The new season of Married at First Sight Australia kicked off on 29 January, and “runaway” groom Simon Flocco has admitted he was “shocked” that he was included in the lineup for the new series.
The dramatic reality series sees strangers paired by relationship experts, meeting at the alter and getting hitched, and then trying to embark on their lives, before choosing to split or stay together.
Flocco, who was set to be paired up in the first gay male couple on the show in almost a decade, appeared in the series’ first episode sharing his backstory at the groom’s party.
However, the 39-year-old ended up leaving shortly after filming the first episode. Now, Flocco has spoken out about the producers’ decision to include him in the casting lineup.
In a response to MailOnline, he said: “Why am I even in the line-up? I suppose they’d do anything for ratings, right?”
A source close to the former MAFS contestant also told the outlet: “Simon thought he was completely out of the picture. Seeing that photoshopped image was a real shocker for him.”
PinkNews has contacted a representative of Married at First Sight Australia for a comment on the matter.
The episode also introduced another gay groom, Michael Felix, who was sent to the bridal party ahead of meeting his future groom, who allegedly would have been Flocco.
“I did not see that coming but I’m HERE FOR IT!!!! I hope Michael gets an amazing hubby #mafs #MAFSAU”, one person said about Felix’s arrival on X (formerly Twitter).
“Michael is a god damn treasure I want the best for this man #mafsau”, said another. “We must protect Michael at all costs #MAFSAU”, echoed another fan.
It’s been reported that following Flocco’s departure, Felix will be paired with Perth-based hairdresser, Stephen Stewart.
Since the show began back in 2015, it has featured only one gay male couple, Craig and Andy, in 2016 – but their relationship ended after just a few days.
In 2020, the show attempted to bring in more LGBTQ+ representation by featuring lesbian couple, Amanda and Tash.
Last year, Married At First Sight UK made history by introducing the show’s first-ever trans bride, Ella Morgan.
Married at First Sight Australia continues on Nine Australia on 30 January at 7.30pm.