“Married at First Sight” – also referred to as MAFS for short – became one of the most successful reality TV series quickly, after its release on 8 July 2014, taking the world by storm thanks to its never-before-seen approach to dating and marriage. As the name suggests, the idea of the show was for its participants to go through with signing a marriage contract upon seeing each other for the first time.
Due to the rather unconventional nature of the proposal, that people could just wed for the rest of their life like that, many have remained curious about the state of the many marriages seemingly realized in MAFS. Fans who are die-hard proponents of love on first sight will be thoroughly disappointed to learn that, like pretty much everywhere else, most marriages featured in the TV series have ended in divorce.
Creating a household name
The idea of a show about two strangers meeting and getting married on the same day, without ever having met before, originated in Denmark. The prospect of MAFS was born after “Gift Ved Første Blik,” of the eponymous meaning, landed on Danish DR3 TV on 4 September 2013. The original series saw some success, but it was nothing compared to what its successor would turn into.
“Married at First Sight” is now produced in many countries worldwide, including the US, Australia and the United Kingdom. It also has a staggering eight spin-offs in the US alone, including “Married at First Sight: Second Chances,” “Married at First Sight: Honeymoon Island,” and “Married at First Sight: Unmatchables.” Aside from that, many other countries also purchased the copyrights for their own take on it, causing the show to be produced in a number of foreign languages, mostly across Europe.
The production of the show involves selecting participants who are willing to marry a stranger. They go through a rigorous screening process that includes a psychological evaluation and a background check, after which the production team selects the entrants based on their (supposed) compatibility with each other. The couples are then joined based on their personality traits, values and interests.
The show’s premise is simple: two strangers marry on the same day, with the hopes of finding love and happiness. After the initial wedding ceremony, the couple is followed by cameras as they go through the ups and downs of married life. The couples are then given a few weeks to decide if they want to stay in matrimony or divorce.
The series has also been seen as controversial because of the unique concept of strangers marrying right out the door. Critics argue that the show trivializes marriage, and that the couples are not given enough time to get to know each other. However, its staunch supporters argue that the couples are matched according to expertly measured compatibility, and that the show thus offers a unique opportunity for people to find love.
What provides MAFS with its greatest selling point is most likely the type of people who apply for participation, since the very act of doing so is already an indicator of a few traits. It’s a no-brainer from looking at the premise of the show that most individuals who would find the idea attractive probably already have an all-or-nothing approach to life.
Can you hear the bells? 💒 #MAFS
Posted by Married At First Sight Australia on Tuesday, December 18, 2018
While that certainly has its benefits, such as highs that outweigh those achieved with less risk, it also features a massive downside, as the lows are significantly worse. As a result, most MAFS participants are, to severely understate, not in complete control of their emotions.
Consequently, combining dramatic personalities into a situation in which they’re meant to sign their life away makes for superb television. Those less in favor of such content on their TV screen, purport that the series isn’t ethical in the slightest, and that its producers are simply making millions on the backs of those who don’t think their choices through very well.
The show seems to be doing very well in spite of the public outcry, and it looks like its rise isn’t stopping anytime soon. Its 17th season is set for release either in late 2023 or early 2024. The casting for the 18th season was made public on 6 March 2023, calling for couples from Chicago, Illinois USA, and revealing that the 17th installment will feature five couples from Denver, Colorado.
The happy few
In spite of what it’s set out to do, “Married at First Sight” hasn’t managed to produce a great many happy and long-lasting marriages to date. In fact, out of the 59 matched couples over the course of its first 15 seasons, 43 of whom did say yes at the altar, most have divorced by early 2023. With a ratio amounting to a 73% match rate, only 12 marriages actually remain ongoing, making for a measly 20% long-term success rate.
As the numbers speak for themselves, it becomes easy to conclude that those still married after gracing the TV screen are not the rule, but the exception. These rare individuals also represent the backbone of the show’s advertisement, which promises all who apply to be able to end up like them. It’s worth noting that life isn’t sunshine and daisies for the so-called lucky twelve, as most of their marriages came with great ups and downs.
Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner
Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner are by far the most famous couple from “Married at First Sight,” owing to the fact that they were featured in the very first season of the show. Their marriage lasting almost a decade since then is often cited as a testament to the effectiveness of the show, used to contradict the objectively abysmal divorce statistics associated with it.
Their journey to love wasn’t without its challenges, however. Jamie wasn’t physically attracted to Doug in the slightest upon first meeting him, but the couple worked through their differences and decided to stay together at the end of the televised experiment. Since then, they’ve weathered many storms in their relationship, ultimately remaining committed to each other.
They welcomed their first child in August 2017 – a daughter theynamed Henley Grace, and then also had a son named Hendrix in May 2020. Over the years the couple struggled greatly with reduced fertility and pregnancy loss, but it seems that this plight has made their bond even stronger. The two have frequently used their platform to advocate for greater awareness and support for families facing similar challenges.
Jamie was born on 15 June 1986, in New York City. She’s a registered nurse who works at Columbia Presbyterian – one of New York State’s top hospitals. She’s also appeared in several other reality television shows, including “Bachelor Pad” and “The Bachelor.” Jamie remains grounded and focused on her family, frequently sharing updates about their children and her relationship with Doug on social media.
