Lasting love may not have struck for either Liam Cooper or Samuel Levi on their respective seasons of Married At First Sight, but the reality show which made them famous has also brought them together in real life.
Liam, 30, who appeared on the latest season of MAFS Australia and Samuel, 28, who appeared on season two of the New Zealand franchise, both posted photos to their respective Instagram accounts announcing their relationship.
Liam posted: “Life works in mysterious ways and this guy came into my life when I least expected it…Samuel has shown me what support looks like, what trust looks like and much more. I am scared, I am nervous, but most of all I am happy.”
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Big Gay Day
Samuel, who posted the same pictures to his Instagram account, said, “When a city boy finds his country boy. Life certainly works in mysterious ways. It looks like the ‘experiment’ worked out for the both of us.”
Speaking to the Star Observer, Liam says, “Samuel and I met at Big Gay Day in Brisbane. I heard Samuel would be attending so I reached out and we started talking…Samuel has this energy that I cannot explain, I knew when I met him that he would be in my life. My show had just finished airing and I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but I knew something was different with Samuel. We both got along and it was easy.”
“I had never dated a guy, and prior to the show I was single for 6 years,” Liam says. After they met, the friendship between the two soon fostered rumours of a relationship, with thinly veiled innuendo spilling over into gossip pages.
I was annoyed with the media because they kept labelling me. “Bisexual Liam Cooper goes out for dinner.” I don’t understand why my sexuality is such a big issue. Why can’t the media write, “Liam Cooper goes out to dinner? I’m more than just my sexuality.”
‘We couldn’t really hide it any longer’
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“Samuel and I attended an event together as friends. We took a photo together and the media went on to say we had a romantic hug. I was trying to state a fact that two guys from the LGBTQIA+ community can go out and just be friends,” says Liam.
“We both knew that there would be a backlash and homophobic comments but I was not going to hide this relationship or let anyone try and stop it. Haters are always going to hate, and with the support from one another, nothing else matters.”
‘MAFS’ Was An Unexpected Experience
For both Liam and Samuel, appearing on MAFS came as a truly unexpected experience as neither actually applied to be on the show.
Samuel tells the Star Observer that he “was approached for the show, which all happened so fast really. I had just come out of a 2.5 year long relationship with my ex, and first-ever male partner. I saw it as a fun experience and had nothing to lose at all. How often in this life, do you get asked to participate in such an experience?”
Liam says, “I actually didn’t apply. I was contacted by producers one afternoon asking if I was single and if I would be interested in appearing on the show. At that point in my life I had been single for six years, so for me it was a non brainer. If the experts were going to find me a partner and all I had to do was show up, then I was going to take that chance.”
“I was hoping to find a partner. I was hoping to find someone to start a future with, and although I didn’t find that on the show, I have found that with Samuel, so I guess the show has worked for me. To this day I do not know how they got my contact information. I know they sometimes find you via Instagram; that’s how they found Georgia. I had not been on camera before filming MAFS. It is a whole different experience. Getting fitted for mic’s; having cameras and a mic guy follow you everywhere you go; It’s crazy!”
Blindsided With Being Outed On ‘MAFS’
Liam didn’t hide anything from producers prior to appearing on the show and says, “Producers knew I was Bisexual. It was something I mentioned straight away to them. I had about three Skype interviews where we spoke about my being bisexual.”
Liam, who was a Prison Case Management Officer, says, “After the show went to air I was not able to return back to work; for me that was an eight year career gone.”
Referencing the controversy which erupted after his sexuality was revealed to his on-screen wife (couples have a wedding but do not actually sign legal wedding papers) Georgia Fairweather, Liam says, “I wish I wasn’t outed the way I was, but it happened. I knew I could have been honest with Georgia. I was always going to be honest in regard to my sexuality, and who I was. I would never hide that from anyone; however I wish I could have told Georgia differently.”
“I guess I was blindsided by how they outed me to everyone. Now I feel it has started conversations and people are starting to understand a little more, which is a good thing. No one should be outed or have to come out. Heterosexuals do not have to come out so why does anyone from the LGBTQIA + community have to? I wanted to tell Georgia in my own way, not have six randoms (at the time) and my new wife all look at me and judge me for being bisexual. Most people don’t know but I actually came out on the show. My brother and sister knew and a close circle of my friends but that was all.”
Life After ‘MAFS’
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Samuel tells the Star Observer that he went on his season of MAFS “to show the nation that being gay, bi, or however you identify is totally 100% ok, which is something I will always stand by. I was openly gay before going on MAFS, and being one of the first same sex couples within the MAFS franchise. I knew what I was getting myself into.
In all honesty, nothing ever prepares you for the backlash that can come from being on a Reality TV show. I certainly learnt a lot about myself, especially watching it back, and became a much better person for it. Now that I know I have been the reason why so many young people have felt comfortable to come out, that makes me bloody happy.”
What’s next for the reality stars and their relationship? Liam says, “Yes, we’re in the media but we are normal people who are in a relationship. What’s key for us is open communication. At the end of the day we’re not in a relationship with the media, we are in a relationship with each other.”
“We have a diverse range of interests but I think that’s what drew us together. When we went skydiving that was the first time for me but Samuel had (done it) three times already. I’m a country boy, and Samuel enjoys spending time on the farm. Our lives just join into each other’s and compliment one another perfectly.”
Samuel says he plans to take Liam “back home to New Zealand to meet my family, as I have met his nearest and dearest. Now it’s just taking each day, week and month as it comes, like any ordinary couple.”