'Married at First Sight' star Amber Bowles: I was shocked Matt Gwynne didn't end our marriage on Recommitment Day (Exclusive Interview)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/04/2019
Married at First Sight star Amber Bowles is opening up about her marriage to Matthew Gwynne on Season 9 of the Lifetime reality series, including whether she was surprised Matt didn't take an early out from their relationship on "Recommitment Day."
Amber, a 27-year-old eighth grade English teacher, and Matt, a 32-year-old professional basketball player started off their marriage on a high note, as Married at First Sight's ninth season showed a mutual physical attraction and desire to put roots down in North Carolina.
But about halfway through the eight-week Married at First Sight process, Matt began staying out late at night with his friends and even refused to come home to Amber.
The first time Matt disappeared for 24 hours, he left his wedding ring at home and his new wife -- who fears abandonment -- in hysterics. She felt unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.
But Amber let Matt off the hook with a simple apology and declaration he wouldn't fail to communicate his whereabouts with her again. (Matt did subsequently disappear at least a couple more times, but his texting or calling did seem to improve).
The pair grew to discover they lacked emotional intimacy in their relationship, but Amber seemed to be the only spouse desperate to make a deeper connection. She claimed Matt often said the right thing but his actions spoke differently.
However, both spouses were given an option to end their marriage early on Married at First Sight's new twist called "Recommitment Day."
Despite the struggles they were going through, they both decided to stay together and attempt to make things work.
Heading into the next Married at First Sight episode on September 4, only a week remains until "Decision Day," when each couple must decide once and for all whether they'd like to stay married or get a divorce.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Amber talked about Recommitment Day, the red flags in her marriage to Matt, and why she gave him so many chances. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: It almost seemed like Married at First Sight created Recommitment Day specifically to give you and Matt an early out given things were going so poorly.
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Were you surprised Matt didn't decide to take it, and how close did you come to considering it?
Amber Bowles: I was extremely surprised Matt didn't take the out on Recommitment Day. I think he and I were confused about the concept and didn't realize this was an out without strings attached.
I almost asked [Dr. Viviana Coles] if I could walk away, but I didn't... I've never quit anything in my life.
Reality TV World: Did Matt really hang out with his friends essentially every day, and did you ever try and speak with him about changing that behavior?
And to the best of your knowledge, did he spend any of the eight-week period working on the business he had said he was trying to start?
Amber Bowles: Matt hung out with one particular friend every day and would party every night. I spoke to him about my concern that his priorities were focused on friends and not on getting to know me... his wife who was still a stranger.
As far as his business goes, I know for a fact that throughout the eight weeks, the only thing Matt did was open a business bank account.
Reality TV World: You often said Matt's actions didn't line up with his words, and sometimes you thought he was "blowing smoke," like when he told the other couples at the retreat you two had established "a deep, meaningful connection."
Could you elaborate on how Matt was different on-camera than off-camera, and do you think he was just focused on preserving his image?
Amber Bowles: On camera, Matt would say all sorts of wonderful things about me and about how he felt like we were such a great couple and about how we had so much in common.
Off-camera, his personality is more dry, quiet and reserved.
Reality TV World: Looking back at things now, would you still have made the same decisions and kept giving Matt additional chances and been as incredibly flexible with him as it seemed you were again, or would you handle anything differently?
If so, what -- and why do you think you made the decisions you made at the time?
Amber Bowles: Looking back on things now (and being honest about who I am as a human), I probably would have handled things similarly. Had Matt and I met on a dating app, I don't think we would have made it past the first date.
But since I was married to him, I was committed to making this relationship work because I trusted that the experts put him in front of me for a reason.
I know I made the decisions that I made at the time because I felt like the experts saw us as a match, and I wanted to explore that and make sure that I gave it 100 percent before I gave up on the relationship completely.