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EXCLUSIVE: Ajay Rochester finally tells all about her bitter feud with Michelle Bridges

For years she's kept silent but now Ajay is letting loose.
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The Biggest Loser Australia was a ratings bonanza for Ten during its decade-long run, making household names of its inspirational fitness coaches Michelle Bridges, Steve “Commando” Willis and Shannon Ponton, as well as the show’s former host Ajay Rochester.

But behind their friendly on-screen facade, two of the shows biggest stars, Ajay, 50, and Michelle, 49, were locked in a bitter feud.

Ajay Rochester, Michelle Bridges, Alison Braun at the TV WEEK Logie Awards in 2008.

(Image: Getty)

Ajay comes clean

Now, Ajay tells Woman’s Day the shocking truth about their relationship, revealing the years of anguish she suffered and why she finally feels strong enough to speak out now.

Things started to turn sour between the pair in 2008, during filming of the show’s third season. “We were filming in Hawaii and one night I went down for dinner when I saw Michelle and three publicists from the show,” Ajay says.

“I thought it was weird I hadn’t been invited and when I went over to say hello they pretended I wasn’t there. I remember walking away and eating alone that night.”

It was the beginning of the end of their friendship and the start of their shocking feud. “Friends would tell me Michelle wanted to be me!” says Ajay, who insists the suggestions were laughable.

“At the time, the show was so popular and I was being asked to do all the press – radio interviews, photoshoots…” she reveals.

Michelle was “jealous” Ajay’s profile was growing, despite the fact she was “just an awkward single mum who struggled with her weight and was living paycheque to paycheque because of a dodgy $40,000 contract”.

WATCH: Ajay Rochester opens up about her devastating back story. Story continues below…

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Things came to a head at the season wrap party. “We were both drunk,” says Ajay, who was also on strong “US-grade painkillers” while recovering from a horseriding accident.

“Cocktails were flowing and one thing led to another. Next thing I knew it was 2am and we were in someone’s hotel room and she started yelling at me from across the room.”

“You’re a publicity whore! You’re a publicity whore!”

Michelle then got up in her face and grabbed her wrist during a heated exchange of words. “I told her to get her hands off me and I threw a drink in her face,” says Ajay, who admits it wasn’t her finest moment. “She sent me a text saying I’d regret this and she vowed to ruin me.”

Ajay says her onscreen friendship with Michelle was all for the cameras.

(Instagram / @ajayrochester)

Things get worse

The next season things got even worse. “[Michelle] and Shannon would ignore me if I spoke to them. It was like being in high school.”

So low did Michelle’s schoolyard antics sink that she tried to embarrass Ajay over a dressing room toilet blunder.

“She would stand outside my room and yell things at me. One time she decided I hadn’t flushed the toilet. It was clearly an accident, and she stood outside my door and yelled and demanded I get out of the makeup chair and flush the toilet,” says Ajay.

Commando often took Ajay’s side. “He would sympathise with me about how horridly she was behaving,” she says.

Michelle’s drinking became an issue, according to the former host. “At our first season launch party she was so drunk her boob fell out of her dress!” Ajay says producers issued the trainer with a drinking ban.

Party antics

“A party guest whispered in her ear and told her about her malfunction. I’m pretty sure she didn’t notice because she’d had a boob job and lost feeling… but being hammered didn’t help.”

Despite everything that’s happened, Ajay says she hopes for the best for Michelle, who was recently arrested for drink driving after splitting from Steve. “I hope she goes to rehab, faces some truths and sorts this all out.”

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