On last night’s Hometowns episode of The Bachelorette, there was plenty of D.R.A.M.A. The possibility that someone’s family wasn’t going to like Ali Oetjen paled in comparison to Bill Goldsmith‘s monumental ex-girlfriend cock-up, and Charlie Newling deciding he didn’t need his family’s opinion on the situation, then effectively goading Oetjen to drop him.

And drop him she did with just a few words: “Okay, leave. Take care. Be okay. Know that I’ll be thinking of you. Bye.

*exhales deeply*

When Newling spoke to PEDESTRIAN.TV, he tried to explain that what we saw on the telly wasn’t exactly what happened.

Take for instance his choice to abandon the meeting-the-family section of the date. He took her to Gordons Bay in Sydney for stand-up paddleboarding, then seemed to immediately sit her down to tell her he didn’t think he could say “I love you” at the end because they hadn’t been exclusive. And that dinner was off because she needed to go off and think about what he’d said.

The real reason Newling called off dinner was much more tragic.

I received a phone call late the night before from my family who I was going to dinner with to say that my grandmother who is extremely ill had become critical. And they had to rush to Newcastle to see her. That’s the actual reason why we didn’t do that dinner.

And then off the back of that obviously in my mind I’m going there’s things in the outside world that I could be there for and be supporting my family but I was in there taking a risk with her. So that led me to going down the path of telling her exactly how I felt, so that if there was an out I could take it there and then and go be with my family.

He says he told Oetjen what was going on with his family situation – his grandmother is still in critical care to this day – and she was “quite emotional“: “Unfortunately that was left out and it came across as me sort of not wanting want to spend time with her, or not wanting to continue it because of how I was feeling.

Going back to his actual life in Sydney – albeit momentarily – kind of forced Newling to put his experience in the mansion into perspective.

[Being on The Bachelorette]’s almost like a semi-version of Stockholm Syndrome. You’re just sort of caught between these four walls the whole time and the only joy you’re getting is when you get time with her. When that time gets sparse, when she does come back in, I can see why people get caught up in that emotion and fall head over heels.

But for me, I’m one to analyse things and weigh them up before I do them. I did that at the end and realised that it just wasn’t for me and I could see the process for what it was.

When he went to tell Oetjen exactly how he was feeling – that he wasn’t “falling [for her] the way that [he] should be, and wouldn’t be able to fully commit to her at the end” – he didn’t know what he expected to happen next. He neither wanted her to ask her to stay, or to send him home.

I guess I just wanted her to understand me, and understand the situation I was in. It’s a two-way street; we all knew what Ali wanted and where she stood, but we wanted some things too. At that point none of us really knew where she sat, and who her sort of favourite couple were which you can normally see at this stage of this thing. That made it hard for all of us and I guess I just wanted to get an inkling of where she stood with me.

Newling could tell that she wasn’t expecting to hear this from him, “with what we’d shared together in there“: “I think she was under the impression that I was fully engulfed in her, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t.

It certainly seemed like he was infatuated with her to the viewers, but Newling knocks down the possibility that he might have been leading her on. He just finally had a moment away from the mansion to really interrogate his feelings. And when he realised they weren’t as strong as he had thought they were, he felt he had to be honest with her then, just as he had been the whole time.

I was completely honest with her and everyone in there that whole entire time. I think that was clear to see. I was the first one to speak my mind and say things how they were. I did that last night in how I left. I sat her down and said ‘This is how I’m feeling.’ It was for her to take that on board. Out of everyone in there I was the last person to blindside her or try to trick her into being somebody else, because I was me the whole, entire time.

And while Newling says he stayed true to himself the whole time, he reckons what we saw of him on the telly wasn’t the real Charlie.

I definitely wasn’t represented as me. Unfortunately you saw a very, very small part of who I am, and that was the more intense side to me. But Ali’s not silly and there was a reason I was there at Hometowns, and the reason is I spent the most amount of time with her and [we] had such a great connection, and that’s because of the 90% that you guys unfortunately didn’t get to see. I was not too happy with it but you sign up for that so I can’t complain.

Another thing that wasn’t real? The perceived animosity between Newling and Goldsmith. Nope, the boys just kept up their rivalry for airtime.

At the start it was definitely something, but look, we made up and decided to keep running with it because they loved it on there, it created controversy. At the end of the day you want to get the most out of this experience and if you’re not spending time with her, that’s by getting involved in drama and controversy. So we did that and created that.

Newling has picked Taite Radley as this season’s winner: “If anyone’s gonna take it out I’ve always said I’d like to see him do it if it wasn’t me. I think he can offer her a lot and he’s a good chance.

He went on The Bachelorette at the urging of friends, who thought he’d be perfect for the show: “I’m quite a romantic and a bit of a gentleman and everyone said ‘You’ve gotta do it.’

And it certainly looks like his turn on reality TV paid off in the love stakes. Newling confirmed to us that the rumours about him and Dasha Gaivoronski from The Bachelor dating are true.

Newling and Gaivoronski met a few years ago “through a fitness thing” where they didn’t even speak. So when he saw that both of them were now part of the Bachie universe he decided to slip into her Instagram DMs and offer to help her move from Adelaide to Sydney: “It just sort of escalated from there. 

We’re seeing where it goes for now, we haven’t put a label on it. It’s been hard while this process has been happening, but now we can sorta focus on it and see where it leads to, so watch this space.

Newling says that Gaivoronski has been a “massive support” when he started to come under intense scrutiny, and even began to receive threats.

That first week for me I was portrayed quite well – yeah, this is gonna be great – and then it just completely flipped upside down. It really got to me, you know what I mean? I had a lot of hate coming towards me, and people making threats, and you know it really brought me down. And she was someone that was there for me in that time that could understand the process and understood me and was a great support.

He didn’t expect for the new couple to be caught out the way they were, as the two made a concerted effort to “keep it low-key“, but he still wasn’t going to pass up a chance to pursue a possible connection in the real world:

But at the same time you can’t help but try to live your life as normally as possible, especially when you’ve been locked away for so long doing a show like this. It’s unfortunate that it came out the way that it did, but it happened, and we weren’t going to shy away from taking the opportunity we had when it came to us.

Image: Instagram / @charlienewling