Married at First Sight NZ’s Bel Clarke: ‘I won’t be cheated on again’

She’s leaving the heartbreak behind her.
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When The Bachelor New Zealand contestant Bel Clarke announced to her friends and family she’d be looking for romance on yet another reality series, tying the knot with a complete stranger on Three’s Married at First Sight, there were mixed reactions.

Her dad needed a few bourbons to process the news before saying, “Oh, it’s OK.” Bel jokes, “I don’t think he’s stopped drinking since!”

But there was a group of gal pals who took a stand. “They told me I was stupid and that they didn’t agree with it,” reveals the Christchurch-born, Auckland-based blonde, who works in travel and tourism.

“They’ve left my life now. This has cost me some very good friends – well, what I thought were good friends. But the ones who have stood by me through this decision are amazing. I couldn’t ask for better, more supportive friends.”

In love with love: Despite being hurt before, Bel is approaching the show with an unbridled sense of optimism.

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Best known as the “crazy cat lady” from The Bachelor, Bel was dumped by Zac Franich in a shock elimination halfway through a group date in Thailand, but she’s not bitter her love rival Viarni Bright ended up winning.

“Zac’s a lovely boy, but I don’t think it would’ve worked with us,” insists the 25-year-old. “He and V are so happy and well suited that it’s hard to imagine the rest of us ever had a chance. And I’d already predicted I was going home – I actually packed my bags before that last date.”

Bel has higher hopes for Married At First Sight NZ because “it’s not a game show and it’s an actual marriage, which we’re taking seriously”.

She laughs, “It’s not like they can introduce an intruder or an extra wife into the mix!”

Her ideal future husband would be a Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds lookalike who is kind, caring and mature, and at least tolerates her two beloved ragdoll cats, Meredith and Matilda.

Bel adds, “No cheaters, liars or anyone with anger issues.” She’s had enough experience with these negative traits when it comes to her exes.

The unlucky-in-love star tells, “I dated one guy who all of a sudden changed and became really sneaky. When I confronted him, he assured me he wasn’t cheating, but then I smelled a different girl’s perfume in my bed. I mean, at least change the sheets! I was really upset and dumped him straightaway. Once a cheater, always a cheater!”

Bel also smelled a rat recently when dating a guy who became enamoured after seeing her on The Bachelor.

She blushes, “He was really lovely personality-wise, but he had this musky body odour trapped in his clothes. He didn’t smell very nice – that was a deal breaker.”

The bubbly blonde’s very first romantic disaster was in her teens, when she moved to a small mining town in the Australian Outback with a man she’d been dating for only a couple of months.

Bel with Bachelorettes Claudia (left) and Karina in Bangkok.

She recalls, “I’d been desperate to travel, but we were living in a shed in the middle of nowhere. I asked him what I was supposed to do all day and he was like, ‘Don’t worry. I’m earning the money – you just sunbathe!’

“I got so bloody bored and had a couple of tantrums before telling him, ‘I’m sorry – I can’t do this.’ I actually stalked him on Facebook recently and he’s married with kids now. That could’ve been me, but it wasn’t the life I wanted.”

However, Bel’s biggest-ever heartbreak was a case of unrequited love.

She recalls, “I put him on a pedestal and he just didn’t love me back. He stayed with me for well over a year because he was just so kind and didn’t want to hurt my feelings by leaving.

“It was really difficult and definitely broke my heart – I didn’t go on even one date for two to three years. But that heartbreak made me who I am. I learnt a lot about myself and I realised that I love being in love. I want that feeling again.”

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