Married At First Sight Australia is the show we’ve all been talking about and the tonic we’ve needed to get through the tedious third lockdown.
So it’s a joy for new magazine to catch up with one of its stars, Bronson Norrish, who fills us in on the gossip and his short-lived marriage to “witch” wife Ines Basic.
The 36-year-old farmer and businessman doesn’t exactly have pleasant memories of his time on the show and describes the series, which was filmed in 2018, as the “worst experience”.
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We can hardly blame hunky Bron, as Ines’s frosty nature on the show was enough to turn viewers against her – the first time she spoke to Bronson, at their wedding, she asked him to take his eyebrow ring out. But her cheating with co-star Sam Ball took the biscuit.
Since then, he’s found love with Dr Hayley Wallis, although he’s not rushing down the aisle! “I’ve learnt my lesson – never get married at first sight!” he laughs.
Here, the star, who lives in Perth, discusses his doomed marriage to Ines, their ongoing feud and his biggest regrets from his time on the show…
Wow, Bronson. Where do we begin?! Firstly, talk us through that wedding day…
When I saw her [Ines’s] face and when she made that eyebrow ring comment I thought I’d gone on the TV show Punk’d! I looked at my dad and he just rolled his eyes and he knew at that moment I was screwed.
No offence, but your marriage looked awful! Did it get any better after the wedding?
You shouldn’t get married at first sight – you should date someone, because then there’s an exit door. She had a couple of good moments. We had a nice dinner once, but it was a quick in-and-out marriage. I survived it and that’s all that counts.
One of the standout moments from the series was the commitment ceremony where Sam and Ines came clean about their relationship. Did you have any idea?
I knew what she was like and what she was capable of, but I didn’t think it would happen. I thought, “Come on, ask to leave and you can pursue Sam afterwards. Why do it on a TV show?” Sam did try to give me a heads-up about it and dragged me aside before this whole thing unfolded and let me know that Ines had messaged him. But then we got dragged apart and I wasn’t allowed to talk to him ever again. I had an underlying suspicion, but I didn’t think it would unfold the way it did.
Since leaving the show, have you built bridges with them?
Sam fell off the face of the Earth and doesn’t talk to any guys from the show. I think he got a lot of backlash in Australia. Ines was making up things about my family [saying they] were inbred – which is quite disgusting. I’ve blocked her on every device possible.
Ines said you wanted an open relationship. Is that true?
No. I don’t know where that’s coming from. In my mind she’s trying to get any ammo on me, I think to try to make herself not look so bad. My family has been nothing but nice to her. I was nothing but accepting of her and tried my best to at least be her friend.
After you left, one of the most explosive moments was when Jess Power’s cheating on Mick Gould with Dan Webb was exposed…
I thought I had it bad – poor Mick. My wife was an absolute witch. I think Jess pretended to be nice, but I think she was a witch behind his back, which I think is a lot worse! I’m glad I left when I did, because I don’t think I would have lasted another week.
What’s life been like since leaving the show?
A lot of my cast members have gone out and followed the fame trail. I just went back to the farm with dad. I went back to normal and tried to find a wife.
We didn’t know you’re a farmer!
I come from a farming background but I wasn’t portrayed that way on the show. I come from a small farming community, where the population is 35 people. I’ve moved to Perth, but go back to the farm quite regularly.
And you’ve found love now…
I have. I’ve found a lovely doctor who was studying to be a brain surgeon when I first met her. She’s absolutely amazing. We’ve been together coming up to two years. I think she’s The One.
What does she reckon to the show?
Put it this way, when I first met her she was a doctor of medicines training to be a brain surgeon. Then when she met me and watched the show she’s since changed her degree and is becoming a clinical psychiatrist. I think she realised there are a lot of weird people out there.
Do you have any regrets about doing the show?
Going on the show is probably my biggest regret. And also wasting my family and friends’ time. The wedding was on the other side of Australia, so they took a week off and flew across to come to my wedding. And it was the worst experience.
How did you find the end-of-show reunion?
I didn’t want to go – at my wedding, I wanted to leave! The producers love the drama and being at a dinner party where you think it’s going to be nice and quiet, it’s not.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying?
If it’s in the UK, go for it – you guys are great. If it’s in Australia – don’t bloody do it! It’s from my point of view, because I went through hell, but Cam and Jules [Merchant] might say they had the best time of their lives.
You must have been so thrilled Cam and Jules got married for real after the show and now have a baby?
Those guys, you could see when you first met them that they were going to make it. They were meant for each other. They are absolutely amazing.
What have you been up to since leaving?
We’ve just bought another two yachts this year, so the company [his boating company] is going big. With Covid we did quieten down a bit, but not too much. I’ve got a new partner and we just take it day by day.