Reality TV

Alyssa spills on Married At First Sight “wife swap challenge”

"I think everyone could see it...You watch it back and I feel like it's very obvious."
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When news first broke that Duncan James and Evelyn Ellis were officially a couple, Married At First Sight fans were curious as to how Alyssa Barmonde would react. After all, she and Duncan had a tumultuous marriage during the season and she had appeared to be friendly with costar Evelyn. 

In the months that followed Evelyn and Duncan’s very public relationship debut, Alyssa remained relatively quiet on the situation, steering clear of any usual MAFS drama that many thought would be a surety. The mother of one remained quiet when the pair took interview after interview about their relationship, she remained quiet when the pair took to TikTok and Instagram to share intimate details of their relationship and even remained quiet as they appeared hand in hand at the 2023 TV WEEK Logies. 

But now, Alyssa has taken to Instagram to share her side, revealing to fans a “tell-all” was on its way. 

Watch Below: Duncan and Evelyn move in together

So what spurred the private bride to share her story? It seems as if Duncan’s appearance on fellow groom Ollie’s Tosser podcast was the final straw, which coincided with Evelyn’s announcement on Instagram that the happy couple were moving out together. 

It started with Alyssa sharing a quote to her Instagram stories that read: “No person in 100% healed, because healing isn’t linear. We go backwards and forwards and sometimes we’re all over the place, but that’s the process. Please don’t think you need to be 100% healed to deserve love and good things in life, because you absolutely do.” 

Then, Alyssa began sharing messages she had received from fans who didn’t appreciate Duncan’s appearance on the most recent Tosser episode. 

“So weird he can’t say your name!” one message began. “Did you really go on a date with Josh…hope it went fab, he seems nice. You deserve so much love. Hope you find it.” 

During the podcast, the boys discussed Alyssa and Josh White’s date night. 

“Let’s talk about this, Is it also weird Duncan threw me and Josh under the bus about going on a date to deflect the fact neither him nor Evelyn didn’t give me ‘respect’ to tell me about their relationship and I had to hear from someone else,” alleged Alyssa.

“Like why even bring it up,” she continued. “When it actually just proved that Josh had enough respect for him (and me) to tell him. But he couldn’t reciprocate.” 

Alyssa did clarify that whilst Duncan’s comments were made on Ollie’s podcast alongside fellow MAFS‘ husband Rupert, she wasn’t mad at them and publically thanked them for “respecting me during the pod and checking in with me after this aired.”

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Duncan and Alyssa were coupled together on the show before Duncan began a relationship with Evelyn. (Credit: Nine)

“I don’t expect any ex of mine to tell me they are moving on with someone else,” Alyssa explained in another Instagram story. “That would be absurd.” 

“But if it’s with someone in our friend group, who we went through a life-altering experiment with…doesn’t make sense to me.” 

Alyssa also went on to explain that Duncan may have not told her because they weren’t on speaking terms following the final commitment ceremony.

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Alyssa revealed that she would have appreciated a warning that her ex-husband Duncan and friend Evelyn had begun dating. (Credit: Nine)

“I’m done being silent and hiding away my thoughts and feelings in fear of being trolled and called a ‘victim,’ Alyssa wrote on another Instagram story. “So much went on in that experiment that was never shown. There were multiple reasons I was reacting the way I was reacting. It wasn’t over nothing.” 

“I’ve been silent for too long.”

Alyssa explained that various moments from the experiment didn’t make the final cut, including when she made a cake for fellow contestant Cam on his birthday and when she taught Duncan how to bake cookies. 

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Alyssa has begun to reveal details about her time on Married At First Sight Australia. (Credit: Instagram)

After announcing that she thought it was time to do a “tell-all,” Alyssa asked fans to send in questions admitting that “nothing is off limits,” before she began to outline how manipulated she felt during her time on the experiment. 

“A reminder that MAFS had a perfect opportunity to talk about how a partner can support you when you’re having a panic attack and bring awareness to anxiety and mental illness. Instead, they edited me as a ‘psycho’…not to mention the endless manipulation from production and on-set ‘support’ to learn my triggers to use against me and to talk me down from the ledge and get back into filming at my peak vulnerability. They should have said, ‘Alyssa you’re not well enough to continue in this experiment we are granting your wish to go home.'”

