Former Married At First Sight bride Tracey Jewel credits the show for turning her life around

"I'd still be chasing bad boys if it wasn't for Married At First Sight," says Tracey.
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Former Married At First Sight Australia bride Tracey Jewel has credited the reality TV show for turning her life around.

The Perth-based mother of one was matched with resident bad boy Dean Wells in season five of the controversial show, and viewers will remember that she was at the centre of a lot of the show’s drama: Dean cheated on her with MAFS bride Davina Rankin and then Tracey, in turn, hooked up with MAFS groom Sean Thomsen during a break in filming – hoodwinking Dean at the show’s reunion party by walking in on Sean’s arm.

Even after the series wrapped controversy continued to follow Tracey. After a nasty split with Sean, Tracey reconnected with former boyfriend Patrick Kedemos – but their relationship turned sour, too, after Patrick reportedly left Tracey stranded in Berlin during a holiday from hell that should have been a romantic five-week European break. After their split Patrick pursued Tracey for $20,000 he had lent her in a business loan. Tracey was ordered by the courts to repay the loan, plus interest.

All of this took its toll on Tracey’s mental health.

But now it’s 2020, and many moons have risen since that stuff happened. Tracey says those days of tears, sweat and drama are over.

She’s in a stable relationship, about to begin a Masters degree in mental health practice and preparing to grow her family.

Would she be where she is today if she hadn’t starred in Married At First Sight Australia?

“One hundred per cent, no,” Tracey laughs. ‘I would still be chasing the bad boys.”

Tracey and her MAFS husband Dean Wells.

Tracey experienced something of an epiphany after MAFS and her rebound relationships with Sean and Patrick.

“I realised that Dean was like the representation of all my ex boyfriends,” she tells Now To Love.

“They were all alpha males with very strong personalities, very much taking the lead and I’m like, ‘Well, this is not working for me any more. All of these relationships have failed. I need to change.'”

Tracey says new partner Nate Constable, who she had dated in high school (and dumped at Year 11 school camp), is the complete opposite of alpha.

“He’s intelligent, he has an honours degree in psychology. He’s also very soft and kind and he has no ego or dominant traits. He’s just a go-with-the-flow easygoing person. I’ve broken my pattern and it’s working for me.”

The couple reconnected 18 months ago after running into another at stationary store, Office Max in Perth.

“I wasn’t in a good space at all then,” Tracey recalls. “I was there to get all of my books and stuff because I was starting a career change, I was going to start studying mental health. Nate’s mum has dementia and he was there scanning all her documents.

“He had literally broken up with his girlfriend only a few weeks before and we bumped into each other and recognised one another and said ‘we should catch up for a drink’. But we didn’t actually catch up until October, two months later.”

And then “that was it”, Tracey laughs.

Nate moved in with Tracey and her daughter in July 2019 and the couple have plans to add to their family within the next 12 months.

Marriage is not on the cards, Tracey says.

“That piece of paper doesn’t mean as much to me as it did, and I think it’s just because I feel so certain in our relationship.

“But if he proposed I’d 100 per cent say yes!” she quickly adds with a giggle.

The other big change for Tracey has been in terms of her career.

Before joining MAFS she had worked in marketing and had thought she was happy in her job, despite the high pressure.

“I didn’t realise how unhappy I was, actually, until I had a break doing MAFS,” she says.

“So I’m really grateful because MAFS proved to be a catalyst for me for a lot of changes.

“Now I’ve completed my diploma of mental health and literally this week I’ve been accepted to do a masters in mental health practice at Griffith university.

“I’m loving studying and I’m loving doing counselling and mental health work. I feel like with everything I’ve been through it makes sense to me that I can share my lived experience with others.”

Every Sunday to Wednesday evening Tracey curls up on the couch with Nate to watch season seven of MAFS, believe it or not.

“It’s cringeworthy,” she admits. “And I’m like ‘goodness, it wasn’t that bad in my season’.”

But she enjoys watching it because she understands what the cast members are going through.

“I feel sorry for them [because they get] typecast and that’s not who they really are. I think that’s important for people to realise. Like, you’re only seeing a snippet.”

Tracey is in touch with some of the cast members from this season as well as 2019’s, in a support role.

“We almost become like mentors to help them through the process. We’re all part of a tribe, if that makes sense, because we’ve all been through the same experience. We all get it.”

If there’s one person you might think Tracey would no longer be in contact with from MAFS, though, it would be her TV husband, Dean Wells, right?

On the contrary, the pair have remained good friends, and Tracey says she’s very proud of the fact because she can’t think of any other couple from the show who have managed to do that – unless they’re still together.

“But I love how I show my support for him – like Dean’s just been eliminated from Dancing With The Stars over here, right, and he was a bit bummed about that. And everyone’s like ‘ohh are they together’ and I’m like, ‘What? You can’t be friends with someone?'”

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