He had her back then — and he still does now! Lily McManus opened up about her hearing disability and revealed how ex-boyfriend Courtney Dober supported her during their time filming The Bachelor Winter Games.
“Courtney knew about my disability probably from day three in the house. Myself and Courtney gravitated to each other pretty quickly,” the ABC star, 21, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, November 2. “I’m a pretty forward woman, so it was never something I wanted to hide from him … It wasn’t a big deal for me, so it was never a big deal for him.”
In fact, Courtney, 32, was there for Lily through-and-through while they were shooting their Bachelor spinoff show in Vermont in late 2017. The Australia natives loved lounging in the hot tub on set “for as long as humanely possible,” or until producers “would drag [them] out for [their] own health and safety,” Lily explained to Us. But when a fun date night took a turn for the worse, Courtney was by her side.
“One day, one of the handlers … grabbed our towels from inside and brought them to us, demanding we got out. My heart dropped to my stomach because I had my hearing aids stashed in my towel and the handler had no idea,” Lily recalled to Us. “We found one, but the other was completely out of sight. Courtney was on his hands and knees in the snow trying to find it. The handler was beside herself, so upset and apologetic.”
She continued: “I had lost at least six hearing aids thus far in my life, so I was just like, ‘Eh, sh-t happens.’ But eventually, Courtney found it in the snow and it miraculously survived all water damage. My hearing aids have never negatively affected my experience on the show, but my experience will always be a little different than your average [one], but I’m OK with that.”
Although the Australia natives split in August, Lily assured Us that they are still close as can be. “We are still best friends. After all, we moved to this country together,” she noted. “Just because our timing as romantic partners wasn’t right, that doesn’t mean we have to lose that friendship.”
Lily made headlines in October after disclosing her hearing disability via an emotional string of Instagram videos. “Sharing this part of my story has always been something that I have wanted to do. I was just never sure of exactly how I wanted to do it,” she told Us. “The Bachelor New Zealand wanted to speak about my hearing impairment on the show, but I didn’t want my story to be cut with some sh-tty sad music, or a weird edit that made people feel sorry for me. Pity is never the end goal. I wanted to make myself and those with hearing impairments feel empowered, not pitied.”
The lifestyle blogger, who learned of her disability at age 15, also shared her advice for those struggling in similar situations. “Just be up front about it, not only with those around you, but also with yourself. When you stop telling yourself you’re fine when these things aren’t exactly fine, self-acceptance kicks in and everything gets a little easier,” she noted. “There is always going to be a grieving process when you find out these things suddenly — take that gutless time to feel upset about it. Once you’ve got all those sad and angry emotions out of your organs, think logically about the situation.”
Lily added: “As much as we try to tell ourselves otherwise, at the end of the day, you have to accept the help you need in order to be the best version of yourself. If that means wearing hearing aids, then you wear the damn hearing aids. Forget what everyone else has to say about it. At the end of the day, if’s your head and you’re the only one that has to live inside it.”
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