When The Bachelor landed on South African shores, the whole country was on the edge of its seats to see who the lucky man was who would be spending time with 24 beautiful ladies, hand-picked to fit his personality and lifestyle. Viewers were glued to their screens, episode after episode, completely entrenched in the drama that is one of reality television’s most popular franchises.
Unfortunately, television isn’t always the accurate storyteller we would believe it to be. It is an edited version of what sells screentime and a lot of the drama seen on screen, is made up and planned to feed the viewer’s thirst for entertainment.
This is also the story of Lee Thompson, who recently released a book calling out the industry for these tricks which influence what is believed to be an organic process. The title is “The Truth Behind the Rose.” While most people don’t see themselves finding love in front of a camera crew, some die-hard romantics really do. Lee, being one of these romantics, wanted nothing more than to settle down with the person he can share the rest of his life with. After being matched on the show, the reality of everyday life unfortunately set in, which proved too challenging for the couple.
Fast Forward 3 Years
Fast forward 3 years and Lee is still pursuing love. This time around, however, it is a love for life and his passion for fitness and animals. We were fortunate to catch up with Lee, who has been busy furthering business interests in the fitness industry. As active as always, he shared his smile with us, brightening our day.
While exploring life and everything that comes along with it, by Lee’s side is Grace, his trusty and beloved canine. Together the two make quite a pair. Here’s a bit more about our chat:
Q: Being an instant celebrity, you were most likely the subject of some cheeky rumours. Which rumour struck you as the most surprising or entertaining?
A: Well, it surprised me when I kept on hearing how lucky I must be to be spending time with 24 women and going on all these amazing dates when little do they know, how difficult it was having to spend time with 24 women, all the drama that comes with it and having to send a few ladies home each week.
Favorite memory you have from the Bachelor?
I really enjoyed the skydiving. It was my first time doing it and there was just something about being up there that is total bliss.
Q: As a former rugby player and fitness conscious individual, modelling and showing off your hard work seemed a natural next step in your career. Which brands do you enjoy working with most and why?
A: I enjoy working with “Fitness Health Active” (FHA) and their TV show “5 Colour Fitness” because I get to share my health and fitness knowledge with millions of people around South Africa and continue to do what I am passionate about.
Q: What is the most ridiculous thing that’s been requested of you on a shoot?
A: This one shoot, I had to kiss a lady for a TV commercial. There were so many retakes of our scene, it began to get a bit awkward after a while. I was surprised to get this job because I had a big cut above my right eye, with stitches, from a rugby game earlier that week. They said they only needed the one side of my face. Plus, I had a girlfriend at the time, and she only found out about the filming of the commercial and me kissing the lady when she saw it on TV. It was an all-round unusual situation lol.
Q: You’re obviously a hard worker. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
A: I enjoy visiting the beach, gardening, reading, watching random videos on YouTube and watching sport.
Q: Writing a book is an ambitious venture. How long did it take you to write “The Truth Behind the Rose”?
A: I’d say it took about a year or so. It always takes longer than what you think. I also found myself adding to the book as time went on.
Q: You’ve chosen to work with Live Hope Love SA where you donate 10% of all book sales. Tell us a bit about this organisation and are there any events you are planning right now?
A: Five percent of all book sales (as well as all donations) go towards the “Live Hope Love South Africa Children’s Fund”, which is an initiative that I started this year to help underprivileged children finance their schooling and give them an equal opportunity at a quality education.
Q: Looking to the future, we are happy to hear that you’ve found love again. We are, of course, talking about Grace! Tell us a bit more about Grace and how your paths crossed.
A: Yes, my lovely Grace. She is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and is two years old. Grace was staying on this farm I recently visited for a Christian Lifestyle Retreat. Grace was rescued from an abusive home, so she has always had this shy, withdrawn nature about her. We grew extremely close during my time there. I think she began having a thing for me, because after each meal I’d give her my leftovers. I’d also take her along with me on hikes, which she loved. We would often both stop by the dam on our way back and take a refreshing dip. She loves the water!
Q: Which of her personality traits do you enjoy the most?
A: She has an extremely affectionate personality (just like me), so I enjoy showing her as much love as possible. Whenever she wants you to show her love, she does this thing where she sits on your legs and feet until you rub her back or talk to her. It’s really cute!
Q: Is she a fitness fanatic like you?
A: She loves her naps, but she will never turn down the offer for a run or hike with me. She also enjoys doing her doggy paddle in the dam on hot days.
Most common misconception people have of you?
That I’m a “player”
Q: Would you consider getting another pet? If so, tell us what you have in mind.
A: I would love to get a kitten. I’ve always had a cat growing up and found them very playful, beautiful and cute. I think a cat would be the perfect addition to my family!
Q: What piece of advice would you give someone who is keen to adopt a Ridgeback?
A: Make sure that you take your Ridgeback on a lot of walks and give them space to run. If you are an active, outdoorsy type of person, then a Ridgeback is a great dog for you. Spend quality time with your dog each day because they absolutely love affection from their owner.
I don’t know about you, but how a man treats animals surely says a lot about him. I hope that Lee will find his forever match soon and that the lucky lady falls head over heels for Grace too!
Facebook: Lee Thompson | FHA
Instagram: leethompson52 | fha_fitnesshealthactive