The Bachelor Australia

BACHELOR EXCLUSIVE: Cassandra Wood reveals she had a panic attack after Brittany Hockley confronted her

Tonight, all of Australia is sending Cassandra Wood one big virtual hug.

By Bella Brennan
At just 23 years old, Cassandra Wood has undoubtedly become one of the most talked-about contestants on this season of The Bachelor.
From cruel "stage-five" clinger labels, to claims she and Nick Cummins had a secret pact to enter the show together and of course, those engagement rumours, Cass has weathered a tsunami of attention in the past few months.
But nothing was more intense than her final episode on The Bachelor after her best friend and fellow competitor Brittany Hockley confronted her over her relationship with Nick Cummins in the outside world.
In this Now To Love exclusive, Cass talks to us about that heated showdown, how she's healing her broken heart, plus she sets the record straight on just about every single rumour that's been pinned to her name.
Strap yourselves in because Cass doesn't hold back!
In a heart-wrenching moment, Nick Cummins sent home Cassandra Wood after hometowns.
Cass, tonight was such a huge episode for you. How did it feel to get to hometowns only to be sent home?
It felt really good to get to hometowns, everything was going really well. Our connection was growing… I was super excited to take Nick to meet my family and go horse riding.
Everything went really well and I definitely was falling for Nick, or maybe had fallen for Nick already but I was really scared to admit that because I was afraid of getting hurt and getting my heart broken.
You and Brittany had a pretty intense discussion tonight about your history with Nick after it all came out during Brit's hometowns, can you talk me through that confrontation?
Yeah coming back into the mansion, I was confronted by Brit. It was the one of the toughest things that I'd experienced… It was just so horrible.
She really gave you a grilling, even asking if you guys were physical. You handled it so well but it must have been pretty awful to have such a frank discussion with someone who is one of your best mates in the house?
I was really flustered, I was very, very upset. It was a really tough situation and that question [asking if we were physical] put me on the spot. It was inappropriate.
I understand where she was coming from but it was an inappropriate situation to answer that question and talk about on national TV when my grandparents are watching!
It's my private dating life as well, which happens to be on national TV… It definitely startled me and I know she regrets asking that question.
WATCH: Nick Cummins meets Cassandra Wood's family on The Bachelor. Post continues...
How are you and Brit now, are you guys all good?
We're best mates. Nothing could ever change that. I pretty much had a panic attack during that moment. I don't think you see that but I couldn't breathe, it was so hard.
Brit was holding me, it wasn't an argument, it was more like a discussion. She was like 'I love you, this doesn't change anything.' Obviously she just wanted an explanation, which is fair enough. It just sucked that it had to be in that situation. But yeah, we're best mates.
What kind of support was on-set when you had the panic attack, did you get to speak to a professional?
I had a lot of support and there are psychologists. I think you see in the episode, I fell into my producer's arms. I was numb, I didn't know what to do. He was just holding me because I was just so overwhelmed but there were a lot of people to talk me through it.
Did Nick know this confrontation between you and Brittany happened?
I have no idea, I don't think so.
WATCH: Brittany confronts Cass over her history with Nick on The Bachelor. Post continues...
Despite their heated argument, Cass says she remains "best mates" with Brittany.
How are you dealing now and how have you been looking after yourself since breaking up with Nick?
It's been a weird limbo sort of few months. You have to put a smile on your face and pretend everything is fine, I have people coming up to me all the time asking me if I've won or how Nick is.
I can't show any bit of emotion that will make me look like I'm disappointed or I'm upset because then I've ruined the whole show. I'm not going to lie, it has been really, really tough. I have to relive it by watching the show and I have to go through all these interviews and get into that mindset as if I'm still there and have feelings for him and pretend it might end well. I don't really think it's a healthy way of going about it.
I think finally watching this episode tonight, it's the ending of it. I watch myself get my heartbroken and I live through that and I guess I can finally show the emotions of being disappointed and I can let those emotions out.
What were your family's impressions of Nick and how did they feel welcoming him into your home only for you to be sent home?
My family just wants me to be happy. They honestly saw how happy I was with him, I don't think they'd ever seen me so happy. They were completely welcoming and already knew him.
I told them last year how happy I was when I was with him, mum was stoked to meet him. It was all going so well, he got along with everyone and then the next minute, I was sent home. I just remember when I got home, my mum was half asleep and my stepdad was like "Cass is home!" Mum just couldn't believe it, she was so shocked and confused.
What was the first thing you did when you got out of the mansion?
They offered me to go to a hotel but I wanted to go straight home and see my puppy. The next day was a massive rugby tournament with my club in Manly so I went there and had all my friends around me so it was really, really good.

