The Bachelor NZ: Fleur Verhoeven lashes out after ex-bachelor says it was all for the cameras
If you thought last year's Bachelor NZ drama was over, you would be wrong.
Victorious bachelorette Fleur Verhoeven and her current partner Richard Wood are on the offensive after comments from former bachelor Jordan Mauger.
Verhoeven spoke out to deny Mauger's comments over the past week, after refusing to say anything about Bachelor dramas for months. She said Mauger had "humiliated" her and made it seem like he had genuine feelings for her. Wood also posted an extensive statement saying Mauger had a "lack of respect for others". He said Verhoeven "has not been fame hungry".
Tensions between Mauger and his finalists were reignited after the former bachelor said in an interview that the producers and finalists knew there would be no romance after the cameras left. He accused TV3's owner MediaWorks of gagging him and making him into a villain to gain publicity.
"It was not a surprise to the network, the production or the girl what was happening. But they made it out to be," he said.
According to Mauger, the women he picked to go through to the final round knew it was all for show.
"The choices of my finalists were the two girls that understood that the most [that there would be no relationship], but their motives I think were elsewhere and I got the wool pulled over my eyes there."
Verhoeven said she went on a five day getaway with Mauger after the show finished, "because I thought we were in a relationship".
"If I'd known I probably wouldn't have done that, definitely wouldn't have done that."
Verhoeven said she had been open with Mauger and told him she had feelings for him. Mauger had told her he was "worried", but he led her on to make it seem like he had feelings for her too, she said.
"I knew that he had some worries and wasn't feeling 100 per cent confident. I thought he meant because of the TV show, we talked about that a little bit."
She said they would talk almost every night on the phone, as she was living in the Hawkes Bay while he was in Auckland. "He wasn't too, how would you call it, lovey dovey," Verhoeven added.
"In the end you barely know each other, you have to start fresh. I was willing to do that," she said.
Despite their worries, Verhoeven said she was hurt and surprised by Mauger's actions following the show. She had felt led on, and although she understood he was in a tricky situation, she said he wasn't honest about his true feelings.
"The only thing that annoys me is that he was never completely honest with me, I would have respected him much more if he'd said, 'hey listen I don't have any feelings for you, I was just doing this for the show'."
She was angry that Mauger had publicly said he flipped a coin to pick the winner. He didn't tell her that, she said. That comment was why she decided to speak out, Verhoeven added.
"I always had his back and for him to continuously humiliate not just me but all the girls, that was the moment I just went enough is enough."
She said Mauger's excuses that Bachelor producers were making him stay with her could have been true, "I'm sure producers would have been in his ear". In the end, she called him a "coward" for not being clear.
Verhoeven said she and Mauger went on the five day holiday about a week before the finale aired. Mauger broke up with Verhoeven days after the show's live finale aired in 2016. Verhoeven announced their break-up on TV's 7pm current affairs show, Story.
MediaWorks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said Mauger was encouraged to talk about his decision on Story but chose not to.
"At all times, Three were honest and open with Jordan about the way Story were going to cover the break-up," Szusterman said.
The 2016 bachelorettes remained under contract to MediaWorks until May 9 2017, one year after the broadcast of the Bachelor NZ 2016's finale episode.
The contracts threatened former contestants with a $30,000 penalty if they spoke out of line and revealed any inside information about the reality television show without prior approval from MediaWorks.
Verhoeven's partner, Richard Wood, issued a statement Thursday night saying Mauger had treated Verhoeven poorly and she continued to bear the brunt of his attempts "to climb his own ladder".
"Again I see him stating humiliating things which affect more than just one 'girl', in the name of selfishly trying to climb his own ladder again," Wood said.
"He behaved in a very selfish way without much consideration to others. I believe Mauger publicly humiliated Fleur," the boyfriend of 11-months said.
Wood said Verhoeven "holds her tongue" so as to avoid any negative attention towards her or her former co-stars.
"She's been very responsible and held up the positive rather than stepping out over other peoples' feet for her own sake," he said.
Mauger had accused his former bachelorettes of acting with ulterior motives after the show concluded.
"Their motives I think were elsewhere and I got the wool pulled over my eyes there.
"The girls who went and did the stories about me dumping them were heavily manipulated into dramatising it," Mauger said.
Wood, however, saw it differently, saying "Fleur has not been fame hungry and kept away from the limelight."
Verhoeven also took a lighthearted jab at the former bachelor's coin comments, with a picture of an apple and orange.
Verhoeven posted a picture of herself to Instagram trying to decide what fruit to have. The photo was captioned, "Apple of [sic] orange? Might flip a coin... 😂 #flipacoin #BachelorNZ #thebachelor".