of her 
$6 million Potts Point home, after selling it in 2019. 

It's thought the pair are now living in her NSW Southern Highlands home.
WATCH BELOW: See inside Michelle Bridges' southern highlands house.

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