Everyone had hoped that fairytale couple Alisha Aiken-Radburn and Jules Bourne would make it work.
If not on the show, at the very least post-filming when the cameras were all packed away and they didn't have the pressure of commitment ceremonies.
But it's all over for the couple, as Alisha, who told Jules during the tell-all that she was in love with him, confesses to TV WEEK she's moving on – and The Bachelorette is most definitely a discussion.
Here, the heartbroken Bachelorette opens up about why she and Jules didn't work – and why she'll never take him back.
Filming finished back in December, but you're still very clearly heartbroken. Why's that?
I thought maybe it would click for us outside, but we've sort of been in the same pattern as we were in Paradise, so when the Tell-All happened, I really drew a line in the sand. It was it was this mixture of sadness and peace. Afterwards, we had a hug, but no particularly substantive words were spoken.
Do you think he's fighting his feelings for you?
I think our connection is probably one of the more substantive he's experienced in his life, and I don't know if he is ready for that yet. I think he probably came into The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise more as an experience and as a way to explore what he has within himself.
So he wasn't actually looking for love?
Well when we were still in that magical place, he said to me, "Oh, it's really good that you're here in Paradise just for a bit of fun, not for a boyfriend or a husband." I pulled him up on it straight away, and I was like, "Hey, hey, hey, I'm definitely looking for a boyfriend – maybe not a husband. But I'm serious about this."
How have you coped watching the show back?
It is like the most challenging experience of my life. I haven't been able to just like cut it. Every time that I have seen myself cry on screen, I start bawling. When I came out of paradise – we were still very much under the umbrella of ambiguity – I was looking back at the whole experience, thinking, "Have I completely missed the mark on this?" Now watching it back, I'm like, "No it's special." It's been really, really, really hard because I've been reliving it all again.
So you haven't really been able to move on for the past five months?
I just didn't feel like I could connect with anyone… I'm still watching us and I'm like, "This is so cute and so good. Why doesn't he see this?" Since the Tell-All, I'm very much ready to move on with my life and see what the next chapter holds.
Did you and Jules ever watch the show together?
He came over to watch our first date, and we were just so blown away – they are really, really happy memories. It was just truly spectacular, and something really special in my life. I'm really glad that he came and watched it with me, but it is truly reliving it. So as soon as the next few episodes came, we're back there, and I feel the same rejection that I did in that moment…
He seemed shocked to learn that you were in love with him…
Yeah, I don't really know why. I don't know if anyone has ever vocalised in his life that they love him. There's a lot of "goofy Jules", but I think he's much more aware and much more on top of things than he probably lets on.
Are you still in love with him?
I was in love with him and now I'm not. And that is so liberating. I think he has many excellent traits and he's a very special guy. But I'm no longer in love with him
Do you think that he's still conflicted with Tenille?
One hundred per cent, I do. He would constantly share with me that his type was this "boho babe from Byron". We had this joke that the only thing that could shake up Alisha and Jules would be if this mythical woman called Svetlana arrived. When Tenille arrived, he had a chat with her, then he came to see me in the hammock and he was like, "Svetlana's arrived."
What do you think of Tenille and Jules' relationship?
I think that they definitely have a friendship. I love Tenille, but it's hard because he put in equal amounts of effort with Tenille as he has with me. I can't speak to how he felt over these months, but maybe in the same way I haven't been about to move on from him, he hasn't been able to let the idea of him and Tenille ever leave his little hopeful mind.
There is an unwavering amount of support behind you at this moment. People want you to find love. Angie Kent has secured the Bachelorette role for 2019, but is it something you'd consider doing in the future?
I really am glad that Angie has been cast because hypothetically if they hadn't cast the Bachelorette yet, and my name was thrown around, I definitely don't think I'd be ready to dive back in. I need to spend a bit of time probably over the next year to decompose from this experience. That being said, I'm at the point in my life where I am searching for that person – that person to complete my puzzle. But I'm also very happy as an independent woman.
So you'll be ready in time for 2020…
I think it's just a universal condition that everybody wants to find love. So yes, maybe down the track, of course. I totally credit these shows. I think that you can find love – and you can see that through Georgia and Lee, and Matty and Laura who are engaged with a baby on the way. On these shows, you can find that person. But I feel like I need to have a bit of a nap and go on Survivor first. That's just me as a Survivior super fan going, "Cast me – I want to build a fire! I can hold a plank for two minutes!"
You talked about how your experience with Jules made you reconsider your self-worth. How are you feeling now?
Weirdly enough, I think I've come out of the other side even stronger. I did go into Paradise almost forcing myself to be, like, "fake it till you make it. Be confident about it." Through Paradise and the last five months it's been very challenging, particularly December and January I was feeling probably the lowest I've ever felt relationship-wise and about myself.
I think that's just purely rejection more than anything. It really takes a hit at your self-esteem. But seeing people's reaction to the show and my journey, it's made me very proud of myself. And I'm feeling really good at the moment.
So you've been getting some good feedback from fans?
Definitely. It's definitely happening. I'm thinking about what happened with me and Jules. And I'm thinking about when I will start to feel better. And, thankfully, I've started to feel better, really from the Tell-All. It's been onwards and upwards.
If Jules realises he's made a mistake, and decides that you are the girl for him, is there any going back?
I think for the meantime probably not. I definitely need to take some space for myself. I genuinely believe that he will be in my life forever, but I think for the very short term I'm just going to do the regular girly break-up things – like being healthy, doing some exercise, work on that revenge body! [Laughs] I'm just going to take things day-by-day.
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Now To LoveJan 17, 2020