Lee Thompson warns reality TV contestants: 'You won't know that you've sold your soul to the devil'

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Lee Thompson
Lee Thompson
Photo: by M-Net

  • Lee Thompson, who appeared in the first season of The Bachelor SA, is set to release an explosive tell-all book about his experience on the reality TV dating show. 
  • Speaking to Channel24, he says that he will be revealing "everything that happened that nobody knows about, but everyone wants to hear."
  • According to the former professional rugby player, he was manipulated by producers of the show and "played like a fiddle." 

In an explosive tell-all book titled The Truth Behind The Rose, Lee Thompson will spill behind-the-scenes secrets about The Bachelor SA and the emotional toll it took on his psychological well-being. 

M-Net (DStv 101) and the Rapid Blue production company selected Lee Thompson as South Africa's first Bachelor in 2018 for the first season of The Bachelor SA, which aired in 2019. A second season of The Bachelor SA followed in 2020 with Marc Buckner, and Qiniso van Damme's search for love continues on The Bachelorette SA, currently airing on the channel.

Speaking to Channel24, Lee says: "The autobiography is obviously a lot more about my life and my childhood, my sporting career, my past relationships and then mainly it will focus on The Bachelor SA and the manipulation and persuasions that go on behind-the-scenes that people don't know about and how they re-edit things to portray you in a certain way and the lies that were told." 

"I feel that people need to know, and I'm not going to stand back and let it happen because it caused a lot of issues, and I want people to know, and I feel that they need to know, and they want to know," he says. "It's not going to be a book about what people want to see or what they've seen before - it's stuff that's going to be calling out a lot of people and sharing the truth and showing what they can do and what's wrong and I want people to know the truth," he says. 

Lee says: "There's been no book that's been written like this, even in the United States. This is really calling people out and sharing the absolute truth about the show and my life and what happened after the show".

ALSO READ | 'Final day of filming almost didn't happen' - Lee Thompson drops major teaser from upcoming tell-all

According to Lee, he has gained a new perspective on the events that transpired after re-watching the series, saying: "I do see it differently now after watching the show now compared to a couple of years ago -  it's like I see it completely differently and I realise how oblivious I was."

About who he believes manipulated him, Lee says: "Yes, people from M-Net were culprits, and the production company Rapid Blue and obviously certain people within those companies had a lot more to do with it, and I'll be naming them - I know exactly who they are. Some of them definitely played me like a fiddle." 

On advice to people entering reality shows and what they should keep in mind, Lee says: "They need to be aware that it's not always about what they want - it's about what's going to create viewership and numbers. Ratings." "It's a reality show, so it's your life, and they can sometimes mess with that," he adds. 

"People just need to be aware of that and also the mental health issues and any other issues that could come up post-show that might be difficult or that you struggle to handle. People take things differently."

"People entering reality shows won't know that you've sold your soul to the devil until you sign that paper and are in there, and that's what people need to realise," he says. 

After having written his book, Lee says: "I feel relieved a bit. It's a weight off my shoulder. I feel relieved. I feel strong."

About claims of deception and manipulation on the set of The Bachelor SA made by Lee, M-Net says: "All reality shows are directed to manage the quality of production and not the manipulation of outcome. Professional help is offered to all contestants who take part in our reality shows. This is done during the production and on offer after the show has wrapped up. We enjoyed working with Lee Thompson, and we wish him well in all his endeavours." 

ALSO READ | Lee Thompson almost stopped writing tell-all book: 'It has been tough emotionally'

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