He was the lovable larrikin who won the hearts of swooning women across Australia, so when John was given a second chance at Married At First Sight fans desperately hoped he would find love with new wife Melissa.
And while initially it seemed that the Victorian couple were smitten, admitting they were in a ‘love bubble’, unfortunately, New Idea can exclusively reveal they have already called it quits.
The shock decision wasn’t made lightly for twice divorced Mel and single dad John, especially as everyone was rooting for them, including their children who had grown close during their TV experience.
‘It was actually ridiculous how well everyone got along,’ Mel, 53, tells New Idea. ‘Our kids are very similar.’
From the outside, their budding on-screen relationship seemed a picture perfect scene of pure happiness.
However, the young-at-heart grandmother admits even on their wedding day, seeing John nervously waiting for her wasn’t the lightning bolt moment she had wanted.
‘I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that it was him because I knew him. I knew he was a nice person,’ she admits.
‘But then I started to straight away overthink and I was like: “F***, that’s going to be a lot of pressure.” I really did.’
Appearing on last season’s show, John was paired with Deb who made it clear the decent Aussie bloke was not what she was hoping for after requesting a ‘Polynesian’ husband.
And after weeks of being told he wasn’t good enough, John finally left Deb a handwritten note and headed home to Melbourne. Once there, he was surprised to find that he was inundated with women who were desperate to meet him.
Knowing that he had become somewhat of a heart-throb since his appearance on screen, Mel was distraught that they lacked real chemistry and had no choice but to hide her true feelings for fear of a public outcry.
‘I actually didn’t have a crush on him,’ she admits. ‘I was probably the only woman in Australia who didn’t.’
But ever the true gentleman, John looks back on their wedding day and has nothing but genuine compliments.
‘When I saw Melissa, I thought she was such a beautiful girl,’ he smiles.
And while they both still think highly of one another with no hard feelings, friends reveal the spark was never there.
‘They get on well, but they are very different people,’ a source close to the couple says.
‘John loves sport and Mel has no interest in it. At their age, neither of them are willing to change for the other.
‘They both also want to remain where they live – close to their families – and just didn’t really see a future together.’
But, not wanting the fans to be disappointed and with strict instructions from the shows producers to protect the brand, the couple have had to fake their relationship until the hype that was surrounding them has finally died down.
They were told to carry on playing happy ever after,’ says the friend.
‘John can’t fail twice, so production pretty much told Mel to just smile and nod and enjoy the ride.’
Planning to keep up their facade until the interest dies down, John and Mel have been feeling themselves under undue pressure to live out a lie.
‘They have to wait a few months and just let it look like it just fizzled out naturally,’ says the friend. ‘The good thing is they are in agreement and both happy to be friends, but it’s not easy and they are both terrified they will mess up and give the game away.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!