Married at First Sight

Catch up on the latest Married at First Sight Australia heartbreaks

From late entries and family troubles, to financial issues. The show hasn't been smooth sailing for all of its 2024 contestants

Intruder Stephen feels like he was ‘set up’

After years of pressure for Married At First Sight Australia to be more inclusive with its casting, Michael Felix and his new groom Stephen Stewart are set to wed on the reality show this week – but it won’t necessarily be the fairytale fans were hoping for.

“Michael is a really big character and didn’t hold back in the experiment,” a MAFS insider tells Woman’s Day. “He felt like he had to make up for lost time after missing the first three weeks of the show when his original groom dropped out, which he hated.”

Will Michael find his perfect match with Stephen (left)?

While Stephen actually makes it to the altar, there’s a rocky start from the jump and our spy says the Perth hairdresser, 26, feels that MAFS producers “ignored everything he said he wanted and just matched him up with the other gay groom” when they married him off to Ohio-born salesman Michael, 34.

Meanwhile, though expert John Aiken claimed “runaway groom” Simon Flocco, 39, had made the shock decision to quit the show because of the “pressure” and “the unknown” of the experiment, that’s not the full reason.

Michael was matched with Simon, who quit before their wedding.

“The day after filming the bucks’ party, show bosses called all the grooms in for a meeting while they were in Sydney,” another well-placed source says. “They spent hours going over their contracts, which they’d all now signed, discussing in great detail the potential ramifications if they breach them and breaking down exactly what the next six months would be like, including press intrusion and people from their pasts speaking out.”

Adelaide marketing manager Simon, who was previously married to a woman and has a teenage son, was already “having doubts” about how going on MAFS would impact his family and the meeting pushed him over the edge. “It convinced him to go with his gut.”

Ridge’s family heartache

Ridge faced resistance to appearing on MAFS.

Intruder groom Ridge Barredo nearly walked into his wedding day with no family by his side – because they didn’t agree with his decision to participate in MAFS.

“They don’t like the show,” the Sydney psychiatric nurse and two-time Commonwealth Games weightlifter reveals. “It goes against their morals because my mum is heavily Christian. She thinks it makes a mockery of marriage.”

Ridge, 27, ultimately had to beg his mother to attend his wedding, which she did reluctantly – and her attendance was instrumental in him making it through the day.

Ridge and Jade Pywell say I do… for now.

“She’s the most important person in my life,” he says. “If she wasn’t there, that would have left a big gap. It’s one of the most perfect days I’ve ever had.”

Having previously appeared on the reality show First Dates Australia, Ridge’s motivation to appear on MAFS was so the experts could intervene in his dating life as he has a habit of picking girls that are “a little bit crazy”.

He explains, “They’ve always been emotionally unstable. I thought maybe the experts will be able to pick someone for me that I wouldn’t normally pick for myself.”

MAFS made us broke!

Some of the MAFS 2024 cast.

While some contestants go on to make big money as influencers when Married At First Sight ends, during the show, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. While they’re filming, the participants are paid $150 a day, with a $125 grocery allowance, leaving some of them unable to pay their bills!

“I am broke after being on the show,” one anonymous contestant tells us. “I couldn’t even make my rent payments with what we were being paid. We would film late, so I’d be ordering takeaway most nights. I spent a bomb on outfits, hair and makeup, and to top it off, they didn’t even let us wear what we wanted.”

This isn’t the first time stars have spoken out against the show’s pitiful payments. Season seven star Mikey Pembroke said the show’s contestants deserve to be compensated more, given “they are the ones putting themselves out there, and then the channel makes millions and millions of dollars in advertising”!

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