A COUPLE who met on Married At First Sight are still together nine months later – after going into lockdown together.
Michelle Walder, 26, and Owen Jenkins, 32, tied the knot on the ground-breaking Channel 4 show, now in its fifth season, earlier this year.
The pair had only clapped eyes on each other as Michelle, from Hastings, walked down the aisle at their wedding on March 14, in a gorgeous Cath Adam gown.
Despite the gamble, the new Mr and Mrs said they were “instantly attracted” to each other – which is lucky as the UK went into lockdown soon after they exchanged vows.
Michelle, a teacher, and Owen, an IT account manager, decided to move in together at Owen’s mum house in Horsham – rather than spend six weeks in a flat in Brighton which the producers had lined up.
The show, which matches singletons based on goals, values and personalities, sends couples on a honeymoon and they then live together for just over a month, to see if the experiment works.
But Owen and Michelle said the deviation from the plans – and spending time together without cameras – did wonders for their relationship.
Owen told the Mail: “We had a month before we saw everybody else and we didn't have to worry about a camera being in our face, so I think we were really lucky.”
The pair did manage to squeeze in a honeymoon to Scotland, saying they “talked non-stop” on the five-hour train ride to Edinburgh.
By the end of that first week, they’d said they love each other, and they claim they still haven’t had an argument.
As their relationship went from strength to strength, the pair settled down in Owen’s hometown of Sheffield, and have just spent their first Christmas together.
Despite only being married for nine months, they’ve made it the furthest out of the 12 couples matched on the UK show – which has yet to boast a long-term success – despite the US-version of the show creating a few happy couples.
Speaking about their status as the only remaining pair, Owen said: “As far as I am concerned, all these months on, we're just an ordinary married couple.”
Inevitably Michelle had thought about what would happen if it all went pear-shaped, saying: “I wanted to meet someone, and I thought if this ends in an amazing marriage, then great; if it ends in a great friendship, I haven't lost anything.”
She’d been single for two-and-a-half years before the show, after only having a few long-term relationships at university.
Michelle, the eldest of two sisters born to beauty therapist mum Anne, 61, and postman dad, Gary, 58, said she was tired of ‘superficial’ dating.
After applying to the show Michelle said her parents “didn’t think it was serious at all”, but as the wedding loomed, her mum was “in her element”.
It was a similar story for Owen, who signed up for the show after seeing an advert on Instagram.
He said he’d met a few ‘lovely women’ on dating apps around last Christmas, but he hated the “format”.
Owen one thing he liked about the Married At First Sight experiment was the fact that the other person was as invested in making the relationship work as he was.
Just a few weeks after applying, he was told he had a match, and his mum Rhiannon, 59, a former social worker, and two sisters, Sinead and Gwynie, supported him despite his dad’s initial reservations.
The newlyweds discovered their sisters lived around the corner from each other, and luckily “get on really well”.
As the couple look ahead to their first wedding anniversary, they revealed plans to go on a forgein holiday and go out clubbing – as soon as restrictions permit – before starting a family.
For now, they’re looking forward to what the future holds, and are getting ready to move into a home they’ve just bought.
And this bride claims she wore a secret VIBRATOR controlled by her husband on her wedding day – and says it calmed her nerves.
While this bride was left raging after wedding photographer crops out her FACE in ‘cheap’ picture album.
Plus a ‘trashy’ bride slammed for demanding £30k from wedding guests to pay for big day and ‘European tour’ honeymoon.
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