When you hear about a television series called Married at First Sight, chances are you envision a lot of drama. After all, it takes a lot of couples years together before they decide to take the plunge and get married – it’s an incredibly big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, for the purposes of reality television, people are being a bit more lax with their attitude towards this big commitment.
The series, which is actually based on a Danish reality television series (what on earth were you thinking, Danes?), features six individuals (three couples) who agree to marry someone the minute they meet them. They’re paired up by a team of experts, but still… that’s quite an agreement to strike. Instead of going on a few dates, these bold couples give their relationship a trial run by going straight to their honeymoon and then spending a month together in marital bliss (or not), celebrating a big holiday, and more. After six weeks total, they decide whether it’s working out or not. Pretty crazy, right?
However, the drama that has emerged from some of the couples is more than producers likely could have ever dreamed of. Restraining orders, death threats, and that’s just naming a few of them. This season has had its fair share of drama, and a lot of it has revolved around one couple in particular – Jessica Castro and Ryan De Nino.
Here are 10 secrets you didn’t know about the show, and about this season’s most controversial couple.
10 Castro came on the show to change her luck in love
A little while ago, Jessica Castro, one half of this season’s craziest couple, was a happily engaged woman. However, things didn’t work out in that relationship. A broken engagement and cheating fiancé left her feeling a little down in the dumps, and most certainly unlucky when it comes to romance. She figured she’d give Married at First Sight a try – after all, what could go wrong? Maybe she’d rebound with a nice guy who’d end up being her forever husband. Little did she know she’d get paired up with someone who would end up making dangerous, aggressive threats to her safety. Poor girl is unlucky to a whole new level.
9 De Nino threatened to kill Jessica
Let’s be honest - husbands and wives fight. It would be silly and far too idyllic to suggest they were always in complete marital bliss. However, those fights usually end with them making up, or just stewing in separate bedrooms for a day or two before rekindling their romance. This season’s crazy relationship ended in a much more serious way. Castro claimed that De Nino threatened to kill her, and some text revealed from the restraining order petition proved her right. De Nino is quoted saying a variety of deplorable and abusive things, including “I will break you into f—king pieces,” “I will break your dad into pieces,” “I will make your whole family disappear” and more.
8 The experts might not be all that great
On paper, the experts assembled to make these matches have some pretty impressive credentials. Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sexologist. Greg Epstein, a spiritualist. Dr. Joseph Cilona, a psychologist. Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist. Together, these experts should be able to address everything from who is compatible between the sheets to who is compatible based on religious beliefs, social and cultural factors, etc. However, according to Vaughn, a contestant in the first season, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. He’s explicitly stated that, in his opinion, the experts failed and were completely wrong – he didn’t think his former wife Monet was the right match for him whatsoever. Given the outcome of the second season, we're questioning their expertise as well.
7 The future bride and groom draft pre-nups
According to Chris Coelen, executive producer for Married at First Sight, while individuals participating on the show may worry about what their future spouse will look like or what his or her personality will be like, they won’t have to worry about their financial assets. Most marriages (unless you’re filthy rich and take measures to protect your assets) are built on a foundation of sharing everything – including your house and the money in your bank account. A successful individual who owns expensive real estate assets may not want to split his or her fortunes with a struggling bartender, so there’s actually a very short pre nup built into the ceremony of this show.
6 More people are willing to marry a stranger than you might think
Only six individuals make it onto the show each season, but given what a bizarre situation the premise is in our Western culture, you might assume that only a few hundred applied in the first place. Well, you’d be wrong. Coelen, the executive producer of the show, claims that 17,000 people auditioned to get a spot on the reality show. Sure, it may not be as much as auditions for other reality shows command, but still – that’s a lot of people willing to blindly make such a huge commitment. Either there are a lot of true romantics in the world, or a lot of truly desperate people hoping to find a match anywhere they can.
5 De Nino posted the restraining order on his Instagram account
If you’re not one of Ryan De Nino’s 85k Instagram followers (which – if you are, why? Your follows could be used on someone far more worthy) you may not know that about three days before the season finale, he posted a picture of the petition for a restraining order that Jessica Castro filed against him. Of course, he’s not classy enough to leave things without a comment, and captioned the image with a long rant that he ended with #CheckMate. One thing’s for sure – after she gets through this ordeal, that girl deserves an absolute prince to make up for this guy. Also, reality show producers are very, very strict about letting spoilers leak – many even keep cast-off contestants in some kind of sequester house until the finale airs to make sure no one knows the outcome. Ryan releasing something that big should have gotten caught and taken down – perhaps they’re just trying to wash their hands of him.
4 The success rate has gone from 66% to 0%
In the first season, two of the three couples stayed together – while that’s only a 66% success rate, it’s still two out of three, a fairly large fraction of the participants. Many of the second season’s contestants have actually stated that the positive matches in the first season is part of the reason they decided to come on the show. However, if you watched the reunion for the second season, you’ll know that the most recent season didn’t end quite so well. All three couples decided to split – including Jaclyn and Ryan, who many figured would be the sole love birds remaining. The producers even left the duo to last, as a positive palate cleanser after Ryan and Jessica’s explosive end. Jaclyn did agree to consider giving it another chance, but it was after they had announced they would be splitting, and it was after Jaclyn was heavily, heavily persuaded by both the hosts and the experts, so… we’re not holding out a lot of hope for that one.
3 There’s more than just the experts’ matchmaking
Many people are aware that reality television shows require a bit of testing beyond the casting process. Sure, they want to see that the contestants have interesting personalities, that’s why they audition. However, they also undergo a bit of psychological testing for many reality shows to prove that they won’t crack under the pressure. After all, whether you’re choosing between potential suitors or stranded on a remote island, they’re intense situations that can trigger many individuals to break. The four experts that help determine the pairings are somewhat visible on the show, but there’s a lot more testing that goes on behind the scenes. According to Sam Dean, an executive producer, they start with group workshops with psych evaluations and background checks, and then move on to the research process. Each expert has his or her own individual process, but the producer revealed the psychologist’s questionnaire can take over 12 hours to complete. Somehow, Ryan De Nino still slipped through the cracks.
2 Jessica doesn’t believe in divorce
During the Married at First Sight reunion episode, Jessica Castro, one half of the season’s most toxic pairing, uttered this statement: “divorce is not in my vocabulary.” Everyone watching collectively shook their heads in disbelief. With someone like Ryan in her life, a partner that led the show to give Jessica personal security because he not only uttered death threats, but did so when he was still on mic, this girl should be divorce’s biggest fan. However, she definitely didn’t show up to the reunion stupidly trying to make it work – she even got her two shots in, tossing a $100 bill at Ryan in a reminder of their wedding fund blow up. However, we did get to see that Ryan had apparently led Jessica to open a dictionary and insert the ‘d’ word into her vocabulary – she confessed to horrified experts that, while better communication may have helped the couple, divorce had become the only option. Umm…no kidding! He threatened to harm her and basically her entire family! The section of the reunion devoted to this controversial couple ended with Ryan storming off the set (of course, having taken the hundred).
1 They’re already filming a third season
Yep. This shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. Given the controversies and drama of this past season, of course they’re going to try to get another season full of hopefuls. They’re keeping the same format of three couples, six weeks, and have been filming in Atlanta. That’s right – there are six people out there, likely unhappily married, right now. Given that the experts claimed Ryan had a “sweetness” to him this season, hence why he was initially paired with Jessica, we certainly hope they picked couples a little better. Although, with a 0% success rate in the second season, partially due to a cast full of drug addicts and cheaters, they can’t exactly do any worse.