The Bachelorette's Charlie Newling has been described by friends as “lost” and someone who “struggled” following his controversial rise to fame on the Channel 10 reality show in 2018, where viewers branded him as “clingy, controlling and full on” with his advances towards lead Ali Oetjen.
It was announced earlier this week that the 36-year-old father-of-two had passed away after his car fell from a cliff in Sydney’s Dover Heights at 11pm on Saturday.
Following his tragic death, one friend tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Charlie had “always struggled with his mental health”.
“Going on The Bachelorette didn't help this, especially with how they made him come across with his edit,” they said. “It always seemed to haunt him.”
Charlie first experienced the negative side of appearing on reality in November 2018, just days after his dramatic exit from the dating program aired across Australia.
While celebrating his exit with a party at The Golden Sheaf in Sydney's Double Bay, the builder was wrestled to the ground by three security guards after clashing with somebody in the bar.
As police were then called to the scene, Charlie said at the time: “[They] held me for an hour and a half while reviewing the CCTV footage and then let me go as I'd done nothing wrong.”
'A lost soul'
On The Bachelorette, Charlie was eliminated after telling Ali she couldn’t meet his family during the ‘hometown visits’ unless they were in an “exclusive” relationship.
While he received public backlash over the incident at the time, Charlie has since said the scene was edited completely out of context and wasn't true.
“The actual reason [I didn't introduce Ali to my family] was because my grandmother is really sick, she has terminal cancer, and the night before I received a phone call to say that my whole family had to rush up to Newcastle because she was critical,” he told Now To Love while defending himself after his exit.
In the years that followed, Yahoo Lifestyle is told Charlie started lying about his appearance on the show when approached by people who recognised him. He also started “abusing” alcohol, which included a drink driving charge in 2021.
“We were at a party in Bronte last summer when a few girls were asking him if he was from [The Bachelorette] and what happened as they remembered some drama. He told them how he chose to quit as he wasn't into Ali and producers begged him to stay,” the friend recalls, explaining how the show “almost seemed to creep back”.
The friend, who asked to remain anonymous as they work in the media, adds: “Charlie has always been a bit of a lost soul and fragile, and should never have been on TV. He was too vulnerable.”
Charlie's troubled past was first made public last year, as the former reality TV star was convicted of texting death threats to his mother, warning he would “torture” and “kill” her husband of 20 years.
Magistrate Ross Hudson acknowledged “Charlie suffered significant childhood trauma, including having to care for his biological father when he was a teenager after he had an accident and became paraplegic”.
Charlie's lawyer said his client had “struggled with alcohol abuse”. He was sentenced to a 13-month prison sentence to be serviced in the community, after spending one month in custody.
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