Married At First Sight Australia has become a guilty pleasure for UK viewers, and its shocks and scandals led to a shake up of the formerly tame British version.
And undoubtedly one of the most outrageous singletons to walk down the aisle Down Under, was Jessika Power in series six. Viewers saw her married (though not legally) to salt-of-the-earth Mick Gould. However when their bond failed to develop into a full on romance, Jess decided to stay in the experiment – as she'd developed an instant connection with someone else's husband, Dan Webb.
Yet while they ended the show together, their romance didn’t last and he dumped her on live TV just six months later, leaving Jess devastated. Even so, when she got together for a natter with new magazine's Bobby Norris, game girl Jess vowed that ahead of another dating show stint – this time on E4's Celebs Go Dating – MAFS hasn't been put off being a bride for real and one day becoming a mum.
"It definitely hasn’t," says Jess. "I would love to get married, settle down and have children. But you don’t just date me – you have a whole lot of baggage, press, haters, fans and paparazzi following you. I don’t date in the reality world or media world any more, because I’ve been burned too many times there. But it’s hard finding someone who will take on all of that."
Jess admits that at times the attention she received after making the show has been overwhelming.
"I said from the moment it started airing in Australia, 'It will not matter about anybody’s opinions but my family and my friends.’ I really stuck true to that. But I’m not going to lie, there have been moments where I’ve been body-shamed or slut-shamed which made me feel low about myself. But then I remembered I got through my worst day and this day is going to pass. I don’t read online comments and I don’t engage with trolls. The UK audience is so different to Australia, because they understand reality TV is just reality TV. I’ve got more fans here than haters."
It's fair to say that her split with Dan hit Jess hard.
“When we broke up it was genuine heartbreak for me,” the 29-year-old says.
"I moved states for him and we were together for about six months. I moved my whole life and left my family, friends and job for him and he broke up with me on live TV!"
"Literally five minutes before we went on live TV, I made him dinner, he told me loved me, he can’t wait to spend the rest of his life with me – I was completely blind-sided. I found out later from someone close to him that it was all for publicity, which hurts me, because I really did love him. He could have said, 'Maybe don’t move over. Let’s see how we go long distance.' He’s allowed this lie to carry on for so long to gain this publicity. I’m sorry, but where’s Dan now? Because I don’t see his name anywhere."
She also developed a “Xanax addiction” because of her hurt and not knowing how to deal with the attention from the show.
“I didn’t come out of my room and I lost a lot of money because I let a lot of work slip, but I was really heartbroken.”
But life has certainly turned around and since MAFS, Jess’s reality TV career has flourished, and she’s appeared on Big Brother VIP in Australia alongside Caitlyn Jenner and is now filming the upcoming series of Celebs Go Dating in the UK.
"I had the best time on that show. This was a chance to fight for my charity and show the real Jess. It’s been great.
I got to meet some amazing people like Caitlyn Jenner and Meghan Markle’s brother Thomas Jr."
"Caitlyn is really down-to-earth and humble and shared a lot. She spoke about Kim [Kardashian] and Kanye [West], she spoke about how much she hates Scott Disick, she spoke about the OJ Simpson trial. If I was Kim I would be sitting there going, 'Oh my God!'"
And she's going back into the fray with another reality show, Celebs Go Dating, on which Bobby also appeared.
"I’ve only just started filming," reveals Jess. "It’s been nice and a lot of people are only just realising I’m here and I’m here for a while. I’m very open that it’s still a reality show and don’t throw your whole heart into it. I’m still taking it very seriously, but I’m just a little bit more guarded this time. I’ve only gone on a date with one guy so far."
Celebs Go Dating returns to E4 in 2022
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