EXCLUSIVE: MAFS’ Jake Edwards addresses those cheating rumours

The groom talks mental health, MAFS and his last relationship.
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That this Married at First Sight groom is here and well enough to participate in the eighth season of the show is nothing short of a miracle.

After the sudden end of his AFL career in 2009, Victorian Jake Edwards, 33, spiralled into a depression so severe it resulted in a suicide attempt.

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“I was the fifth person from the third generation in my family to play AFL,” Edwards says. “I placed a huge amount of importance on my self-worth around that. My professional football career ended when I was 21 and it was extremely difficult to come to terms with, because I felt like I’d let my family down.”

Here, he tells WHO how he overcame those difficult days …

How did you first react when you were let go from your AFL team?

I spiralled during the subsequent four years. Too much partying and pretending everything was OK. Friends and family tried to help me but I didn’t want to know.

What brought you back from that situation?

I got to a point where I really didn’t want to be here. I attempted suicide but, thankfully, didn’t succeed. The thought of what might have happened still keeps me awake at night though. What helped me – and I’m not fully recovered when it comes to my mental health – was working with psychiatrists and mental health experts. I learned the skills I needed to cope.

After a broken engagement, Edwards is keen to settle down with his “soulmate.” (Credit: Nine)

Your experience lead you to launch your Outside the Locker Room charity …

Yes, and I’ve found that being so passionate about helping others and working in the mental health space is so validating.

Do you think there’s better support for sportspeople when their careers end now?

There’s far more resources and programs now to support players transitioning from professional or elite sporting careers into the next phase of their lives. A lot more can still be done though.

Are you proud of where you are now?

Yes, I am. I grew up expecting to be known for playing AFL football and my ambition was to win a grand final. That didn’t happen but the success and growth of the charity is my premiership. 

“I’ve found that being so passionate about helping others and working in the mental health space is so validating.” (Credit: Instagram)

So, you’re now in a good place in terms of your mental health and doing well professionally. Why did you go on MAFS?

I’m not a very spiritual person, but a friend of mine is a psychic. I went to see her and she insisted something big was going to happen to me in March 2021. This was early last year. It turns out, she’s also good friends with one of the producers on the show and she spoke to them about me and the producer got in touch. After speaking to my family, I decided to do the show because up until now, I’ve struggled with relationships.

Why do you think you’ve struggled?

I ask myself this a lot. I loved my football career and now I love my charity work. It’s made it difficult to put the time into relationships – I was engaged once!

Is it true that you cheated, which ended your engagement?

Yes, and it’s probably one of the biggest regrets of my life. I was with someone I thought I wanted to spend my life with but there was something missing. Stupidly, I cheated on her with another woman. My behaviour was very poor. It forced me to look at my life. I lost a lot of things because of it: my house, mutual friends and her family. I’m not proud of it.

The first days of Edwards’ marriage to MAFS bride Rebecca haven’t been easy so far. (Credit: Nine)

So what will you do differently in your TV marriage to make it work?

Not be unfaithful, for starters. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the years. I’m ready to make a real commitment to someone, and I trust that the experts on Married at First Sight have found me my perfect match. I want to settle down and start a family with the love of my life. After everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve learned about myself, I’m ready for a real love now.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 24 at any time of the day, seven days a week for anonymous support and guidance.

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