This year’s Married At First Sight promises to be the most dramatic series yet. With 20 singles on the quest for true love, things are about to get seriously complicated thanks to a juicy new twist.
For the first time in the Australian series, the newlyweds will be living together in the same apartment block. That's 20 strangers, ten arranged marriages all packed together like roomies - what could possibly go wrong?
But with one remaining couple from the entire franchise left, is the show really a genuine way to meet a partner? According to the team of experts who match the couples it is. But what do the hoards of now single stars from previous seasons think?
We caught up with some of the show’s most popular past contestants to see what life looks like post-arranged marriage. Here, they share their thoughts on the controversial dating show and offer their best survival tips to the class of 2017...
Christie Jordee, season two
Fans were thrilled when city slicker Christie Jordee and “farmer Mark” Hughes decided to stay together after the show. But the distance was too much, with Christie based in Sydney and Mark on a property in rural Victoria, and they soon called time on their romance.
And now, seven months after their break-up Christie says she’s learnt a lot from her relationship with Mark.
“We stayed together [after the show] and obviously everyone loves the couples that stay together. We were on this massive high but the relationship was breaking down dramatically,” Christie explains.
“I had people abusing me, saying they deserved to know if we had broken up because we were on TV. When we announced our split, people were calling me a stupid woman. It was such a frustrating time.”
Although she was falling for him, in hindsight Christie admits they were never compatible.
“Couldn’t people see from the beginning it wasn’t going to work? When I look back – I’m a city girl, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m about to start another company. And then put me in the middle of friggin' nowhere and then to have a man that would not give at all!”
Christie also reveals farmer Mark wasn’t actually a farmer at all.
“That was all lies! He’s in construction and we lived on his father’s farm.”
We know it’s reality TV, but we can’t help but feel a little betrayed over this one, Farmer Mark.
As their romance buckled under the pressure of long distance, Christie claims her experimental husband received a lot of attention from women on social media.
“Typical country boy, he believed his own hype a little bit and he had so many hot women chasing him. I think he thought ‘well, why do I need to go to Sydney when I have so many women that will come to me?'”
“There was a story that he cheated on me with somebody online and I know he didn’t cheat on me physically but he was calling some of those girls, I know that for a fact.”
“That’s fine, I do not judge Mark at all for that. It’s a blessing in disguise because I would have been so bored.”
As for her love life, Christie is still single and trying out online dating.
“I am at a point where I really, really want to be with somebody,” she says.
While she admits she’d “never, ever do a dating TV show again” she promises the next batch of MAFS recruits that all the struggles they’re bound to face from being on the show will pass.
“It will go away, it will be tough. But it will pass! Now people don’t recognise me.”
Craig Keller, season three
Since the show finished, season three wild child Craig Keller is living a much quieter life.
“I’ve got a new girlfriend, a new job as a youth worker and I’m starting my own clothing line,” Keller proudly shares.
The smitten reality star says he’s barely left his new partner Katie’s side.
“I’ve known her since school and about six weeks ago we ran into each other and hit it off. We’ve spent every day with each other since,” he says.
Keller credits MAFS for giving him a newfound sense of maturity, which is particularly handy since Katie has two kids.
“It taught me how to treat women better and how to date properly because I never got to do it in the navy. I owe a lot to it.”
Admittedly, it’s taken him a long time to get to this point.
“I went through a real downward spiral, I broke my ankle when the show was airing. I was bed-bound for a while and read all the trolls and got a bit down in the dumps about everything.”
Although he no longer speaks to his MAFS ex Nicole, Keller has no regrets about starring on the show and his time as a youth worker has put his life into perspective.
“I work with disadvantaged children between 4-16 and help them make better life choices. Most of the kids I work with are in care. It’s really rewarding to give back and see the changes you can make in their lives.”
Zoe Hendrix and Alex Garner, season one
As the poster couple for the show, season one stars Zoe Hendrix and Alex Garner prove not all reality TV romances have to end in flames. The pair have defied the series’ grim success statistics and stayed together.
In November, their love story became even more special after they welcomed their first child, daughter Harper-Rose.
For Zoe, she still can’t believe how well her blind marriage on the dating show ended up.
"I think it would be a crazy dream to think you can go on a reality TV show and actually meet someone and fall in love and have a family. If you told me that before, I would have said you're crazy!" Zoe mused.
Alex is besotted with his little girl and says his partner is an incredible mother.
