'Married at First Sight' expert Pastor Cal: We were "flabbergasted" Chris Williams' ex-fiancee was pregnant and gave Paige Banks the option to leave the marriage
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/17/2021
Married at First Sight expert Pastor Calvin Roberson says the show's experts were "flabbergasted" when they found out Chris Williams' ex-fiancee was pregnant and gave Paige Banks the opportunity to leave the MAFS couple's marriage if she wanted.
Once Chris and his new wife Paige Banks began their honeymoon in Las Vegas, Chris was informed his ex-fiancee, Mercedes, was pregnant.
Chris reluctantly shared the news with Paige that Mercedes was six weeks along in her pregnancy, and he claimed it had been six weeks since he last interacted with his ex, whom he had been engaged to just three months before marrying a stranger in Summer 2020 on the Lifetime series.
"All three of us were just flabbergasted," Pastor Cal said of his fellow experts Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Dr. Viviana Coles during a recent appearance on Atlanta's 96.3 WHUR radio show called The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown.
"We were like, 'What in the world?!'"
During a conversation with fellow Married at First Sight groom Vincent Morales in a recent Season 12 episode, Chris clarified of his ex-fiancee, "We've been broken up since May 2020, but that wasn't the last time we had sex, for sure."
Chris said Mercedes had known about her pregnancy "for a few weeks" but didn't tell him right away.
"I mean, there's no way to find out if someone has had sex with someone else," Pastor Cal explained of the vetting and casting process.
"Once the show airs, people come out of the woodwork because they think, 'Oh, he's on TV now! Hey, I'm his ex! Hey, I did this with him!' So there are a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of moving parts to it."
Married at First Sight viewers are especially outraged because Chris decided to have sex with Paige twice -- both on their wedding night and the next morning -- after expressing to production and Paige's bridesmaids that he lacked an attraction to his wife.
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"I can't stop them from having sex," Pastor Cal explained. "We can't tell [participants] to leave. Paige was given the option to do so, but there's still so much left to be seen."
Pastor Cal added, "The only thing that we ask them is that if they decide to leave, that they allow us to keep filming them."
The Married at First Sight season has also shown Chris repeatedly boasting about himself and his accomplishments, making offensive and sexist remarks, and discussing his high expectations of a woman's physical looks and his wife's role in the bedroom.
Chris even brought up his ex-fiancee multiple times during his first conversation with Paige.
But Pastor Cal apparently believes he and the experts did as much research as they could on Chris when choosing to cast him as a groom for Season 12.
"We go through a lot of vetting... anywhere from six weeks to a month," Pastor Cal said, adding that the experts talk to potential participants' family members and "do background checks."
"You can't really dig deep enough to find out everything about everyone."
Pastor Cal elaborated, "It's not unusual for people to be in relationships and then months later, apply to be on Married at First Sight. This was not the first person who's ever done that. And some people who have done that have been successful and in fact are still married."
While some people can't believe the experts chose to cast Chris over other eligible bachelors in Atlanta, Pastor Cal clarified, "Of the people that apply, these are the ones that we choose, so all of the eligible bachelors ain't applying."
"But we can't predict how they will act when the cameras roll. We're surprised also," Pastor Cal explained at the time, referencing Chris' actions.
One of Pastor Cal's followers complained, "Why couldn't there be better representation of a black man for Paige? I'm truly disappointed at the matchmaking. You have to represent better than this for us Pastor Cal. I feel so bad for her."
Pastor Cal responded, "People surprise us. But there's always a chance for redemption."
Another individual went as far as to say Chris' casting "is an embarrassment to that poor girl and to the black community."
Viviana recently urged viewers to "chill out" and not have such "strong" reactions to the Season 12 cast's "shocking behavior," which are statements that landed unfavorably with angry fans and cast members.
Viviana later conducted an interview with The Associated Press and defended the integrity of the show and its matchmaking process after appearing dismissive of viewers' concerns about Chris and Paige.
"There have been couples who we thought were 100% -- as much as we can say that, on paper, side-by-side [and] meeting them single -- head over heels in love with each other, and they were explosive, nasty, really degrading," Viviana said.
Viviana noted she is sometimes surprised by cast members' behavior in their marriages.
"[They'd] be having conversations that made us think, 'Who are these people?'" she recalled.
When asked if there's ever a thought to pair two people together because a trainwreck could possibly happen, Viviana explained she would never want to put any Married at First Sight participants in an unsafe environment.
"If we would have actually tried to make that happen and create explosive trainwrecks, I almost feel like it could be beyond dangerous -- not just emotionally, but even physically," Viviana explained.
"And so we try to avoid that as much as possible because getting married to a stranger is explosive and dynamic and dramatic enough."
The latest Married at First Sight episode featured Paige giving Chris another chance during their Las Vegas honeymoon despite everything he had already put her through.
Paige decided to honor her vows and continue with what she believed was God's plan for her.