Acolytes of the sun god and charismatic magician were left bereft when Network Ten's celebrity bachelorette, Sophie Monk, cast aside fan favourite Apollo Jackson in the second-last instalment of its competitive romance reality hit, The Bachelorette.
Instead, the goddess of love Aphrodite led model/singer/actor/TV host and proud bogan Monk to millionaire Sydney publican Stu Laundy, to whom she gifted her final rose.
Cue outraged cries of a "stitch up" from the mere mortals of Twitter: Monk has already acknowledged that Laundy, a millionaire divorcee and father of four, was known to her before the show sent 22 would-be suitors to the multiple-choice mansion.
But he's also be known to SBS audiences, too. Because the owner of the Watsons Bay and Woolloomooloo Bay Hotels (and heir to a vast family fortune estimated to be worth somewhere around the cool $500 million mark), was a memorable participant in confronting three-part documentary series Filthy Rich and Homeless.
Laundy joined self-made millionaire Tim Guest, Cherry Blooms founder Jellaine Dee, boxing scion Kayla Fenech and socialite Christian Wilkins, son of Today Show entertainment reporter Richard, in this reality TV hybrid that challenged them to live on the streets of Melbourne for ten days with only a sleeping bag and no wallet.
Hosted by Indira Naidoo and homeless expert Dr Catherine Robinson, and produced by Blackfella Films, the rich kids entered with very little idea what they would face on the streets, and even less of a clue about the lives of real homeless people.
Laundy’s initial interview in Filthy Rich and Homeless betrayed his less than sympathetic opinion going in. “I would think to some of the homeless people, it’s become a way of life and sometimes when things become a way of life, it’s hard to change.”
But by the end of the series, Laundy’s eyes had been opened somewhat. “I apologise to the multitude of men I have blanketed in my past opinion, but it’s changed now, you can be assured. I feel very, very sorry for you.”
After participating in the show, Laundy told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper: “Since the experiment, I often find myself walking up to them to have a chat and find out about their struggles and resources available to them in Sydney. I also never realised the extent of the drug and alcohol issues among the homeless community, nor did realise how little was available to them in terms of getting back on their feet.”
Let’s hope Laundy holds onto some of that newfound empathy as he and Monk forge a new life together post-The Bachelorette.
Watch Filthy Rich and Homeless over at SBS On Demand now: