IT’S the dating show famed for bitter rows, cheating scandals and scores of Ofcom complaints.
And after being teased as the “wildest series yet”, the new season of Married At First Sight UK definitely hasn’t disappointed.
But according to former contestants, what you see on screen is only half of the story, with much of the drama happening behind the scenes.
From fake wedding cakes to producers plots, last year’s star Alexis Economou reveals the bits you don’t see.
‘They approached me’
In previous years, the MAFS team claimed more than 1,500 singletons applied to the show, but Alexis insists: “They approached me.”
The star, who is a model and TikTok presenter, was in discussions with the production team for ITV’s The Circle when the dating show got in touch.
While she was “skeptical” at appearing on MAFS, she agreed because she “was awful at choosing guys” herself and longed for lasting love.
Filming starts before match confirmed
The production team started filming Alexis’ backstory in February last year, despite her not knowing told whether she had a match or not.
She told The Sun: “It was like being in limbo and it’s a big commitment with all of the background work they do.”
Phone ban after ‘leak’ fear
MAFS contestants are sworn to secrecy and on the morning of their wedding have their mobile phones confiscated.
However, last year’s roster lost them earlier because producers “feared a leak”, according to Alexis.
“They came into my room and were like, ‘We need to take your phone off you’, which was a shock because I had two days until my wedding,” she recalled.
“They believed cast members were speculating about who another person’s husband might be. So they took our phones away to be safe.”
Multiple wedding takes
Ahead of the wedding, Alexis says future brides and grooms are sent “six options” for details like flower arrangements, table colors and decor.
Both of the singletons’ selections are then combined for their big day.
Alexis says the wedding day felt “more like a movie” because of the extensive filming schedule.
She says the vows, entering the church and leaving were all filmed multiple times.
Not only that, shortly after saying ‘I do’, the husband and groom are immediately separated for interviews.
Alexis believes this is to ensure the “first conversations” are caught on camera and for viewers to get their “first reactions” before getting to know the person.
This led to embarrassment for the star, as while she excitedly spoke about fancying hubby Jordon Mundell – he said she wasn’t his type.
Alexis added: “It’s intense and strange. You’re trying to enjoy your wedding but are constantly conscious of the cameras and production team running around, fixing lighting and changing lenses.”
She also confirmed that the weddings “are not real or legally binding”.
Fake cake, stingy booze & no music
A few surprises were in store at the reception too, with Alexis revealing her wedding cake was “not real” and “was rock hard inside”.
She also said “no music” was played during her big day – apart from one Ed Sheeran song that she requested – due to difficulties with copyright and getting music cleared.
She said: “It’s very weird, you find yourself questioning if it’s real or a movie.
“Also, only the bride and groom drink champagne – every other table gets a bottle of red and white wine.
“The public thinks the wedding is one big party but it’s definitely not as crazy as they think.”
Alexis said it wasn’t the more comfortable wedding for some family and guests because they “were freezing”.
She says they “had to be given hot water bottles” to stop their teeth chattering.
The star also suggested that conversations were forced by camera crews – including “when you talk to friends”.
Split to ramp up tension
Alexis says producers “deliberately separated people with tension” to “build tension” and ensure any outbursts were caught on camera.
It included her and wellness coach Megan Woolfe’s rift after it was revealed that she shared a secret snog with Jordon.
“They kept us away from each other for days on end even though we were next door to each other,” Alexis said.
Alexis says filming days were “intense” with dinner parties and commitment ceremonies lasting up to 17 hours.
“Hours are very long, some days we left at 8am and didn’t return until 1am,” she recalled.
“There were a lot of breaks but they are feeding you a lot of alcohol too.
“What they would do is give you five bottles – but you would have to pace yourself to avoid being too drunk or tired.”
Three takeaways a day
Alexis gained one-and-a-half stone during her time on the show because the couples drank booze nearly every day and ate a takeaway for every meal.
“I was still happy with how I looked with clothes I brought with me but wasn’t to happy when some things didn’t fit,” she said.
She’s since dropped three dress sizes and is back to being around eight stone but remembers an embarrassing moment while filming.
Alexis said: “One of my dresses broke during the second commitment ceremony and others didn’t fit because of all the takeaways and alcohol every day.”