Before viewers get ready for another season of The Bachelor Australia, this year's main man, Locky Gilbert, wants to clear up any rumours about him joining the show.
Fans were up in arms when it was announced in March that the former Australian Survivor contestant would be handing out roses as the Bachelor this season, with many believing he was already in a relationship with his Survivor castmate Brooke Jowett.
"It was pretty hard," Locky, 30, says of the backlash when he was revealed as the suitor for 2020.
"People were seeing Survivor and then hearing I'm doing The Bachelor when, in real time, there was six months from when I got off Survivor.
Despite Brooke and Locky forging a bond and having a bit of an island romance on Australian Survivor, he explains that there was never a relationship away from the show.
"Everyone is saying, 'He dumped her for this show,'" Locky says.
"But me and Brooke were never an item; we were never dating. We never even caught up outside from the show, so seeing that does rattle you."
The professional adventurer from Perth says he's on The Bachelor for love, not fame, admitting he's been on as few as four dates in his entire life.
"I've taken one girl to the movies and out to dinner maybe three times," he says.
"I just travel and I'll meet someone and we just hang out. And from there it happens. Dating is so strange to me."
So won't he find going from not dating to being thrust in front of 24 eager women a tad extreme?
"That's how I live my life," Locky says. "Just go as hard as you can."
It was this thirst for life and fun that he wrote down as a guide for the producers of The Bachelor, who were selecting the ladies he would date.
"The one thing I like in a partner is drive and ambition," he says.
"They don't have to love adrenaline sports or jumping out of aeroplanes, but they have to have a passion for life and give everything a go."
As for how he was going to handle dating so many women at once, Locky decided to call on Matty J – who was the Bachelor in 2017 and now has a daughter with fiancée Laura Byrne, who he met on the show – for advice.
"He said to get ready for long days and get ready for emotions, but also to really be present with the girls," he says.
"It's a hard situation – you can't be with a girl and then be thinking about someone else. Not only is that rude, but it puts you in a bad mental state."
Filming the show was hard enough, but then COVID-19 hit – just when Locky found himself falling in love.
"It was devastating," he says of filming being forced to shut down.
"I was on a high, making these crazy connections, and then it was thought we might be done and we'd all go home.
"I was lucky enough to keep in contact with the girls, and have an even better connection with them. We took the physicality out of it and got to know each other on a personal level."
But when producers gave the green light for the women to head back to the mansion to continue filming, Locky was worried not all of them would want to keep dating him.
"I didn't know if everyone was going to come back or who would be there," he says. "But I had to deal with that, take it on the chin and hope for the best."
This season of The Bachelor Australia has now finished filming, and while Locky can't give anything away as to who stole his heart, he can confirm he did pick one of the hopeful bachelorettes at the end.
"I can tell you I'm madly in love," he says with a smile.
"It's great to be able to say it. It was definitely a journey, but I'm happy right now."
WATCH: Locky practices for The Bachelor in Survivor: