Bryce and Melissa have some news to share… (Picture: Nine)
Controversial Married At First Sight Australia couple Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson have announced they’re engaged and expecting twins after finding love on the reality show.
Sharing the news in New Idea, the Melbourne-based couple, both 32, who appeared on the eighth season which aired earlier this year (and faced a watchdog investigation), revealed their news ‘all happened very fast’.
‘It’s been a whirlwind but we’re so incredibly happy,’ Melissa told the publication, as the pair revealed their plans to be wed for a second time after the non-legally binding vows of the TV show.
Bryce revealed he proposed with a black diamond during a helicopter tour across Melbourne, saying that choosing a ring together ‘isn’t traditional, but neither are we’.
He said: ‘It’s all happened very fast. People saw on the show how supportive and loyal Mel was. I’m pleased to say that’s transitioned to the real world.
‘We’re not doing this for anybody else, it’s about us – we’re cementing our love. Melissa deserves to be happy and I’m apparently very good at that, so I’m looking forward to making it all official.’
The couple had their share of controversies during the show (Picture: Nine)
While it’s another win for the programme which sees couples matched by experts and only see their ‘spouse’ for the first time at their wedding, Bryce and Melissa’s appearance on the series sparked criticism.
At one point, viewers demanded an apology from broadcaster Channel Nine for airing ’emotionally abusive behaviour’ from the couple, which the network denied.
Thousands of viewers previously signed a Change.org campaign after the couple allegedly displayed ‘an excessive amount of [domestic violence] signs which are not being handled by the network appropriately’.
More than 15,000 shared their shock by signing the petition.
The pair have remained strong after their stint on the programme (Picture: Nine)
Viewers shared their shock after Bryce changed his mind about whether he wanted to stay with Melissa during a commitment ceremony.
He also made rude comments about her appearance and complained about her eye colour when he saw her walk down the aisle.
At several moments during the series, Melissa had been left in tears due to his negative remarks.
The petition’s description read: ‘These signs are being disregarded by producers and the network and Melissa is being subjected to mental torture, very obviously to the viewer, creating a distressing viewing experience, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE VICTIMS OF DV [domestic violence] RELATIONSHIP.
‘There is a clear failure of duty of care to Melissa during filming of the show, allowing her to remain in a toxic and dangerous environment with her partner for the “benefit” of the network.
‘She is being subject to gaslighting, emotional manipulation, isolation, and countless other TEXTBOOK signs of a controlling and or abusive relationship.’
It concludes: ‘The network has also failed duty of care to viewers putting together a final edit that shows these signs, supporting the relationship, and completely ignoring the obvious signs of control and abuse Melissa is subject to. This situation is incredibly triggering and stressful to watch.
‘This petition is for The Nine Network to acknowledge and apologise for letting Melissa go through this and also airing such a horrible relationship on television without doing anything to showcase that the relationship is clearly not healthy.’
The show’s executive producer John Walsh issued a statement denying the pair’s relationship was ‘characterised by domestic violence’ and insisted producers uphold a high level of care for those on the show.
He told B&T: ‘The petition in question does not reflect the nature of Bryce and Melissa’s relationship and at no time did [production company] Endemol Shine Australia or Nine consider Bryce and Melissa’s relationship to be characterised by domestic violence or the like.
‘If that had been the case we would have intervened immediately. Our first priority in making MAFS is to make sure all the participants feel they are operating in a safe environment.’
His statement added participants are told to ‘alert production if they felt unsafe or uncomfortable with their partners at any time’, insisting they ‘would not persist with a scenario where someone does not feel safe’.
He said: ‘We have very rigorous processes in place to protect all participants in the experiment. All participants have access to the show psychologist during filming, broadcast and once the program has ended. Nine also provides an additional service for participants should they like or need further individual and confidential psychological support.
‘This service gives participants access to psychologists who have been specifically engaged to support those involved in the program in relation to their experiences. This confidential service is available to all participants for as long as they need.’
Credit: Original article published here.