Which Parts of 'Married at First Sight' Are Actually Real? Here's What We Know

Reality television show ‘Married at First Sight’ is so absurd that it has many fans asking if it’s actually real or if it’s scripted.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Mar. 31 2021, Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

We love to watch random people meet for the first time at their wedding and try to work it out after. That’s basically what Married at First Sight is, and they do it well. The producers have figured out the perfect balance of dishing out the drama and matching up couples that actually work, which surprises us all. So how real is Married at First Sight, and could it be scripted?

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If Married at First Sight is actually scripted, then that changes everything. While we can all agree there’s likely not a script that actors are handed and there is some level of reality to the show, how deep does that level go? 

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Married at First Sight is no different, although it varies based on which version. Many participants from the Australian version of the show have come forward to say that it’s all completely bogus, whereas the American version has a bit more honesty to it.

‘Married at First Sight’ is not scripted, but it’s not completely truthful either.

Even though Married at First Sight does not have an actual script, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain beats and moments that producers want to encourage. On many reality shows, producers have an idea of the story they want to tell and will then manipulate the participants to fulfill that story, while editing it to their own liking in post-production.

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The American version of ‘Married at First Sight’ is completely unscripted and the most honest of all the versions.

Because the American version of the Lifetime love series was first, they wanted to make sure they were being true to the title, so participants do get legally married after never meeting one another. Not only that but if they decide not to stay together after eight weeks, they cannot apply for an annulment. They must legally divorce (but production will cover this if it’s in that eight-week timeframe).

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One contestant, Elizabeth Bice, also spoke out about the behind-the-scenes of Married at First Sight. While she said that “producers do not encourage fights” and that it was not at all “production-driven,” she also explained that the conditions they’re put in heighten their emotions. And who puts them in those conditions? The producers! 

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The Australian version of ‘Married at First Sight’ is notoriously manipulated and seems scripted.

Many contestants of the Australian Married at First Sight reality show have come forward with allegations of disingenuousness and practices bordering on abuse. One contestant, Susan Rawlings, broke her contract to bring these practices to light, claiming that the participants were not allowed bathroom breaks and were completely sleep deprived. They’d film 12 to 16 hour days and then have to do one-on-one interviews.

She also shared that they were literally fed lines from a script, so it’s safe to say that the Australian Married at First Sight is very close to scripted. Another contestant, Jono Pitman, said that while they didn’t feed him a line, they continued asking him questions to eventually get him to say, “She isn’t what I ordered,” and then made him repeat the line over and over again until they got the shot.

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The marriages on ‘Married at First Sight’ may not be totally scripted, but they may also not be totally real.

While the premise of the show exists in that two people who have never met get married, the goal of the show should be to set up happy relationships. Reportedly, the producers want people truly looking for love, not for fame, and even force a year-long media ban on all the participants because of this.

If that’s the case, the producers and matchmakers should really be setting up couples that work. However, out of 39 couples, only 12 remain married, and only five have started a family together. Maybe the show should actually be called Married at First Sight, Divorced at Second.

Married at First Sight airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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