Australian actor and media personality Sam Frost has had her fair share of ups and downs. Fortunately, the veteran of reality TV shows The Bachelor Australia and The Bachelorette, as well as Home and Away cast member and former radio host, has the support of boyfriend Dave Bashford to help her though. Now the star’s beau has opened up in a candid reveal of what it’s like to live with his girlfriend’s mental illness.
The message was posted on Frost’s own Believe by Sam Frost website, which she began recently in collaboration with her sister, Kristine Ross. “Believe is a mental health initiative for young girls and women focusing on depression, anxiety, toxic relationships and navigating the sometimes challenging world of social media,” states the introduction on the site itself.
Frost felt inspired to begin the initiative in the wake of her struggle against poor mental health, which was conducted very much in the public eye. The actor has also revealed that she experienced her own toxic relationship, and this was another reason why she felt motivated to collaborate with her sister on the project.
Frost says as much on the Believe website. “I’m Sam Frost, a 30 year old Australian actor who, in the past few years, has gone through a public battle with depression, anxiety and relationship breakdowns,” she wrote in a candidly open introduction to her own personal profile on the site.
Indeed, Frost has become somewhat of a permanent fixture in Australian gossip magazines in recent years. The native of Ferntree Gully, Victoria, was propelled to fame in 2014 when she won the second season of The Bachelor Australia, a prime-time TV show based on the original U.S. series. In the show, she was selected as the victor by bachelor Blake Garvey, who proposed to Frost.
Yet just days after the show’s finale, in which the pair had become engaged, Garvey confirmed to Australian magazine Woman’s Day that he was in fact dating a runner-up from the competition, which sees a host of women seek to become the bachelor’s partner. Garvey also revealed that he had broken up with Frost two weeks before the final episode of the second season of The Bachelor Australia even aired.
As a result of her new-found fame from The Bachelor Australia, and the much-publicized break up with Garvey, Frost was asked to compete as the very first bachelorette on Network 10’s eponymous show. The Bachelorette was a spin-off of The Bachelor Australia, and worked on the same premise, but with the genders reversed. In the show’s finale, Frost chose Sasha Mielczarek as the winner, and the pair began a relationship.
Frost and Mielczarek’s relationship was played out in the media due to the very public nature of their meeting. And when it ended after 18 months, the split was widely discussed by the Australian press and social media observers, despite news of the uncoupling having taken some time to come to light. “They kept it quiet because Sam couldn’t face going through another public break-up after she was dumped by Blake Garvey,” a friend of the couple told Woman’s Day, referring to the secretive nature of the split.
Since her break-up with Mielczarek, Frost’s career and love life have had further ups and downs. During her relationship with Mielczarek, and after The Bachelorette, Frost was a presenter on Rove and Sam, a breakfast show on the 2Day FM network. Her co-host was well-known TV and radio personality Rove McManus. Yet disappointing audience figures saw the program moved to a night spot on the Hit Network shortly after Frost’s split with Mielczarek came to light.
Frost’s run of bad luck continued in June 2017 when her radio show was cancelled. As well as single, Frost now found herself without a regular day job. Yet this marked a turning point in the TV star’s fortunes, as a new career opportunity was swiftly followed by a new relationship.
Frost’s next TV appearance was on Hell’s Kitchen Australia, which ran from August until September 2017, and it further cemented her reputation as a popular reality TV star. What’s more, bigger things were awaiting the actor, as soon afterwards, Frost secured a role in one of Australia’s most well-known and enduring shows.
For Frost was to play the role of Jasmine Delaney in the immensely popular TV soap opera Home and Away. Indeed, she made her debut appearance in an episode which was aired on December 18 – the 2017 season finale no less. Frost remains a popular cast member in the show to this day.
Landing the role of Jasmine was a defining career moment for Frost. “I grew up watching Home and Away and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be on set and part of the cast,” she told The Daily Telegraph newspaper. She further revealed that she didn’t believe she would bag the part after coming up against some fierce competition while auditioning.
