Brett and Angel: a MAFS success story
Brett and Angel: a MAFS success story

Pop CultureMay 25, 2024

At home with Brett and Angel, Married at First Sight NZ’s ‘fairytale’ couple

Brett and Angel: a MAFS success story
Brett and Angel: a MAFS success story

Alex Casey takes a trip to Lincoln to visit the only couple from the first season of Married at First Sight NZ that’s still together. 

To cross the threshold into Brett and Angel’s marital abode is to be greeted with a welcome that sums up the MAFSNZ season one golden couple perfectly. “Come on in,” the doormat exclaims, “we’re awesome!” 

The pair meet me at the door with huge bear hugs, both wearing Crocs studded with matching Lincoln FC Jibbitz. As we go to sit down at their kitchen table, Brett turns off a noisy plastic hedgehog toy, placing it down on a tiny table near a stack of soft coloured blocks. Their daughter Vienna is with Nana for the morning, but she’s clearly got awesome vibes too. 

Looking across their sun-soaked 10-acre Lincoln lifestyle block, I posit to the pair an eerie Sliding Doors inspired thought: none of this would be here if they hadn’t both applied for Married at First Sight NZ nearly seven years ago. “Sometimes I just forget that that’s how we met because it’s been so long now,” Brett laughs. “I never think about meeting Angel on a TV show, it wouldn’t even cross my mind. I can go a whole year and not think about MAFS once.” Angel admits she thinks about it slightly more often, and gets “goosebumps” if she ponders it too hard.

Angel and Brett on their wedding day (Photo: Supplied)

Fans of season one of Married at First Sight NZ will remember the pair’s competing giant grins and relentlessly sunny disposition, even when faced with catty cliques and explosive dinner parties. He was a woodworking boy from the South, she was a marketing girl from the North, and both recall throwing in an application video off the cuff. “I just grabbed my phone one day at work and said I ran a side business, that I was 32 and looking to settle down – that was about it,” says Brett. “It was pretty short and sweet.”

Angel says she was “frigging young” at just 26 when she applied for the show. “I’d lived a pretty crazy life, I’d lived overseas for years, I’d already done a lot of shit,” she laughs. Already a big reality romance fan, she didn’t like the idea of having to fight over one person as with formats like The Bachelor. “I loved with Married that there was this deeper commitment to it, and I loved that whoever was going on this was probably wanting to settle down.” Both admit that they had a very similar, open-minded attitude to going on the show. 

“The way we’ve always approached life is really random and out the gate,” says Angel. “We’re pretty optimist, glass half-full people. Life can throw us anything and we don’t really blink eyes about it.” Although she didn’t have a particular type she was looking for, Angel did have one serious caveat when it came to her “icks” in a man. “I remember the only thing I said was that I didn’t want anyone that started their day with a Red Bull and a pie,” she cackles. “But Brett starts his day with a Pepsi Max and a pie, so that’s OK.” 

Brett and Angel and Cashew (Photo: Alex Casey)

Brett only got cast two weeks before the wedding. “It was just like ‘alright, you’re flying up tomorrow to Auckland to meet the team’. It was quite cleverly done, they don’t really give you any time to think about it.” Elsewhere in Auckland, Angel had been flown up to choose her wedding dress. “I was only allowed to try on three dresses at the shop so I was just like ‘shit a brick’,” she laughs. “The first one was really classic, the second one was total marshmallow queen, and in the last one I looked like a sausage stuck in casing.” 

The night before their wedding, both of them recall having feelings of anxiety and restlessness in their hotel rooms. “I could barely sleep,” says Angel, who had also just experienced the first spray tan of her life. “But my sister was freaking out even more than me because she’d been married before.” Brett was so worried about sleeping through his 5am alarm that he made his best man sleep in his room with him. Neither of them knew where they were getting married the next day. “They were hectic organising six weddings at once, so the communication wasn’t great.” 

As it turns out, they were to be married in romantic Kumeu. Brett arrived first, and remembers being offered a shot of coffee tequila on arrival to take the edge off. “Then I had to go up and stand at the altar for ages and ages without any of my groomsmen, the bastards.” Meanwhile Angel and her Dad were nattering away in an old vintage car as it crawled towards the venue. I ask if she can remember the first moment she saw Brett. “Oh man,” she laughs, blinking back giant, happy tears. “It was just fricking crazy, I just remember this really big smile.”

The first time Brett and Angel saw each other. (Photo: Alex Casey)

While Angel wipes her tears, our chat is interrupted with a knock at the door – Brett’s Mum is cradling their two-year-old daughter Vienna, who is crying. She hasn’t had a happy morning, and needs her parents. Immediately the pair both shoot out of their seats and activate MAFS Mum and Dad mode, Brett popping Shrek on the telly and Angel pulling a syringe of baby medicine and loading up a tray with snacks and sucky yoghurt pouches. I offer to leave, but they insist that she’ll be fine in a few minutes – as promised, neither are blinking eyes about it. 

