Written by Zoë Holloway, November 24, 2016

While it’s only been a few weeks, it’s safe to say that The Bachelor’s Richie Strahan, 31, and five-year-old Elijah, the son of his leading lady Alexandra Nation, are attached at the hip – quite literally! At OK!’s exclusive photo shoot at Alex’s Melbourne home last week, Richie and adorable rug rat Elijah – affectionately known as ‘Lij’ or ‘Little Man’ – greet us while the young boy happily hitches a ride on the former Bachelor’s back.

Between shots, they practice their ‘man shake’ and high-fiving. ‘It’s definitely a boy’s club,’ admits Alex, 25, who is over the moon with how well her two main men are getting on. Here, she and Richie share the details on the special meeting, co-parenting and reveal their exciting plans for the future.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Richie, you and Elijah appear to have built a special bond. When did you first meet?

Richie:  That special moment happened a few weeks ago.

Alex: Before that they were on FaceTime a lot and it got to a stage where Elijah was very much like, ‘When can I meet Richie? I really want to meet Richie.’

So how did the meeting happen?

Alex: It ended up being very spontaneous.

Richie: I flew in quite late and woke up to the little guy with this big grin on his face.

Alex: That morning, I said to Lij, ‘I’ve got a surprise in my room’, and he asked, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘It’s asleep’, and then we went in there…

Richie: And I wake up to, ‘Richie!’ and I go, ‘Lij, what’s going on buddy?’ He jumped in, gave me a hug, and then we just chilled there for a bit.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Alex, did your heart melt?

I knew it was going to be right, but when it transpired in front of me, that was everything. As a mother, you can’t put into words seeing everything feel so right when the man that’s come into your life meets the most important person in your world. I’m starting to cry now.

Was it all smooth sailing from there?

Richie: Even later that day, Elijah totally took my breath away. I was sitting on the couch and this little package of fun was sitting next to me and he puts his arm around me. I was thinking to myself, ‘Rich, don’t move and break this moment’. I’ve never been in that situation before. I’ve never had those feelings, so I’m trying to soak it all up. I remember looking over to Alex thinking, ‘Look what’s happening! Photograph everything!’ [Laughs]

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Have you done the school run yet?

Richie: I have. I carried the little guy’s backpack and we’ve done the [homework] reader, too.

Alex: It was so funny, when we rocked up to the school all Lij’s little friends were like, ‘He’s here, Richie’s here!’

Richie: It was pretty funny.

Did the producers want the meeting to happen on the show?

Alex: They did, but they respected any decisions I made about Elijah, and that his dad [Joel] made as well. I care about what he has to say about our son and we always do our absolute best to co-parent together for whatever is best for Elijah.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Is Joel happy for you and Richie?

Joel’s always been supportive of me. He and Richie have met, that went really well. When it comes to a new partner coming into your life, and he’s a part of Joel’s life in a way now as well, it’s important that the communication is there, that the respect is there and it certainly is.

Alex, there have been some unsavoury social media posts directed your way from Joel’s family. Have you spoken to them about that?

No, I don’t feel I need to. I know wholeheartedly how much Elijah is loved by his mum, and so do my family and the people that I love and care about, and most importantly Elijah himself. I know how good a mum I am, because I strive to be the best mum for him every day. If they want to be negative about [me], and he’s part of their family, that is simply a reflection of them, and they are a little bit ignorant as they obviously don’t know me from a bar of soap.

You’ve both copped a bit of flak after the finale. Was there ever a time where you thought that the trolling had gone too far?

Alex: I received death threats. It was after a silly story that came out that I left my ex-boyfriend Tom to go on the show. People were like, ‘You should go die for doing that!’ But you can’t respond to 12-year-old kids. We looked at their profile, that’s how old these people are, it’s like, ‘Where are your parents?’ Thankfully, it’s eased up a bit now. There have even been apologies from people who at the start were over us like hot rashes with their not liking us.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home[1701] Richie & Alex at home[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Do you wish more of your love story made it to air?

Richie: I wish they showed our blossoming relationship a bit more. It was pretty one-sided.

Alex: There were a lot of special moments that I would have loved to have seen on the show. What everyone saw of everything between us was very minimal.

Richie: I’d say about two per cent.

Richie, you plan to move to Melbourne. Have you packed everything up in Perth?

Not yet. There’s a lot of things I have to do in Perth before that happens, but it will be soon. It makes more sense me moving to Melbourne as Alex has an amazing support network here, but we’ll always have a home base in Perth.

Alex: Yeah, we’ll spend school holidays over there. We want to always be able to visit.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Is the plan to move in together?

Richie: We’ve spoken about this and there’s no point in me having a place and being in Melbourne by myself, so I guess when I get a place we will look at living there together.

How do your mum and sister feel about you making the big move?

Richie: I think my mum’s biggest concern when she first met Alex was that she was working out in her mind that if we do stay together, it means I was going to move to Melbourne. From a mum’s perspective, she’s like, ‘I’m losing my boy’. But I’ve had many chats with her and assured her that she isn’t losing me, but she just loves me to bits and she’s supportive, and like any loving mum, I think that she is going to miss her boy.

Are you planning on taking Elijah over to Perth to meet the family?

Richie: Mum can’t wait to meet him.

Alex: I would love to go over to Perth with Elijah so he can meet everyone that is important to Richie and who is now important to me. We’ve all become family.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

There were recent pictures of you both where it looked like you were ring shopping. Are you considering marriage?

Richie: I was doing secret good boyfriend stuff – getting to know what to buy your girl. Now I know she doesn’t like white gold.

Would you ever consider a TV wedding?

Alex: No, we haven’t discussed a wedding, but you couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to have my wedding on TV, because that’s just for me, my family and us.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

Are either of you interested in a career in the media?

Richie: I think it’s fun, and when you are exposed to a show like [The Bachelor], a lot of opportunities come your way, but the reality is you have to have your own jobs. I have a great career in ropes access, but if we were thrown a pretty gnarly opportunity, we’d jump at it…

Alex: I think you should embrace opportunities…

How about another little one? Is that in the works?

Alex: Practicing. [Laughs] No, to be honest, if something was to happen like that right now I would be in a lot of shock. I’m definitely not ready to have another child anytime soon. We have Elijah and we need to experience a little bit of life together, just the three of us, before we enter that next chapter.

Richie: A baby is a massive, massive step. We’ve got Lij and he keeps us on our toes and we want to enjoy this for what it is before we start thinking about nappies and all of that.

Alex: Down the track, of course, but it’s not in the near future.

[1701] Richie & Alex at home

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