MAFS’ Chanita Stephenson: “Watching this series has been triggering… it brought me back”

Married At First Sight UK has finally come to an end for another year, with this year's brides and grooms becoming overnight reality stars when deciding to say 'I do' to a stranger.

And resident MAFS expert, who has done the whole thing herself, Chanita Stephenson has given her final thoughts in her exclusive OK! column this week.

From who surprised her at final vows to what she thought of the reunion turmoil, the TV star admits that there has been highs and lows as she has watched this series from a viewer's point of view, as opposed to partaking.

The Curtain Closes

I have enjoyed this series, it was full of drama! The only thing I wish there was more of is laughter, I feel like it was quite serious and all about the drama. I would’ve liked more age diversity too, all of the couples were quite young.

It was the first one since I was on the show and it was strange watching it at points, it was actually quite triggering. I was in that situation and it does bring back the emotions and triggers a part of your brain, it takes you back to that place. So, at times it was difficult to watch this series. Saying that, it also brought back happy memories of how much fun we all had during my series. I really enjoyed it and almost found love! It showed me how much I have grown since being on MAFS too, it was such a big part of my life, but I don’t want it to define my life. I think next year I may not be as into it as I was this year, the more time goes on the further I will get from it, I think. I was Chanita before MAFS, then I was Chanita from MAFS, and now I want to focus on being just Chanita again.

Final Vows

There were a couple of surprises when it came to final vows this week, Laura did not hold back when she ended things with Arthur. But, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t last – although Arthur looked like he was. It was harsh but, I don’t think they should have made it to final vows in the first place. Opposites attract, but I think they are just too different. I’ve always liked them separately though.

Ella and JJ didn’t shock me at all, they stayed for a couple weeks and weren’t married, then didn’t make it through the vows. I only get surface level from them and that’s always been my issue. But good on Ella for representing the transgender community and being her true self, that was really nice to see. But as a couple, I can’t say I felt connected to them as a couple.

Then we have Adrienne and Matt, I think it was tough for them since Adrienne didn’t want kids and Matt did – that’s such a big thing. He changed his mind about kids which is a big decision, and I think it’s because he liked her so much and he wanted to show her that. Their vows were nice and it was nice to see them stay together, but I had a feeling that it wouldn’t last. I know first-hand how different it is coming out of the experiment and going back to real life, it’s an experiment in itself.

I was really, really happy to see Peggy and Georges commit to each other, their vows seemed genuine and pure – it was nice to see them both get emotional. I’ve been so up and down with them and some weeks, didn’t know if they would make it, but now I know they have and made it work, I’m happy. The best thing to see was Peggy putting herself first and realising that she had real feelings for Georges, and that’s what she focused on. I feel like she needed that growth, it’s such a big step.

Paul and Tasha were this season’s love story so it was amazing to see them say their final vows. It was really sweet and I can see them working. The only thing that I was surprised about was hearing Paul say that he was unsure about Tasha when talking to his friend before the vows. To the viewers, it seemed like he was always 100% sure on his relationship. His friend was really honest though and gave him his true opinion, which is what a good friend should do.

The rumour mill spins

I really root for Erica and Jordan and thought that their final vows were so cute, I think they are a love/hate couple and you either want them to work or you don’t. I think they’re great together, when they aren’t struggling with communication. However, we heard the rumour that Jordan had kissed another girl during the reunion episode, and I am completely on Erica’s side. I would be fuming if the person I was with did that, why was a girl even close enough to try and kiss Jordan? We saw raw emotion from Erica and that’s why she was so angry, you would be if you walked into a room where everyone had been talking about you. Erica did still handle it well considering the circumstances. I think Jordan’s reaction was all wrong, when someone gets that defensive, they know they’re in the wrong.

One Big Family

It was interesting seeing all the couples come back for the reunion episodes, I was so disappointed when Jay and Luke were separated. I really didn’t like Luke’s behaviour, he was more interested in the group drama than checking that Jay was OK. She was really trying to tell him how she felt and be honest, but it was like he didn’t even care. I felt so much for Jay, I know what it’s like to walk into that reunion alone when you’ve previously been so strong.

Adrienne did the same thing that I did when she came into the reunion and started crying straight away, it’s so overwhelming seeing everyone again and being split. I felt like we got a surface level reason for her and Matt’s split, but not the true reason. They put it down to things like texting, but I think there must have been more to it than that. I was interested to know what happened.

I loved seeing Shona come back and take her power back from Brad, she has grown so much and has clearly done a lot of reflecting. The situation with Brad was awful but when you’re in a relationship like that, it’s so difficult to see what’s really going on. She strutted in with confidence and showed Brad that he didn’t kick her down for too long, I loved it.

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