Nine Network’s ‘Married at First Sight’ is an experimental Australian reality show that follows a team of experts as they perform social experiments wherein two absolute strangers are paired together to see if sparks fly. Mark Ellam and Monica Vanderkley matched as a part of the experiment in the first episode of season 3. The couple had fun and almost seemed to click from the get-go. This led the pair to decide to agree to walk down the aisle together within no time. But, could the couple continue holding on to their equation even after marriage?
Monica and Mark’s Bond Faced its Share of Ups and Downs on the Show
Project Manager Monica and firefighter Mark, both native to Sydney, decided to walk down the aisle after their initial encounter and were intent on giving their best to see whether they were compatible. Then-30-year-old Mark, who has always had a way with women and had spent years scouting the dating scene, hadn’t found much luck with his perfect someone, so he opted for the arranged marriage route. Considering the years of experience the experts possess, Mark decided to trust their match for him and took a leap of faith.
Mark and Monica, who was 28 at the time, got married at the altar and were sent to Lord Howe Island for their honeymoon, and all seemed quite rosy. The pair connected through their humor and easygoing fun-loving attitude. They quickly bonded over their busy lifestyles, lame jokes, and nerdy hearts. However, their casual bonding also prevented the pair from holding serious discussions. This eventually led Monica to wonder whether he saw her as a potential lifelong partner. Mark assured her that his feelings for her were genuine and strong and promised to put in an effort to form a deeper connection. The couple soon went on a trip to Monica’s hometown and the two grew close after Monica shared with him the circumstances surrounding her father’s death and the impact it left on her.
Despite this, Monica still harbored doubts about their intellectual connection but Mark assured her that he was clear about where they stood as a couple. However, he also acknowledged his flaw in trying to brush off her attempts at getting serious and promised to try and be more open. Though not completely convinced, she agreed to see where the relationship would go and said “I do” after he shared his wish to continue.
Monica and Mark are Leading Happy Lives Separately
No, Monica and Mark chose to go their separate ways and decided to call it quits amicably. Once the cameras were turned off, the former pair realized that they had conflicting personalities. A few weeks after the show concluded, the pair decided to take some hard calls on where their relationship was headed. While they did catch up a few times to see if things could work out, the two soon realized that they were not as compatible as lovers. Since the two had bonded well as friends, they decided to continue to remain so.
In an interview with The Fix, Mark said, “It just basically comes down to a lot of what we bonded over and a lot of what we sort of created our relationship about was the TV show.” He further stated, “Once the experiment finished, we didn’t really have as much in common as we really wanted to have in common… We never actually had a disagreement. We always got along, but you need to be more than just get along. You need to really build on that, and we really didn’t go any further.”
Accentuating the fact that they share a friendly bond despite the split, Monica added, “I still have a lot of respect for Mark, and I think he’s a great person.” Monica, who had opened up about her struggles with body image on her social media, spoke to Daily Mail Australia about it and shared that though she’d never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, she did come under the category of “over-exercising.” The petite starlet has since then made a remarkable journey of self-discovery and recovery. She actively advocates for women who have gone through similar situations and encourages them to share their stories.
Monica further said, “It’s something I feel strongly about and it is a message that should be spread.” She continues to reside in Sydney and has also found love again with Ned Moorfield since October 15, 2022. The couple have an adorable baby boy named Vance. Monica now spends most of her time running marathons, living the life of a yogi, and being an active advocate of health and wellness. The wine enthusiast chooses to maintain a low profile. Although she has social media accounts to her name, Monica is quite private about the content she shares.
Mark, on the other hand, also chose to work on himself after his tryst with an arranged marriage failed to work. Even since the couple broke up, he has actively been hitting the gym to get in shape for the charity firefighter’s calendar of 2017 and has been maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The firefighter also found love anew and is in a happy space concerning his personal life. However, he has refrained from sharing further details about the special someone in his life. Like Monica, Mark also prefers to lead a low-profile life after his stint on reality television ended; despite having a social media presence, he likes to keep things private.