UK Married At First Sight couple: ‘The experts got it spot on – now we’re having a baby!’

Ally Acklan and Paul Todd were devastated when their TV wedding was cancelled – but it didn’t stop them falling in love…

married at first sight ally and paul

by Sophie Barton |
Published on

A year ago, Ally Acklan was preparing to marry a man she’d never met. She’d signed up to Channel 4 show Married At First Sight and couldn’t wait to start life with her mystery partner.

But due to the pandemic, the wedding was cancelled at the eleventh hour, leaving Ally distraught.

Yet Paul Todd, her love match, refused to give up. The train driver asked TV producers to put the pair in touch and they consequently fell in love over Skype. Now, nearly a year later, they are expecting their first baby and couldn’t be happier.

Ally tells Closer, “It’s mind-blowing – this pregnancy is such an amazing surprise. When our wedding was cancelled, I was devastated. I’d never have believed that a year down the line, Paul and I would have found each other and be having a baby girl. I longed to fall in love and start a family, and now that dream’s come true.”

When Ally applied for Married At First Sight in 2019, she’d been single for three years. The UK version of the controversial dating show is slightly different to the scandal-filled series Down Under.

In both shows applicants are put through rounds of rigorous interviews and tests, before being paired up by a panel of matchmaking gurus, and then meeting for the first time on their wedding day.

But the Australian version of the hit show sees all the married couples mixing together at weekly dinners and commitment ceremonies, which provides explosive reality TV, whereas the UK version doesn’t have that and is treated as more of a serious experiment.

Ally, 35, says, “I’d had a four-year relationship that ended in my 20s. I really wanted to meet someone and settle down and loved the idea that a panel of experts would find my perfect match.

“I said I wanted someone kind, loving and romantic, and in January last year, the show’s psychologist said they’d found me my perfect fit. All I knew was that his name was Paul.”

Over the next six weeks, Ally was filmed choosing her wedding dress and enjoying a hen party with her four bridesmaids.

She says, “I knew the wedding venue was in London, but the exact location was kept a secret. I was nervous, but I didn’t have any doubts. I trusted the experts and my family were supportive, too.”

married at first sight uk couple
There was an instant attraction between the couple

But in the same week in March that the wedding was planned, fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic were heightening, forcing the production company to cancel the ceremony with just three days’ notice. Ally says, “Two other couples had married the weekend before and I wish it had been us. Although I didn’t know Paul, I already thought of him as my husband. I was devastated to think we might never meet.”

Thankfully, the pair met online over Skype the following week. “I wore a black jumper and red lipstick,” recalls Ally, from Worthing, Sussex. “I was so nervous, I felt sick! When I finally saw Paul for the first time I thought, ‘Wow, he’s attractive’, then the conversation just flowed. He told me about Weston Super-Mare, where he lives, and we spoke about why we’d applied for the show.”

Over the next few weeks, the couple chatted for three hours every day.

She says, “We had so much in common, from our love of dogs to motorbikes. Paul made me smile through lockdown and we’d Skype while going out for local walks, showing off our neighbourhoods to each other.

“Three weeks after we met, Paul posted me a love poem with a note saying he was falling in love with me. I texted him straight away to say I felt the same. We even talked about starting a family.”

In July, four months after they should have married, the couple finally met as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Ally says, “I was already working from home with my job in insurance, so it was easy for me to work remotely. We decided to bubble up and he came to collect me. When his car pulled up, I was so excited I jumped in and kissed him straight away! There was an instant physical connection.

“Over the next few weeks, we cooked for one another and took Paul’s labradoodle Ozzy for walks. I missed my family, but we were so happy I decided to stay.”

Check out: Married At First Sight Australia - which couples are still together?


Which Married At First Sight Australia couples are still together? - slider

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?1 of 12

Sam Ball and Elizabeth Sobinoff

Sam and Elizabeth might not have lasted, as Sam seemed far more interested in Ines. But Lizzie was the true winner - she was so popular with viewers she appeared on the next series of the show, finding love with Seb Guilhaus. But, sadly, they split earlier this month after a year together.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?2 of 12

Cyrell Jimenez and Nic Jovanovic

'Cyclone Cyrell' and Nic's tumultuous relationship was, sadly, not to last. But prepare for another reality TV crossover, as Cyrell now has a baby with Love Island runner-up Eden Dally.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?3 of 12

Lauren Huntriss and Matthew Bennett

One of the biggest storylines this season was about Matthew and his virginity, as he was repeatedly labelled as 'virgin'/'ex-virgin' Matt by the narrator. Anyway, Matthew was matched with Lauren - who, yes, he lost his virginity to - but it all went horribly wrong when Lauren heard Matthew telling the other guys at dinner that he wasn't sexually attracted to Lauren. AWKWARD. Lauren is still a make-up artist, we don't know if she's dating anyone. But on the other hand, self-confessed fitness enthusiast Matthew is loved up with a new girlfriend - who he met at a wrestling tryout.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?4 of 12

