Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One will document the emotional moments for Jamie and Doug leading up to and capturing the birth of daughter Henley Grace, who was born in late August 2017 and has the distinction of being the first-ever Married at First Sight baby.
Following Henley's arrival, Jamie and Doug will be shown navigating their "new normal," experiencing all the ups and downs of parenthood.
Three years ago, Jamie and Doug met for the very first time at the altar when they exchanged vows on Season 1 of Married at First Sight. Jamie got married two years after competing for Ben Flajnik's heart on The Bachelor's sixteenth season in 2012.
Jamie and Doug proceeded to star on the spinoff Married at First Sight: The First Year from 2015-2016. Before getting pregnant with her baby girl, Jamie sadly miscarried the couple's first child, a son whom they named Johnathan.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Jamie talks about her life as a new mom and what viewers can expect to see in their new show, Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One. (Doug was unable to participate due to work obligations). Below is the concluding portion of what Jamie had to say.
Reality TV World: Married at First Sight's success rate is unfortunately very low. We haven't seen many couples stay married since Season 1. Why do you think that's the case? Since you ended up in such a great relationship, what advice would you give to future couples going on the show?
Jamie Otis: First of all, it breaks my heart that it hasn't been more successful, and I seriously wonder why too. I watch it, I mean, I'm a huge fan of the show, because obviously I wouldn't have my husband if it wasn't for Married at First Sight.
But also, I've become such a fan of these new couples and I'm rooting for them, and it breaks my heart when they're not able to stay together. I wish I knew the perfect answer of why Doug and I have become "the success couple" or whatever it is.
But I really think -- just based on my own experience with Doug -- is I know that, going into Married at First Sight, I was very, very honest about who I am. I knew I was flawed. I had commitment issues, trust issues. I went into it looking for help, genuinely looking for help from these experts, because I had trouble dating.
My mom was in a very abusive relationship and she divorced, and then I went on to take care of my siblings because my mom, you know, she had a lot going on. She was in an abusive relationship where my stepdad was in and out of jail all the time for choking her, threatening her with a gun, and just crazy things I witnessed as a kid.
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And so, I never really had a great example of a good relationship. So I knew going into Married at First Sight that I needed help... And I trusted them. I told myself, "If I'm going to do this -- and I am going to do it -- I'm going to really try to be all in for the whole 'experiment.'"
But I also told myself, as much as I value marriage, I [thought], "If I end up with a divorce, that's okay, as long as I know I gave it my all throughout the whole entire experiment..." I remember the very first night when we got married, I wasn't obviously -- it was so incredibly overwhelming to me.
But I knew why I did it and I knew what I wanted, and I also knew the experts really, really liked him. I didn't know why at first because it was so uncomfortable and awkward -- obviously I discovered why later -- but anyways, I pulled myself together and was like, "I trust the experts and I really want this."
But I remember saying to him -- because I met [Ben Flajnik] on reality TV before -- I said, "What are you doing this for? Are you in this because you just think it's a fun adventure?" Because I was on The Bachelor before and I just felt like I was very naive when I went on that show. I really believed that everyone did it for love, and that's just very naive. (Laughs)
So I said to [Doug] straightforward that night -- and I remember this vividly -- looking up into his eyes, "What are you here for? Just tell me the truth now." I was very harsh and forward like that, and he told me that he was really looking for love and marriage.
And I was like, "Okay, I can get behind that then." I think we were just very very open and honest with each other, and he was never offended when, I mean, I had a pretty crazy reaction [when I met him] unfortunately. It's funny to laugh at now because of where we're at, but it was very hard at the time.
I think what works for us is he didn't expect me to be his wife overnight. He's very patient. He was very patient with me. It's kind of wild to go through an arranged marriage. It really is. No matter how much you try to prepare for it, no matter how much you want marriage and a family, it's still scary. It scares the crap out of you.
And it would maybe be even more scary if that's what you genuinely want... So long story short, I think that we went into it knowing that we are both flawed, knowing that we are both committed, and that we both really genuinely wanted this.
I think it's public knowledge now that you have six months to divorce and they'll pay for the divorce for you. And so, we said to each other, "The experiment is six weeks." For us, it was six weeks at the time and being opposite of cameras, it was crazy.
But we told each other and promised each other that we were going to give it the full six months and then we wouldn't be hard on each other if we decided to go our separate ways. But we both just genuinely really, really wanted it, and so we were willing to put the work in and just give it the time it deserved.
I remember we got in a fight, and the producer said, "Do you want to go to your apartment? You can go to your apartment if you need space." And I was like, "No! I'm not going to go to my apartment," because we were staying at a different apartment in Manhattan, but I still had my apartment.
We always stayed under the same roof. No matter what we were going through, we treated each other like a real married couple. I can't speak for the other couples, but I can only hope that they do the same thing. If you're genuinely looking for love and marriage, it can happen, but you obviously have to put in the work. It is not a fairy tale.
Because I see the experts will give them exercises, and the couples will roll their eyes and not really do it. And it's like, I get that it's uncomfortable, but why wouldn't you do it!? These guys are the "experts" and you trust them with your life and your marriage!
So why aren't you going to do the silly exercise? Because maybe it's not so silly. So I'm rooting for them and I want them to succeed, but then I see that they're not helping themselves, so I'm like, "Come on!!" (Laughs)
Because I genuinely believe it can work. It really can. [Cortney Hendrix] and [Jason Carrion] are still happily married. Seasons 5 was amazing. I felt like it really rejuvenated the show. So I don't know why it hasn't been successful, but last season was very successful, so I hope we're going in the right direction.
Reality TV World: You mentioned earlier you'd love to have more children with Doug. Are you two on the same page about an ideal number of kids you'd like to have?
Jamie Otis: Yeah. So this is another reason why I think Doug and myself get along so well. I, right from the beginning, told him everything that I wanted. What crazy woman does that in a relationship?! (Laughs)
But I did tell him because they were different circumstances, and I was like, "Listen, I don't even want to go down this road if we're not on the same page. And I always wanted to have a very big family." Because like I said, I went through, you know, I don't have a dad.
I don't know who my dad is, so on that side, there is no family. But even my stepdad was very abusive to my mom, and that did not work out. So we really only have my mom and her side of the family, but she unfortunately -- I mean, I'm telling you, she went through such a hard time. My stepdad was awful. He was just absolutely awful to my mom.
So my mom, clearly, had trauma herself from that and ended up using as a coping mechanism. So she was the black sheep of the family, and I don't think that my extended family -- I think they all thought we were just going to follow suit and be drug addicts and drop out of high school, or whatever. But we never had any support from them.
So, long story short, the reason why I want a big family is because I really only have my siblings. And I'm so happy my mom popped out so many babies because I love my siblings. They're my whole family, and I feel like if I didn't have them, I don't know, I really wouldn't be who I am.
So I really want to give that to Henley and our future kids. I want them to have each other also. Because God forbid if anything happened, they would always have each other.
So I told Doug I want at least three or four of our own and to adopt one or two. And he's 100 percent onboard and has always been. Yeah, so we're excited to get this family going! So I hope [everyone] likes the show and that it'll be helpful and a good show!
To read the rest of Reality TV World's exclusive interview with Jamie Otis, click here and here. Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One will premiere Tuesday, December 19 at 8PM ET/PT on Lifetime.