"The course of love never did run smooth," should be Network Ten's new tagline for their The Bachelor franchise.
Season five, starring Matty Johnson, has not even begun and the winner of Matty Johnson's heart has been photographed with him while filming the finale in Thailand by two well-known Sydney paparazzi, Jonathan Marshall, 32, and Liam Mendes, 22, aka the "baby-faced" shooter.
Ten seem to have won this battle for now after the network took Marshall and Mendes to the NSW Supreme Court and won an injunction against them publishing the 318 photographs or disclosing the identities of the home visits and the finale.
There was no order to costs, a pricey decision a week before the network went into voluntary administration.
While contempt of court is not an option for the photographers, Fairfax Media understands that the injunction has in no way deterred them from providing sustained and saturated coverage of this year's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, starring Sophie Monk.
Claims by host Osher Gunsberg's that the photographers tactics to get the spoilers were "nothing short of dangerous" were dismissed by those involved.
"We tailed the crew around the country [Australia] for two weeks photographing the home visits and then we continued on to the finale in Thailand without being noticed. It's difficult to understand how they can say we were 'dangerous' if we were incognito for more than a fortnight," Mendes told Fairfax Media.
"The only danger we experienced was when a producer threatened to run photographers off the road. That's dangerous."
Mendes and Marshall were approached near the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort, where some of the finale was filmed, by two guards from Thailand's tourist police and their cameras, phones, and laptops were confiscated. When they were given their equipment back on exiting the country their memory cards had been swapped.
Mendes said the main danger is to Ten's pockets.
"The only damage that this has done is to themselves by lessening publicity especially at a time they need the ratings the most going through this difficult time financially," he added.
To ensure the upcoming Bachelorette won't endure the same fate, Ten have increased their security and used blacked-out windows to transports the single men to the bachelor pad this week where the cocktail party was filmed across two nights.
Ten should be accustomed to spoilers by now. The first season of The Bachelorette was ruined when Sam Frost and her chosen one, Sasha Mielczarek, stood in front of a hotel window on the day of the show's finale as they were photographed by Ten's unofficial media partner, News Corp, a slew of photographers waiting outside who had been tailing Frost all day, were able to glance up and snap their money shot.
Daily Mail Australiapublished the shots. After four hours online and tens of thousands of views, Ten managed to secure a short-term injunction, but it was dissolved the next day and Daily Mail were awarded legal costs.
The Bachelor is set to premiere on Ten around July.
The story Paparazzi defiant despite Ten's injunction against The Bachelor spoilers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.