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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

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.

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