Bachelor in Paradise

"I do have someone very special!" Michael Turnbull finds love in Paradise

So, just who is the lucky lady?

By Bella Brennan

It's been two-and-a-half years since former soccer player Michael Turnbull, 36, graced our screens on the first-ever season of The Bachelorette Australia.

And now the 2015 Bachelorette runner-up is back for another first as he joins the likes of Jarrod Woodgate, Keira Maguire, Laurina Fleure and Apollo Jackson for a second chance at love on the first-ever Aussie series of Bachelor in Paradise.

Ahead of the show's hotly-anticipated premiere on Sunday night, we caught up with Michael to talk all things BIP.

Just a few more sleeps to go! What can fans expect from the Aussie series of Bachelor in Paradise?
It's definitely more real in my opinion. It's not staged or forced. It's very natural.

You have more time to spend with each other and talk about stuff cause you're literally just hanging at a resort all day, everyday.

It's definitely more relaxed and there's so much more drama! It's pretty fun to watch.

What's your strategy for when things get tense?
I'm the oldest person in the show so I sit back and watch.

I do get involved with a bit of drama this time, which is a bit of a change for me. It was fun! Cause you're involved in everyone's life all day, you can't stay out of it to be honest.

What's the room situation set-up like? Are there sleepovers with the ladies?
I had a couple of roommates that are all guys.

The girls and guys live together and you could stay with the girls overnight if you wanted to...

So it's very different from the Aussie Bachelor and Bachelorettes, where they don't do slumber parties. Can we expect some sleep overs this season?
Oh absolutely, for sure!

Was that an activity you got involved in?
Listen, I'll be lying if I didn't say I spent some time in the girls' cabins!

Were you hesitant to go back onto a dating show after Sam Frost broke your heart on national TV in 2015?
It wasn't an easy decision to make but I had so much fun the first time around, so it was a bit of a risk but I'm definitely glad I did it. I had so much fun once again.

It was a really positive experience for me and I'm happy with how it panned out, I couldn't be happier.

It's been a few years since you starred on the first season of The Bachelorette, how do you feel about Sam Frost now?
Sam's fine. I've got no issues and there's definitely no special feelings.

There's no resentment either, I consider her a friend and if I saw her on the street I'd say hello and it wouldn't be awkward.

Which girls initially caught your eye in paradise?
Definitely Tara Pavlovic and Laurina Fleure.

Tara seems like a lot of fun and I spent some time to get to know her and obviously Laurina I've met a couple of times before the show, I was looking forward to spending more time with both of those lovely ladies. And I get that opportunity so that was really good.

Michael says he and Laurina had a "good time" on the show together.
Michael says he and Laurina had a "good time" on the show together.

We saw pics of you on a date with Keira Maguire during the early stages of filming on the show. What was that like?
Keira is a lot fun! She's very different, she'll definitely tell you what she thinks but I was very surprised when she asked me on a date given the fact that I thought she didn't like me for various reasons… But I'm glad she did ask me.

If you do end up finding love, how will you be making your relationship work in the real world?
I think to just treat it like a normal relationship. Obviously you need to make compromises to work around their life and schedule and just try to keep it as real as possible.

I know TV makes gives it a bit more pressure but just trying to keep it real and keep communicating.

And keep the fun going in the real world as well!

If you were to find love with someone interstate, would you be willing to move from your hometown of Brisbane?
Yeah, I certainly would!

My real estate company here – I don't do that much for it anymore and I can work from anywhere in Australia so it's not an issue for me. So yeah, I'd definitely move for love if that presented itself.

Tara caught Michael's eye from the start.
Tara caught Michael's eye from the start.

What about marriage and mini-Michaels?
Yeah, I definitely would love to have a family, get married, and all that sort of stuff. For me it's not about timing, it's about finding the right person.

If I found her next week and it was the right person, I'm in a position where I can go ahead and take those next steps. I'm ready to go as soon as I feel like it's the right person.

What qualities are you looking for in a partner?
I'm not sure if you saw Laurina's list? She pretty much stole all my things.

Me and Laurina are very much looking for the same person, except I'm looking for the female version if that makes sense?

Could that be Laurina?
Well, we did have a good time that's for sure…

Ooh! Interesting. So, what are the top qualities you want in a Mrs?
Yeah, I think the number one thing is a sense of humour. Obviously being a little bit older than the guys and girls in paradise, I need someone who is a little bit more stable – they know what they want, they know who they are.

Some of the younger people are still figuring stuff out.

WATCH: Jarrod stars in the Bachelor in Paradise trailer. Post continues...

What are your ultimate deal breakers?
Smoking, I don't like smokers so that's a pretty big deal breaker.

And someone who is rude to other people… Someone who is arrogant and selfish is a massive turn off for me. That's not what I'm about.

Did you make any surprise friendships with anyone in the cast?
Yeah, actually Jarrod! I thought he was a bit creepy and weird watching him with Sophie Monk but after spending time with him, I had a bromance with old Jazzy Fingers.

He's just a passionate guy. He's very committed and in the moment. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I think it's a really admirable quality.

What about the Honey Badger as the Bachie – do you think he'll be good?
Ahh… You know what? Good luck to him. I think for whatever reason The Bachelor is going down this Australian bogan path with Sophie Monk, and now the Honey Badger.

It's a different way to go, I don't know what to expect and I think the girls will get a bit of surprise when they walk out of the limo.

It will be quite interesting to see if the girls go for that Aussie bogan-style guy, which is the in fashion thing at the moment. I was definitely surprised but I wish him all the very best.

The 36-year-old has no hard feelings towards Sam Frost.
The 36-year-old has no hard feelings towards Sam Frost.

What else have you been doing between The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise?
I've just been getting back to basics. Doing real estate, working hard, doing a lot of travelling, spending time with my sister in America, life's been really good! I can't complain.

It's good to get back into the fray with The Bachelor family.

You had a bit of a rough ride during your Bachie fame, especially after the Instagram scandal when you were sprung posting a stock image of Cristal champagne to your page and wearing a fake Rolex. How did you learn from that experience?
I learnt that the media will make up any story to sell headlines. I wouldn't change a thing. That's me and people can believe what they want, I know the truth and I don't believe that I'm a fake.

It's the same people that say I have a fake Rollex watch, that then turn around and say I'm worth $12 million. Like, pick a side guys! I don't regret a thing and my life is an open book. People can think what they want, it makes no difference to me.

You do have a strong network of fans who you affectionately call #MichaelSquad fans, are they supporting you for BIP?
Yeah! I've got a really, really strong support base with my followers and even since filming has aired I've got lots of messages wishing me luck and they're excited to see how everything urns out for me.

Is it fair to say you're happy and no longer single?
Yeah, I'm very, very happy and I do have someone very special.

So, I'm super happy with where I'm at. It's been a roller-coaster ride the last couple of months filming.

The Bachelor in Paradise premieres on Sunday March 25th at 7:30pm!

"I'm very, very happy and I do have someone very special!"
"I'm very, very happy and I do have someone very special!"