Keelan on his decision to leave The Bachelorette SA: 'I was cracking'

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Keelan McManus on The Bachelorette SA.
Keelan McManus on The Bachelorette SA.
Photo: M-Net
  • Keelan McManus cut his journey short on The Bachelorette SA when he decided to leave the show.
  • After getting the first one-on-one date, the first kiss and the first rose on a date, he was a frontrunner to capturing Qiniso Van Damme's heart.
  • "I just knew that I needed to be honest with her and tell her what I was feeling before the rose ceremony," said Keelan.

Qiniso Van Damme was left disappointed and in tears on The Bachelorette SA when Keelan McManus decided to leave the show.

After getting the one-on-one date, the first kiss, and the first rose on a date, the 26-year-old was a frontrunner to capturing Qiniso's heart, however, as the show progressed, viewers saw him struggling with the process.

In episode 7, Keelan took Qiniso aside at the cocktail party to talk. This turned into him telling her that he was not in a good mental space and needed to work on himself outside the show. Qiniso asked Keelan to leave as soon as possible. It was something that all the men saw coming as they witnessed his despair in the house and consoled him on his exit.


In this Q&A, we ask Keelan about his difficult decision, find out how he feels about the other men calling him a villain, and find out how he has been doing since exiting the show.

You got the first one-on-one, the first kiss, and the first rose on a date. It's safe to say you were a favourite. At that point, how did you feel about Qiniso and the journey you embarked on?

Hopeful and confident. But I feel like it gave me a false sense of security.

From episode 4, there seemed to be a switch with you as you spent less time with Qiniso. Can you tell us a bit more about where you were emotionally and mentally?

The switch was because I got out of the 'honeymoon' stage of the whole experience. I know it seems like you are living in paradise, but when all of your usual coping mechanisms for dealing with things are taken away from you, like speaking with friends and family, social media, etc., you are forced to think about things in a very different way. Everything became exaggerated, and I felt that my emotions were becoming very erratic and warped.

Qiniso Van Damme and Keelan McManus on The Bachelo
'THE HONEYMOON STAGE': Qiniso and Keelan on their first date.

What were your expectations going into the show versus how it turned out when you were there?

My expectations were that I was going on a once-in-a-lifetime experience to find love and a relationship and maybe meet a few cool people along the way. I thought it was going to be all fun and games. I didn't think too much about how it was going to affect me mentally and emotionally. Signing up for something is very different to living it.

At what point did you realise that this experience was not for you anymore?

It was when I saw what Qiniso was going through on that third group date. I saw how much pressure she was under and how much this all meant to her, and I realised that I was not ready to be there for her because I realised that I had so much past baggage that I had not dealt with; that was all coming up. I was cracking and knew that I was not 100% for myself. It was unfair for me to try being there 100% for someone else when I knew I was still broken from my past.

How would you describe the type of connection you and Qiniso had before you left the show?

I feel like we had a spark, hard to describe. She is an amazing woman, and I wanted to get to know her better to see if there could've been more than just a spark, but unfortunately, due to the nature of the show, I wasn't able to get that time I wanted, and it caused me to doubt that spark.

Qiniso Van Damme and Keelan McManus in The Bachelo
'THE LAST DATE': Qiniso and Keelan share a moment during a group date in episode 6.

Did you expect Qiniso to react the way she did when you told her you were leaving?

I honestly did not know what to expect. I just knew that I needed to be honest with her and tell her what I was feeling before the rose ceremony. I did not want to wait for the ceremony and turn down the rose without a proper explanation. She deserved better than that.

Is there anything you would have done differently during your time on the show?

No, I'm happy with the way I handled myself throughout my time on the show. I stuck to my guns and stayed honest with myself and her throughout.

The rest of the men had a lot to say about you leaving. Cameron said you made yourself a villain. How do you feel about that?

It was quite sad to hear those things that were said behind your back when all the guys were very supportive to your face. But I believe context is everything, and I do not think Cam knew the whole story and just said what he thought from his perspective. No hard feelings at all.

Qiniso Van Damme and Keelan McManus on The Bachelo
'I NEED YOU TO LEAVE': Qiniso and Keelan have a tense goodbye.

You said you needed to work through the stuff holding you back from connecting in your exit interview. How have you been doing since leaving the show?

I have been working on myself, practising self-love and tackling some of my past demons that came up while I was on the show. I have good days and bad days, but I feel like I'm moving forward and always improving, which is all I can ask for.

Franco said when he left at the end of the episode that of the men left, there are five actors and four real people. Who do you think he is talking about?

I do not know who exactly, but I agree with what Franco said. All the remaining gentlemen left on the show still needed to have the realisation I had regarding Qiniso and her feelings and if they could be there for her. I think a lot of guys still need to ask themselves that question and be honest with themselves. That is what is going to separate the actors from the real men.


The Bachelorette SA airs Thursdays at 19:30 on M-Net (DStv 101)

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