Married at First Sight fans were shocked when Nick Pendergrast announced he’s expecting twins with his girlfriend Heather Yerrid, but the property manager tells PEOPLE the babies and new relationship are all meant to be.
The MAFS alum, 33, separated from his wife Sonia Granados (with whom he was paired by the show’s team of experts) in January, and the duo finalized their divorce in April.
A source close to the former spouses tells PEOPLE exclusively Pendergrast did “everything possible to make his marriage last. He begged and begged Sonia to keep fighting [for it], but she didn’t want to stay anymore.”
“My love life has taken another 180. Heather and I have a unique story,” Pendergrast tells PEOPLE exclusively about his AfterBuzz TV host girlfriend, 32, who’s nine weeks into her pregnancy. “I met the most genuine, empathetic woman and fell madly in love with her.”
Though Granados insinuated on Twitter after her ex’s baby news broke that he had cheated on her while they were still working on their marriage, Pendergrast says “it wasn’t until I was separated that I sought [Heather] out for some guidance.”
Pendergrast, along with the rest of the season four MAFS cast, had “indirectly” met Yerrid while the show aired because AfterBuzz does an after-show for the Lifetime hit show (produced by Kinetic Content).
Yerrid is also a love and relationship coach and “told all of us we could reach out at any time,” explains Pendergrast. “So I said ‘Why not?’ We had a couple of coaching conversations and kept in touch here and there for the next three months.”
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According to the source, Pendergrast’s divorce “made him feel like a failure, and that’s how he met Heather. He needed someone to pull him out of the darkness.” The source adds Yerrid helped Pendergrast tune out negativity on social media and focus on his own healing during his divorce.
In early May, Pendergrast and Yerrid met in person for the first time at Universal Studios in California, and “there was just something about how I felt around her,” he says. “I could be open. I felt free. From the moment I left her side, I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”
Pendergrast decided to move from Florida to California where Yerrid resides, and the budding couple road-tripped across the United States over Memorial Day weekend. “I asked Heather to support me through that cross-country journey,” he says. “On the five-day journey, we fell in love. It was our last day. We were in Sedona. We had one of those moments that I never really thought existed, and we have been together ever since.”
A news season of Married at First Sight is currently airing Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on Lifetime.