It was the straw that broke the camel’s back – a “ranty” text, composed by Dom and mistakenly sent to his new wife, which ultimately ended their short-lived marriage.
But Married at First Sight couple Claire Lawless (51) and Dominic Timmon (58), now reveal they both agreed their marriage was over after the first week when they returned from their honeymoon. In fact, Dom says the pair knew the match wasn’t going to work within the first 24 hours.
The latest couple to leave the Three reality show, Claire and Dom initially appeared to be one of the stronger pairings, gushing openly about their immediate liking for one another. But straight-talking Claire doesn’t pull any punches when she tells the Weekly that the text clarified for her “all the red flags” that had made her question their partnership.
“He’s not my type at all and I’m not his type either. He said that to me,” confides Claire. “We were already going to be just friends anyway – we decided that on our honeymoon.”
Dom agrees, “We did fess up to each other within 24 hours that we weren’t each other’s type.”
As for that text that unravelled the relationship? The couple refuse to reveal exactly what it said. But Claire doesn’t shy from saying how it made her feel, in an awful week where she spent four days in hospital after a blood clot was found in her stomach and then had to attend her best friend’s funeral.
“I was in hospital and he accidentally sent me a text that he was supposed to send to his friend,” she says.
“It said lots of not very nice things about me and then his thoughts on the majority of women. And that’s all that I want to say.
“Yes, I wanted to stay the six weeks and try, but after everything that happened, I just didn’t want to be there. Life’s too short to be with someone you don’t want to be with and he doesn’t want to be with me either,” she says defiantly. “I’ve forgiven Dom for what he said in the text because we all make mistakes, but I’ll never forget.”
As for Dom, he expressed his regret about the text on the show, saying it was “a general rant having a go at relationships”.
He admits, “It wasn’t mature of me, it was a dumb thing to do. I didn’t want Claire to see that! I’m absolutely mortified.”
The pair, who live not far from each other in Palmerston North, question why the experts matched them in the first place.
“I’ve never seen him [in Palmerston North] in 12 years!” says a puzzled Claire.
“She might as well have lived on the moon!” adds Dom.
“So that just goes to show we’re not even in the same social circles,” agrees Claire. “We’re so different. But I don’t hold anything against anyone on the show, it just didn’t work.”
And it wasn’t for lack of trying, she says. “I looked for everything I could, honestly. I don’t have any regrets that I did not try 110% with Dom. I thought these experts have put us together, there’s got to be something. But there was nothing.”
Dom reveals the pair just couldn’t find a romantic connection. “She’s a really nice person, she’s loads of fun,” he tells. “The only sad thing is that we couldn’t pull out that romantic connection. It just wasn’t there. We tried. But how long do you keep on trying?”
Dom admits his teenage children probably didn’t enjoy hearing about how much the couple tried to find a spark in some revealing on-screen interviews.
“My teenage kids Felix (16), Isabelle and Elise (both 15) are probably a bit embarrassed about all of the crying and hugging, but what parent doesn’t embarrass their teenage children,” laughs Dom.
“The only tricky side for me was when our sex life unfortunately got mentioned. We had an agreement that we wouldn’t talk about it. My kids are okay about it now, but my son didn’t talk to me for a week,” tells Dom.
So what’s next for them? They both wholeheartedly agree they don’t regret appearing on the show and it definitely hasn’t put them off romance.
“It’s made me want to find someone even more!” Dom exclaims. “I’m nearly 60 and I really need to get back to it. I’d like a partner because life’s too short not to have one.”
And Dom’s not mucking around, cheekily asking if he can use some pics from our photoshoot for his profile on a dating website. Meanwhile, Claire, a self-confessed workaholic, thinks she will take some time before she jumps back into the saddle, choosing to settle back into her busy career as a function coordinator.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a man, but I don’t need one. My life is full. And I think too, I’m really happy. You need to be really happy in your life, and then you meet someone. You don’t meet someone to make you happy.
“It probably hasn’t done my dating life any good, though. I mean, I can’t get married for another two years!” she laughs.