Suddenly thrust into the spotlight, the 31-year-old nurse had to deal with intense online bullying at the same time her father, Vasco, suffered a medical emergency. Lockdowns caused by the pandemic meant Irena couldn’t be by his side. The stress led to devastating consequences.
“During our first few months together I, unfortunately, suffered a miscarriage,” Irena tells WHO.
“But Locky was my absolute rock and having his support made me love him even more.”
Locky wants people to think twice before they lash out at the couple.
“We are just normal people and while we put ourselves in the spotlight, you never know what is going on in our lives that day,” the 30-year-old adventure guide says.
“If you have to say something, then direct it at me, not my girl,” he protectively adds.
How has the past year been?
Irena: Our trip has definitely been a crash course in getting to know each other.
Locky: When you’re on the road with someone like this for so long, you really get to see the good, the bad and the ugly. But we’ve had an amazing time and know we’ll be together forever.
What does the future hold for you?
Locky: We are planning to make our way back to Perth over the next three weeks and then we’ll get an apartment and set up a proper home together. Since it’s impossible to get back to Bali, I’m planning to start up an adventure travel company in WA.
Irena: And I’m going back to nursing full-time
Are you thinking of marriage or starting a family?
Irena: We talk about it all the time! We’ve even named our two future kids. We are on the same page there.
Locky: We talk about what kind of wedding we want all the time and are both keen to start a family. We aren’t spring chickens, so it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
Locky, when did you know that Irena was The One?
What really drove home that Irena was The One for me was after our last date on The Bachelor, she wrote a note for me and [runner-up] Bella [Varelis] in case I chose her at the end. It was beautiful and wished us the best in our new lives. All Irena wanted for me was to be happy, even if that was without her. It showed me she really did love me.
The new Bachelor, Jimmy Nicholson, told us that you reached out to him. What advice did you give him?
I did. I just told him it can get really rough there for a bit and I’m always here if he needed an ear. He seems like a really lovely guy.
Irena, what advice do you have for any women on The Bachelor?
My advice is to just remain true to yourself. It doesn’t matter what people say behind your back or to your face, if you’re there for the right reasons, it shows and it will work out.
Do you think your reality TV days are behind you or is there another show you’d love to go on?
Locky: I don’t think Irena would be great at Survivor, she couldn’t deal with the cold. She’d be perfect for Celebrity MasterChef, she’s the best cook! I love building and design, so I’d love to go on The Block.
Irena: Oh God, people would see us have a few fights then! I think Locky would be great on SAS Australia.
What do you want to say to anyone who thought your love wouldn’t last?
Irena: A lot of people thought we’d break up or it was just for the show, but a year later we are just as crazy in love and happier than ever – love triumphed!
What is the secret to your relationship?
Irena: Trust, respect and always supporting one another and putting each other first, no matter what.