MAFS showdown: Melinda and Bronte go head-to-head

Melinda and Layton are going head to head with Harrison and Bronte to defend their relationship

Retreat Week should be a chance for everyone left in the relationship experiment to relax and get to know each other better. Instead, the tension between the couples explodes. Will marriages crumble under the pressure?

The trouble begins at the Married At First Sight Australia commitment ceremony, when Harrison Boon – who’s married to Bronte Schofield – accuses Melinda Willis and Layton Mills of faking their romance.

“He just knows how to grind my gears,” fumes Brisbane beauty boss Melinda, 32. “I feel he was projecting from his own relationship. We were never faking it. Layton and me, our relationship is 100% real.”

This week, when the remaining couples go on a retreat in New South Wales’ Southern Highlands, Harrison gets into an argument with Evelyn Ellis, which leads to the women, as a group, confronting Bronte about her relationship with Harrison. Bronte is so upset by what Melinda says to her, the online beauty educator storms off in tears.

“I’m not liking what I’m seeing and as another woman, I can’t just sit back,” explains Melinda. “I need to say something.”

Tensions continue to simmer as the retreat goes on. At one point, Melinda and Sydney model Evelyn eavesdrop on the men. Melinda finds out that Harrison is saying things about her and Sydney biotech CEO Layton, 35, behind her back.

“It does rock the boat a bit,” she admits.

Melinda and Layton agree to confront Harrison on the last night of the retreat. “At that moment, I just couldn’t stand him. I didn’t want to look at him and I didn’t want to be around him,” she remembers. “I wanted to keep him at arm’s length from our relationship, but at the same time, I also wanted to put him in his place.”

The tense interactions set the scene for a fiery showdown. Melinda tells, “Harrison can come at me all he wants and can say whatever he wants, but don’t come at my relationship or anything to do with my partner. I’m very loyal and very protective.”

She says the couples’ retreat turned out to be one of the hardest things in the entire experiment. “I’m trying to save my relationship, I’ve got people coming at me… The drama at the retreat felt like a lot. I do think it changes the dynamic – not only of my relationship, but all relationships moving forward in the experiment.”

There’s a drama-filled dinner party to follow and then the moment of truth on the couch. Have all the arguments at the couples’ retreat changed anything?

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