Alyssa also began sharing screenshots of text messages she sent to friends during the experiment, which saw her question if Duncan was “protecting his image.” 

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One of the screenshots Alyssa shared from her time on the experiment. (Credit: Instagram)

Following Alyssa’s lengthy Instagram story, her fellow MAFS cast came to her defence, with Tahnee publically supporting her. 

“I support @alyssa_barmonde 1000%” shared Tahnee on her own Instagram stories. “I’ve seriously had enough of her constantly being hated on…I will finally be speaking up on this too.” 

“Alyssa is a reasonable, loving, GOOD person,” added Lyndall. “I genuinely couldn’t have made it through without her. She deserved so much better than she got from her experience.” 

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Fellow MAFS contestant Lyndall has supported Alyssa’s claims. (Credit: Nine)

Lyndall, who was married to Cam during the experiment, also took the time to explain more details about her experience on MAFS alongside Alyssa.

“The amount of comments I saw during airing about me ‘wanting to be in the drama’ for following my friends out of rooms and sitting with them while they cried… Is it impossible to think that these people were genuinely mentally breaking down? And I know about that because I was oo? It’s 2023 we3 should absolutely know better by now.” 

“Not only was I also struggling, but I have been where Alyssa (and Bronte to be honest) was. I’ve had and seen ancient and I saw there wasn’t the right support there.” 

“I remember getting pulled out of my publicity shoot by our team psych one night to go and tend to Alyssa having a panic attack off camera before a dinner party,” she continued. “And the only person they asked was me.”

“I can’t speak on her relationship, but the experiment broke her in so many ways, she was so unwell and it should have been talked about.” 

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Alyssa joined the Back to Reality podcast after announcing she was ready to speak out on her MAFS experience. (Credit: Nine)

A week after the initial Instagram stories, Alyssa joined Taku and Selina on an episode of Back To Reality, revealing she has been questioning the timeline of Duncan and Evelyn’s relationship. 

“It was hard [seeing their relationship], Evelyn explained. “I’m not gonna say that it was surprising, because I always felt like something was happening between them.”

Alyssa revealed that when she was on a home visit, she learnt Duncan was hanging out with both Evelyn and Rupert, which made her feel insecure. 

“We can all agree she is absolutely beautiful…She for me is like cookie-cutter-his-type. I don’t want to say really young, but Duncan had always dated younger women, I was the first woman I think over 35 that he had dated. And it made me feel really insecure.”

She also explained that the wife swap experiment, in which Duncan was paired up with Evelyn, had also made her uncomfortable. 

“Imagine going away for a weekend and your friend, because Evelyn was my friend in the experiment, came over to come and housesit with your husband. And when you came back, he gives you a photo of himself half-naked, straddling your KitchenAid that she [Evelyn] had taken. Like, whose idea was that? It was just it was sick.”

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Evelyn and Duncan have now moved in together. (Credit: Instagram)

Alyssa also explained the editing of the scene also upset her. “They had me talking about one of my favourite memories,” she explained, revealing that she picked baking with her son, Leon. “And then they cut to Duncan straddling a Kitchenaid it’s just sick. It’s disgusting. It’s not right.

During the podcast, Alyssa revealed she and Duncan also had an argument over where Evelyn would sleep during the challenge. “He wanted to share the bed with her and I was like, ‘absolutely not. In what world do you share a bed?'”

When asked by Selina if they did in fact share a bed during a challenge, Alyssa admitted that she didn’t know – but she did have her suspicions.

“I don’t think that their relationship started after the show. I don’t think it did,” she added, before explaining that she “100%” thought the wife swap challenge “sparked” their relationship. 

“I think everyone could see it. You watch it back and I feel like it’s very obvious.”

Admitting that she felt Evelyn’s actions as a friend were “hurtful,” Alyssa also acknowledged that she was “also really happy for them.”

“I do feel like they’re a really good match for each other and they look gorgeous…The whole point of a life is to find love. And if that’s how they found love. That’s great. It’s just and I’ll repeat it again, I just wish they would have had enough respect for me, like they did for Rupert, to come to me and tell me.”

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