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TV

The dark side of Bondi Rescue: Sand, secrets & scandal!

The show's drama isn't always in the water...

By Woman's Day team
They're hailed as heroes by millions of beachgoers, but off-duty, our favourite TV lifeguards have found themselves in plenty of hot water over the years.
From drug allegations to brushes with the law and a concerning drinking culture, we investigate the side of Bondi Rescue that the lifeguards didn't want you to see.
Jesse quit the show last year due to "suicides and difficult experiences he was exposed to". Image: Network Ten

Jesse’s shock drug allegations

He's the blue-eyed, baby-faced star dubbed Bondi Rescue's "loveable rogue" for his well-documented troubled past, but Bra Boy Jesse Polock is determined to clear his name after being caught up in a shocking alleged drug bust last year.
The dad-of-one, 29 – who sensationally quit the show last year – was charged with one count of supplying prohibited drugs and two counts of possession, after police allegedly found cocaine and ketamine during the December bust in Maroubra.
Jesse is a proud member of the Bra Boys surf gang. Image: Network Ten
Jesse has pleaded not guilty to the supplying charges, but has not yet entered a plea for the possession charge. He will face a magistrate in May.
His lawyer Chayana Miers has divulged the pressures of Jesse's role as a professional lifeguard, revealing he quit "due to numerous suicides and difficult experiences he was exposed to in the role".
Chief lifeguard Hoppo risked the lives of others when he chose to drive drunk. Image: Network Ten

Hoppo’s DUI &… dead body scandal!

Head lifeguard Bruce "Hoppo" Hopkins is used to saving lives, but found himself in hot water when he was caught drink driving in Bondi in 2016.
Police spotted Bruce driving erratically in his Toyota Landcruiser in the early hours of January 4 after a boozy dinner at his co-owned restaurant Chapter One.
When breath tested, Hoppo blew more than three times over the legal limit and was arrested on sight. He pleaded guilty to high-range drink driving and lost his licence for 12 months, blaming his behaviour on the breakdown of his marriage.
The charge came as Hoppo, 51, was being slammed for taking his now ex-wife on his jetski to retrieve a dead body.
He released a statement at the time acknowledging the poor decision, saying: "This may have not been the absolute correct thing to do, but I felt it was the best option at the time."
WATCH: Hoppo rescues 10 swimmers at the same time on Bondi Rescue. Story continues below...

Nicola’s sleeping pill addiction

Nicola joined the Bondi Rescue team in 2014. Image: Network Ten
While portrayed as the bubbly blonde, Nicola Atherton revealed to Woman's Day in 2016 that she struggled with a sleeping pill and alcohol addiction prior to appearing on the program.
The 32-year-old said she self-medicated to get through a bad break-up and that it got so bad, her heart stopped after mixing sleeping pills with alcohol during a wild night in Bali. The incident left her hospitalised before being transferred to a psychiatric unit back in Australia.
"That's when I knew I really needed to get help. I didn't want to die," she said.
"I had such an amazing life, but I couldn't see it. None of it mattered, I was so fixated on my problem," she said.
Lifeguards from the beloved reality TV show. Image: Network Ten

Lifeguard sent to rehab!

While the stars of Bondi Rescue certainly work hard to maintain safety 365 days a year, it appears the team also aren't afraid to let off some steam!
A series of explosive emails sent between the team in 2016 exposed a "severe drinking culture", as well as infighting between the show's stars, with Hoppo coming under fire for his leadership skills.
The party culture between the much-loved stars reportedly got so bad that an unidentified team member was sent to rehab for three weeks after an incident at a hotel.
"It's nothing that sort of worries me too much," Hoppo said at the time.

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