Home and Away casting directors were clearly impressed with Frost. Her audition “blew us away” a spokesman for the show told News.com.au shortly before her debut. “There is a very special something about actors, they are born with a gift of be[ing] able to bring to life words off a page,” they said. “In joining the cast of Home and Away, Sam will be in great company and is about to enjoy a wonderful phase of her career,” the spokesman continued.
Home and Away has been a fixture on Australian television since its debut in 1988, and there have subsequently been more than 7,000 episodes to date. It is a hugely popular show in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Ireland, so landing the role of Jasmine has certainly given Frost wider exposure.
Landing a role on the soap can also give an actor’s career a big shot in the arm The list of Home and Away alumni reads like a who’s who of Australian acting talent: Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight), Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, Definitely, Maybe), Simon Baker (The Guardian, The Mentalist) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Avengers franchise) are just some of the stars who owe their success in part to appearing in the series.
In May 2018, Frost received a nomination for Most Popular New Talent at the Logie Awards, the most prestigious TV awards ceremony in Australia. Although she ultimately missed out on the prize to Dilruk Jayasinha of CRAM! and Utopia, it was a sign of major recognition for the actor, who was moving on from her reality TV days.
As well as an upturn in her career fortunes, Frost also stumbled across happiness in her love life. And it seems the solution had been staring her in the face for some time as she found love with friend Dave Bashford, a navy diver. “I feel really blessed to have a friendship that has turned into something more,” Frost said. “It’s nice to be able to share [my career success] with him,” she added in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
Bashford had not been in the public eye before his relationship with Frost. His job in the navy was a far cry from his girlfriend’s celebrity lifestyle, and Frost has been quoted as saying that she is protective of her and her boyfriend’s privacy. “I do feel protective. I like having an element of my life that’s private – it’s important to treasure it,’ Frost said in a 2018 interview with TV Week magazine.
Unfortunately for Bashford and Frost, since the pair have been dating, there have been events which have only heightened public scrutiny of their relationship. In May 2019, Bashford was caught in possession of cocaine after being seen acting suspiciously by police in a night spot in Bondi, a popular beach resort in Sydney.
Despite the charge of drug possession, Frost released a public statement of support for her boyfriend. “He’s human, he made a mistake and he’s extremely remorseful and I think it’s unfair that it’s had to play out in the media because he doesn’t deserve it,” Frost told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper in July 2018.
And Frost blamed herself for the level of media interest to which Bashford found himself exposed as a result of his arrest. “I just love him so much and I think, fair enough if it was me, but it wasn’t me and I had nothing to do with it. But it was something that happened and now it’s public because of me,” she said in the same interview with The Sunday Telegraph.
A little more than a month after his arrest, Bashford pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of cocaine amounting to 0.4 grams, and a few weeks after was summoned to appear in court. Bashford expressed his “remorse and insight” into his actions in a letter, and the navy worker’s lawyers stated that the ordeal had resulted in “an extra level of humiliation and embarrassment beyond that of a normal offender” due to Bashford’s public persona.
“This is [the] first time he has been before the court. He has an unblemished record and ten years’ unblemished service in the navy,” Bashford’s lawyer Elizabeth Why told the magistrate at Waverley Local Court in Sydney. The court heard how in Bashford’s own letter, he had expressed an appreciation of how his actions had affected not only himself, but also his family and his partner.
As for that partner, Frost chose to stand by her man. Meanwhile, magistrate Michael Compton handed Bashford a conditional release and a bond requiring 12 months’ good behavior. After the sentencing, Frost posted a further supportive message for her boyfriend on Instagram. Accompanying a picture of the pair, Frost’s message read “the kindest man with a heart of gold.” She added a “through thick and thin” hashtag for good measure too.
