Truth about Ines’ MAFS drama
It's hard to think of a more controversial reality TV contestant than Married At First Sight's Ines Basic.
From the moment, the 27-year-old burst onto our screens, outrage has been at an all-time high (which is saying something given some of MAFS' previous "stars".)
We've watched her belittle her "husband" Bronson about everything from his appearance and fondness for eyebrow rings, to his past life as a stripper and scream profanities at him in a vicious manner that would never be accepted from a male contestant.
Now experts Mel Schilling and John Aitken have revealed their views on the show's most divisive contestant and what happens behind the scenes.
They say Ines doesn't mean to be so mean. "I think if you watch her closely you can see, it's almost like she has remorse after she makes a really harsh comment," Schilling told news.com.au.
"I haven't asked her this, but it's almost like she is saying to herself, 'Oh, it's too late, I've gone down this road and I have to keep going', so I don't think she is as harsh as people are perceiving, but that's what they are seeing."
Aitken agrees, saying the public need to take Ines' background into account.
"When I spoke to her, what I saw is a woman who has come from a pretty traumatic upbringing from war-torn Bosnia, so you have walls up and she's very resilient, very independent," he said.
A petition was launched for her sacking but Mel says she remains convinced she did the right thing.
"Really our role is to remain impartial," she said. "So it makes sense for us to be quite separate, we have a professional role here and it's about observing, assessing, facilitating, but not counselling.
"We have another counsellor on board, he's behind the scenes. It is tempting though, just from a human perspective, you want to reach out and give someone a hug."
Hugs are going to become even more necessary as the series progresses, with Schilling and Aitken saying some truly shocking scenes are coming.
"The real difference in this show is that you are going to have a lot of very raw and heated exchanges with the women, in a way we have never seen before," Aitken revealed.
"The sisterhood is not strong. We had never seen that before. Usually the women are very strong, and you have men behaving badly on the show, but that's not the case this year.
Schilling and Aitken also revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets about what has really been going on this season.
DINNER PARTIES CAN LAST 10 HOURS
The dinner parties can sometimes last for 10 hours, with filming ending early in the morning after so much drama.
"It can be very draining," Aitken said. "It reminds me a bit of high school. You have got your alphas, you've got your cool people, you've got your outcasts.
"Everyone's trying to mix and mingle, and then you've got these exchanges where it feels like it's survival of the fittest at times.
"So, you are watching that and at times it's really unsettling to see it."
THE EXPERTS ARE WATCHING THE WHOLE TIME
"We've got about six to eight mini screens and our cameras are trained on all the different conversations that are going on," Schilling said.
THE SELECTION PROCESS IS INTENSE
From the initial selection process, Aitken, Schilling and the third expert Trisha Stafford have a look at the prospective participants separately before coming together to choose who goes on the show.
"We do our own assessments behind the scenes and then we all come together with all that information with the producers and then we make a bit of a collaborative decision," Schilling said.
"Sometimes it's a 12-hour meeting, it's a big day. We don't rush it and we discuss every possible scenario with the couples."
There are police checks with the participants and they are put through screening for psychological resilience.
"The process goes for about two months, and we have over 10,000 people apply," Aitken said.
"We do our own testing and we watch their auditions, we read all their background information, we meet them in person and then when we get together, we don't talk about our matches.
"But most of the time we are right on the money with the matches when we come to that meeting."
Sometimes however, spanners are thrown in the works.
"People do drop out at the last minute," Aitken said. "They might meet a love interest, or they might get cold feet, as the day gets closer."
THERE ARE SOME LOVE STORIES
Despite appearances, this year will also see some love stories, that the experts hope will last.
"We've got some strong love stories," Aitken said. "However, they are certainly going to be tested.
"They feel like they are prepared when they go in, but I don't think any of them really quite understand how stressful it is for that 10-week period."
LIVES ON HOLD
During the filming, the participants' lives are put on hold. "They pretty much get married in September and filming goes right through to December," Schilling said.
"They go back to their loved ones and families for Christmas and then come back to film the reunion."