Doug, born on 15 October 1983, in New Jersey, is a former software salesman turned entrepreneur. He’s been open about constantly struggling with anxiety and depression, frequently using his social media reach to connect with fellow sufferers and spread messages of positivity, all the while also taking care of his family.
Ashley Petta and Anthony D’Amico
Unlike the previous two, Ashley and Anthony had established a strong connection at the very beginning of filming. Their solid and loving relationship in the show was a definite treat for the fans, and they ended the experiment as a married couple. They have continued to build a life together since then, especially with the addition of two daughters – Mila and Vaeda.
The couple has spoken candidly about their experience in the show, with both Ashley and Anthony even revealing that they had a better relationship when filming did not take place. The husband admitted that having his entire life put on camera for eight weeks had made a significant impact on his state of mind.
One interesting fact about Ashley and Anthony’s wedding is that it wasn’t legal until the day after it occurred, since they had to be together in person so as to sign their marriage license application that would legitimize their union. This small detail underscores the unique and unconventional nature of their relationship, which has left many skeptics of the show baffled ever since.
Ashley and Anthony are the first couple since Jamie and Doug to actually remain married after the show, having tied the knot near the end of the fifth season, which premiered on 20 April 2017. Ashley is a bar manager, while Anthony is a sales executive. It’s believed that their occupations combine for an enviable income, which can comfortably support a family of four.
Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre
On the show’s sixth season which was set in Boston, Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre didn’t get along at first, having had a difficult time getting to know each other. However, over time they managed to overcome these differences and stayed together, for better or for worse.
One issue that really stood in their way was the unplanned pregnancy that manifested while the two were apart. There were even instances when Jephte Pierre wasn’t sure he was in love with his wife, but their story eventually turned out to be a happy one, on which they seem to have worked really hard.
Shawniece and Jephte are proud parents to a daughter today, whom they welcomed in 2018. The couple is one of the longest-lasting pairs in the franchise, having been together for almost six years, making them the third out of 12 lasting successes of “Married at First Sight.”
The wife uses her Instagram page to promote family life and hobbies, such as a unique selfie event that she hosts, as well as various Amazon products. It’s believed that her Amazon affiliate links contribute a significant deal to the family’s overall financial stability, while her 200,000 followers probably chip in of their own accord as well. Shawniece was a dedicated cosmetologist prior to entering the series, and Jephte a second grade school teacher.
Married at First Sight’s Jephte Pierre Was Shocked by Shawniece Jackson’s Baby News But Says ‘It’s a Blessing’ https://t.co/nvjQ1ExpB0
— People (@people) May 1, 2018
Danielle Bergman and Bobby Dodd
Bobby Dodd and Danielle Bergman easily became one of the show’s most beloved couples after being featured in the seventh season. Fans have been keeping up with their relationship since their screen presence in 2018, and the couple has only continued to thrive since then.
Bobby, a project manager, and Danielle a dietitian, were matched by relationship experts, and married in Dallas, Texas. Their relationship on the show was a standout, with both partners falling in love almost right away, and rating their relationship highly when speaking privately to the camera crews.
The couple announced their engagement during the season’s finale, with Bobby getting down on one knee and proposing to Danielle. They went on to marry in August of 2018, and welcomed their first child in February 2019 – a daughter they named Olivia Nicole. Their second, Robert Elvin Dodd, was born on 14 December 2020. The couple continued to document their journey on social media, with Danielle sharing their happy news on 9 April 2023, stating that they were expecting their third child.
Mindy Shiben and Zach Justice
Mindy Shiben and Zach Justice seemed like a very promising couple at the outset of season 10, but the hopeful fans were greatly disappointed later down the line. Mindy, who had all the hope and optimism in the world on her wedding day, was quickly disenchanted with Zach, who put little effort into their relationship, and engaged in an inappropriate and disrespectful friendship with one of Mindy’s friends behind her back.
As a result, Mindy dumped Zach and asked for a divorce nearly two weeks before decision day. According to their social media profiles, the exes seem to have moved on and are better off now. Mindy’s Instagram page shows her traveling frequently, with story reels originating from various countries, such as Mexico.
Zach seems to be dedicated to teaching fitness online, presenting himself as a virtual coach under the handle thecasualathlete on Instagram. He’s more focused than ever on maintaining an athletic appearance and a healthy lifestyle, advocating for his followers to join him in the journey to self-betterment.
Briana Myles and Vincent Morales
Briana and Vincent are the most recent still-married couple from the reality TV series, having been featured in its 12th season. They are still in love and have welcomed their first child, a daughter they named Aury Bella Morales, on 3 January 2023.
Briana Myles is a professional engineer, while Vincent Morales is a businessman. The couple has been praised for their strong bond and commitment to making their marriage work, which has earned them recognition as one of the most successful couples in the series’ history.
The couple has also started their own YouTube channel, on which they share their lives and relationship with almost 30,000 subscribers. While there were initial doubts about their relationship lasting, the two proceeded to prove everyone wrong all across social media throughout frequent life updates.