Every Monday for a few weeks a year, new episodes of “Married at First Sight” have fans glued to their television screens watching a group of experts pair two strangers, who marry each other without knowing each other, spend their wedding night at a hotel, and proceed onto their honeymoon to determine whether they’re compatible. The reverse approach to marriage by starting with the wedding and wedding night before proceeding to courtship to determine whether couples want to spend the rest of their lives together, has fans watching each couple keenly, looking for clues to determine how long couples will last. The show doesn’t let its audience wait long to confirm whether their guesses were right, since at the end of every season, viewers know which couple decided to stay together, and which didn’t last beyond the show’s eight-week threshold for couples to make the big decision. In its 16 seasons, the show has featured several couples who’ve made fans believe in love, and others who were doomed from the start. Here are the most successful couples in the show.
Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner
When “Married at First Sight” premiered in the United States, it attracted skeptics who faulted the entire premise of the show, arguing that it had to be scripted by producers. The skeptics were emboldened by a scandal that erupted, after multiple participants from the show’s Australian version came out saying it was all fake. One couple, Jamie and Doug, rose amidst all the accusations and skepticism to validate the show’s model. The couple proved to the disbelieving fans that Dr. Joseph, the clinical psychologist, Dr. Logan, the sexologist, Dr. Pepper, the sociologist, and Greg, the chaplain, could successfully pair two random strangers into a well-balanced and compatible couple who would remain married long after their time on the show.
Jamie and Doug were the first couple in the show, and turned out to be one of its biggest success stories yet. They were featured in the pilot episode in 2014 when the show sired on FYI, before switching from the television network to Lifetime. At the time, Jamie Otis was a 27-year-old nurse, while Doug Hehner was a 31-year-old software salesman. When the two were first paired together, viewers weren’t holding their breaths for a successful marriage, since Jamie wasn’t immediately attracted to Doug, and was reluctant to bind herself to him in marriage. However, she surrendered herself to the experts’ decision, and walked down the aisle albeit with some doubts and reservations. She wept her way into the hearts of the show’s fans when she broke down after the ceremony, and explained the genesis of her initial reservations, but promised to work on her relationship with Doug. The brave decision would become the show’s saving grace, by proving to naysayers that its model could work.
The couple married, proceeded on their honeymoon, and decided to stay together after eight weeks on the show. They established their rhythm immediately, and settled into the most authentic marriage the show has brought forth so far. Their authenticity stems from their openness – they aren’t shy about sharing the highs and lows of their marriage. In 2016, for instance, they shared their pain with their fans and followers after losing their unborn child, Jonathan, at 17 weeks gestation. They have since had two children, and shared their joy with their fans every time. They remain the longest-married couple to have met in the show to date.
Despite being fan favorites and the initial successful couple from the show, Jamie and Doug have had several close calls with separation in their marriage. They had one of those calls in 2021, when they reported that they were going through some difficult times in their marriage. Jamie blamed Doug for lying occasionally, which eroded her trust in him. Her statement that she was deflated worried the couple’s fans, but after a few therapy sessions, Jamie announced that they were working through their problems and reflecting on their roles in each other’s lives. Later in the same year, Jamie admitted to having divorce as an option that she and Doug would be willing to consider if the relationship disintegrated.
Talks of divorce in reference to the couple have died down, but Jamie and Doug have taken their fans along with them on their family adventures and milestones, most recently, living in an RV. In an Instagram post, the couple showed off their home, taking viewers on a tour of their living room area, spacious kitchen, children’s sleeping areas, and large master bedroom fitted with a washer and dryer. Ultimately, Jamie and Doug have worked hard to build a solid relationship, and remain committed to making their marriage work, for themselves and their children.
Ashley Petta and Anthony D’Amico
For four seasons, no couple matched the level of commitment, mutual love, and affection that Jamie and Doug showed until Ashley and Anthony were paired together in season 5. 30-year-old Ashley managed a family-owned bar and grill, while Anthony, who was 33 years old at the time, was a sales account executive. The couple was the perfect embodiment of love at first sight – sparks flew when the two were introduced, and they hit it off immediately. Without reservations, Ashley and Peeta rushed down to the altar with complete certainty that they were meant to be.
Fans only glimpsed the first signs of tension and disagreement in the couple after their honeymoon, when their different likes and interests threatened the picture-perfect image they portrayed. Even then, the disagreements were minor, such as Ashley ruling out the apartment Anthony believed would be perfect for them. Despite such minor disagreements, Ashley and Anthony have remained committed to each other, as evident in the regular pictures the “Petta D’Amicos,” as the couple call themselves, share with fans and followers.