Despite the happiness she has found with Bashford, Frost continues to battle her own inner demons. Her struggles reached their nadir while Frost was still in a relationship with Mielczarek, and soon after that relationship ended the actor opted to share her experiences publicly. It was a candid reveal of her own making.
“I said to [Sasha], ‘I don’t want to wake up every day any more’. And it wasn’t until I said that out loud, because I’d just been bottling it all in, and I saw the helplessness in his face, and I realized it’s not fair for me to want to give up,” Frost was quoted as saying in the wake of the 2016 break-up by Woman’s Day magazine.
And so Frost decided to channel her past and present struggles and begin the Believe project in collaboration with her sister. “Our ultimate goal with this site is to shine some much-needed light on mental health and pave our way together with you through the darkness, so that we may all become the best versions of ourselves,” the project’s website states.
The introduction on the Believe website ends with a powerful message. “No matter how lonely it feels sometimes, always remember you are never alone. We look forward to growing, learning and supporting each other every step of the way. Love Sam and Kris xx.”
The website then carries on to list some of the challenges which are deemed by Frost and her sister to be the biggest faced by young women in these modern times. Anxiety, depression, toxic relationships and social media are all included. Clearly, they are all topics which resonate personally with Frost.
It is in this “challenges” section that the website states its objective. “Our hope is that you will come to not only better understand yourself – if you relate to any of these challenges – but also the people in your life who might be suffering. In this way, you will be empowered to notice the signs in either yourself or someone else, and take action before it truly takes hold and becomes detrimental.”
The site shares users’ stories connected to the key challenges of mental health, toxic relationships and depression. There are also tips as sent in by users for helping those who are experiencing problems, as well as the opportunity to ask questions of qualified psychologists who contribute to the site. Currently the project has more than 22,000 followers on Instagram.
Yet followers of the site were left amazed when Frost asked her very own boyfriend, Bashford, to share his experiences of living with someone who suffers from depression. Bashford responded with an eloquently penned message, addressed partly to Frost directly, which gave a heartfelt insight into the challenges faced by those who have loved ones struggling with their mental wellbeing.
“My family and my partner Dave have provided an enormous amount of support and love for me,” gushed Frost on the Believe website. “I asked Dave to write down what it is like to be with someone who suffers from the silent disease, in hope to help others who may be trying to support a loved one as well,” she added, and Bashford was happy to oblige.
“Reassurance is something that I’ve had to make a key part of life,” Frost’s partner began began, going on to list some of the challenges of living with someone who is suffering from a mental illness. Bashford also highlighted some of the behavioral signs to watch out for if someone may be struggling. The navy diver added that he couldn’t help her as a mental health professional, but what he could do was listen.
“When things start to get tough for her I will listen and give some voice of reason, but most importantly I will reassure her. She doesn’t need me to fix what is upsetting her. She needs reassurance and an ear,” Bashford wrote. “All I can do is tell her how much I love her, and remind her that everything is going to be okay,” he added.
In his message, Bashford then noted that talking about Frost’s problems was always a key activity. He also researched mental illness in order to understand more, and he began to recognize the triggers which could start the spiral for his girlfriend. “We work through this together as a team, as well as speaking to her psychologist,” he added.
Bashford then wrote about his belief that physical health is connected to mental wellbeing, and noted how he has witnessed this with Frost. He then continued to explain how he helps his partner in her time of need. “When Sam is struggling I am always there for her, I don’t ever get upset or angry at her,” Bashford wrote.
Yet it is the note that Bashford added at the end which truly reveals the love he holds for Frost. “A note to Sam; seeing you grow from a beautiful, caring yet fragile girl into a fierce, strong, gorgeous woman has been so special,” he wrote as a tribute to his girlfriend.
“I’m very proud of you. How far you have come in your personal and professional life is inspirational. My life is forever better with you in it,” Bashford concluded, signing off with a simple “Dave”. Despite their public ups and downs, it seems Frost and Bashford have truly found the love to get them through.