“Producers wanted these old lovers to join them in Fiji last year, but the timing was all wrong,” says a source. “Alex’s relationship with Maegan Luxa was in full swing and they had just moved into a Mornington Peninsula home with Alex’s son Elijah.”
“Richie was heartbroken and certainly not ready to sign up to yet another reality TV show so soon after being publicly dumped just months earlier.”
But well-placed sources close to the Sydney-based production office have confirmed to New Idea that in recent weeks Richie and Alex have been approached via their respective management teams and offered significant appearance fees.
The next season of Bachelor in Paradise is expected to be filmed at Nadi's Mango Bay in Fiji - the same location where Jarrod Woodgate and Keira Maguire fell in love.
New Idea has also learned the decision reached by each star was made “totally independent of each other” with a strongly-worded refusal issued by Warner Brothers for the pair not to discuss the casting approach or final decision amongst themselves.
“This was meant to have a big element of surprise attached to it," says the source. "Richie and Alex are not meant to know that the other person has been confirmed for the series. They were literally going to rock up for shooting and find each other on the set...you can only imagine how that was going to play out."
It is understood the relationship between Richie and Alex remains tense and there are a “number of unresolved issues” which would need addressing before viewers could expect to see lips lock on the hit Channel Ten show. “This is going to be television gold, the sort of stuff reality TV makers wet themselves over.”
But, like the current Bachelorette Ali Oetjen did, Alex is being considered to leave Bachelor in Paradise and go onto take up the role as front woman for Bachelorette 2019. This would mean the chance of any long-term rekindling of love with Strahan is unlikely.
Sources close to Alex’s camp said she would “jump at the chance” to become The Bachelorette and that Warner Bros. have put her on a short-list with only two others. One of those is understood to be Keira.