LOVE IN REALITY
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Channel Seven’s Bride and Prejudice reminds us that love isn’t always the fairytale it seems. Think Romeo and Juliet for the real world
GRANT & CHRIS
US bar manager Grant was travelling around the world when he met Chris three years ago. “He was out with his friends. I was out with my friends. Eyes across the bar and I threw everyone out of my way as I made a beeline for him. I just knew!,” he says. Chris, a general manager for a logistics company, adds: “It was instant chemistry. The best things happen when you least expect it.” Chris, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, realised he was gay when he was five years old. “I have a strict Christian mother and a soldier for a father. They believe homosexuality is a sin. That it’s not natural. I remember for years and years trying, hoping, that I wasn’t and trying to pray it away.” Prior to the show, Chris had not spoken to his parents for more than a year and they had never met their future son-in-law. “I’m hoping they put their prejudices aside and really get to know me and my partner and celebrate like a normal family. I’m hopeful but not entirely optimistic,” Chris says.
MARINA & DONNY
Donny recalls the moment he first laid eyes on his bride-tobe two years ago. “She was a blonde bombshell at the time ... beautiful, gorgeous and full of life.” Four months later, Donny left Melbourne to begin a new life with Marina in Adelaide. Sadly, it hasn’t been smooth sailing since their idyllic first encounter because Donny is of Indian descent while Marina’s family is Russian. “My mother doesn’t approve of my partner being dark skinned and Indian,” Marina says. “Her preference would be Australian ... white Australian.” Now they’re engaged, Marina struggles without the support of her mother. “I don’t want to choose between mum and Donny.”
COURTNEY & BRAD
Having grown up together, Courtney, 20 and Brad, 18, see a long future ahead, including marriage. But not if Brad’s mum, Sherrie, has anything to do with it. “They lived together with me two years ago,” she says. “They used to have the best fights you’ve ever seen in your life. It’d be on for young and old; slamming doors, screaming at each other.” Sherrie says she had no choice but to kick Courtney out. She fears getting married and having kids young will ultimately ruin their lives. “He’s my boy,” she says. “The last thing I’ll have is some girl taking my boy away from me.”
GARRAD & ELIZABETH
Elizabeth, 40, and Garrad, 24, have been the target of snarky remarks by people who doubt their relationship will survive the age gap. “I knew Liz was significantly older,” Garrad says. “But it didn’t worry or dissuade me in any way.” Labelled a “cougar”, Elizabeth has been married before and has two sons, aged 15 and 20, while Garrad has never been close to marriage or having kids of his own. Meanwhile Elizabeth’s family, particularly her younger sister Katerina, are very sceptical claiming “he’s a baby” and “he’ll outgrow her.”
CHARITY & PHOEBE
Phoebe noticed Charity looking forlorn perusing the romantic movie aisle and a friendship eventually flourished into love. While Phoebe’s parents are supportive of her relationship, Charity’s conservative family have struggled with her sexuality. As the daughter of two pastors, Charity was brought up in a very strict Christian environment. “My parents’ viewpoint on marriage is that it’s between a man and a woman,” Charity says. “They truly don’t understand how I could actually love another woman.” She realised she was gay in her late teens and that is when she began to question her involvement in the church. “If God is love, I don’t honestly believe I’ll be condemned to hell for loving another human being.” Bride & Prejudice, Monday 9pm, Channel 7.
Courtney and Brad.