After The Bachelor, Laura Byrne was told she wasn't 'good enough' for Matty J. It became an obsession.

When The Bachelor Australia finale aired in 2017, it should have been one of the most exciting moments of Laura Byrne’s life. 

The 'happily ever after' ending to her love story with Matty J was about to be revealed to the nation. But for Laura, the moment of joy was a little more 'anticlimactic.'

"Watching the finale episode, I mean, it's so long ago now, but it was pretty torturous that day," she reveals in a new conversation with Mamamia on the But Are You Happy podcast.

"It's really funny how much the public don't remember, because at the time I would have said 60 per cent of people didn't want us to be together," she says.

Laura admits her first touches of fame were far from easy, with negative attention directed towards her appearance throughout the show. Following the finale, things only got worse. 

"You scrutinise yourself and you can be really cruel to yourself," she says. "Especially when people start pointing out things about you that you never realised you didn't like and then you start hating them.

"I'd never had Botox before The Bachelor. I'd never gone and gotten filler. I got really fixated on it and afterwards I went through this period where I was like, obsessively looking up things I could do to fix my face. And I did.

"I got filler in my cheeks, filler in my lips, I got Botox in my jaw; all of that in the space of a couple of weeks. And it was awful. I mean, I looked horrible. And I knew I looked horrible and even Matt was like 'please don’t do that again.'"


Matty J and Laura Byrne first met on reality TV, which saw them living under a microscope in the early days of their romance. Image: Instagram.

Laura reveals the reaction to her cosmetic enhancements was “soul-crushing” and forced her to reconsider. 


"That was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me where I was like, 'okay, I'm going to stop worrying about what other people told me I should be worried about'. And just focus on this… this man who wants to be with me who thought I was beautiful six weeks ago, and doesn't want me to, you know, look like someone else. So yeah, that was a really good turning point for me in terms of my confidence."

Laura still looks back on the show fondly, after all, it led to her lasting romance with Matty J, and the birth of their two daughters, Marlie Mae and Lola. But Laura says her decision to appear "strong" on screen impacted how the public responded to her.

"I thought at the time, that if you showed vulnerability, if you lent into being in love, like… that's so lame, you're a loser if you fall in love on a reality TV show and then cry over some guy. So I was very reserved, and I think sometimes when you come across as reserved, people misinterpret it as either not caring or that you are a bit harder and a bit cold. 

"I watched it back and sometimes I felt a little bit disassociated from my body because I was like wow, I was really upset in that moment. But watching it back you wouldn't know.

"When the cameras came on during the day, I was like 'no you will not cry for this man, get your shit together, Laura'. Like, you will just be strong. And sometimes I think women who come across as strong, come across a little bit unlikable on reality TV sometimes," she admits.


Laura Byrne and Matty J in The Bachelor Australia finale in 2017. Image: Channel 10.

As the last few episodes and those heartbreaking eliminations were hitting screens, Laura was certain she wasn’t the favourite.

"The stuff that we were receiving across social media was so cruel, a lot of it's around the way you look, that you're not attractive enough, or that he should have chosen the other girls," she reveals.


On the day of the long-awaited finale, Laura and runner-up Elise Stacy were picked up in the early hours of the morning to complete a day of press together before the big reveal.

"We hadn't spoken to each other since the show finished, so that in itself is just horrible. Then we've got to go into every breakfast radio station across the country. And we have to sit there being like, oh, 'who could it be? Which one of us?' and it's so weird, but it's also so cruel.

"Her feelings were very real. And I'm sitting there having to pretend like I'm not happy and she's sitting there pretending like she is happy. And it was just such an emotional mindf**k."

But in the end, it was all worth it when Laura reunited with Matty to watch the episode. With their relationship finally going public following months of secrecy, Laura excitedly opened up social media. But she was met with an "onslaught" of negativity. 

"We just looked at each other and were like, 'okay, well, good night'. Like it was quite unaffectionate because both of us felt so anticlimactic. And at that moment, I thought this relationship is never gonna last, like there is no way in hell that he's going to stay with me if Australia doesn't want him to be with me."

Listen to this conversation on Mamamia's But Are You Happy. Post continues after audio.


Though it did initially rock her self confidence, which led to her first experiments with cosmetic procedures, Laura says she’s now comfortable in her own skin now.

She’ll "happily" admit to having Botox, but acknowledges it seems to be a losing battle for women when it comes to "getting work done."

"You really are damned if you do and damned if you don't; you're damned if you don't do it well enough and you’re damned if you're just actually ageing. So yeah, I don't know. I definitely went through a period where I really hated myself, and I don't feel like that anymore. I don't hate myself at all anymore. And I'm really happy with the person that I am and the way I look," she says.

"I don't walk into the room and [expect] to be the most beautiful person in that room, especially in this industry. But I don't compare myself to those people anymore. And I find a lot of comfort in just being the version of me that is real."

Listen to But Are You Happy for more of Laura’s insights on her ever-changing and growing career, time on reality TV, the births of her daughters, and home-life with Matty J.

Image: Channel 10 + Instagram @ladyandacat

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