MAFS relationship expert quit after some of the dinner party scenes made her feel ‘sick’
She disagreed with the direction the show was heading in
Dr Trisha Stratford, one of the three experts on Married at First Sight Australia, has revealed exactly why she quit the show.
Speaking to Woman’s Day, Dr Stratford said she disagreed with the direction the show was heading in, and worried for the participants’ mental health.
“It was a tough gig psychologically”, she said. “By the end, I couldn’t compromise my professional and personal standards because there were participants on the show who I felt shouldn’t have been there.”
After seven seasons, in September 2020 Dr Stratford called it quits, describing the “outrageous” participants and “supersized” nature of the show as something she didn’t sign up for.
“It got supersized, a bit like MasterChef, into what we know as MAFS now”, the MAFS relationship expert said. “The participants we got in season six and seven were so outrageous and outside the norm that it wasn’t what I signed up for.
“People watch in the millions – it’s the highest-rating show in Australia – so it was a big call to leave. But did people watch the last two seasons to learn about relationships or to see people being outrageous? We all like to see people making fools of themselves because we sit there going, ‘Well, I’m better than that!’
“I wanted to help the participants the best I could. Even though they were outrageous, they’re still human beings and falling in love is never rational anyway. They’re under enormous pressure with their partner, everyone else on the show and the public. It’s difficult. Survival mechanisms set in.”
Dr Stratford even described feeling ill watching the dinner party scenes, which is where most of the drama erupted. Contestants have access to a lot of booze, and usually the party ends with at least one row and plenty of tears.
“At a couple of dinner parties I felt sick. I felt in my guts that this wasn’t what I’d want to be watching at home on TV”, Dr Stratford said.
The relationship expert also noted that the contestants’ objectives for coming on the show had changed. Like on Love Island UK, Islanders seem more interested in getting PrettyLittleThing deals and one million Instagram followers rather than to genuinely find true love. Reflecting on the earlier series, she said: “We had genuine people and we really were testing all those psychological and scientific theories of attraction. Big egos became the norm. We got participants who came on the show to boost their Instagram numbers.”