'Married at First Sight' Pastor Calvin Roberson: Matt Gwynne wasn't honest and told us what he wanted us to know
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/11/2019
Married at First Sight star Matthew Gwynne misrepresented himself during Season 9's casting process and wouldn't have been selected by the show's matchmaking experts if he had been honest, according to MAFS expert Pastor Calvin Roberson.
"[The experts] are seeing it in it's entirety as fans are seeing it. We have advanced knowledge of what's going on but when we actually watched it, the Matt that we saw, that's not the guy that we interviewed," Pastor Cal insisted in a recent interview with MadameNoire.
Matt, a former professional basketball player, was matched with Amber, a grade school teacher, by Married at First Sight experts Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Cal.
Pastor Cal said Matt presented himself as a different man during the casting process and so his mistreatment of wife Amber Bowles during the eight-week experiment was both surprising and disappointing for the experts.
For instance, Pastor Cal claimed the experts were not aware Matt's ties with his family were so broken. Not one member of Matt's family showed up to his wedding to Amber, and Matt seemed to have commitment issues stemming from his parents' divorce.
"[Matt] told us that he didn't have a great relationship with his parents since the divorce and we've seen that before. That wasn't really a deal-breaker for us," Pastor Cal explained.
"We didn't know that it was to this extent because he didn't tell us. His psych evaluation didn't give us a red flag either. So it was a surprise that he was that estranged from his family. His family is out of town so we figured, fine. But Matt told us what he wanted us to know."
Pastor Cal also suggested Matt liked the idea of being married in theory, according to MadameNoire, but things changed once theory became reality.
"He thought he was ready so he convinced us he was ready. In fact, he was not. I'll take the bullet for that one," Pastor Cal said.
Married at First Sight's upcoming episode on September 11 will feature "Decision Day" in which all four couples -- including Matt and Amber -- must decide whether they'd like to stay married or get divorced. And Pastor Cal isn't hiding the fact that he was rooting for Amber to leave her marriage to Matt when the "Decision Day" session was filmed.
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"Do I want Amber to get out of it? Yes. I'm the guy who fights for marriages. As much as I believe in marriages, I believe in having a healthy self-confidence even more," Pastor Cal told MadameNoire.
"If you're not a healthy person, you're going to make a lousy partner. And I want these people to be healthy."
Pastor Cal told MadameNoire the experts were worried about Amber's self-esteem and mental state during filming but they offered her a great deal of counseling off-camera. Sometimes the counseling sessions between the cast and experts would last upwards of 90 minutes.
"We will not force anyone to be in a marriage when they really don't want to be there," Pastor Cal noted.
Season 4 couple Heather Seidel and Derek Schwartz, for example, quit Married at First Sight midway through the marriage experiment due to their differences.
"If they really feel like it's over, it's over," Pastor Cal told the website. "I don't want that responsibility of forcing somebody to be in something where there are going to be emotions destroyed."
But Pastor Cal also noted the experts can't force a couple to split up either.
"We can't make people leave," he explained. "We can't vote them off of the island [laughs]. It's not that show. But these are people who actually want their marriages to work. They actually want to stay in it."
As for Amber and Matt specifically, Pastor Cal revealed the experts were worried about Amber's well-being during the marriage and let her know she could throw in the towel at any point before "Decision Day."
Halfway through Season 9, the four couples were even given an out through a new twist called "Recommitment Day," in which each couple met with the show's experts and was required to deliberately recommit to the marriage or call it quits prematurely.
Given Matt had been shown staying out all night without even calling or texting his wife by that point in the season, the twist seemed specifically designed to give Amber and Matt an early exit from their marriage -- however neither one of them opted to take it.
"We are giving these individuals a lot of support off camera. Even with Amber, there have been numerous conversations with her about the situation, about her having the opportunity to leave, about how she's feeling about it," Pastor Cal told MadameNoire.
"I told her to speak up for herself. 'Amber, your voice is important. Don't say something and then take it back when you're in his presence because you want it to work.' And as much as we tell them that, that's what they do. That's what she did."
Pastor Cal said Married at First Sight's experts attempt to give each married couple the tools they need to resolve their own conflicts. Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre from a previous season, for instance, had serious issues but managed to work through them as a team.
"They followed the counseling. Matt did not," Pastor Cal said. "Matt's just not listening."
Pastor Cal insisted, however, the experts and Married at First Sight producers would certainly step in if emotional abuse turned into physical violence.
"It goes without saying," Pastor Cal noted.
Pastor Cal also insisted the show's couples are not matched with the hope drama will ensue.
"I've got a reputation," Pastor Cal told MadameNoire. "[Dr. Pepper Schwartz] and Dr. Viviana, we all do this outside of the show. I'm not trying to pollute the idea of marriage by choosing people just for the drama."
Married at First Sight can also be an extremely stressful situation for cast members involved considering cameras are always around and they're newly married to complete strangers.
Pastor Cal said it's impossible to predict how certain people will react to the pressures and behave in this environment during the casting process.