Jarrod Woodgate says he's a changed man on 'Bachelor in Paradise'

But was he over Sophie Monk?

By: Jessica Chandra

For fans of The Bachelorette, Jarrod Woodgate needs no introduction. But we're gonna do a speedy one anyway!

Jarrod, as many people will remember, appeared on Sophie Monk's season of The Bachelorette in 2017. He made a great impression on Sophie, and was the first guy to score a single date and kiss. He then continued to make an impression on viewers as the season continued, and had plenty of memorable moments, which included gifting Sophie a pot plant that matched his, and then investigating the rest of the guys to work out who pissed in his pot plant.

At the end of the day, Jarrod was a keen bean, and his enthusiasm for Sophie got him all the way to the finale — where, sadly, he had his heart broken because Sophie told him that she'd fallen in love with Stu Laundy, the publican who only joined the show halfway through (intruder!).

But even though he had his heart broken in Fiji, Jarrod returned to the scene of his heartache for Australia's first-ever series of Bachelor in Paradise. And from the looks of it, Jarrod will get caught up in a couple of potential romances…

Ahead of Bachelor in Paradise's premiere on March 25 — that's this Sunday, people! — Cosmo caught up with Jarrod to chat love triangles, getting over heartbreak, and whether he would still consider getting back together with Sophie Monk.

How much convincing did it take for you to join Bachelor in Paradise considering how things ended for you on The Bachelorette?

A lot, actually. I think I probably said no about four times. I didn't think I was ready. I was slightly concerned about going into another reality show then and there, so I needed convincing — not even my mum was convinced that I should do it.

What got you over the line?

I think it was because I started realising that this was a good option for me to find out where I'm at, if I am ready to move on. And if I'm not ready to move on, then at least I can find some new friends out of this TV land. And also for people to see a different version of Jarrod — just a more relaxed atmosphere makes me more relaxed.

Tropical Jarrod!

Tropical Jarrod, that's right.

Did going back to Fiji bring up particular memories?

[Laughs] Look, no, I was very excited to go back to Fiji. I thought at least this time I'd have a bit more time to see more of it. We also went the opposite direction to where I went last time, which was good — we didn't stay at the same resort, which is even better. That would have been an issue.

How much did you know about how the show works before going into it?

I had no idea what the show was about. My sister was the one telling me about it. She was like, "If it's anything like the American and UK and whatever, you won't wanna do it." But then I found out it was family-fuelled. I thought, 'OK, 7:30 timeslot, it's gonna be fairly decent, there's not gonna be too many sleazes there.' So I was excited to see how it was going to work, so I went in there slightly blind.

What was the experience like?

The experience was awesome. Everyone had open arms when I got there and it was nice to meet and greet new people. It was really good to get to know those other faces that I had seen on the TV screen.

By the time filming had started, had you gotten over Sophie Monk?

Obviously I was still in the trance of Sophie Monk, and I was working on moving on from all that stuff. I think this trip, and going back to Fiji, I actually found it easier to move on once I got there, which cleared my mind. As soon as I got there it was like my memory bank had wiped it all.

Talk to us about meeting Ali — from the promo, you seem to have an instant attraction because of her resemblance to Sophie.

OK, well maybe I wasn't over Sophie at the time! [Laughs] Yeah, look, that was definitely testing the waters there. As soon as Ali walked in, she did catch my eye. She was the first girl that caught my eye since Sophie Monk. There was definitely resemblance there to Sophie, and maybe that's why I was quietly excited to see Ali. I haven't had any past relationships in between that time.

We also know you develop a connection with Keira. What can you say about that? This is based on paparazzi photos we've seen of you guys…

Oh yeah, those photos from Fiji. I also got to know Keira. I think I met Keira at the same time as meeting Ali. They're two awesome chicks, and they both have completely different personalities. It definitely made things a lot harder, because you've got all these women there, and you're trying to get to know them all for who they are, and not from how they were perceived in their recent shows. It was really nice and refreshing to have a chat with those two girls.

Did you know Keira had a mad crush on you when you were on The Bachelorette?

[Laughs] No, I had no idea — no idea! I know there were some articles thrown around when she put a love heart around my wall from The Bachelorette. That went mental. But going in there, I didn't know she had a mad crush on me.

In the promo, someone proposes, and it sounds like your voice. Is it you?

It sounds very exciting, doesn't it? That I'm excited for everyone to see, but you'll have to wait and see. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

How raunchy does it get in Paradise?

To be honest with you, I know my family will be watching. There was no raunchiness from my side — I was trying to keep it very clean because everyone can see it. As for the other people, I don't know. I have no idea. I know clothes stay on, out of everyone, so that's a positive. So no one should be surprised there. I think it's gonna be a lot of laughs more than anything, and a lot of drama, rather than raunchiness.

Who did you not recognise?

I didn't really recognise Ali until people told me it was Tim's season. Obviously Tara and Florence I recognised straight away, and Simone, I recognised her. And I had no idea who Lisa was.

Did you know Laurina?

Yeah, I knew Laurina, because she did I'm a Celebrity.

How competitive did the show get?

Well, it was very competitive actually, because you could have five guys wanting the one girl, so it's very competitive. And especially having the Americans there, wow — that throws a curve ball. But I can tell you now that to watch everyone interact, and how they behave when there's a new flavour, or a shiny bright thing, it's quite interesting.

Can you name any examples of the ones everyone wanted?

I can't, actually. No, I'm not going to, because… it was confusing, I'll put it that way. You never knew if there was a love triangle or a love square. You didn't know what was gonna happen next. No, I'm scattered now just thinking back to it. Like, how does all of this work?

In our last chat, you said you would consider getting back together with Sophie if things didn't work out with Stu. Now that that's the case, any comment?

That was in the past. I still respect Sophie a lot, and I'm shattered that that's happened, but I'm also moving on, because I think that's what you do. You tried that, and that didn't work, so there's no point going back to something that didn't work in the first place. I just want to move on and start a fresh chapter in my life, and be a different person for whoever that special person may or may not be.

I assume you can't tell us if you're with someone now?

No, I can't tell you if I'm with or without someone at the moment.

Well, are you happy with how everything has worked out?

I had a month before going on [the show], then I had the holiday in Fiji, so I'm happy. I'm relaxed! I'm super relaxed. I can't complain about life. Things are looking up and I think life's just gonna get better.

How much do you think you've changed from the Jarrod we saw on The Bachelorette?

I'm just so much more relaxed. I went in there with a different mindset of what I had to do. My sister said to me before I went in, "Just grow a beard. Just chill out, enjoy it, and if there's any issues, don't get involved. And just be yourself and let people dig their own graves, and don't help them." Going in there, I just sat back. Sometimes the boys would be like, "Come on, Jarrod, this is the perfect opportunity, what are you gonna do?" And I'd be like, "Nothing." They were like, "What's happened to Jarrod?" I completely changed, and I think the boys got a rude shock when they saw a different version of me — which I'm excited for other people to see as well, because obviously it's a different scenario, different situations, and for me it was less competitive than the mansion.

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