Preston businessman starring in reality TV international dating spin-off 90 Day Fiancé UK

What could have been a catfishing nightmare blossomed into a reality TV love story.

By Laura Longworth
Friday, 29th July 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:13 pm

A Preston businessman and his Filipino love interest are starring on reality TV spin-off 90 Day Fiancé UK on Discovery+ on Sunday.

Richard Porter, 41, and 32-year-old Kathleen are one of eight couples fighting for their long-distance romance as the American hit show comes to the UK.

Richard, who used to own Craggs Row Windmill, signed up to an online European dating site in 2018.

Richard and Kathleen in Cebu.

Recalling the first time he met Kathleen, he said: “I was bored with dating UK women. I wanted something a bit spicy and different – a culture clash.

"One girl stood out. She only had one picture so she could have been a catfish. She turned out to be from the Philippines.”

The pair quickly discovered they had a lot in common.

"We both had exactly the same goals and we wanted a future with marriage and children,” Richard said.

"It seemed everything we did, it just worked. She was very attentive to my needs and I to hers. She is the most optimistic bundle of joy I have ever met."

A romance soon blossomed, with the couple meeting in person for the first time in 2019.

“It was the most interesting experience I’ve ever had. You make the decision you are going to meet the love of your life, and you’re infatuated as soon as you get off the plane.

"Then you think, ‘I don’t know this girl.’

"It’s awkward because you do know each other but you have never met in person and you think, ‘This is amazing,’ but it’s like you’ve started again."

And then along came Covid, keeping the couple apart.

"We could only meet three times in total before going on the show. We had broken up a few times, then Covid came about, and I realised I couldn’t be without Kathleen. I no interest in anyone else.

"I wanted to make sure she survived Covid, so I gave her some money and work.”

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Determined to give their romance a go, they decided to apply for the TV show.

"It resonates with me. I thought our relationship was crazy enough that people would want to watch it because it’s very unusual. But we’re fantastic together and she’s my best mate.

"I go over to the Philippines to see Kathleen during the show and we do lots of interesting and hilarious things during our time together. There are too many dramatic moments to recall.

One of tricky things about international dating is adjusting to the culture clash, he says.

"There are very traditional values over there and they have chicken fights. She’s very Catholic and I have the job of trying to impress her family.

"There’s lots of forgiveness when there’s a culture clash. You’re learning all these different things about how to behave. Kathleen is just accepting. She's a nice person who just goes with the flow."

Another hurdle is the travelling, says Richard, who made a 30-hour trip to visit Kathleen.

"International relationships are hard work. It’s emotional.

"I think I have probably said and done the wrong thing numerous times. I have many failed relationships under my belt and there’s a 10-year age gap between us but Kathleen’s a special person.”