In July last year, Bachelor star Jen Hawke said she got what she calls a “cheeky” phone call from producers of Warner Brothers, the team behind the wildly successful Bachelor franchise in Australia.
The producer had some men who were interested in her, she said. Their names were Blake and Stu and they were filming their own season of the Bachelorette.
“The boys must have seen a poster of us girls [in the mansion] or something because [Blake] said to a producer, ‘I want her’,” she tells Mamamia.
“So the next thing I know, the producers are giving me a cheeky phone call about it. I spoke to [Blake] and Stu, but I wasn’t allowed to know either of their real names, because it was when they were in the top four. From there, Blake and I started chatting.”
Stu, of course, was Stu Laundy – the man who just a week after having date-like conversations “over the phone” with Hawke, was telling Sophie Monk he loved her on national television.
Jen is clear on the fact she didn’t spend much time talking to Stu, and instead focused her time and attention on Blake. But of course, the fact remains that producers (Jen says) were actively encouraging the relationships of between Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants while the former were still filming their respective season.
“It was nuts, it was so stupid,” Jen told Mamamia, saying it felt something not dissimilar to a storyline on Unreal – a TV drama based on a fake reality dating show, where producers go to extreme lengths to manipulate good TV.
“Before I actually went in, I watched Unreal and I thought, surely it’s not actually like that. But once I actually lived it, I was like holy sh*t it’s actually real.”
She said it was after Blake was eliminated from the show that their relationship went from harmless chatting to something a little more serious.
“Blake contacted me a few days later when he got eliminated because he ended up staying in Sydney a little while after he left the show. He was very aggressive in his pursuit, and let it be known I was no longer single just a week into it,” she tells Mamamia.
And then, Jen says a few weeks later after Blake had packed his bags, heading home to Perth from Sydney, that “the wheels started to fall off”.