Puppy cuddles have magical healing powers! Back to when Nick said goodbye to you, he says all these lovely things about you but then ultimately says it didn't work out because you "hit a ceiling" – what did you make of this explanation?
I was confused! First of all, I was so numb because of what just happened with Brit, I couldn't really comprehend what was going on. I couldn't find the words to question some things. He said we hit a ceiling but he didn't give me a real reason.
He also said it wasn't the right time but then he was giving me compliments. It was really confusing! I had no idea, I left and was heartbroken… I didn't know what was going on!
How do you feel about Nick now?
I don't know… He was always the one that got away in the real word and then I go there and we build on this connection, and then all of a sudden we "hit a ceiling." [Laughs.] Walking away, I finally got an answer – he doesn't want to be with me! It's good I got an answer but at the same time, I was heartbroken.
Still to this day, he's the one person I could see myself with in the future. I think I will be looking out for someone now who makes me feel more than what I did with him but it's going to be hard to find!
Do you wish he sent you home sooner so you didn't get your hopes up as much?
I did say straight up to him: "I'm only here for you and if you can't see yourself with me in the future, let me know now because my heart is on the line! Send me home now instead of stringing me along!" I did say that to him and he chose to keep me there. It did suck to go that far and think it was going good and then that happened.
"He was always the one that got away," Cass tells us.
You're the only contestant that had the unique situation of knowing Nick on the outside. Was he the same guy in the house as he was in the real world?
Yeah, definitely. He has such a good heart and he always has the best intentions for everyone. I don't think he'd want to hurt anyone.
You're definitely seeing his true side because he would never just say something because he wants to make you feel good.
You both live so close to each other, how would you feel if you bumped into him and the winner in Manly?
I thought about it, because we live in the same area I'm sure I'll bump into him. Because we have so much respect for each other, it will be fine. We will always remain friends.
I do respect the girls that made it through further than me and I respect his decision.
How has it been watching this season back, we understand you're not happy with your portrayal as the "stage five clinger?"
The first few weeks were really tough and I wasn't completely happy because it looked more one-sided than what it actually was. It was hard to watch but everything got better! There was a lot of support.
What about your love life since the show, are you seeing anyone special?
No. I haven't met anyone yet and like I said, I'm still waiting to find someone that makes me feel more than what Nick made me feel.
It has been tough because we're not really allowed to date anyone. It wouldn't be right for me to date anyone right now because I am reliving the situation again and I'm just getting through everything that happened on the show.
WATCH: Nick Cummins sends home Cass Wood. Post continues...
The bar has been set: Cass says the next person she dates will have to be pretty special.
We have to ask about that supposed engagement ring you were spotted flaunting, what happened there?
I'm really glad I get to explain this! My best friend put up an Instagram Story and she had a selfie camera, it zoomed over to me and I was holding a drink in my right hand. Because the camera was flipped, it looked like it was my wedding finger! It wasn't even a diamond ring but the lighting made it look like one.
Mystery solved! Now, you obviously got so close to the end and you've seen Nick with all of these girls. In your opinion, who does he end up with?
Umm, I'm not sure but I think either Brit or Soph. Just because I know they got along really, really well with Nick and they're such genuine girls and they had a good connection so I think either one of them.
And what about claims Nick and the winner have already broken up?
I don't know. I think there's a lot of media trying to create a story. I don't think that's the case.
Throughout it all, Cass showed her vulnerability and true feelings for Nick - and for that she should be proud!
As we all know, you and Nick dated in the real world. Can you talk us through that history and the actual timeline of events?
We met at the start of last year in a bar and we ended up crossing paths at rugby events but I was actually dating someone else at the time. And then I was walking my dog along the beach in Manly and I ran up to him and said hey.
It ended up being my birthday that weekend so he came out and met my brother and friends and we ended up having a kiss. That was the start of everything in August and then we went on dates and hung out quite a bit.
During this time he would be travelling overseas and so was I but when we were back in town we'd catch up and go out for dinner. I saw him at Christmas and that was about it, after that he was busy for months with work and it was the wrong time. We remained friends and then saw each other on the show!
How did it feel when you were reunited on the red carpet?
I was really, really nervous to find out who the Bachelor was, my fear was I wouldn't like them straight away or form a connection. I was stoked that it was him. It was so surreal but I was so happy to see him standing there.
WATH: Cass Wood tries to tell Nick Cummins she's falling in love with him. Post continues...
Now you've had time to unpack your Bachie ride, what was the best and worst thing about your time on the show?
The best thing was creating life-long best friends, Brittany and Sophie are two amazing girls and I'm friends with all the others.
I think also arriving and seeing Nick there was the best thing that could have happened but also the toughest thing as well because it just made everything so difficult. And I had to find out he didn't feel the same way as me in the end.
Any regrets?
No! I don't think so. There were some cringe-worthy moments but I don't have any regrets.
What's next for you post-Bachie?
I'm just at uni studying accounting so I'm completing that. I'm just taking everything as it comes.
What about more reality TV, would you consider Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise next year?
I really don't know, it's not like I want to be on reality TV. I went on The Bachelor to find someone and I'm still in that same boat. Who knows if that's the right way to go about it but I'm still looking for that person.
We miss you already, Cass.