From police reports to on-set meltdowns and wife swaps, the drama has reached catastrophic levels on and off screen this year on Married At First Sight.
Shaking up the format this season saw the couples who survived their weddings move into a shared apartment in Sydney – with experts insisting they could turn to each other for support during tough times.
But many of the contestants have been left furious with the new twist and have slammed the show as ‘misleading and fake’.
Feisty bride Cheryl was the first to raise her concerns, believing she was set up to fail after clashing with Perth twins Sharon and Michelle.
Threatening to quit the dating experiment for good, the hairdresser accused producers of manipulating the situation for drama after she was dragged into an explosive row that ended in tears.
‘Cheryl and the twins didn’t get on since the hens night when they called her Shrek,’ says a source.
‘She always felt like it was two against one and after the way they continued to treat her, the other girls agreed, calling them out as bullies.’ But it wasn’t just the fighting
that concerned the newlyweds. With the show’s poor track record of success – seeing only two out of 13 previous couples still together – Alene and Vanessa were forced to put on brave faces for the cameras after they were blindsided by the new living arrangements.
‘Alene had been trying her hardest to keep away from the drama by distancing herself from the others, and Vanessa really wanted to spend time trying to get to know her husband Andrew, who was so shy when people were around,’ says a source.
‘So knowing they were going to be surrounded by everyone else’s problems wasn’t something they were comfortable with.’
While some were upset at the new format, others were left dealing with an even bigger problem – the realisation that the matchmakers had completely failed in pairing them and had actually given them the opposite of what they’d requested.
‘Deb and Michael were particularly upset with the experts’ pick for them,’ the insider reveals.
‘They felt deflated after spending hours filling out endless questionnaires on the type of partner they wanted, only to be paired with someone completely different with no shared interests.’
And after single mum Lauren made an early exit, hearing her TV husband Andrew was hoping to promote his music career rather than find love, it also left others questioning motives and wondering who else was simply chasing fame.
‘Jonathan had misgivings about Cheryl’s reason for signing up, because of her past hanging out with the controversial “Candyman” [Travers Beynon] and partying at his mansion,’ says a source.
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – out now.