Would you marry a man on the day you meet? Three women, including New York project manager Monet Bell, 33, did just that on the FYI series Married at First Sight. After going from strangers to spouses at the altar and living together for five weeks, Bell and her new husband Vaughn Copeland, 30, decided to end their month-long marriage on last night's finale. In an exclusive interview, the bride-turned-divorcée shares why she said “I do” to a stranger, her biggest lesson learned and if she regrets having sex on her wedding night.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve had quite an experience over the last few months. What made you say yes to marrying someone you never met?
MONET BELL: A friend heard about a show that was casting singles and sent it my way. I thought it was an experiment about dating in the city, so I said sign me up. Once there, we were in workshops with experts when they shared the premise of the show. It really took me no time to decide that I was going to do it. I was dating on my own for a while and not meeting Mr. Right, so if I have the opportunity to have four experts assess me and find a match from a scientific standpoint, the reward would outweigh the risks.
ESSENCE.com: Last night we saw you decide to end your marriage. When did you know this wasn’t going to work?
BELL: It really wasn't clear until the end during the last week. He and I got to a place where we realized we weren’t a match. I really fought as long as I could for it to last. Five weeks wasn't enough time for us to be able to really asses each other especially seeing that we were arguing most of the time. I wonder what would have happened if there were no cameras.
ESSENCE.com: You caught some flack for having sex on your wedding night with your husband you met the same day. Do you regret it?
BELL: I stand by that. I know people say, oh well, you guys didn't know each other. But I did know a lot about him. We both went through an extremely intense evaluation process. We already had a bond because everything I went through, he did too. Then we got married and the connection was there. We didn't plan on having sex. It just naturally happened and I don't regret it because in that moment, I was happy. I saw my husband. He was handsome. We didn't make love but we had sex and it was awesome. I wouldn't change it.
ESSENCE.com: We have to ask. Are you really going through an actual divorce?
BELL: Yeah. It is a real divorce. And it hurts. When I walked into this, I said I come from a family legacy of long marriages. So deciding to get married, wasn’t a whim. I did not plan for divorce. This hurts. People have said I didn’t show a lot of emotion on the show. Just because you're not seeing it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. We were both angry because we couldn't figure out how we even got to the point where we are divorcing.
ESSENCE.com: How are you and Vaughn now?
BELL: We are good. He and I finally had an opportunity to talk where no cameras are rolling. We apologized to each other for the parts we played in how things ended. We might not be the best match for each other but we still have love for each other.
ESSENCE.com: What would you have changed about your marriage?
BELL: The number one thing I would do different is starting off learning to be friends with each other as oppose to acting like a married couple or whatever we thought a married couple was. That was the biggest mistake made. We should have been trying to be friends as oppose to being a married couple.
ESSENCE.com: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?
BELL: I am going to take my time. I'm going to have patience and I'm going to be more specific in what I want and maybe explaining myself better for the things that I want out of the man.
ESSENCE.com: So are you ready to date again?
BELL: Well, technically it's a little complicated to date when I'm still legally married. It has been a lonely few months with the show still on air. I kept my wedding ring on but went home to an empty bed. Once we are divorced, you can rest assure that I am ready to get back on the horse. I still believe in love and now better prepared for marriage.
ESSENCE.com: Would you do this all over again if given the chance?
BELL: Yes. I would do this again in a heartbeat. This was one of the best things I could have done. You want to talk about getting to know yourself? Put yourself in an intensive five-week crash course of marriage. I have never even lived with a man before. The first man I lived with was my husband. You don't even know the things that you didn't know about yourself until you get married.
Are you interested in enlisting science to help you find a husband? Apply to be featured on season 2 of Married at First Sight.