After months of persistent break-up rumours plaguing her relationship, Sophie Monk, 38, confirmed her split with Stu Laundy, 44, on Instagram overnight, claiming the pair were ‘just very different people’.
But despite Sophie insisting there were ‘no contracts or pressure to stay together whatsoever’ after finding love on The Bachelorette, were the couple ‘faking’ their relationship all along?
From the couple’s awkward post-finale Project appearance to the cringeworthy PDAs for the cameras and THAT tense carpark argument, Daily Mail Australia revisits the telling signs that Sophie and Stu’s romance was not all as it seemed.
Things started off well for the pair, with Stu widely tipped to win The Bachelorette before he even made an appearance on the show.
Stu was one of the series’ more controversial contestants, having met Sophie previously through friends and asking her out on a date.
After the blonde bombshell stood him up, Stu applied for a role on The Bachelorette for one last shot at dating Sophie.
Heir to a half a billion dollar pub empire and a father of four daughters, the 44-year-old said he was looking for love after splitting from his wife.
‘I really felt like Sophie and I clicked, all be it for ten minutes, but more so than I’ve clicked with anyone since my ex-wife,’ the father-of-four previously told the Financial Review.
Entering the house as an intruder, Stu blew the competition away, with Sophie choosing him over runner-up Jarrod Woodgate in an emotional finale.
‘You said loving me was the best thing you’ve done in a while. I don’t think anyone’s ever said that to me. So I have two really important things to tell you,’ a tearful Sophie told Stu.
‘The first thing is I’m so sorry I misjudged you when I first met you. And the second thing is I’m in love with you.’
But the honeymoon period didn’t last long, with the couple facing persistent rumours they had secretly split almost immediately after going public with their romance.
Sophie and Stu were dragged online for an ‘awkward’ joint interview on The Project in which they appeared stiff and uncomfortable next to each other, in contrast with previous contestants.
The pair also appeared to suffered their first lovers’ tiff when they couldn’t agree on how their first meeting really occurred.
‘I met him for one second and yeah, a guy that goes ‘I’ve got a boat’, I’m like ‘nah” Sophie told the hosts, before the pub baron interjected.
Stu quickly came to his own defence, speaking over the blonde: ‘I didn’t say that!’
‘Okay, whatever,’ Sophie said in between laughter, before rolling her eyes and continuing with her own version of events.
The strained TV appearance called into question the validity of their romance, with Kate Langbroek soon claiming on social media that Sophie ‘hated’ Stu’
Kate had shared an image of a very awkward-looking Sophie and Stu on the Project immediately after it aired.
‘She hates him,’ she wrote adding the hashtags ‘#itsdone’ and ‘#poorsophie’.
Supporting the comedian’s opinion was The Project’s panellist Meshel Laurie, who interviewed the reality stars on-air.
Just one day after Kate’s claims, Meshel weighed in, adding that she too thought Sophie and Stub had already called time on their relationship.
The fiery presenter shared Kate’s initial post along with the cheeky caption: ‘Thank God for @katelangbroek!’
Meanwhile, Meshel went on to justify her opinion in a comment, writing: ‘I don’t know what Stu is normally like, but I realised eventually that Sophie was a bit off her game.’
‘Exhausted and overwhelmed no doubt. I went in expecting the usual kind of conversation I have with Sophie, but for whatever reason it was a bit off.’
In a separate comment, she continued: ‘I don’t have an opinion on Stu. I really couldn’t care less who Sophie chose. I just pointed out how we women often think we are looking for one thing but actually are attracted to something else.’
Just hours before the interview the reality TV couple were photographed having a tense exchange in a carpark, with Sophie gritting her teeth as she puffed on a cigarette.
In an attempt to silence critics Sophie and Stu packed on the PDA for paparazzi, kissing awkwardly during a series of public appearances.
In the months following the Bachelorette finale, they also both persistently denied rumours they had split in separate interviews.
I haven’t checked the news to see where we are at, but [things are] good,’ Sophie jokingly told Today in December.
But one attempt appeared to backfired for the blonde bombshell when she insisted to Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson during a live radio phone interview that Stu was in bed next to her.
But Sophie refused to put Stu on the phone despite Kyle and Jackie’s pressing to speak to him, fuelling rumours he might not have been in the room with her after all.
Despite the speculation the couple walked the ARIAs red carpet together in December, before heading to Canada to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve with Sophie’s BFF Oscar Gordon.
But despite sharing loved-up photos on Instagram, an unconfirmed report in Woman’s Day claimed that Stu checked out of the SilverStar Mountain Resort last month.
Photos show the pub millionaire trudging through the snow with his luggage just two days after he had checked into the ski resort.
‘Stu looked really sad,’ the source allegedly said. ‘He took his luggage to the other hotel at about 12:30pm on Christmas Day.’
The publication also alleged that Sophie appeared distressed and looked ‘like she’d been crying.’
The reality TV couple reunited on Boxing Day for lunch but it was a tense affair, it was also claimed.
Sophie confirmed the break-up in the early hours of Friday morning, posting a lengthy heartfelt post to Instagram.
‘I gave it the best shot I could and my intentions were everything I said I was looking for but unfortunately it just didn’t work out,’ she wrote.
While Sophie didn’t mention Stu by name at all in the lengthy post, she explained she felt she ‘owed’ Australia an answer because their relationship had played out in front of the nation’s eyes.
‘Because I entered this relationship so publicly I know I owe an answer to Australia about my personal life,’ she wrote.
‘I went into this experience looking to settle down and start a family. I gave it the best shot I could and my intentions were everything I said I was looking for, but unfortunately it just didn’t work out.’
The former Bardot singer added: ‘As much as I respect him we are just very different people.
On Thursday, a source close to the couple exclusively claimed to Daily Mail Australia the couple had split.
‘They gave it a good six months but sadly, it’s naturally run its course,’ the source alleged. ‘They’re really good friends. But it’s not going to go any further.’
The source claimed ‘travel and distance’ were factors in the split.