How Sophie Monk lost everything
SOPHIE Monk is riding high after an extraordinary year that saw Australia hoist her onto its shoulders and reclaim her as its golden girl — but she remembers a time when it all came crashing down.
Three years ago, she was struggling. After several high-profile relationships and two engagements, the decade she’d spent working in Hollywood came to an abrupt and bitter end when an acquaintance swindled her out of everything she had earned.
“Someone ripped off all my money,” the newly-announced Love Island host told news.com.au.
“It was a friend of mine. I gave too much permission. I let this person run my banking. You can’t sue because I said yes. I signed the papers without reading them.
“You can make money (in this industry) but you can lose it if you don't know what do to with it. You’re too busy working that you don't pay attention. The money side, that’s not my thing. I don’t do numbers. I’m a saver, which is stupid. I didn’t invest.”
Monk, who starred in a string of comedies like Click and Date Night during her time in Los Angeles, said she lost “nearly everything” — “hundreds of thousands” of dollars. So she packed up and came back to Australia, moving back with her mum and dad in the suburb she grew up in on the Gold Coast.
“I always say everything happens for a reason and I’m glad that happened. I’ll never go back,” she said.
This year has seen Monk, 37, undergo a rebirth. And she’s back on top.
She approached Network Ten and “begged” them to let her star as The Bachelorette. It was a risk for both the network and Monk. But it paid off.
Ratings for the reality dating show soared. And Monk — who has experienced the push and pull of popularity and backlash over the years — was embraced by the usually fickle Australian public. Audiences fell in love with the humour and easiness of the self-professed “bogan”, who was paid a reported $300,000 to star on the series.
“I’ve never done things because of money — you could end your career by taking one big pay cheque and never work again,” she said.
Monk found love with millionaire publican Stu Laundy on the dating series. And she also scored a new gig as the host of Channel Nine’s upcoming dating series Love Island.
Despite the slew of opportunities being thrown her way, locking in new gigs was not the goal of going on The Bachelorette, Monk said.
“You can lose it all tomorrow again. I know that — other celebrities have been on top and when it starts falling they lose their sh*t. It could turn any day — I’ve had it. People treat you nicer when you’re doing well,” she said.
It’s been almost 20 years since Monk came to Australia’s attention as a softly spoken 19-year-old who was plonked in the band Bardot after auditioning for Channel Seven reality talent series Popstars.
Some qualities have remained. She’s just as honest, likeable and self-deprecating. And while she’s gotten tougher when it comes to business — coming a long way since the days in the band when she was paid just $25 a day — she’s not motivated my money.
“There were so many jobs I got offered and said, ‘No, it doesn’t feel right.’ Something will come if you work hard. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! ask every year. I think it’s a great show, but I don’t want to eat sh*t or have it on me.”
“I know my forte. People think I can host — but I can’t read a teleprompter or be on time.”
Her role as host on Love Island — which begins filming in May — will be unconventional.
“I get to host and be me and react and talk and invest in people. It’s exciting, where as if you get me hosting X-Factor, I would ruin it. It would be a mess. I can react and adlib. But I can’t read.”
Based on the controversial British series, Love Island sees a group of attractive men and women sent to an island and forced to couple up — with any remaining singletons booted out.
Monk describes the series as “primal”, “relatable” and “like high school”.
And she can’t wait.
“Everything I got kicked out of class for in high school, I’m now getting paid to do,” she laughed.