Season 12 of Married at First Sight,while not necessarily the most successful in regards to the couples matched — the majority of the marriages made it with three out of five couples staying married — wound up being the most watched season yet. That probably has a lot to do with the spectacle that was the union of Paige Banks and Chris Williams. Something that may have also been a contributor was it not being clear for a full eight weeks which couples were destined to stay together and which ones would get divorced. Nothing about this last season was really predictable. Lifetime is looking to follow that up with another group of participants they hope will draw in viewers with their love stories and drama as they navigate being married to strangers.
Moving from Atlanta, Houston is up next for Season 13. The experts, Pastor Calvin Robinson, Dr. Viviana Coles and Dr. Pepper Schwartz, selected their most diverse group of hopefuls. The biggest addition is the show’s first Asian-American couple who will incorporate a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony into their lets-meet-at-the-altar moment.
The show is sticking with five couples and two-hour episodes. This season kicks off with three weeks of content. It starts with a Matchmaking Special on July 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, then a Kickoff Special with reunion host Kevin Frazier on July 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, giving fans a closer look at the chosen participants. The actual season will premiere with a whopping three-hour episode on July 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, all on Lifetime.
It’s good to find out who all the participants are because viewers connect to them in one way or another as the season progresses, but first and foremost, we here at ESSENCE have our eyes out for the Black women and men looking for their happily ever after. Meet them, as well as the rest of the cast, below.
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Michaela, 30 & Zack, 27
Michaela is a successful realtor who after selling homes to a number of happy newlyweds, found herself desiring her own husband to share a home with. The Houston native has been matched with Zack, an H-Town transplant from Baton Rouge who was hoping to be married by the age of 25. As the years ticked away past that goal and he hasn’t found his Mrs. on his own, Zack, like Michaela, embraced an unconventional way to find a forever partner.
Gil, 35 & Myrla, 34
Born and raised in Colombia and working towards the American dream in Houston, Gil was matched with Myrla, a leadership coach. He’s hoping the experts will successfully help him start a family and live happily ever after. As for Myrla, she’s trusting fully in the insights of the MAFS experts, believing they will help her find her perfect match.
Bao, 35 & Johnny 35
The first Asian-American couple featured on the show, Bao and Johnny come in with interesting perspectives regarding marriage. Bao wasn’t interested in being anybody’s wife until she reached her 30s and now she’s seeking a life partner. Matched with Johnny, he grew up seeing the effects of divorce on his family, making him very particular about the woman he chooses to settle down with. After seven years with no luck in finding love on dating apps, he’s betting on the experts to help him find his soulmate.
Rachel, 33 & Jose, 35
Rachel has harbored some insecurities that have impacted her dating experiences, but after her last positive relationship, she’s more confident than ever and looking to be married. She just needs some help. The experts paired her with Jose, 35, who has had his own frustrating dating experiences. Tired of dealing with women who aren’t interested in anything long-term with him, he’s going through MAFS to find his Mrs. and work, soon enough, on building a family.
Brett, 33 & Ryan, 35
A Houston resident from New Jersey, Brett jumped on the opportunity to apply for ‘Married at First Sight’ when it came to her city after being a long-time fan of the series. The hopeful romantic is paired with Ryan. He comes from a large, close-knit family and is looking forward to creating his own brood with his wife so he can be a young, active father.