celebrity

When Sophie Monk signed on to The Bachelorette, this is the deal she made.

Something a little bit peculiar happened this week.

All of a sudden, it’s dirty to wonder about the state of Sophie Monk and Stu Laundy’s relationship.

You see, after days of being genuinely perplexed by The Bachelorette finale, after the likes of Kate Langbroek and Meshel Laurie got deliciously candid, and after Mamamia published one of our most widely-read stories of the entire year, things… changed.

It’s a shame, because between 9:15pm on Thursday and 9am on Sunday morning, we were existing in a unified country. Asking the question “are they, or aren’t they?” felt like our nation was committed to solving a very important riddle. It felt like, in the midst of the absolutely pointless same-sex marriage vote, we were actually ACHIEVING SOMETHING dammit. Finally, our hearts and minds were one. And then, abruptly, cruelly, heartbreakingly, our country was wedged in two.

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A post shared by Sophie Monk (@sophiemonk) on

You see, a lady by the name of Jan had arrived (on Sophie’s Instagram account) to share her opinion on all our tiresome investigative work.

“I think it’s inappropriate what they’re saying,” Jan said.

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The response was resounding.

“LEAVE SOPHIE AND STU ALONE,” many of you wrote to media outlets in Facebook comments. “LET THEM LIVE THEIR LIVES IN PEACE. THIS SPECULATION IS OUTRAGEOUS.”

Sophie Monk’s best friend of all time, Oscar Gordon, tweeted his dismay at comedians like Langbroek, Laurie, and Em Rusciano, for simply sharing their honest views. To hypothesise about Sophie’s relationship – to joke about it – made them “mean girls”, he said.

I’m going to tell you why Jan and Oscar and anyone else who tells Bachelorette fans to “SHUT UP” is wrong.

Categorically wrong.

Hold fire. Put down the pitchforks. Before we go further, let me tell you this: I adore Sophie Monk. I think she is the fairy goddess of comedy and talent and wit and charm. She is an Australian icon – nay – treasure. She is wonderful and lovely and I hope she is truly happy and in love. I hope the same for Stu.

But, despite Jan’s protests, despite Oscar’s labels, I will not stop wondering “are they, or aren’t they?”. I will keep asking that question. I will still over-analyse the media interviews and Instagram posts and body language. I’ll probably keep writing about it, too.

Here’s why.

When Sophie Monk signed the dotted lines on Network 10’s contracts, she made a deal – a deal every celebrity has made.

That is, ‘I will sign my name on this line, and I will have my face illuminated on television screens across the country. I will enjoy the many, many perks – I will pocket the money, the Instagram followers, the endorsement deals, the attention, the flashy parties, the glossy apartments, the waxy sports cars and adoration. I will soar the heights of this fame to its absolute pinnacle, and be the beneficiary of everything my fame has to offer.’

Sophie Monk made this exact deal, and if you don’t think her celebrity has benefited from The Bachelorette then, I’m sorry, but once again… you’re wrong.

When Sophie Monk agreed to be the 2017 Bachelorette, it’s believed she cashed a cheque of $300,000 for 12-episodes worth of work. That’s a cool $25,000 per episode.

Since signing onto the dating show, her Instagram following has grown exponentially – from 151,000 in January to, at last count, 434,000. In social media terms – where celebrities are paid a dollar rate according to the number of followers they have – the personality’s fame and worth has near tripled.

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Tripled.

Of course, Sophie deserves these perks. Of course she does. But Sophie Monk is incredibly smart, and knows all too well that the lucrative deal she made with Network 10 back in April was transactional.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss this below. (Post continues…)

For her celebrity to triple, she would make a trade: Her relationship would be channeled into television ratings. It wouldn’t include two people anymore. It would include three: Sophie, Stu, and Australia.

Hundreds of thousands of people have invested over 12 hours of their time in Sophie’s love life, and she has profited greatly from that investment. The cost she pays? The viewers don’t lose interest in her relationship when the cameras are stowed away and stage lights turned off. Actually, with less information to go by, our intrigue intensifies.

This is the cost Sophie Monk signed up for when she made her love life our entertainment.

She is not alone in this. This is the cost every Bachelor couple chose to pay when they signed up for the show.

The state of Sam Frost’s relationship with Blake Garvey, and then Sasha Mielczarek, was deeply interesting to those who watched her seasons with the franchise. As was the news that Alex Nation and Richie Strahan had split. As was Sam Wood and Snezana Markoski’s pregnancy announcement. As was Anna Heinrich and Tim Robard’s engagement news.

The same goes for any developments that come from Matty J’s relationship with Laura Byrne.

Of course, we do not have complete ownership over these partnerships. Their privacy should remain private, and the prying eyes of paparazzi will always be troublesome. But we do have a sliver; and that glorious sliver is our right to look at their public displays. To look at them, deconstruct them, and discuss.

That’s the thing about making your personal life public. You get a sweet deal, and your name becomes embedded within the coolest conversations.

But you also pay a price – you can’t control the content of those conversations anymore.

You can follow Michelle Andrews on Facebook, and listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud below:

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