Married at First Sight's April Banbury has hit out at the dating show, claiming that her stint on the reality programme left her needing therapy and almost ruined her life.
Banbury filmed this series of Married at First Sight UK earlier this year, with the episodes airing over the last couple of months. Banbury has now spoken out against the dating show in a new interview with The Sun.
"The traumas I have from being on Married At First Sight are ruining my life. I was given six therapy sessions and basically told to try and move on," Banbury said. "People say Love Island is brutal, but Married At First Sight is 100 percent worse. No one should apply to take part until they put in place more stringent background checks."
Banbury was paired with George Roberts, who was later arrested for alleged controlling and coercive behaviour. Three of Roberts' ex-partners reportedly told Married At First Sight bosses that they had previously complained to the police about his behaviour. Roberts denies any wrongdoing.
Banbury said that she and Roberts broke up on August 15 this year after they returned from a holiday in Spain. She said that show bosses showed her the news stories regarding Roberts. She claims that they then told her she needed to support him.
"When the show told me about The Sun story, they told me I needed to be there to support George. I felt like they silenced me when I wanted to speak. I feel totally let down," she said.
"I have a welfare officer who is amazing, but it seemed like the production team couldn’t care less. It's like, 'Sorry your life has been ruined, here is a therapist, get over it, brush it under the carpet and move on'. I am angry."
Banbury continued: "They put this man into my life. I did not choose to have this man — they chose him for me."
Fans of the show have now started lobbying for the show's dating experts to be sacked after Roberts appeared on the show. Banbury said that she is now "trying to be positive" after her experience, but said she is not "smiling inside".
"I’m just trying to get through each day. If I slip down that dark hole I don’t think I’ll ever get out," she said.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 told The Sun that it is "categorically untrue to suggest April was asked to take a position against her wishes, nor would we seek to silence her".
The spokesperson continued: "All cast have access to appropriate support before, during and after filming and broadcast, including access to an independent psychologist.
"This support is proactively offered at every stage and, where requested, ongoing. April has been offered and continues to access such support. All contributors are subject to thorough background and psychological checks, including the most rigorous police checks a production is able to undertake."
Married at First Sight UK airs on E4 in the UK. Married at First Sight Australia airs on Nine Network in Australia and E4 in the UK.
Organisations including Women's Aid can provide further support and information on coercive control or coercive behaviour.
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