So… have the two of you had a rough morning?
Alex Nation: No! It’s been busy but we’ve absolutely loved it.
Surely you’ve gotten grilled.
Nation: Look, we have seen – well, we’ve heard about the social media backlash and we’re okay because we’re totally happy. Richie followed his heart and he did what was right for him, and that led him to me. So I’m very happy and certainly grateful. With things like this, there’s a great divide and people feel very entitled. They can be quite harsh and opinionated. Richie went on this show to find love and he did, so it’s not really fair that he’s copping heat for that. Because isn’t that the whole bloody point of the show?
Richie, judging by your mum’s body language when she met Alex, she didn’t seem too impressed.
Richie Strahan: Oh, look. [Laughs] My mom… [Laughs] My mum is an absolute legend. She’s sensational. I think she certainly hammed it up for telly. But look, she’s Team Alex all the way. I’ve spoken to my mum. I’ve explained how I feel, and you know, my mum only ever wants me to be happy. And she knows how happy I am with my decision. I have fallen for Alex, so my mum’s stoked. It was good television and good drama last night.
For now, where are you two going to live? What’s the arrangement?
Strahan: We’re thinking Northern Territory. Just to throw the paps off. No, obviously I’m from Perth and Ni—uh, Alex is from Melbourne, so you know. There’s a lot we still have to work out. But we’re going to have two home bases in Perth and Melbourne.
Nation: We’re not in any rush. We want to just enjoy the start of this chapter.
Alex, you said that you want Richie to be a “friend” first to your five-year-old son Elijah. But if you two were to make a commitment and became engaged or eventually married, don’t you think Richie needs to be more than just a friend?
Nation: Yeah, absolutely. I was talking about the start. Things like that take time. My little boy is only five, and he does have a really amazing dad. So for Richie to come into his life, I don’t want there to be pressure on either of them. Richie has to be a good role model first for my little man. Elijah will grow to love him, and he will become a father figure. But those things take time.
Did Elijah know you were on TV?
Nation: He did. He knew when I left, and then when I came home, we watched some of it together—the fun stuff. So he got to see glimpses of Richie and his personality, and how bloody awesome he is.
Richie, is it true you still have no plans to meet Elijah?
Strahan: No, I certainly want to meet the little guy. I’ve been privy to some pretty awesome Snapchats, and he’s cute as a button. He’s a little legend, and it’s just that we don’t need to rush. We haven’t been able to get together like this for the past two or three months while this thing has been airing. So now that this thing has finished up, this is like the very first day that we get to spend together with this out in the open. With all the media commitments, our lives are chaos now. This is something we don’t want to rush. We want it to be a memorable, nice experience for him. So we’re just going to take our time with it and do it when it feels right.
Richie, watching the show back over the past two months, did your perceptions of any of the girls change?
Strahan: Not at all. You’ve only seen one to two per cent of what actually happened. I was in the box seat, and I’ve seen so much more than you’ll ever see. It certainly didn’t change my opinion of anyone. This process—certain things are built up, certain things are played down. It’s a production. It’s a TV show. It was hard to watch back at times, but it was also fun. It brought back a lot of good memories. I just wanted it to wrap up so I could tell everyone I’d fallen in love with Alex.
How do you both feel about the way Nikki was left? That couldn’t have been a nice feeling watching it back.
Nation: Yeah, Richie and I watched that together. It was hard to watch, for both of us. I definitely shared in Nikki’s emotions and I felt them come through the television. I even cried myself. It was very emotional to watch. Because, you know, she is such a beautiful person and she deserves the world. I guess, at the end of the day, this was the process and Richie followed his heart. He chose me. that doesn’t make it any eaiser for Nikki, btu she’s at great girl and we wish her every happiness in the world
Richie, anything you want to add?
Strahan: I think Alex said it perfectly. It was pretty hard to watch back. You know, I was – that moment was really difficult for me. I knew how I felt about Alex. I was 100 per cent sure about the person I want to spend my life with, and the hardest part was that I had built a special relationship with Nikki. I knew how she felt about me. it wasn’t an easy thing to do, but that’s part and parcel of what I signed up for. So it’s my cross to bear.
Richie, you were a public personality before you did this. Alex, you now are. Given the visceral reaction from some people to this choice, do you feel you have work to do to get people back on your side—or on your side, period?
Nation: I don’t feel like I ever have to work for anyone to like me. I think if you know who you are and you trust who are, and the people you love and care about do as well, then that is really all that matters.
Strahan: If people are getting up in our grill because I followed my heart and fell in love, then mate, what’s their problem? [Laughs] If those people are upset, then I don’t even want to have anything to do them. They can go suck lemons.
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