Content warning: This post deals with issues around mental health and suicide, and may be triggering for some readers.
When Laurina Fleure left Bachelor in Paradise tonight with nothing more than a quiet mumble and a declaration that there was no one on the show she was interested in, there seem to be a distinct lack of fanfare.
Her story couldn’t possibly end here, could it?
After all, just 24 hours before, the 34-year-old was riding high on a wave of positive public sentiment, social media alight with praise for the way she unceremoniously dumped Canadian Daniel from the show.
In a single day she went from the country’s most talked about reality star to one with a quiet, random exit.
Now, in an interview with Mamamia, Laurina has explained the reasons behind her exit that audiences weren’t privy to.
“I just needed to go home and grieve. I lost my brother to suicide a month before going on the show and at that point, I realised I really just needed to go. I initially thought going on the show would be a good form of escapism; if I fell in love there, then maybe I wouldn’t feel all the pain that I was suppressing,” she told Mamamia.
Her brother, 36-year-old Michael Shaun Fitzgerald, had been struggling with anxiety and depression for many years, she told Mamamia, and last year she lost him to his battle. However, she said in the moment of her leaving the show, she had no intention of explaining the cast and crew, at least on camera, the very reasons she needed to leave.
“I didn’t want it to make it about that, I was doing my best to not talk about it and be a dampener on anything. At the time I don’t even think I was ready to talk about it, I was burying it. It was all underneath the surface, so when [producers] said you need to go on this date and you need to open up, I just cracked it. I was hyperventilating and panicking, like I had been winded. It was such a strong emotional reaction that just wasn’t warranted. It was then I realised I needed to leave and go home and look after myself.”
Of course, Laurina said it didn’t help that there was no one she was interested in on the show; there was nothing keeping her there when she knew she could be at home and allowing herself the chance to finally grieve.
“I just had a really adverse emotional reaction to being offered that date card, but I was thinking during the day – before I was offered the date – that I wasn’t into anyone. I wasn’t into the new boys, even though I was promised I would be. I thought, if I hang around any longer, I might just be taking up space.”
She says now, some five months after leaving the show, she is in a much better place.
“It’s beautiful. I have come a long way. I am learning to connect with life more than I ever have. Experiencing pain opens up your heart to experience more love. I have also met someone wonderful and I am very in love.”
Michelle Andrews and I recap Bachelor in Paradise on Bach Chat. Post continues.
No, she says, we don’t know him, but she is very happy.
She was also happy that her decision to eliminate Canadian Daniel was as received as it was. So what was the “slimy, chauvinistic, derogatory comment” that set her off?
“So we were talking, and as soon as the cameras went away he whispered in the sleaziest voice something about me having an incredible ass and how good it looked earlier that day while I was sunbathing, and he talked about the way my knickers were creeping up my bum.”
She added that while she finds that comment in and of itself “so insulting”, it was his justification for being “sleazy” that baffled her: Her told her that because he was a professional personal trainer, he knew a good ass when he saw one and for that, he said, he was allowed to comment.
Despite the euphoric highs and deep lows, she says she doesn’t regret going on the show for a second.
“I loved it, it’s a very unique experience. I mean, everyone was just laughing and flirting all day.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or struggling with their mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1800 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. If you are in immediate danger or at risk of self harm, call 000.