Grimsby’s Brad Skelly admits he ‘wasn’t in love’ with MAFS co-star

For Grimsby model Brad Skelly, his stint on Married At First Sight UK hasn’t been easy.

The E4 dating show has thrust the 27-year-old into the limelight and many viewers have criticised his tumultuous relationship with co-star Shona Manderson. Initially, the couple won the hearts of fans, who believed their connection to be ‘electric’ and ‘special’, due to their instant chemistry and shared love of spirituality.

However, after things took a turn for the worst, Channel 4 confirmed the couple left the show when the experts agreed the relationship was unhealthy. As the show continues to air, Brad Skelly has admitted that he was in fact never in love with Shona and was confusing the feeling with lust, due to the ‘highly emotional environment’.


After only a short time together, Brad and Shona were proclaiming their love for each other and discussing pregnancy. The intensity of their relationship was picked up on by fellow castmates, who grew tired of their PDA and romantic speeches.

When Brad made comments about Shona being ’emotionally immature’, tensions erupted in the group. Uncomfortable scenes then saw Brad tell his new wife Shona to ‘shut up’ when she expressed her worry about other contestants not liking them as a couple.

Further comments and his use of language resulted in Brad facing backlash from furious fans and the Women’s Aid charity even released a statement commending the experts for calling him out on the dangerous language used. After days of intense scrutiny, Channel 4 confirmed he was booted from the show.

Brad has since spoken to The Mirror about his time on the show and how he was portrayed in a negative light. He admitted he was never in love with the teacher, but the “highly emotional environment” with “no external influences and guidance” made it easy to confuse lust with love.

He told The Mirror: “I most definitely can confirm that I wasn’t in love, but at that time, it was a strong feeling of lust that I got confused with. Yeah, because you haven’t got a lot of external influences or guidance like you have on the outside world like on the outside world you have a lot of freedom and flexibility to actually find out if that’s the case.

“You know, when in there I was really trying to make it work. So I think a lot of the time with me saying these things I was trying my hardest, you know, to really make things work but I was really trying to navigate myself to be fair.”

Brad told wife Shona: "Nothing's more than the universe to me."
Brad told wife Shona: “Nothing’s more than the universe to me.”

However, he understood why he received a lot of backlash for the way he spoke to/about Shona. The model claimed he “never intended” to “project certain terminology”. Agreeing with the experts for calling him out and correcting him, he said: “I agree with what they’re saying [about his controlling language].

“So the way that I project certain terminology, however, is never intended that way. So for me, when I expressed that if ‘I allow Shona to do this, then she will never learn’, yeah, it was more so the whole conversation was coming from the heart and a sense of, well, if me and Shona are a partnership, and we’re sort of trying to look out for each other, it’s in each other’s best interests to sort of have each other’s back, you know.

“So if we allow each other to go rogue or to want to guide each other, you know what I mean? So if we allow each other to fall into situations, that we’re aware of we will both never learn. It was obviously snipped at the part where I said that and I can completely understand how it looks.”

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After days of backlash, Channel 4 released a statement confirming Brad exited the series. They said: “The couple’s exit plays out in the show. It was agreed alongside experts Paul, Mel and Charlene that the intensive Married at First Sight environment was not working for the couple and it was the right time to leave the experiment.

“The relationships on Married At First Sight UK are closely monitored off-screen, by production and an independent psychologist. If any of the relationships develop in a way that is deemed to be potentially unhealthy for either party, we would take expert psychological advice as to whether it was time for them to leave the process.

“The welfare of all contributors on Married at First Sight UK is our top priority and we ensure that appropriate support is available to contributors at all times during filming, including 24/7 access to a member of the welfare team or psych support.”

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