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The latest series of Married At First Sight UK has had more drama than an episode of EastEnders. But among the heated arguments and explosive revelations, one love story has captured the nation’s hearts.
From the moment they met at the altar, the spark between Matt Jameson, 39, and Daniel McKee, 28, was instant. That connection only went from strength to strength throughout the process. When we catch up with the pair on Zoom from Dan’s home in Northern Ireland, it’s clear from the way they look at each other that this is the real deal.
While many of the other couples faced hurdles along the way, for Matt and Dan, the experiment – in which strangers are paired up by experts and only meet for the first time when they marry in a non-legally binding ceremony – was pretty much smooth sailing. The only bone of contention was where they would live, seeing as Matt is based in Leeds and Dan is from County Antrim.
But after some long discussions, the couple have decided to settle in Northern Ireland, and they’re excited to reveal they’ll be buying a home together in the New Year. Starting a family is also very much on the cards.
So, with all this to discuss, OK! couldn’t wait to sit down with Matt and Dan to talk about their experience on the show, why adoption is right for them, and their thoughts on the other couples from the series.
Hi, Matt and Dan! We loved watching your love story unfold. Do you have any regrets?
Matt: Not at all. It’s just been the most incredible experience I’ve ever gone through.
Dan: No regrets! But I wouldn’t do it again – because I don’t need to! [Laughs] I loved every minute of it. We always say we feel very lucky as there was a lot of drama, but we got matched very well.
Have you legalised your marriage?
Matt: It’s not something we’ve done yet, but we have been discussing it.
Dan: We’ve talked about that, and about having a party with our family and friends, as we could only have a small number of people at the ceremony because of Covid. For the summer, we decided to take a step back from all our duties, including work, so we could just embrace each other’s company, and it’s made us grow even stronger.
Matt: We got married on 17 April. We started filming in April and finished at the end of June. Since then, we’ve gone between Leeds and Northern Ireland, and we’re at Dan’s parents at the moment. There’s only been a week or two where we haven’t seen each other. We took advantage of the fact we both weren’t working.
How did it feel to be the first gay couple on the show?
Dan: It’s a been a long time coming but I feel proud and privileged to have been able to do that, especially for Northern Ireland, as it’s had a bit of a bad rep at times. It was only last year that gay marriage was legalised here, so if I can fly the flag, I’ll do that 100 times over. The cast were so supportive. To have the heterosexuals cheering for us was amazing.
It’s amazing you’re planning on settling in Northern Ireland! How are you both feeling about that?
Matt: It’s very exciting. Northern Ireland is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to.
Dan: It’s so nice to be able to say it to other people! Our parents have been very patient and understanding with us. I know there’s a lot of compromise needed for Dan to move, and that’s why we’re not in a rush and we took the summer to go between our two places. In the New Year, we will look at getting a mortgage and buying a house together.
Did you have any disagreements about where to live?
Matt: We’ve obviously had to discuss it a lot and, like in any relationship, there’s been a bit of backwards and forwards. I’m a bit older and it’s a big decision for me to move away from Leeds and my family – and it’s a big decision for Dan too, for me to come to him. That’s why we didn’t go for it straightaway. Compromise has been key but we feel it’s the right decision.
Dan: It’s a big lifestyle change for Matt as well, going from a city to the sea, and I have to be understanding of that. But I got what I wanted! I went on the show to find a man to come and live this life with me. That’s what I got, and Matt wanted it, too.
Matt: We’re in a new world now where I can work remotely. Unfortunately, the charity organisation I worked for closed down when we were filming and I was made redundant, but I have a few irons in the fire with organisations in Leeds. I do a lot with events and it’s only a 40-minute flight.
Dan: I’m setting up a meditation retreat in Northern Ireland and I’ve got Matt helping. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
You’ve made it clear you both want kids. Where are you at with those conversations?
Dan: It’s something we both want and it will strengthen our relationship, but we’re also realistic about the situation. I can’t push a baby out and neither can Matt [laughs], and we need to have a set up and have our careers sorted. But it will happen. Our parents are very supportive and, if you want a family, you do need to have a strong network on both sides.
Matt: Before that, we need to find somewhere to live, I need to move over here, and we need to establish our life here together and enjoy married life.
How many children would you both like?
Matt: Dan said five kids and three dogs!
Dan: [Laughs] But realistically, I think it will be three. But let’s have one first and see how it goes!
Matt: He would be the most incredible dad and that’s why I know this is the right thing.
Have you thought about whether you’ll go down the surrogacy or adoption route?
Matt: We have. I’m really pro adoption because I have some friends who are adopted, and one thing that didn’t really come out on the show is that my mum was abandoned when she was born. She was a foundling so she was brought up in the care system. She had foster parents but she was never adopted, so that’s why I feel very strongly about adoption.
Dan: There are so many kids out there who need a home and that solid foundation. We don’t need to bring any more into the world, there are enough who are in need of love.
There was a lot of drama on the show. Did you feel uncomfortable at any point?
Matt: As you saw at the final dinner party, I did get frustrated and said a few things. It was frustrating to see people trying to pick holes in other people’s relationships and then just picking each other apart. For me it wasn’t what the process was about, it was about trying to build the relationship with the other person, not trying to destroy them. Without sounding controversial, you don’t know how real some of those people were being.
Morag Crichton was very polarising in her marriage to Luke Dawson. Was she fair?
Dan: They’re both very strong characters and you can’t fault Morag for being honest, and maybe at the beginning they weren’t a strong match. I like Morag. She’s very upfront. Some people dislike her for that, but I think you have to have a little respect for her. We all have our flaws and she’s just comfortable highlighting the negative things, and that’s a real asset to her. I think Morag has given a lot to the show and I like her.
Matt: I like Morag and Luke. I’m quite close to Luke outside the show. She came into this process and I dare say she was disappointed with the initial meeting with Luke. Even though she is brutally honest, I do think sometimes she could have articulated things in a better way. You could see Luke was hurting and struggling because of the way the relationship was going.
Did it ever feel like the drama overshadowed your journey?
Dan: I guess it creates good TV to highlight drama, but there was a lot of love, too. There were softer sides that weren’t seen. But with our situation, I think any representation as the first gay couple is strong.
Matt: We had so much fun too, and I don’t think that always came through, which is a shame. A lot of focus was on the conflict. It would have been nice to see the more fun side of Adam [Aveling] and Tayah [Victoria]. They’re really strong and had such an amazing love story. They both want to be young parents.
Dan: There really is a softer side to Franky [Spencer], too. A lot of the editing highlighted certain things he’s said, but there’s a side viewers haven’t seen.
Matt: There is something I can’t put my finger on with Amy [Christophers] and Josh [Christie]. The way Josh spoke to Amy at the final dinner party, we both said afterwards, if you had spoken to me like that, I wouldn’t have put up with it. I know it’s a heightened situation but I just think it was shocking to see – to speak to your partner like that in a public place.
Dan: With some relationships, there is a lot of toxic masculinity, and this idea of how a man should be. It was quite a negative in the show at times, like this idea of not being man enough.
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Finally, are there any filming secrets you can tell us about?
Matt: Because of Covid, we weren’t allowed out, so if we wanted any clothes, we had to get them delivered, and we had food allocations.
Dan: We got £200 a week for takeout and £100 for shopping and drinks. It felt like a long extended holiday!
Matt: Also the commitment ceremonies look really short on screen, but we were there all day from the crack of dawn filming!
The entire series of E4’s Married at First Sight UK can be streamed on All 4.
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