Bachelor NZ star Jordan Mauger has broken his silence on why he dumped contestant Fleur Verhoeven just 72 hours after she was named the show's winner.
Mauger said in a statement this morning: "Fleur is a remarkable woman. There is no doubt about that. What I have struggled with is interpreting my feelings from the show to the real world.
"For the last seven weeks, Fleur and myself shared concerns and doubts over that time. Hoping that feelings would reignite again. With contributing factors like distance, media, remaining episodes, secrecy, it made it very difficult.
"After a long absence and only seeing her for the first time onstage, I knew something was amiss. After an exhausting schedule of media commitments and the dust settled, I knew I was being dishonest to Fleur and myself.
"It is only fair Fleur is with someone who can give her the best and give her the commitment and love she deserves.
"It is a great shame the feelings I had on the show haven't translated into real life.
I know Fleur will go on to do great things."
Mauger said the bachelorette's "talents and caring nature" would put her in a "great position for anything she decides to do. She will always have my full support and I care for her greatly."
Verhoeven made the shock announcement that Mauger had ended their relationship in an interview on TV3 last night. She said Mauger had delivered the devastating news yesterday afternoon while visiting her at her Auckland hotel room.
"A lot has happened in the last couple of hours. Jordan came to visit me and he pretty much explained how he is feeling and that he has decided that his feelings aren't mutual. He has decided he wants to leave it," the 26-year-old told Story.
"I was quite surprised to hear that he doesn't want to give it a chance. It is what it is I guess."
Verhoeven said she was glad Mauger had ended the relationship now instead of waiting. "It has been something neither of us have ever had to deal with. He has been very respectful towards me and in all honesty I would rather have him tell me this now than tell me in a couple of months' time. He was actually really respectful in saying this now."
She said she did not believe fellow Bachelorette and runner-up Naz Khanjani was the reason behind the break-up.
The announcement follows speculation that Mauger asked to re-shoot the end of the show amid fears he'd chosen the wrong girl, but the rumours were denied by the show's producers.
During a Bachelor special this week it was difficult to see any sparks flying between the couple. A source told the Herald that Mauger and Verhoeven spent all night on opposite sides of the room.
MediaWorks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said the company was respectful of the couple's decision to end the relationship.
"We really are sad for Fleur and Jordan that it has not worked out for them. There is no doubt that their feelings for each other were genuine but unfortunately not all relationships are meant to be and this afternoon Jordan made the difficult decision to end the relationship," Mr Szusterman said. "They have our full support during this difficult time."
Mauger's decision will be a blow for MediaWorks and the show's sponsors, who will have had a lot of money at stake on the couple going the distance. The show's previous winners, Art Green and Matilda Rice, have been a huge success story.
Host of The Bachelor New Zealand, Mike Puru, said he felt sorry for the couple in a touching message posted to Twitter.
I feel sorry for Fleur and Jordan. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is hard when you publicly share the journey Much respect to them both— Mike Puru (@MikePuruNZ) May 11, 2016
The situation hasn't been helped by Khanjani's revelations that she had slept with Mauger "more than once" - despite Verhoeven winning the reality show. "I think I'm the only girl [to admit to it]," she said yesterday.
Despite being dumped by Mauger in the finale, Khanjani was the favourite to win - causing the hashtag #TeamNaz to trend on Twitter.
A message posted on Khanjani's Facebook page last night appeared to be directed at Verhoeven: "Stop explaining yourself and telling people everything. You owe no one any explanation of what you do. Your life is yours, not theirs."
After Verhoeven's announcement hundreds took to social media to offer her their support.
Contestant Erin Higgins last night took to Facebook to support her fellow jilted bachelorette. "Sending lots of love out to my girl Fleur," she posted.
Viewers also reached out with kind messages to the heartbroken contestant.
Colleen Glenda wrote: "Kia kaha Fleur. You are a gorgeous young woman inside and out. Your dignity and grace is amazing and just shows what a awesome girl you are. Chin up babe x."
Posted Karin Mednis Shaw : "Heart felt love to Fleur. Both he and Naz have been disrespectful. Fleur has risen above it all with her beauty, kindness and grace."
"Fleur has come out the winner. She has won the minds; hearts and respect of a Nation," said Mia Joyce.
One person wrote on her Facebook page: "Keep your chin up Fleur, you're a beautiful lady with a lovely personality and you always hold yourself well. Prince Charming will find you one day."
Another wrote: "So sorry for you Fleur. You deserve so much better and one day you'll be so thankful he did this."
Others suggested she cash in her ring and use the money to go on a holiday.
Fans of the show have also brought the heat down on Mauger over his decision to dump the 26-year-old.
Many took to Facebook to condemn the Bachelor on his decision. Several said he didn't deserve to be with Verhoeven.
"Why would you choose her just to humiliate and break her heart only 48 hours later," one person wrote, while another posted: "I truly hope that you don't go to Naz, after her performance last night and the trash she has said on radio today it would be a real insult to Fleur to go to Naz but then maybe you two are just as bad as each other. Really disappointed in you Jordan."
Meanwhile, Khanjani is capitalising on her 15 minutes of fame by promoting an active wear brand on a Facebook profile page linked to the show.
Ignoring criticism she has written about "empowering woman (sic) to be comfortable in their own skin regardless of size, race & age."
She said every woman was unique and beautiful in their own way and advised readers to watch out for future events run to promote the clothing brand.
Radio hosts' sex questions slammed
George FM hosts Thane Kirby and Kara Rickard have been criticised after they asked Naz Khanjani explicit questions about her intimate relations with Mauger.
A cameraman filming the interview also shot close-up frames of Khanjani's breasts. Mr Kirby's questions included, "Is he well hung?" and "did you orgasm?".
Many viewers took offence after the video was uploaded on to Facebook.
"The camera work is disgusting. It's an interview not a bikini photo shoot," wrote one commentator.
Another viewer said: "I am disgusted with how George FM has treated her and it is fair to say she deserves better."