He says the reality series was "heavily edited" to make him look like a villain, but Nasser Sultan has no regrets about his time on Married at First Sight Australia, raving, "I'm on cloud nine after the show. It was the best thing I've ever done and it's changed my life. I would 100% do it again – I'd apply for the Kiwi version if I could!"
Drinking an espresso martini at top Auckland restaurant The Sugar Club as he watches the sun go down over the Waitemata Harbour, the Sydney-based star, 51, tells Woman's Day that his fellow contestants are now among his best mates.
"And I've made 50,000 new friends on Instagram who invite me to dinners and birthday parties at their homes. I go because I'm embracing all the opportunities, like this trip to New Zealand. This city is just insanely beautiful. I'll be telling everyone to visit Auckland."
However, it hasn't all been positive for Nasser, who has had to contact the police due to death threats and racist hate mail. The personal trainer – who was born in Egypt and moved to Australia with his family at 13 – reveals, "Someone rang up to say there was a hit out on me and the cops took it very seriously. Someone even followed me around when I was out on my scooter and I had to lose them.
"There were also messages left for me, like, 'You filthy Muslim terrorist, you can't come here and mess with our women!' It was so bad, I had to change my phone number."
After pictures emerged of him on a date with a young male fashion student, Nasser was also the target of homophobic abuse, although it didn't stop him enjoying two wild nights with gay MAFS NZ contestant Ben Blackwell while in Auckland.
For the record, Nasser says, "My sexuality is a private matter. I'm still looking for a woman, but maybe you could say I'm dabbling. I live in a gay community, and I love that my neighbours bake me scones and give me the best perfume advice. If people are going to say I'm gay, so be it."
Nasser was originally set to star in the second series of MAFS in 2016, but the gig fell through when his bride-to-be pulled out at the last minute. Luckily, producers kept his audition on file and he was matched with plus-size model Gabrielle Bartlett, 44, for this year's fifth season.
"They loved my beauty routine and couldn't believe I was still single," tells Nasser, who displayed a slavish devotion to moisturiser on the show.
"Actually, I've never been in a long-term relationship. I've been in love three times and I've been hurt three times. One cheated on me with a transvestite, one had a very bad drug habit, and the third was still involved with her ex-boyfriend and stood me up at the airport when we were meant to be flying to Bora Bora. I was in tears."
Sadly, things didn't work out with Gabrielle either, something Nasser blames on being forced to move in together too soon. He explains, "I've never shared a house with someone and I totally freaked out. I regret being so stubborn and not giving it more of a chance."
However, Nasser insists they were never a good match, adding, "After the excitement of the honeymoon, we came back to the real world and I just didn't feel any connection beyond a friendship. Gab and I never understood each other. Every time I opened my mouth, she thought I was attacking her. It's uncomfortable, but we're still civilised when we see each other."
Nasser now wishes he'd been set up with beautician Sarah Roza instead. "She's a strong, shapely woman with big boobs, big hair and a real presence about her," he gushes.
"We both moisturise, we both love glamour and we would have been magic together."
However, he insists he wouldn't pursue Sarah, 38, now "out of respect for Gab". He says the MAFS contestants who have swapped partners have been "tasteless", especially Troy Delmege and Carly Bowyer, who blindsided Troy's wife Ashley Irvin when they revealed they were an item.
"Ashley was shattered and I was so angry. They should have at least given her a heads-up."
Watch: What Nasser thinks of the other MAFS couples. Story continues after video.
Nasser has been on a few "interesting one-off dates" since the show ended, but says, "My love life is non-existent at the moment." His ideal woman? "Family-oriented, affectionate, smells good, well-painted toenails, nice underpants, moisturises...
"Actually, I love Kiwi girls. The cross-cultural Maori and island mix makes for beautiful women with beautiful skin. I'd move to New Zealand for a Polynesian princess."
Meanwhile, when it comes to advice for Kiwi contestants on the second series of MAFS, Nasser says, "I do wonder if the experts are matching for ratings rather than a real love match, but just embrace whoever is waiting at the altar and don't make the mistakes I did. If you feel you're being manipulated, say it. Only you can be blamed for the words that come out of your mouth."
- Food & DrinksRoast racks of venison with blueberry balsamic sauce
Now To LoveDec 03, 2021
- RoyalsPlaydates with Charlotte and a royal christening prove the Queen is on the mend
Now To LoveNov 29, 2021
- TVHow winning The Block has changed Tim and Arty's lives forever
Woman's DayNov 25, 2021
- At homeBring summer into your home with this colour pallette
Now To LoveNov 25, 2021
- RoyalsAre Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank planning baby number two already?
Woman's DayNov 23, 2021