But on Wednesday night, in a shocking Rose Ceremony, Nicole was the one Bachelorette who would not be returning to the Bachelor mansion.
Speaking to 10 play over the phone, Nicole admitted that she wasn’t as surprised as we were when she didn’t receive a rose, in fact, she was expecting it.
When the production had to halt due to coronavirus restrictions, Nicole said shifting to virtual filming was interesting because everything she had known was completely flipped on its head.
“You didn’t know how much [Locky] had been talking to the other girls, you had no idea what his connections would be,” Nicole explained.
“It was really nuts, it was like you were starting all over again,” she said.
At first, Nicole and Locky were talking quite a bit over the phone when they first went into lockdown.
“By the end of it, it just wasn’t the same as it was in the mansion,” she said, feeling like something had changed between the two of them. “It didn’t work for us back in the real world.”
That point was driven even further home — quite literally — during the virtual group date where Locky was introduced to a handful of family members. Nicole’s sister got the opportunity to chat with Locky and find out more about his connection with Nicole.
“It was interesting getting his point of view on our situation and him talking to my sister about it,” she said. “He thought that I had backed away, but I thought he had backed away.
“We both felt the same thing but hadn’t communicated it properly, so it was nice to have my sister there to mediate the situation,” she said, laughing.
Heading into what would be her final Rose Ceremony, Nicole said she wasn’t feeling too great about her future with Locky and her chances of returning to the Bachelor mansion.
“I think by that point I knew that it wasn’t going to happen. I just had a gut feeling, I just knew I was leaving,” she said.
“At the time it was kind of upsetting because you can’t help but think, ‘What would have happened if we didn’t leave the mansion?’” Nicole said, adding that hearing some of the other Bachelorettes talk about their connections with Locky during lockdown also made her realise that she and Locky weren’t on the same trajectory.
One thing we, the audience, didn’t see was the ways in which each of the Bachelorettes and their connections with Locky changed during lockdown. For the first time in the history of the series, the Bachelorettes had the ability to reach out to Locky. Nicole explained it like a “blessing in disguise” to be able to test what a relationship with the Bachelor would be like in the real world.
Though she was a frontrunner in the mansion, when things moved into the real world it seemed that Locky was making stronger connections with a few of the other Bachelorettes.
“A few were talking about how often they’d speak on the phone, how often he’d message them and it’s hard to listen to that because… we didn’t have that,” she said.
“Then you start thinking, was it me? Did I do something wrong? You overthink it all.”
With both Nicole and Locky feeling like lockdown had put distance between them, Nicole admitted she was happy she didn’t return to the mansion.
“To be put back into that bubble would just add a whole other emotional layer… I’m glad that I left when I did and I didn’t have to go through all of that again.
“Obviously me and him didn’t continue our connection so it was kind of good, in the sense that I didn’t have to be dragged along for the ride any longer than I did,” she said, adding, “If I was in the mansion I could have gotten a bit further and then need up getting more hurt.”
Though she said she wasn’t surprised by Locky’s choice at the Rose Ceremony, Nicole’s exit from the series was one of the most emotional, with the other Bachelorettes looking on as she closed her laptop. Devastated they didn’t get a proper goodbye.
“That was the worst part about it,” Nicole said, “you’re by yourself, in your house on a video call with all these girls you’ve been on this crazy journey with and you just want to give them a cuddle and you can’t!
“You’re just by yourself like, ‘Oh. Okay. Cool, bye guys! Have fun!’ That was really hard.”
But it wasn’t all bad, with Nicole revealing that after shutting the laptop, the silver lining was that she didn’t have very far to go to enjoy the comforts of her regular life.
“It was good, I could just go to my own bed and feel like… alright, whatever. I’m going to sleep in in the morning, it’s fine,” she said, laughing.