Celebrity

Melissa Leong and Rob Mason: Inside the MasterChef Australia judge’s relationship

“I really do feel like you need to keep something of yourself for yourself and for the people that you love.”
Loading the player...

Ask a question about Melissa Leong’s private life and it will just slide right off her like she’s made of the Teflon she keeps in her kitchen.

After three years as a judge on the reality cooking show juggernaut MasterChef Australia, the fashion-loving foodie may have found her feet in the gig, but she’s still chewing on the side dish of fame that comes with it.

WATCH: Behind the scenes of WHO’s sexiest people issue with Melissa Leong

“I really do feel like you need to keep something of yourself for yourself and for the people that you love,” Leong tells WHO during a lunch break while filming the 14th season of the show, which saw past winners pitted against new hopefuls in Fans and Favourites.

“I do things on my own terms. I’m very clear with my boundaries and while this job is deeply public and I’m very grateful for how much the audience has accepted [fellow judges] Jock (Zonfrillo), Andy (Allen) and myself, and of course there’s going to be a natural interest in one’s private life, but I share enough.”

Leong has just turned 40, an age that some may find challenging but one that she’s embracing. She feels lucky to have gained some life experience, and that with every year she’s learning more about herself and discovering what makes her happy.

After splitting with her husband of four years Joe Jones in December 2020, one of the things that’s clearly making her smile in this new phase of her life is her romance with Melbourne cosmetics entrepreneur Rob Mason which she made public in September 2021.

mel
Melissa Leong took her romance with Rob Mason public in September 2021. (Credit: Instagram)

“I’m really happy with my point in life right now,” she says. “I think you work really hard to earn your happiness, and [I’m] understanding that I strive more for contentment rather than happiness.

“Contentment is sustainable, and making choices in my life that continue to allow me to remain content and continue to work at that, that is something I’m very focused on.

“But personal things and personal relationships, I think I’m going to leave a little bit of mystery.”

Leong doesn’t really need to say anything about her private life. Her social media account says it all, painting a picture of a woman deeply in love.

“Love you all the way,” she wrote in a birthday post to Mason. “Luckiest girl in the world,” she gushed in another.

Mason, who owns Morris Motley men’s haircare and fragrance company, has been equally forthcoming online. “Happy valentines … you’ve been a legend since the day you slid into my DM’s – long may it continue.”

Melissa Leong boyfriend
Melissa and Rob have been all loved-up on Instagram.

To Leong, food is a “love language” and she explains that she uses it to express her emotions and feelings for those around her.

“I was born into a Singaporean Chinese family, so it’s in the DNA,” she says. “Food has always been an essential part of who I am. I like to say it’s our love language. It’s how we express affection for one another – to share food, eat food together and to cook with one another.

“As I became an adult and moved out of home, I was always on the phone to my mother asking her how to make specific dishes as I would get homesick,” she remembers.

“It became very clear to me how important food is for carrying stories. It’s the vessel for culture.”

mel
Melissa, Jock and Andy. (Credit: 10)

In the past, Leong has spoken of her battles with mental health, and she is again generous with her insights and willingness to share to help others.

“Anxiety and depression are just part of being human,” she explains. “We do need to normalise these conversations so people realise they are not alone, so they know what to do when things happen, and they feel like they are in an untenable place.

“They are never alone when you go through these things, not if you ask for help. I’m proud to be part of a groundswell of many, many voices who share their experiences and hopefully make people feel a little less isolated in their own personal experience.”

Related stories