When Sydney marketing manager Matthew 'Matty' Johnson offers his final rose on the grand finale of The Bachelor tonight, he will have come full circle from the moment his heart was broken by Georgia Love on last year's The Bachelorette. "The reason I came back was purely that second chance at finding someone incredible and being in love again," Matty, 30, tells WHO. "The best part of all of this is that's exactly what's happened."
Helping him evaluate the remaining women — Perth marketing manager Stacy Elise, 30, and Sydney accessories designer Laura Byrne, 31 — is Matty's mum Ellie Johnson, a Brisbane teacher. "I didn't know any of the girls and I only met those two," Ellie concedes, "but I knew there was no way that Matty would choose somebody on that show for the wrong reasons. I felt he was quite definite in what he was looking for and we were all on the same page."
WHO spoke with mother and son at home in Brisbane before the series conclusio
Q: During the show's run, there has been much speculation as to the "winner." How have you dealt with these reports?
M: They love to spread rumours, don't they? I think that after the fury dies down, people kind of understand you can't really give anything away but I think it would be a shame if people did want to try to catch us out. It's like Christmas. You don't want to look at your presents before Christmas Day.
E: I didn't understand the sort of hype that goes with it but I honestly very quickly learnt. People would say to me, "Ah, did you read? He's supposed to have been going out with one the girls three months before," and it's just like water off a duck's back. It doesn't bother me at all. It's just knowing solidly the truth and knowing that if you over-react to those things, you almost feed the fire.
Q: Matty, has your opinion of any of the women changed since seeing them on television?
M: Not at all. I'm always such a firm believer that the characters that the audience see on TV really are an accurate representation of the characters in real life. So I think the way they are being portrayed is very much how they were on the show, so it's nice to see it portrayed so accurately.
Q: Ellie, were you worried about him picking any of the women who have now gone?
E: I knew that he's quite intuitive and I knew he would pick up very quickly anybody who was there for insincere reasons, which he did. I wasn't really concerned he would make a poor choice, really, because we're a very down-to-earth family and there's no airs and graces with us.
Q: What can you say about the result?
M: I've met somebody who, if right now, if I had to pick out any imperfections, I couldn't do it.
E: I sense that he's got a beautiful young lady. They say eyes are the window to the soul and you can almost see that in this particular girl. She's just so, so gentle and so honest and what you see is what you get. We get on beautifully and I'm very positive about the future.
For a more detailed assessment of Elise and Laura from Matty and Ellie, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands today.