Moment that mortified MAFS viewers
Married At First Sight comes to a conclusion on Sunday and we already know most of the couples don't work out.
But one of the couple's that have stayed together is this season's most controversial match, Melissa Rawson and Bryce Ruthven.
Viewers have remained infuriated Ruthven's seemingly "toxic" behaviour, and Rawson's blind loyalty.
The couple has strongly denied their relationship is unhealthy, and say they are still madly in love months after filming wrapped.
"We're in a good place. We're clearly still together, living in Melbourne, and happily in love," Ruthven told the Today show this week. "I've never been so happy in my life."
Melissa added, "I'm the same".
Rawson, a workplace trainer, hadn't been on a date in 12 years when she signed on to participate on MAFS.
Halfway through the experiment, she told Ruthven, a radio DJ, during that decade, she continued to sleep with her ex-partner, not knowing he was married at the time.
Viewers of the show expressed concerns Rawson, someone with admitted insecurities and abandonment issues, was matched with Ruthven.
I truly fear for young women watching #MAFS this year.— Georgia Love (@GeorgieALove) March 31, 2021
Please know this is not OK.
You do not need to stand by a man who only makes you happy behind closed doors.
You do not need to stand by a man who embarrasses, upsets and abandons you.
Not even once.
It’s been 24hrs since I have seen it and I’m still really bothered by Melissa and Bryce’s cooked relationship #MAFS— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) April 15, 2021
During their honeymoon, Ruthven told Rawson she was not his type, and that he normally goes for tall women with blonde hair and blue eyes. But he added, "You're not ugly?".
In a task where brides and grooms had to rank their partners and other contestants on a level of hotness, Ruthven placed Rawson fourth in the line-up.
A fellow bride, Rebecca Zemek, claimed at one of the dinner parties that Ruthven flirted with her at the hotel gym and openly told her he placed her first, above his own wife.
This allegation resulted in Ruthven and Zemek falling out in subsequent weeks, which exploded in controversial fashion when Ruthven forcefully kissed Zemek and crowned her the "queen of the experiment" during one of their rows.
The incident resulted in production being shut down temporarily.
More broadly, Rawson had been open about her abandonment issues and trauma, and despite this, Ruthven threatened multiple times to leave the experiment, even writing leave on one occasion before scribbling it out at the last minute.
When she confronted Ruthven about a persistent rumour he had a girlfriend on the outside, he cried and said he wanted to leave the experiment.
"This shows me what our relationship means to him … You can't fake emotion like that," Rawson tells the camera.
The whole situation, and the fact they're still together after meeting on the show, has left viewers feeling uncomfortable, with a viral change.org petition urging the Nine Network to apologise "creating a distressing viewing experience", as well as its failure to "showcase that the relationship is clearly not healthy".
Created by Angela Rowell, the petition says: "(Melissa and Bryce's relationship is) not being handled by the network appropriately."
"These signs are being disregarded by producers and the network, creating a distressing viewing experience. There is a clear failure of duty of care to Melissa during filming of the show, allowing her to remain in a toxic environment with her partner for the 'benefit' of the network. She is being subject to emotional manipulation, isolation, and countless other TEXTBOOK signs of a controlling relationship."
Ruthven told paparazzi recently that the edit was "definitely part of me, good parts and bad parts. I think everyone else can work that out."
Rawson added, "I know the real Bryce, what everyone is seeing is a great edit."
Originally published as Moment that mortified MAFS viewers