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How MAFS’ Mel Schilling broke the news of her cancer diagnosis to her nine-year-old daughter

"She understands it in her own way.”
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Married At First Sight relationship expert Mel Schilling has shared a candid update about her cancer battle, explaining how she broke the news to her young daughter, Maddie.

Speaking to OK!, the MAFS expert explained that her daughter has a “nine-year-old’s version of what cancer means”.

“She knows I’m having chemo and she knows that when I have an infusion I’ll be tired and need extra cuddles, which she is there for. She understands it in her own way.”

Mel also described her husband as her “rock” during this tough time, explaining that they are a “team”.

“He’s gone through his own tough year as he’s had grief in his life, but has still been there for me,” she told the publication.

mel schilling gym workout
Mel explained how she broke the news of her cancer diagnosis to her daughter.

“We have a non-traditional relationship, I guess, as I’m the one who goes out to work and he does the majority of parenting at home. It works well for us.”

This interview comes a month after the 52-year-old told UK radio station MagicFM that she was feeling “flat” while undergoing her third round of chemotherapy.

“It sort of feels like being hungover,” she told the hosts.

The MAFS expert added that she is figuring out how to best “juggle” work in between treatment.

“This thing is not beating me, I’m here to fight, I just need to make some adaptions.”

Mel confessed she was “feeling flat” during a radio interview.

Previously, Mel revealed that while her chemotherapy treatments had left her “tired” she was, for the most part, “doing well” and was fortunate to have not lost any hair.

At the time, her only side effects were “tingly fingers” and sensitivity to cold weather. 

The relationship expert realised something was wrong towards the end of 2023.

She was busy filming Season 11 of MAFS – and about to start work on her third season of the UK version. She’d also recently relocated to Blighty with her husband, Gareth Brisbane, and their then eight-year-old daughter Maddie.

Mel admitted to New Idea that she hadn’t been “paying attention to my body or prioritising my health at all”.

Mel had surgery to remove the tumour six days after she shared the news.

“Everything was going great, but, I was exhausted all the time,” the 51-year-old told us.

“At the time, I put it down to all the international travel I was doing, between Australia and the UK, and being so busy with work.”

It was only when Mel was no longer able to stomach food and started rapidly losing weight that she finally got checked out. Her doctor soon confirmed it was cancer.

“It was a curveball,” Mel admitted. “It shouldn’t have [been], but to be honest, I wasn’t paying attention to my body or prioritising my health at all.

“It has been a wake-up call,” she added.

Husband Gareth and daughter Maddie are Mel’s rocks.

During our catch-up, Mel was upbeat and her usual positive self, revealing it had been just over a month since she had surgery in London to remove the tumour – which she named ‘Terry’.

“I’m recovering really well and I’ll start chemotherapy soon,” she said.

“Right now, I’m just focusing on my gut health, improving my diet and getting as fit and strong as I can before I start the next phase of my treatment.

“I’m doing everything I can to beat this.”

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