Last year, the nation watched as Richie Strahan fell in love with Alex Nation on The Bachelor.
And now five months later, Richie has fallen for another important person - Alex's son Elijah. Well and truly settled in his relationship, Richie tells Now To Love he hopes to be a strong figure in the six-year-old's life and will always encourages Elijah to speak up.
"When it comes to young kids approaching a problem, the best way forward is to always speak up. Whether you’re talking to your parents, to your friends or teachers," Richie says.
"I'd always want Elijah, or any kid to know that they shouldn't bottle it up. You have no reason to be embarrassed or worried about the consequence. Everyone wants to help you and be there for you."
The former Bachelor adds, "I really want to help educate the younger generation that speaking about your feelings is a really good and important thing."
Richie laughs as he admits, "To be fair Elijah is six years old, I think his biggest concern right now is dinosaurs!"
"But of course the little guy can always come to me."
The Perth native also revealed the newest thing that's making his heart skip a beat, his work with men's activewear brand WPN .
Many former reality stars go on to team up with a variety of different companies, but it's the rope technician's work with the sporting label that has us taking notice.
Explaining the partnership, Rich tells us, “Working in the mines and in isolated areas, I see a lot of men struggling with their mental health and not feeling like they can speak up. I wanted to help physically and mentally. Help them upstairs. We’re working with the Black Dog Institute."
"I think I’m pretty normal Aussie bloke – and we can be stubborn. We struggle to speak about what’s getting us down. We bottle things up. There’s a lot of pressure on men – no matter the age."
"The figures are staggering and I knew I had to get involved with something that raised awareness about men’s mental health. It’s more than donating money – I want to make a real change."
Despite the fact we'd love nothing more than seeing Richie and Alex coming out with a combined clothing range, for now the charming blonde who made saying Cool Bananas cool again wants to focus on raising essential awareness in breaking down the stigma around men's mental health.
"We have some really big plans and definitely down the track we’d love to do something like that. But at the moment I really want to focus my efforts with what we’re doing at the moment."
Richie's openness definitely seems to stem from his partner Alex, 25.
"I guess I like to look at how I deal with the stresses going on in my life. I have a very good line of communication with Alex. We talk about absolutely everything," he tells NTL.
"I have a very positive outlook on life. I’m a talker – when I need to deal with things, I really love to talk things through, and that’s how I’ve always been."
He does confess it was his time on The Bachelorette that him realise he wasn't expressing himself properly.
"I guess after two stints on the [dating] show, with producers asking me all the time 'how you feeling?' I’ve certainly become a lot more comfortable speaking out more," he laughs.
"In fact, I feel like talking things through has helped me develop as a person and a man."
The former TV star seems to be especially content with life. Kicking off 2017 as a man in love, many fans are curious as to when Richie will eventually love to Melbourne?
"This year is really massive. For Alex and I – we’re working on moving," the Perth local says.
"It’s a big process and it’s not easy moving states, finding a place… There’s an awful lot to it. I’m sure something will happen this year. It’s all really exciting!"
Despite the fact Alex and Richie are living in two different time zones, the pair have made their long-distance relationship a priority. The Bachelor confesses that it does take time to nurture love.
"You’ve got to always talk to your partner. Never fly away when you’ve had an argument – try and settle it in person."
Laughing, he tells us (from what sounds like personal experience), "Like you fly away and you’ve had an argument, my goodness! It makes it very hard to patch things up!"
"When you’re both working, there can be a lot of frustration because you’re both living lives."
The 30-year-old also gave us a peek into what he's like as a boyfriend.
"I also think keeping the romance alive is really important. When you’re around your partner it’s about doing the little things. I mean huge gestures is one thing. When you’re doing a show like The Bachelor it’s all big, huge gestures... Planes, helicopters, " he reflects.
"But really it’s the small things. Leaving that special note when you fly away, that your partner doesn’t see till one or two days later. She might be doing something and she opens a drawer and there’s a really nice note or a sweet little gift."
If you're not swooning yet...
"It’s about putting on their face and letting them know you’re always thinking of them. Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy so you need to keep that connection and fire alive."
While Richie hasn't kept in touch with any of the girls from his season (though he tells us Alex is still friends with them), he did share his joy for fellow contestants Megan and Tiffany, who are now dating.
"It’s fantastic! Everyone loves love," he says.
"If two people fall in love, it’s a beautiful thing. I wish them all the best. It’s just really exciting, look how happy they are!"
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