It was particularly cruel timing.
Love had spent three months filming the reality show, no doubt certain she’d have more time with her mum, who died just six months after receiving her diagnosis.
My heart is utterly broken. 7 weeks ago we were sipping cocktails in Italy. 7 months ago you weren’t even sick. How is it possible you’re no longer here? Mum, you were my first friend and my best friend, my rock, the one who knew me better than anyone in the world and who supported and backed me through every single thing I did. You were the one I went to for advice, the one I shared every story with and the one who was always there to pick me up. There is so much more I need and want to share with you. I have no idea how to even begin to say goodbye. I love you, Mum, and will continue to every single day. “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”
During the show, Love met and fell in love with Melbourne plumber Lee Elliott, who she was only able to see secretively a handful of times between when filming ended and the finale aired.
But the excitement of finally being able to be public about their relationship was almost immediately eclipsed by Love’s family tragedy.
Speaking to Stacey June and Kristie Mercer for The Thinkergirls Pod Channel, Love recalled the night her mother died, which was also the second night she had ever spent with Lee.
“Our second night as a couple was spent with him literally holding me as I screamed and shook for hours and hours and hours,” she said, her voice cracking.
“I didn’t say anything, I just screamed for hours.
“I really can’t imagine anyone else in the world having been like that with me then. And he didn’t freak out, he stepped up, he messaged everybody I knew that day to say, ‘hi, I’m Lee, I’m Georgia’s boyfriend, I’m just letting you know that this has happened’.
“He went out and he cooked for my whole family, he met everyone in one go.”
LISTEN: Mia Freedman interviews Georgia Love on this episode of No Filter (post continues after audio…)
Love said that period – the days, weeks and months following her mother’s death – might actually have been harder on Lee than it was on her.
“I had the support,” she said. “Obviously emotionally it was incredibly hard on me, but I had the support.”
“Everyone knew my mum had passed away, I had the rest of my family feeling the same way, I had everyone checking in on me, everyone doing all the things that you do in those situations.
“And Lee is there, two days into a new relationship, he didn’t know any of my family. He had met my dad and my sister, he had met my mum in hospital, [but] he knew none of my friends, none of my friends even knew I was with him until 24 hours before.”
In hindsight, Love has come to realise “no one was there checking on him, no one was asking how he was doing,” even though he had been thrown into a particularly difficult situation.
“It was really hard on him, and it was really hard on our relationship,” she said. “We had a very rocky first six months, and I’m not afraid to say that.”
Beginning their relationship during such a tumultuous time, however, made Love unequivocally sure of her decision to choose Lee.
During filming, she was fun and silly, but Lee had to get to know a very different Georgia once the show ended. One who cried a lot, was angry, and was going through the stages of grief.
“People often ask like sliding doors, what if you’d chosen Matty J, what if you’d chosen someone else?” she said.
“[But] I cannot imagine anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life, being as good as Lee was even just that night.”
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