Mike Gunner and Heidi Latcham

Mike and Heidi's relationship was one which could have gone either way, but after the show, the pair split - announcing the sad news at the post-finale reunion special. 'Right after the final vows, Heidi and I went back to the Gold Coast together but it didn't take long and the wheels started coming off,' Mike explained. Heidi has said she hasn't spoken to her former husband since. From the looks of their Instagram pages, they still look single.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?5 of 12

Cam Merchant and Jules Robinson

Oh, Cameron and Jules. From the minute Jules and Cam had their first wedding dance without any music, we had an inkling they were in it for the long haul. And we were right! The pair now have a baby together, who was born in October last year, and tied the knot properly after the show. So, yes - sometimes this wild experiment does work.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?6 of 12

Melissa Lucarelli and Dino Hira

Probably the worst matched couple on the series, it isn't shock the pair called it quits on the show after Dino allegedly recorded a conversation Melissa was having with her sister about the wedding day. It appears both are still single.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?7 of 12

Martha Kalifatidis and Michael Brunelli

Martha and Michael were an extremely drama free pair (in comparison to everyone else) so it's no shock that they have actually managed to stay together. Yay!

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?8 of 12

Ning Surasiang and Mark Scrivens

Eek. Another very up and down pair, Ning and Mark's relationship dissolved during the final commitment ceremony - with Mark dumping Ning, much to her shock. Following the show, Mark moved on with another former reality star, Bianca Chatfield – who appeared on home renovation show The Block. And Ning also has a new partner.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?9 of 12

Susie Bradley and Billy Vincent

Susie and Billy were one of the couples who married later in the experiment. From the get go, Susie kept on calling Billy awkward - even calling him a deeb at one point on their honeymoon. They split before the final commitment ceremony. Susie is now dating former rugby pro Todd Carney and they have a baby on the way. However, Billy appears to be single.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?10 of 12

Ines Basic and Bronson Norrish

We knew this relationship wasn't going to last from the moment Ines asked Bronson to take out his eyebrow ring. Ines went on to have an affair with Sam, which Sam has since claimed was faked by producers, and it all came out during an explosive commitment ceremony. Bronson is now a lot happier with girlfriend Hayley Wallis. And from her Instagram, Ines looks to be single at the moment.

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?11 of 12

Jessika Power and Mick Gould

Major cracks started to show in Mick and Jessika's relationship, then Jessika went after one of the newly weds, Dan. Not a shock that Jessica and Mick didn't survive then…(Neither did her affair with Dan, btw.)

What Happened To The Couples From Married At First Sight Australia Season Six?12 of 12

Dan Webb and Tamara Joy

After these two fell apart thanks to Jessika and Dan's affair, Tamara was linked to Jessika's ex, Mick. The drama never stops.

Then, in October, Ally discovered she was pregnant. She says, “We were surprised, but felt so blessed too. I had terrible morning sickness at first and felt wiped out, but Paul cooked and looked after me.”

Last month, a scan revealed the pair are expecting a girl and have decided they’ll name her Penelope, after Ally’s mum. Ally says, “She’s due in June and, last week, I felt her kick for the first time. The pregnancy has brought us even closer together.

“Paul hasn’t proposed yet, but when we do marry, I’ll definitely wear the dress I bought for the show. Sadly though, this time I won’t have a TV production company to organise our wedding for us!”

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Of the other couples who managed to tie the knot on the show, Michelle Walder, 26, and Owen Jenkins, 32, are still happily married almost a year on. Meanwhile, David, 56, and Shareen, 47 – who were the oldest couple to appear on the show – split after just 48 hours.

Ally says, “We watched the series, and it made us very thankful that we’re together and excited that we still have a wedding to look forward to.

“I can’t believe I’ve found Mr Right and fallen pregnant, thanks to the show, in less than a year. I’ve found my happy-ever -after and I’m so thankful to the experts for matching us.”

Paul adds, “I was so disappointed when our wedding was cancelled and told producers that if they didn’t put us in touch, I was prepared to message every Ally on Facebook until I found the woman I was supposed to marry! Now, I feel so lucky I have to pinch myself. Ally’s such a beautiful person and I can’t wait to be a dad.”

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Matchmaker Paul C Brunson: ‘We knew instantly that they were a perfect match’

Paul C Brunson

Married At First Sight’s professional matchmaker, Paul C Brunson, says, “Paul and Ally are an incredible couple. We all knew it – Jen, Angela (the other matchmakers on the show) and myself had no debate. We knew instantly that they were a perfect match.

“Ally and Paul, as well as another couple, were supposed to get married on a weekend. We were preparing for the wedding - I’d even picked out my tuxe! – then, two days before, because of the growing concern surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the wedding had to be cancelled. It was crushing for everyone.

“But I have high hopes for them and wish them all the best.”

Follow Ally and Paul on Instragram at @unseen_couple.

Get the best celeb interviews in Closer magazine each week.

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