'Married at First Sight' Cast Members Allege They Were 'Manipulated' and 'Verbally Beaten' by Producers

Week-after-week, Married at First Sight viewers watch the drama unfold between newlyweds on the long-running reality series. What's not depicted, however, is the tension many cast members endure behind the scenes with showrunners.

A few cast members—some who formerly appeared on the show and those on the current season—spoke out against the Australian edition of the long-running reality series, which airs on the Nine Network and is produced by EndemolShine Australia. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, released Thursday, show participants accused producers of making them feel "manipulated" and regularly berating them to provoke a more dramatic storyline.

'Married at First Sight' Cast Say They Were 'Verbally Beaten' While Filming
'Married at First Sight' Australia handout photo. Former cast members of the Nine Network reality series claim producers "manipulated" them while filming. Courtesy of Nine Network

Chris Nicholls, who currently appears on Season 7 of MAFS Australia, claimed he was "verbally beaten" by producers. The correctional youth worker is married to Vanessa Romito on the show. "You are forced basically into saying what it is they want," he said referring to his time spent recording individual testimonials in front of producers.

Nicholls, 37, added: "If they don't get that, they will ask another 10 different questions in other ways to get basically what they want and that is what they will roll with."

One of the women on the current season, whose identity remained anonymous, told The Daily Telegraph producers called her "boring" and instructed her to "drum up the drama at the dinner parties."

Fighting during the dinner parties have become somewhat of a staple on the Australia series. One of the more explosive moments came during the 2019 season when Cyrell Paule confronted Jessika Power over her feelings for Dan Webb, who was initially married to Tamara Joy.

Dean Wells, who appeared on Australia's show in 2018, told The Daily Telegraph that producers pressured them to stir up drama with their spouses as well as the other married couples on the show. He also said often felt coerced by producers to provoke and pick fights with his now ex-wife Tracey Jewel.

"The producers would encourage you to say or do certain things," he said. "Things would be edited if you didn't do what they wanted you to do. You feel trapped. You feel cornered and you have no power. You feel like you have to do everything they say or you will get in trouble."

It's not the first time Wells has spoken against producers. Earlier in February, he told The Daily Telegraph he refused to watch new episodes of the series now that he was no longer a cast member.

"It's like watching a magician knowing the trick and knowing how it is done and how they got the result," he said. "They have ruined all the tricks so I can't watch Married at First Sight anymore."

The American version of the reality series—which airs on Lifetime and is produced by a separate company, Kinetic Content—isn't without its fair share of massive blowups either. Season 9, which also aired in 2019, included a huge fight between cast members Elizabeth Bice and Jamie Thompson. However, cast members from the American series have not publicly complained against production.

EndemolShine Australia did not respond to Newsweek's email request for comment at time of post.