From forgetting their bags in India to arguing over silk in Cambodia, former Olympic athlete Jana Pittman and her teenage son Cornelis certainly didn’t have the smoothest experience competing on The Amazing Race Australia.
The team, who were eliminated in fifth place during Wednesday night’s episode, repeatedly struggled to communicate during the race which often led to frustrated outbursts and snarky remarks.
On occasion, their arguments became so tense that their celebrity co-stars had to step in, with reality star Harry Jowsey reminding them last night that they were doing this to raise money for their charity.
Viewers also called out the pair’s “constant bickering” on social media, commenting that they feel “irritated” whenever Jana calls Cor “buddy” or “blames him for everything”.
“At this point, I tense up every time Jana and Cor appear on screen now. Chill out guys!” one fan shared, while another replied, “I want Jana and Cor to come last, cause I'm over them and their carrying on”.
Jana has since shared a lengthy statement on Instagram addressing the negative comments and how she and her son’s relationship was portrayed on TV.
“Definitely heartbroken to read some super critical messages from people about our relationship and my mothering skills. That I babied him calling him buddy, that I was annoying and too critical,” she wrote.
“I hear you. I watched the edit and cringed too. The portrayal of my mother-son relationship laid bare for all to comment on.”
'Teary, heartbroken and feeling incredibly vulnerable'
The mother-of-six explained that while she and Cornelis did extremely well in the first half of the race, even finishing in first place on the sixth leg, “the pressure built up and it got very hard”.
“Of course they mainly show the parts where we argue and I seem to push him too hard. It's reality TV!” she continued.
“It has definitely made me look at myself and realise I have to be less ‘intense', do better, enjoy life a little more, listen closer. It's a hard switch to turn off when you have been that way all your life… But there were so many other fabulous moments where we pushed and supported each other well beyond our limits.”
Jana went on to say that the negative comments have reminded her of the backlash she received early in her sporting career, which inspired her recent book, ‘Enough’.
“Behind every celebrity is a person and most of us bleed and cry the same as everyone. Reading some tough comments makes my heart hurt. My stomach aches with disappointment and my brain won't switch off,” she shared.
“Yes I signed up to do it, so it's on me to wear this and I will but right now it hurts. Tomorrow I still have to get up, plaster a smile on, show up for patients, snuggle the kids and do a speaking gig but I will do it tired, as tonight I am teary, heartbroken and feeling incredibly vulnerable.”
“So it's just a little shout out to remind us all, our words are powerful. Comments will likely reach the person they are about and if that's your intention great, but please remember there’s a person who breathes, cries and aches behind the 'name' and a director that has to get TVs turned on.”
'It was bloody hard'
A number of Jana’s followers took to the comments to share their support, including The Amazing Race host Beau Ryan who said: “Walk tall Jana. You’re a great mum and you both were fantastic on the race. Both you and Cor should be proud.”
“Well said Jana. No one will understand just how tough this thing was,” her co-star Alli Simpson added. “You and Cor are amazing, we love you two.”
“You both did great babe. Someone always has to get the s**t reality TV edit and unfortunately this is the way they went,” Bec Judd replied. “It was bloody hard and you two killed it.”
Jana and Cornelis’ elimination leaves just four teams on The Amazing Race: Darren McMullen and his nephew Tristan, Alli Simpson and her mother Angie, Emma Watkins and her sister Hayley, and best friends Harry Jowsey and Teddy Briggs.
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