TIM Robards' search for love has come to a dramatic conclusion tonight, with the hunk giving his final rose to lawyer Anna Heinrich.
The 90-minute finale, filmed in Thailand, saw Anna and runner-up Rochelle cop a grilling from Tim's mum before the Sydney chiropractor made his final decision.
The series is one of Channel 10's most talked about shows of the year, with 25 beautiful women competing for Tim's attention.
Tim opens up to Nicole Fuge about dating on national television, why Anna won his heart and what he really thinks about Ali's liberal use of the "L" word on the show.
Q: Why did you go on the Bachelor?
A: To find love. I was asked by the producers a couple of times and at first I said, 'No way!' To open up your life like that on a national TV show is a foreign thing. But they explained what their intensions were and I thought it might be a good chance of finding love and you've got 25 girls picked from around Australia. You put your faith in the producers to pick some good girls, but I think the main thing was, I felt like after they'd come to me a couple of times and said, 'We'd at least like you to go through the interview process,' and I kind of felt like it was almost like a little sign from the universe, saying this is something you should do and maybe there's someone else out there who's getting the little sign as well - I might have a chance. It would be a pretty cool way to meet a partner and tell your kids how you met. It could just work, I'll take the risk and give it all I've got and see what comes out of it.
Q: Did you always know it would be Anna at the end?
A: Definitely going through, I thought it could be her, but I never fully acknowledged it to myself. I was having very strong feelings towards Anna, but out of respect to the other girls - it's such a weird process when you're dating a few people at once, out of respect to the other girls, and to everyone, not just for Anna, I had to stay open to every girl who was there. Each week all I had to do was work out who I was going to say goodbye to, I didn't pick my top one, or top two, or top three each week, all I focused on was who I had to say goodbye to, and staying open to the rest of the girls. Because otherwise I didn't want to be four weeks out, pick one girl out and drag the other three through. I wouldn't want someone to do that to me and I wouldn't do that to someone else. It was a bit of a mind twist, I had to, in my head stay away from my heart, if that makes sense. It was constantly trying to deny what you're feeling.
Q: When did you decide Anna was the one?
A: The very last night after all my dates. That's when I could acknowledge it, I felt that there was definitely a future with us earlier, as I did with a few of the girls, but I couldn't acknowledge it out of respect to the other girls. It wasn't necessarily just Anna, I wasn't going to acknowledge any girls until I had to, which was the final night. But when I was able to do that, I look back and reflected - she's the one.
Q: Did your family help you make the decision?
A: I always respect their input and at the same time, it was my decision to make, but they were supportive either way. But they loved both girls and they were happy for me to be with Anna.
Q: What is it about Anna that stole your heart?
A: The fact she's so down to earth, she's so fun, she gets my crass sense of humour and she gets me and loves every part about me and I love every part about her. She's just a breath of fresh air. There's a beautiful humility about her. She can laugh at herself, she's light-hearted, she's intelligent, she's got a great career. We just have a lot of fun when we're together. I'm just always smiling when I'm around her.
Q: Was it difficult not to let your true feelings show?
A: What I could do and what I focused on every time I was with a girl was the beautiful things I was loving and respecting about each girl and the qualities and what made them unique. I could tell them all of those things, it wasn't leading them on to tell them what I liked and loved about them, but I wasn't able to say to anyone, or acknowledge it to myself, that I've fallen in love with you.
It was such a release in the end to be able to go okay, what am I feeling? Now I can acknowledge what I'm feeling in my heart and then to be able to express that was so nice.
I was actually kind of hoping, I didn't necessarily want to hear someone say they're in love with me, because I couldn't say it back at all until that last day. I was hoping that the person I picked on that last day would almost hold off.
Q: Ali was a favourite of the viewers and it looked like yours too, did her 'I love you's freak you out?
A: I knew the whole way along that Ali wore her heart on her sleeve and she just expressed what she felt and I really admire that quality in her that she didn't hold back and I think a lot of people can learn from her. There's so many aspects of her personality, for me, are inspirational. She is a positive person and puts it out there and you do open yourself up to getting hurt, but at the same time, if you don't take a chance then you have regrets. Ali has no regrets after that. She would have regretted, she said, not telling me how she felt.
Even the saying goodbye to Ali, it's a bit of an oxymoron, it was almost a beautiful break-up. It was sad but it was nice in the same way two people could walk away, yeah there would be a temporary bit of grief, but you're also able to take all of the positives out of it and not walk away with a broken heart, but with a more fulfilled heart, because life's about experiencing things with each other and people come and go, but every person who comes into your life makes you who you are. And that's what Ali said, 'you'll always be a part of me' and same with her.
Q: When Alana and Belle were eliminated in episode six, they predicted Anna and Rochelle were your girls. What did you think when they said that all those weeks ago?
A: When they said that, I thought we'll see what happens, I hadn't had my mind made up at all, or anything like that, at that stage. At the time I did wonder, 'What it is? Why they would think that, be so certain of that,' maybe they're looking at interaction and the way we interact and the way they see us together.
Q: Why didn't you propose on the show?
A: Lots of reasons (laughs). For me, getting engaged is something I want to do once and I want to make sure it's right and I want to make sure it's special. And I want to make sure that even for Anna, that she's 100% sure as well. It's three months and with this situation you do learn all the important things in a relationship, like trust, honesty, whether someone's driven, how they are in pressure situations, how they are with challenges, how you cope with challenges together, jealousy, their self esteem, their own self respect - you learn so many things that are important long term, however you don't get to know the little things, like how they squeeze their tube of toothpaste, and whether they leave the toilet seat up. I want to meet her friends and all that. I wasn't going to get engaged because that's when the TV show decided it's when; but it is something I hope happens in the future.
Q: Are you still together?
A: Yeah, yeah.
Q: When was the last episode filmed?
A: About eight weeks ago. We have a couple of little rendezvous, little secret agent mission meet-ups, but I'm just looking forward to go down for a coffee and go to her parent's house for dinner and things like that.
Q: What advice do you have for the next Bachelor?
A: Read some good self-help books before going in (laughs). No, I think definitely to know yourself and know what your values are and the kind of person you're looking for to complement your values and how you can complement them. If you're not sure of what you're looking for, then you won't find it. But you have to be fairly certain of who you're looking for and who you are and what you're looking for.
Q: How was it being confronted with the girls in the After the Final Rose episode?
A: It was a little but daunting because it's been a fair while and some of them you said goodbye to fairly early on. I think I definitely treated them all with respect, but when you watch back and how they've been edited and you don't know how their feelings are towards how they've been portrayed on the show, but I think most of them would be supportive of my relationship now and happy for me and Anna.
Q: What is it like watching the show?
A: It's funny, I enjoy it. It's good watching back some of comments the girls make at each other. It does get intense, the last few weeks have been intense, re-living some of those break-ups, I was shedding a tear last week, watching myself say goodbye to Ali and just how gracious and positive she is in that situation. It is intense. I'm just now looking forward to moving forward with my relationship with Anna.
Q: Were you a fan of the American Bachelor and Bachelorette shows?
A: I'd seen a couple and kind of watch it for some of the cringe factors - some of the girls, how they act and some of the guys - I did research on what not to do. I think just being true to myself and not selling out and making it as real life as I could.
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