A couple who found love on a reality show have opened up on the dark side of fame, revealing they were not ready for the public hate and trolling they received.
When Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson appeared on the reality dating program Married At First Sight, they had little idea that their worlds would be turned upside down, with Bryce, in his words, becoming the most hated man in Australia.
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Viewers of the show accused Bryce of mental abuse, gaslighting and emotional manipulation of his treatment of Melissa.
Despite this negative attention, the couple has stayed together since their series wound up and recently welcomed the arrival of twin boys Levi and Tate.
Now, Bryce and Melissa are telling their story along with fellow reality stars Brynne Edelsten and Ajay Rochester in a special edition of Spotlight called The Fame Game hosted by Cameron Daddo and Ada Nicodemou which is airing this Sunday night on Channel 7.
Speaking with The Morning Show from Melbourne, the couple were joined by their twins with Melissa explaining why her time in the spotlight left her scarred.
“Being just a normal person that applied for the show, I actually thought I was going on to find love and thank goodness that I did, but I don’t think I was prepared for the onslaught of the trolling and the hate that we received.
“I understand that we obviously didn’t come across looking the best and our journey obviously wasn’t one that many people thought would have a happy ending.
“But, I think the hardest thing was that everyday people are watching this show and are so confident to get on (social media) and say such horrible, vile things about another person when you’re only seeing a half an hour of footage where we’ve been filming for eight to 10 hours a day for three straight months.
“It really blew my mind that people could be so horrible,” she said.
Bryce said he had been described by viewers of the reality program as the series’ resident ‘bad guy’ who was treating Melissa poorly which he says was far from the reality.
“You basically saw 25 percent of our journey, look I can tell you now there were others on the show that were a lot worse than I was, it was just unfortunate they were on the show for about three minutes while I was on it for three months.
“I think because I was so prominent in the show, I guess I was the main character if you want to call it that … I think being in the media too for 11 years before doing the show I think I was a really easy target, a bit of a scapegoat.
“If you’ve got someone that’s from the media (who is) a bit negative or does something that’s not portrayed in the best light, it’s easy to target them and have a bit of a herd mentality.
“I feel that’s what I copped and I’ve moved on from it and I’m in better circles and a better mindset myself now and it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure,” he explained.
Spotlight – The Fame Game airs Sunday night on Channel 7 right after The Voice