“Zoe was made to be a mum. She’s the most perfect little thing I have ever seen. She’s stolen my heart in so many ways. I just feel like the luckiest man alive,” Alex recently told Woman’s Day.
In years to come, Harper-Rose can thank the show’s experts for matching her parents! Now fans are eagerly awaiting the duo’s real wedding…
Jess Wardrop, season three
Our hearts broke for her when she was dumped on TV by husband Dave. But fast forward to 2017 and Jess Wardrop is killing it!
The beloved break-out star from season three is still working in banking while building up an Instagram empire of devoted followers, who love following her health journey.
“I’m focusing on my health and fitness. After the show, I had so many women who felt pressure to look a certain way. I wanted to be that person who is real while also trying to be the best version of myself,” Jess explains.
Her approach to looking and feeling good is all about balance.
“I still have my cheat meals and a sneaky glass of wine! I want people to know if you’re putting good stuff in your body then you’re going to be happy,” she shares of her body transformation.
Jess no longer speaks to Dave and confirms she’s still on the market.
“I’m so single! Everyone keeps going ‘you must have all these guys!’ but I really don’t. I’m open for dates.”
She may not have met her dream man but she says the show gave her a wealth of confidence, and then some.
“I thought I was pretty strong, but [going on the show] it’s made me stronger internally. It’s like an inner self confidence.”
Erin Bateman, season two
As the only remaining couple from season two, viewers pinned high hopes on Erin Bateman and Bryce Mohr's love story. But nearly nine months on, it appears the pair have ended things with one another.
While the Melbourne beauty blogger refused to confirm or deny if they were still togethert, tellingly she no longer follows her experimental husband on Instagram.
Looking back on her journey, Erin says the show helped her grow up and unearth new hobbies.
“I have grown up so much since the show and it was the kick up the arse I really needed. I have found new passions and interests that make me happy. Things I never even considered would be a passion of mine or something I could ever be good at!”
However, like so many of her co-stars Erin says starring on the show left her with “overwhelming social anxiety and rattled self-confidence”.
When asked if she would do it all over again, Erin admits: “Knowing what I know now... No, I probably wouldn't”.
Relive Erin and Bryce's declaration of love before their sad split in the player below. Post continues after the video...
Bella Frizza, season three
In Bella Frizza’s case, she had to kiss a Michael to find her Michael.
The bubbly blonde admits that despite her TV romance to Michael fizzling out she’s never been happier.
“Life now is amazing! It’s the best I’ve ever felt,” the Gold Coast radio presenter explains.
“I’m just so confident with who I am right now and I probably wasn’t back then,” Bella admits.
And as fate would have it, another Michael was waiting in the wings for her.
“We met through a mutual friend about two months after the show. We’ve been together a year in April,” Bella reveals, before adding they hope to move in together soon and get a dog.
While she doesn’t keep in touch with her ex, she is grateful for the entire albeit bizarre experience.
“I was pretty selfish before the show. Because I was single for so long and just being thrown into a marriage and having another person there made me realise it’s not just about what Princess Bella wants. It’s about two people!”
Her biggest word of advice to the season four stars is to “just be yourself and stand up for what you believe in.”
Simone Brennan, season two
Make-up artist Simone Brennan shocked viewers when she decided to end her faux marriage to self-confessed footy head, Xavier Forsberg, citing the fact he wasn’t affectionate enough.
And it’s a decision she’s never once looked back on. These days, she’s no longer chasing her dream man and instead pouring her energy into her health, happiness and career.
“Love cannot be forced - it’ll just happen when it happens. Once we wrapped filming, my whole approach to dating changed. I shifted my focus from being in a relationship with someone, to being in a relationship with, well, me!”
“I placed more attention on my career goals, furthering my education and taking care of my health, opposed to spending any spare time I had trying to find Mr Right,” Simone says.
The former Sydney-sider has since relocated to Melbourne to launch a new make-up business while she chips away at her other passion, her refreshingly honest blog The Dating Journal.
Reflecting on her televised break-up, Simone reveals it left her rattled.
“I honestly don’t think I could do it all over again. Once filming wrapped, I was mentally and emotionally drained. It definitely took a toll on my self-confidence too.”
“Although, with saying that, a year on, I’m so much better for it. It’s definitely a bitter sweet experience.
“Xavier and I have not spoken since the show went to air. As you may have noticed, we didn’t really have that much in common in the end,” she adds of her ex.
With season four now underway, Simone tells the newbies to make sure their nearest and dearest are at the ready.
“Gather your family and friends around you. Take anything anyone says about you with a grain of salt. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.”