We retire to their lounge area as Vienna snuggles into Brett on the couch, Angel nearly vanishes into a giant forest green beanbag and Shrek and Donkey make their way to Duloc. Where were we? Their first looks at the wedding. “Straight away I was just like ‘yeah, sweet’,” laughs Brett. “She looked good.” The first interaction they had was a slightly confused one, with Angel asking “how are you” twice and Brett simply replying “I am 34”. 

Later, during their newlywed photoshoot, Brett recalls another near-flub when he was asked to pick up his bride. “I’d been awake since 4.30am, I’d hardly eaten, I was so nervous, I’d had a tequila shot, so I picked her up and I’m just standing there like ‘oh my god, I’m going to pass out’.” 

Even with the presence of TV cameras and blue tape on the soles of their rental shoes to ensure they didn’t get dirty, the pair remember the wedding feeling very natural. “The number one question we still get is ‘are you ever going to have an actual wedding’ and we’re just like nah, that was good. Why would we bother doing it all again?” The families and friends mingled and revelled in the open bar and, despite most of the filmed reception being soundtrackless due to rights issues, they were allowed to play ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse for their first dance. 

Then came the honeymoon in Adelaide, where the pair finally got some alone time without cameras. “We were really lucky because the plane was delayed. So we almost had like six or eight hours to talk and get to know each other and ask each other all these big life questions,” says Brett. “I remember this old woman looking at us like ‘are you two ever going to shut up’.” 

They spent their honeymoon at a famous filming location for McLeod’s Daughters, where Brett recalls being wined and dined with haute cuisine and premium plonk, when all he wanted was “mashed potatoes, sausages, peas” and a can of Diet Coke. His Southern charm continued to shine when it came time to tip their gracious host. “I thought I would give him this big bag of nuts,” he roars. “It wasn’t nuts, it was scroggin,” corrects Angel. “She’s given me shit about that for seven years, but I still reckon he was a big bag of nuts guy.” 

When they returned to New Zealand, their MAFS experience got even nuttier. While they had been babbling in bubble baths, almost all the other couples had hit the rocks already. “We came back from our honeymoon and went to that first dinner party, and everyone was just at each other’s throats,” remembers Angel. “We did feel a bit bad that our relationship was going well when everyone else was crumbling around us. We really didn’t want to be all lovey dovey and rub it in their faces.” 

Brett and Angel on their honeymoon (Photo: Supplied)

They both knew they had fallen in love early on, but wanted to wait to tell each other after the show had finished filming. “We wanted to keep something for us, given that we were opening up everything else for everyone.” The moment came when they were holed up in an Auckland hotel room, watching the latest MAFS episode together after doing a day of publicity. “I remember that I said it first, but then Brett tried to beat me to it,” laughs Angel. “It’s just three words, but we just knew,” he says, patting Vienna’s curls as she snoozes.

Visiting each other in secret while the show was airing, Brett and Angel soon captured the hearts of the nation. “The fandom was real, and that puts lots of pressure on you as a couple when you’re still trying to get to know each other,” Angel says. “We also didn’t realise we were literally going to be the only ones who made it, so that put even more of a spotlight on us,” adds Brett. In one of the most divine showings of public support, there was even a sign outside an Auckland church saying “God loves you as much as Brett loves Angel”.

The show finished airing in November, and Angel had moved down to Lincoln before Christmas. It was the talk of the town – the local gas station also erected a sign that proclaimed WELCOME TO LINCOLN ANGEL. Then came their French bulldog Cashew, their first home, a massive group of friends and eventually their daughter Vienna. “We’ve been in baby jail for a year and we’re just emerging now,” laughs Angel. “We love a good concert – we’re going to Pearl Jam, Hozier, Fisher. We love a good gig.”

Brett and Angel after moving in together (Photo: Supplied)

And still to this day, they get recognised when they head out in public. “People will always just look at you a certain way and say ‘I know you from somewhere’,” says Brett. “This one guy was like ‘I went to the Chiefs game with you didn’t I’ and I was like mate I’ve never been to a Chiefs game in my life.” With the first season airing as far afield as the UK and Portugal, they also get contacted by people from around the world. “People just love a love story,” says Angel. “I love that we gave so many people hope that they could fall in love.”

As she launches out of her beanbag and prepares for Vienna’s naptime, I ask what they will tell their daughter when she asks how they met. “We’ve got the wedding on DVD and I’ve got an old PlayStation with a DVD player, but that probably won’t last forever,” says Brett. “She’ll be like ‘OK, so you met on TV… what’s TV?’ It will probably just be like a fairytale story to her.” 

Shrek and Fiona profess their love for each other on the screen as Brett heads off to work at Woodpecker signs and Angel puts Vienna down for a nap. A fairytale story indeed. 

Married at First Sight NZ returns Sunday night 7.00pm on Three.

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