Exclusive: Apprentice's Elle Stevenson on show romance: "We're better as friends"

Published Tuesday, Dec 22 2015, 13:06 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
The Apprentice star Elle Stevenson did enjoy a brief romance with her co-star Mergim Butaja, but after recently confirming the pair are still single, she admits she thinks they confused their friendship as something more.

Following Elle and Mergim's exit from the show (they were both fired in week six during Lord Sugar's brutal triple firing), reports revealed the two candidates had hooked up - although viewers never saw a romance develop on the show.

Catching up with Elle recently, we asked the now children's author (she has recently written a new children's story, Gobble Gruff, with Sam Curry) what the situation was with her and Mergim. While she never denied that the pair did enjoy a quick fling, Elle admitted she and her co-star are better off as being pals.

The Apprentice 2015
Elle Stevenson

© BBC/Boundless/Jim Marks

The Apprentice 2015
Mergim Butaja

© BBC/Boundless/Jim Marks

Chatting to Reveal, Elle - who had hoped to keep things between herself and Mergim private - confessed she was left a little red-faced after reports surfaced detailing her relationship with Mergim.

It was claimed the couple had "major chemistry" during The Apprentice and when filming finished things got pretty steamy between the pair at a party hosted by their co-star Natalie Dean.

Addressing such reports, Elle kept coy but did admit: "That was a bit embarrassing having my dad read all those stories!"

Opening up on where things stand between herself and Mergim now, Elle continued: "All I would say to that is that me and Mergim are very good friends. Neither of us have ever denied that there isn't any truth in [the romance rumours], but it is our private lives and we won't go into the ins and outs of what happened."

She did, however, add: "We came to the conclusion that we are just better off as really good friends. Maybe we got confused between what was actually a really good friendship and took it for something more? That never really needed to happen."

And gushing about Mergim, Elle revealed she and him are still close.

"We just really enjoy each other's company," she admitted. "I love him to bits, he is the funniest person I've ever met."

Elle Stevenson is fired from The Apprentice, BBC
11 November


Elle's comments on Mergim come after the pair recently confirmed they are single.

Speaking to The Daily Star, the Apprentice candidates cleared up any confusion about their relationship status, with Elle telling the paper she and Mergim are no more.

Mergim, meanwhile, revealed he too was single and did joke he had a string of ladies vying for his affections.

Addressing his romance with Elle, he added: "I'm a good-looking chap with an amazing personality and charm. I'm hard to resist. What woman could refuse me?"

Oh, Mergim!

Gobble Gruff is now available to buy on Amazon.

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