A MARRIED At First Sight star has lifted the lid on what Andrew Tate was really like before he became infatuated with chasing fame.
Evelyn Ellis opened up about the former friendship that she struck up with the disgraced social media star during Big Brother in 2016.
She put rumours about an alleged romance to bed after a snap of the pair on holiday in Thailand together seven years ago resurfaced.
The Aussie reality star became chummy with Tate at the tender age of 18 when they were both contestants in Big Brother UK.
Evelyn, 26, explained she “knew Andrew before he was Andrew” after becoming acquainted with her fellow housemate.
Just a week after the duo entered the iconic BB house, Tate was turfed out by bosses after a concerning video of him emerged.
The clip reportedly showed him calling his ex-girlfriend a “whore”, hitting her with a belt, and telling her to count her bruises.
But the controversial kickboxer said it was simply a “kinky sex video” that had been “edited” to make it look more sinister.
Despite their brief meeting, Evelyn managed to hit it off with Tate and even kept in touch with him afterward.
The Chinese-Australian model told Nova FM’s Fitzy & Wippa she had no idea he would become so detested in the public eye.
Tate and his brother Tristan have been fighting to be released since they were detained as part of a probe into human trafficking and rape allegations on December 29.
Evelyn said: “Look, I knew Andrew before he was Andrew. So before all this, he was just old mate Andrew.
“But I can only take him for face value – at the time he was super nice. Him and Tristan always treated me with respect.
“‘It’s so weird because it was like overnight he just exploded. I don’t remember him…”
She was then cut off by the hosts as they quizzed her about the picture from her trip to Thailand with Tate.
The sultry selfie was posted on his Instagram before he was given the boot for hate speech in August last year.
It shows them both at a restaurant on the island of Koh Samui, with Evelyn seductively posing for the camera and pouting her red lips.
But the Sydney-based model brushed off claims that they were romantically linked, saying people had misunderstood their relationship.
Evelyn continued: “I didn’t go out with him! We were friends. I was already in Asia and we met up.”
The marketing manager, who is starring in the current season of MAFS Australia, has since said she and Tate “don’t keep in contact now.”
She told the We’ve Done The MAFS podcast they stayed friends after leaving Big Brother, but “he wasn’t Andrew Tate.”
“He wasn’t this big controversial person that like the media goes on about,” Evelyn added. “I think he knows what to say and what to do to get people rattled.”
She also hinted that the resurfacing of the pic with Tate and clips of her Big Brother antics are “hard to rewatch” now she is on MAFS.
Tate has been held behind bars in Romania for more than two months and has been fighting for his freedom alongside his sibling.
The brothers have had all their appeals for release denied as Romanian authorities consider them a flight risk.
Tate has repeatedly moaned about his time in jail on social media and through emails to his subscribers.
In a recent tweet, he revealed his prison workout routine while complaining about his “limited freedom” in jail.
The former kickboxer told on how he does 500 squats and 500 press-ups a day.
Tate also said he walks 10km around his tiny call as he has “extremely limited freedom of action”.
Meanwhile in a previous email, he moaned about the “blistering cold” while being “locked in a box”.
And in another, he launched a thinly veiled attack on his supporters from his jail cell, saying he needs “better people”.
The Tate brothers remain detained amid allegations of human trafficking, organised crime and rape – with their “angels” Georgiana Naghel and Luana Radu also under investigation.
They deny all allegations against them.