As the current season of Married At First Sight is coming to an end, two of this year’s brides have slammed the show, claiming that the whole series is fake.
The season’s “runaway bride” Lauren Bran told news.com.au that there was “no support” and that the contestants were “treated like monkeys,” being forced to “beg to go for toilet breaks.”
She added: “The filming — because it goes for so long — you’re tired, you’re drunk, you’re not yourself, they get you at your worst. I was boozy, they booze you up. They encourage it. They’re just free-pouring the whole time. At one stage I had someone put a couple of drinks in front of me. And I said, ‘Nah, nah, I’m good, I’m good,’ and they say, ‘Nah, have more to drink’.”
Perth based bride, Susan Rawlings also slammed the show, telling news.com.au it’s “completely not true at all.”
“How do they edit this and completely not give a sh*t about people’s lives?” she said. “They don’t give a sh*t about what others think of these people.”
The 37-year-old stated that producers fed her lines and showed up to her hotel room with a script.
“They read out sentences to me, which I then had to repeat back to the camera,” she said.
Rawlings said producers also fed the show’s psychologists lines, via ear pieces.
“It’s absolutely fake and excruciating to live through,” she said.
“It’s an absolute sham because we are not talking to the experts and they are not talking with us. They are just pawns in a game.”
The brides also claimed that alcohol was a big part of the drama that ensued during the season.
“On the hens night, there were jugs of water — they swapped it for vodka and Red Bull,” Lauren explains.
Rawlings added: “Free alcohol, take as much as you want and be here the next nine hours,” claiming that crew would take away glasses that were half-full so contestants would go and get another drink.
During Bran's return to the series, Rawlings said that she warned the Sydney mother about the amount of alcohol provided at dinner parties.
“Lauren got so drunk on tonight’s episode,” Susan recalled. “That was really bad to see, actually. It was not good at all.”
“Of course my advice was don’t drink much at all because that’s all they seem to want for you — to drink until the wee hours of the morning until you’re tired and you’ll say the wrong things and then all the cameras are on you,” she added.
Rawlings also hit out at the conditions of being on the show, claiming that they were “kept to exhaustion”.
The series was filmed in Sydney during summer, where contestants would prepare for filming between 10am and 1pm.
“Then you go in separate cars, which takes forever. You’re sitting in a taxi for an hour or two with the aircon going,” she recalled. “We’d wait on sometimes plastic chairs in this hot warehouse with a metal roof. No airconditioning. And everyone’s trying to scramble near a window — if you don’t get a window, you’ve got no luck because you just have no air.”
The actual dinner party wouldn’t start until 7 to 9 at night.
“And the dinner party would always finish between two and four in the morning. You’re exhausted,” Susan remembers.
Although Lauren only experienced one dinner party before leaving the show, she remembers that crew “bullied” contestants.
“So we’re sitting there in extremely hot conditions for 12 hours and you finish at three, four in the morning,” she said. “The next day, you’re having to go, sit in front of the experts, with all these people and try and explain your case. It’s very intimidating. It’s bullying. The producers, they yell at you. Because we were all so tired and everyone had been up filming and it was so hot and they’d say, ‘Guys! You look like you’re at a bloody funeral! Liven up! Look a bit happier!’ And we’re like, ‘How the F do we be happy when we’re in these extreme conditions?’”
During long hours of filming, contestants were also reportedly refused bathroom breaks.
“The amount of times we got told we’re not schoolchildren was huge,” Rawlings said. “(Crew yelled) ‘You’re not schoolchildren! You can hold your bladders! You don't need to all go to the toilet an hour after the last person went!’”
Both disgruntled brides left the show without finding a partner.
“You sell your soul to the show, your identity and you’ve no idea how they’ll portray you,” Bran said.
“I’ve had no support since leaving the show. They’ve no idea the impact it’s had on all at stake. People will say you know what you’ve signed up for ... no — you’re sold a glamorous story and conned by (people) who make out to be your best friend.”
Bran has also claimed that being on the show not only affected her as she left a "great career" to take part, but it also affected her only son, Dylan.
“I did not know at any stage that Dylan (her son) was going to have any involvement in the show until we were halfway through filming the backstory,” she said. “They said, ‘Aw, we really wanna get Dylan in’. They made it seem real laid-back about getting him in, getting him to kick a ball.
“And then there’s a fallout after the show and he’s copping things from kids at school. Nobody’s called me after the show I’ve never once been contacted by the psychologist.”
She went on to claim that she feels like she's been "taken advantage of".
“I think I was definitely taken advantage of and then you’re bound to contract and then they send you threats for saying anything. You’re manipulated to say certain things.
“The producers act as though they’re your best friends. And you get sucked in. In terms of working, I think it ruins your identity and reputation. Especially when you’re portrayed as a drunk.”
Rawlings also said she’s more concerned with fellow contestant Anthony Manton, who’s been portrayed as the “controlling groom”.
“They’ve gagged Anthony from doing any media whatsoever and Anthony doesn’t go out of the house — he’s been threatened so many time from drunk people at the racetrack from the way he’s being portrayed and they don’t even care,” she said. “They didn’t even show one moment of him being a nice guy on that show.”
A spokesman from Endomol Shine Australia — the production company behind the series — has responded to the claims, stating that the company took its duty of care seriously.
“All participants are given adequate food, water and breaks and have access to psychological support, which has always been available at any time throughout the show and continues to be,” the spokesman said in a statement.
They continued: “All participants have access to psychological support”.
“Our production is also in regular contact with the participants and are diligent in reporting any concerns to our psychologist. We take our duty of care extremely seriously.”