While we were shocked to see Sophie Monk say goodbye to James Trethewie on last night's episode of The Bachelorette Australia — especially ahead of Blake Colman (no offence, Blake) — at least we were emotionally prepared.
On paper, James seemed like the perfect guy for Sophie, at least based on what she had said while describing her ideal man. He wasn't in the entertainment industry; he was genuine; and he wanted Sophie to be happy. Really, Sophie, how did you let him go?!
Alas, it wasn't meant to be for Sophie and James, who was eliminated right before the all-important hometown dates. But maybe there's a reason Sophie decided to let James go when she did.
James discussed this with Cosmo the morning after his elimination aired on TV, and talked about how much he liked Sophie, how he tricked his work friends into thinking he was going on holiday, and, of course, all about his bromance with fellow sweet guy Apollo Jackson.
We have someone called Coral the Oracle — one of the girls' mums — who has successfully predicted all of the Bachelor winners so far, just from watching the show and not reading anything. She thought you would win, so now we think her game is a bit off.
[Laughs] That's so funny. I'm stoked that she had me in there. And that's the thing — if you've been watching it, you can even see that there's connection there, and that things seemed to be going very well. For whatever reason, maybe things changed over time, and her feelings changed over time. I don't know.
It must be hard to not get closure.
You don't, no. So you walk away, but I think in the real world, you have much more of a conversation and a chat about it. It's something that you get used to, being there — you don't get that luxury of access for a chat all the time. A lot of it is just guessing and reading between the lines.
Were you most upset to leave Sophie or Apollo?
[Laughs] That's so funny. No, look, of course it was Sophie, but definitely Apollo too — you guys could see the bromance. I think he became like a little brother to me. We were just hanging out 24/7; it was almost like seven weeks at that point. And we're just so similar. We were standing at the end there, and devastated that it was us. It wasn't going to be good.
We knew someone was going home, and someone was going through. He was going, "Dude, it's me, I'm going home." I was like, "Shut up, man, don't say that!" I was absolutely devastated. I was in shock, I didn't know. I just had to go off that group date — the organisational thing was the reason.
How much did you read into the personality/compatibility pie chart exercise?
Oh none whatsoever, because we were the ones putting it together, and Jarrod was trying to copy hers to match her. But I think you've gotta be true about who you are, and pop it down. It's not a real, actual, psychological profile test, and anyone watching the show would say, "Jimmy, too serious? No way!" I don't really read into that stuff too much. I just go off connection. At the end of the day, she may not have been feeling it, and that's OK.
Do you think there is a chance she had already made up her mind about who she wants at the end, so let you go earlier rather than later?
That's what I want to think. There's a part of me is sort of there going, 'Why am I going home now? Did that not mean anything?' I think the positive part of me thinks you're right, that that could be well and truly the case.
Imagine if you had brought her home to meet your family! I think that would have been worse.
To be honest, I'm happy to go home. I think it's a blessing in disguise if she's already made up her mind, then to have to go through the family, hometowns… and even if you were runner-up, that would be just devastating for me.
How into Sophie were you?
Into her, definitely. I think when I've been asked, "Are you in love?", it's such an intense short period of time, and I think that's a journey to get there, and you get to know someone on that journey, and I think I was well down that journey, on that path. It was very hard to walk away from.
Are you over it?
Without as much closure, you walk away like, 'I don't know what happened, where did it go wrong?' You've just got to accept that you don't always get the answers in life, and I think seeing it has helped me get more closure on that. Seeing her post, and that kind of thing, I can go, "Yeah, cool." That's helped, and I think time will heal. But it's been pretty tough to unpack it again this past week.
You're the first guy Sophie has written about on Instagram. She said you are "the perfect guy" but she's not the perfect girl for you, and that you'll find someone "better" than her. What do you make of that?
It's lovely to get some sort of feedback, I think. Some people get conversations, or get taken outside, that kind of thing. It's lovely of her to write that. It's very endearing. It's nice.
Blake talked about changing his strategy towards the end. Do you think his feelings for Sophie were genuine?
I don't know — I think only Blake could answer on what he's feeling inside. It's hard for me to comment, and I can just observe what I see. He's probably being true to himself the whole way through. In the last week, I think he openly admitted to the camera that he's changing his "strategy," and he's used the words "game," "tactic" and "strategy" a lot. Is it genuine, is it real? I don't know. But he could answer that.
Do you have any hard feelings towards him because he could have cost you your place in the competition?
No, because I think a lot of people from the start were talking about how intense they were about it being a competition. I was like, "Guys, this isn't a competition." Like I get that it is, but it's not, because it's not like I can out-run you, or out-compete you, and win in the end. The only real thing that's going to last from this is if you be yourself, and Sophie falls in love with you. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. But if you pretend, or try and compete, that's not legit, and it's not like you can beat other people by doing anything, but be yourself.
It's a very strange kind of competition…
Yeah! I know it's called a comp, but I think it's more like, 'Let's find the perfect match,' or something.
You've mentioned that you would be open to being the Bachelor — but how do you feel about potentially breaking lots of hearts on the way to finding The One?
Obviously it would be tough to do, but I think if you go about it the right way, and have compassion and empathy with everyone involved, it's OK. If you care for the other people's feelings, and you put yourself in their shoes, you have a nice conversation and be brief and that kind of thing takes place, I think it's a lot easier on them.
But that's if you get that opportunity. You were saying before that you don't get the opportunity to have things explained to you.
No. If I was in the shoes [of the Bachelor] though, I would make sure that they had the opportunity.
What is your tattoo?
It's old Aramaic, like scripture. It means… you might laugh, but it's a little daily reminder for me: 'Live your life with love.' Like, love for yourself as a person, and love for everything.
Where did you tell people at work where you were going, before you disappeared for two months?
[Laughs] On a sailing trip in Croatia. I had a big group of mates — about 18 friends, guys and girls — all go over there. So I told everyone at work that I was there doing that, and hanging out in Greece. I don't know what was being said when I didn't come back. I think people were wondering if I'd met someone and got married, and not returned!
So do you just take open-ended leave from work?
You just have to say, "We've gotta take it week-by-week." You've got so much holidays and leave without pay. I'm appreciative because it's a difficult thing to do.
How has life in the real world been for you since you returned?
It's been funny — it goes in these waves. So you come back, you've had this epic experience, and so much emotion, and you know it's going to play out on TV nationally. You don't know the response to you and everything. And I've got the most public commute — I'm walking through the city, sort of laughing, 'cos I'm like, 'No one knows who I am.' Then after a week or two, you start to get all of these glances, then the selfies start… It becomes overwhelming, to the point that everyone is getting around you and supporting you. It's awesome.
You're very popular now, James! Your Instagram has blown up.
Yeah! I've sort of been flat-out all day, and I had to turn off my phone last night, 'cos it was so hectic. But it's literally here now, and it's just going off.
Do you call Apollo 'Apollo' or 'Jake'?
Apollo. The Jake thing was funny. I know him as Apollo, and then the Jake thing came out. He was like, "No, no, my stage name is Apollo." Because he is like a Greek god, it just suits him so well!
Well, you two were definitely the office faves, and one of our favourite moments was when you made your soft toys kiss.
Oh, so funny. Who would think of two grown men sitting there, both with a soft toy bunny?