In 2018, the couple was excited to announce that Ashley was expecting their first child. She delivered a healthy girl, Mila Rose D’Amico, in January 2019. The couple welcomed its second child, Vaeda Marie, in February 2021. The family of four joins Jamie and Doug in reaffirming fans’ faith in the show by showing that a happy ending is possible for participants.
Who’s excited for Thanksgiving?! 🦃 Mila looks terrified here but I promise she is super excited. We are headed to…
Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre
Jamie and Doug showed Doug being patient as Jamie caught up to him and shared his love while Ashley demonstrated love at first sight. Shawniece and Jephte showed a toned-down enemies-to-love story, when multiple arguments birthed one of the strongest bonds among participants in the show. Shawniece and Jephte gave fans several moments to laugh about, one of the most memorable being his panic when he arrived at the church and freaked out after thinking his future mother-in-law was his wife-to-be. Both parties said “I do”, despite not experiencing instant attraction to each other, and proceeded to begin their new life together.
Shawniece considered the marriage an opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother, but Jephte had some reservations over their compatibility. After a few arguments over differences, the couple elected to separate, but then got together, determined to make the marriage work. This time there was no turning back, and the couple got started on building a solid foundation for a family. Before long, they were excited to announce that they were expecting their first child, who was born in August 2018; they named the newest addition to their family Laura. From their regular posts on social media, Shawniece and Jephte have built a happy family with their daughter, who turned her father into a proud “girl dad.” The couple remains committed to each other, proving that the experts were right to match them together, despite their wildly different personalities.
Danielle Bergman and Bobby Dodd
Boring is rarely a favorable trait, but for one couple in “Married at First Sight,” the word depicts the experts’ success in bringing together two highly compatible people who fell into each other’s rhythm easily, and who haven’t grown apart since. Danielle and Bobby are synonymous with success in the show; they were introduced to viewers and each other in season 7, when at the time Danielle was a 30-year-old software salesperson, while Bobby was a 27-year-old construction project manager.
Danielle and Bobby’s first meeting on their wedding day was uneventful. They understood each other immediately and agreed on everything during and after the wedding. They were so in tune with each other that fans began to speculate that one of them was being too nice, or lacked the confidence to voice their needs and boundaries. As fans saw more of the couple, they realized that the earlier suspicions were wrong, and both partners were just good communicators, good listeners, and considerate of each other’s needs and feelings.
Married at First Sight's Danielle Bergman and Bobby Dodd Expecting First Child https://t.co/KaFHT0LuUy
— People (@people) October 23, 2018
When eight weeks lapsed and the couple was called to make the big decision to either stay together or go their separate ways, no one was surprised when Danielle and Bobby said they were staying together. Since then, they’ve built a solid foundation for their relationship based on compromise, communication, and genuine affection for each other. The only interaction that came close to a disagreement between them was the division of chores, but the couple solved the problem easily by deciding that each should do their own laundry!
Today, close to five years since their wedding on the show, the couple has grown into a family of four with daughter Olivia and son Robert. Danielle shares adorable pictures and videos of the happy family on her social media. They enjoy traveling together and their playful, gentle and affectionate interactions with each other give all indications of a perfect match, whose love for each other and dedication towards the family they have built continue to grow stronger with the passing years.
Deonna McNeill and Gregory Okotie
In season 9, the experts matched two people whose morals, religious beliefs, values, and visions for the future aligned perfectly, setting them up for a successful relationship after their time in the show. When they first met on their wedding day, Deonna was a 32-year-old operations manager, while 32-year-old Gregory owned a math learning center. The couple rivaled Danielle and Bobby in compatibility, and said their “I do’s” without reservation before heading to their honeymoon. Eight weeks later, Deonna and Gregory agreed to remain married, and left to begin their life together.
They were both great communicators, shared the same goals for their future, and understood each other in a way that other couples in the season did not. Fans weren’t surprised when they announced that Deonna was expecting their first child one year after their wedding in the show, and they welcomed Declan Okotie in March 2021. Their love, devotion, and affection towards each other have continued to grow, and are visible in their interactions with each other. They share glimpses of their daily lives and plans for their future on their YouTube channel “The Okoties.”
Ultimately, the experts in “Married at First Sight” paired several participants, but only a few couples go on to nurture successful relationships and build solid marriages. The Hehners, Petta D’Amicos, Okoties, Dodds, and Pierres are some of the couples who left an impression in the minds of viewers for their successful marriages, and continue to validate the show’s premise. The show’s executives are in the process of casting participants who hope to follow in the footsteps of these successful couples, to find their perfect and forever partner.