The Real Reason MAFS Australia's Natalie Left The Experiment

12 March 2024, 19:00

MAFS' Natalie and Collins seemed perfect for one another on paper
MAFS' Natalie and Collins seemed perfect for one another on paper. Picture: Channel Nine

By Tiasha Debray

Married At First Sight’s Natalie has not had an easy run. But what made her change her mind about Collins and leave the experiment so abruptly?

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The audience fell in love with Married At First Sights Natalie Parham from the minute she graced our screens. Her big smile and bubbly energy had viewers hopeful that the experts Alessandra Rampolla, Mel Schilling and John Aiken had paired her with a suitable partner.

Whilst at first Natalie and Collins seemed perfect for one another on paper it soon became obvious that something was seriously wrong.

After writing 'leave' at the couple’s very first Commitment Ceremony, Natalie was forced to stay because Collins had written 'stay', however, less than 48 hours later, she shockingly walked out of the experiment.

The show’s edit made it seem like it was Collins who was the problem. However, since the show was filmed, it’s been revealed that a lot was going on behind the scenes. So what was the real reason Natalie walked out of MAFS? Why did she leave?

It’s been revealed that a lot more going on behind the scenes for Natalie
It’s been revealed that a lot more was going on behind the scenes for Natalie. Picture: Channel Nine

Why did Natalie leave MAFS Australia?

Natalie walked out of Married At First Australia because of several things that had happened behind the scenes in her personal life, rather than having anything to do with her on-screen husband Collins.

On the show, Natalie opened up about her father passing away just five weeks before filming had begun. Collins has since spoken to the Australian breakfast radio show Kyle & Jackie O, where he revealed just how not-ready Natalie was for the whole experience.

“I tried to be as supportive as I could but during the two, three weeks that we were on, it was really apparent that Nat was struggling with grief and homesickness,” Collins told the radio hosts.

According to the contestant, it was obvious from the get-go that Natalie was going through a lot of emotions, “After her wedding I hear Nat absolutely bawling her eyes out in the bathroom and I’m like, oh god what’s going on, and it’s not just tears, it’s BAWLING her eyes out,” Collins admitted on air.

Natalie's father passed away just five weeks before filming began
Natalie's father passed away just five weeks before filming began. Picture: Channel Nine

“We all know this is a brutal reality TV show, it’s hectic… There was a part of me thinking, oh are you sure you’re going to be okay to do this experiment,” Collins questioned after seeing Natalie’s fragile state of mind at the time.

Whilst he admitted on the show that he had tried his best to be there for Natalie, at the end of the day, they were just strangers and she was going through something so deeply personal that it was way out of his depth.

Collins also candidly spoke about how he struggled to be emotionally open for Natalie, “I sucked… the support and being a loving husband, that is all foreign territory for me for sure.”

“That’s something I need to work on, that emotional part, I really suck at.”

Collins struggled to be emotionally open with his on-screen wife Natalie
Collins struggled to be emotionally open with his on-screen wife Natalie. Picture: Channel Nine

Collin also revealed on the podcast that Natalie was not only dealing with the grief of losing her father but that her mother had also gotten a cancer diagnosis which he hadn’t known about at the time.

“I found out months later that Nat’s mum had cancer… I even said to Nat- 'Nat I can’t imagine what made you come on, you were clearly dealing with grief and your mum has cancer, you should be as far away from this show as possible.'”

Despite all the intensity that had happened behind-the-scenes of filming, Natalie still chose to enter the experiment. But Collins shared that producers had taken special measures to ensure that Natalie was okay.

“I’d get a message [from a producer] saying ‘Hey Collins, just want to let you know, filming for the next three or four days? Cancelled. We’re actually flying in Nat’s sister from Melbourne,’” Collins said. He then claimed that Natalie’s sister was flown in and out of Sydney multiple times to help Nat through her grief.

“Even on our honeymoon, Nat was saying to me ‘I just need some space,’ so I slept in a different apartment, in a different hotel room,” he went on to say.

This is particularly interesting because, on the show, Collins' choice to sleep in a different room was painted as a byproduct of his lack of attraction to Natalie and his ‘fakeness’ about liking her.

In their last episode, Natalie walked out of the experiment but not before saying to Collins, “It just feels so manufactured. If this is genuinely you, that is not someone who gives me energy.”

“I cannot see us forming a romantic connection, I am certain of that. It is time for me to go.”

Despite that, she proved she and Collins are on good terms when she shared an Instagram post about 'leave day' after her exit from MAFS aired in Australia. After confirming she'd 'grown so strong in the process', she wrote to Collins: "I will welcome you with open arms at reunion and I am sorry I wasn’t the perfect Nikki you hoped for. Thank you for giving it your best shot, I am sure love is waiting in the wings for you."

Natalie wrote to leave during their first Commitment Ceremony
Natalie wrote to leave during their first Commitment Ceremony. Picture: Channel Nine

Natalie’s departure broke the rules of the show which asked contestants to stay a week to resolve issues if one of the two wrote ‘stay’ during the commitment ceremony.

But by their last episode, Natalie had already tried to leave twice to no avail, so perhaps producers thought it was best she be freed from her contract, especially considering what she was going through.

According to a source who spoke to Yahoo! Lifestyle, “The rules and premise of the show are irrelevant if they compromise a participant's wellbeing or mental health, and ESA [producers Endemol Shine Australia] take their duty of care seriously.”

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