Australian Celebrities

Why MasterChef judge Poh Ling Yeow doesn’t believe in marriage

"We're now in 2024. I feel like we can explore other models."
Loading the player...

When it comes to life, love, and relationships, Poh Ling Yeow has a more progressive approach than most, especially when it comes to her friendships her former husbands.

Shooting to fame on the inaugural season of MasterChef Australia where she faced off against eventual winner Julie Goodwin in the finale, Poh has gone on to become a beloved celebrity chef and television personality in Australia. 

From hosting several cooking shows on the likes of ABC and SBS to returning as a contestant, mentor, and more recently judge on MasterChef, to publishing bestselling cookbooks and opening her own gourmet food stall, Poh has certainly kept herself busy these past 15 years!

While her professional success is intriguing, fans have long been fascinated with her personal life as well, with the 50-year-old being married twice and divorced twice. 

Poh was the runner-up on the very first season of MasterChef Australia. (Credit: Channel Ten)

Is Poh Ling Yeow married?

Poh Ling Yeow wed her first husband Matt Phipps in 1989 when she was just 16 years old.

At the time, the pair were both practicising Mormons. 

Sadly, after nine years together, the young couple make the decision to divorce, citing the pressure to become parents as a huge factor behind the split. 

In a May 2024 interview with Will and Woody on KIIS Network’s Share My Mood podcast, the culinary queen said her divorce from Matt allowed the pair to “throw all the bad things in the bin and keep all the good things.”

“It was getting really unhealthy because I was getting so lost in the dysfunction that I didn’t recognise myself anymore, and I was just reacting all the time. I [was] getting lost in [the] bitterness.”

“We loved each other’s company, we were great friends, but as a marriage, it just didn’t work out. [But] he’s still my ride or die,” she added.

Poh and Matt have an unconventional friendship. (Credit: Instagram)

In an earlier interview on the podcast I Don’t Know How She Does It, Poh also revealed that while the break up was “on really good terms” it was still “difficult” and “horrible.”

“No matter what, even now, I still have a little cry over it and it’s not because I wish we were still together or anything…but there’s something about two humans wanting to murder each other like that, that is so sad.”

“When you torment each other, destroy each other. It’s still really sad.”

Poh Ling Yeow pictured with her second husband Matt Phipps (second from right), first husband Jonathan Bennett (left) and best friend Sarah Rich (left). (Credit: Supplied)

Both Poh and Matt eventually moved on, but curiously, Matt chose to move on with Poh’s best friend, Sarah Rich whom he eventually married. 

Even more curious, is that Poh is still really close with them both – talk about progressive!

“He’s my ex-husband. She’s my best friend. And when we broke up, they got together and it’s all dandy. It’s actually really good,” the MasterChef judge revealed on the podcast.

“Everyone tries to complicate it for us…from the outside in, they’re all like ‘love triangle!’ and I’m like ‘no!’ He’s like my brother now and I think…people are never interested in the backstory. They want everything to be sordid.”

After her split with Matt, Poh went on to marry aspiring actor Jono, who she met on the first season of MasterChef, where Jono was working as a production assistant.

Poh with Jonathan in 2019. (Credit: Instagram)

“We weren’t really allowed to talk because that’s part of the rules. You can’t fraternise with the staff because I guess they can tell you secrets (about the next challenge) or something,” she has previously explained.

“I think it got a little more charged because we weren’t allowed to talk to each other. It was like the playground … cute looks across the yard, sort of thing. Then, after the show we hooked up. There was a wrap party and we exchanged numbers straight away and it was all guns after that.”

Speaking with our sister publication Woman’s Day during the course of their relationship (which ended in divorce in 2021), Jonathan admitted to feeling jealous and insecure that Poh was still close with her ex husband and his new wife. 

“It’s something we all had to work on essentially. I know it’s very human to be jealous, but it doesn’t make it right.”

“There’s a lot of history [between Poh and Matt], so it’s not something that can be taken away. It’s not something that should be.”

Poh split from her second husband, Jonathan Bennett (pictured) in 2019. (Credit: Getty)

Much like her relationship with her first ex husband, Poh Ling Yeow shares a strong friendship with her second former husband. 

“Jono and I broke up…but [we] still work together and are the best of friends,” she confirmed to The Weekend Australian shortly after news of the split became public. 

“It’s been the most untraumatic breakup possible,” and I’m single again after 12 years.”

“I’m enjoying negotiating life on my own, enjoying the feeling of being a lone ranger – I’ve been in serious relationships for 24 of my 47 years,” she added. 

“I work with husband numbers one and two. Life is stranger than fiction.”

“Jono and I broke up … but we still work together and are the best of friends.” (Credit: Instagram)

Who is Poh Ling Yeow dating?

As of 2024, it seems like Poh is currently single, or at least keeping her personal life out of the public eye. 

In an interview with ahead of the premiere of season sixteen of MasterChef, Poh shared her true thoughts surrounding relationships and marriage following the breakdown of her two marriages. 

“I think it’s very sensible to maintain a sense of individuality because so much of what is toxic about relationships is that merging [which is] often what we think is the right thing to do.”

“We’re now in 2024. I feel like we can explore other models,” she added.

Related stories