Participants in the show's second season volunteered to marry someone they had never met
What would it take for you to marry a complete stranger?
That’s the question that Married at First Sight asks six singles from the New York City area.
The controversial – and fascinating – show returns for a second season on Tuesday night. The first installment was such a surprise hit for the FYI network that the second season will air to a wider audience. (The show premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday on A&E.)
In the season premiere, four experts – a psychiatrist, sexologist, sociologist and spiritual guru – will match six attractive singles together, creating three new couples.
Participants will meet at the altar and exchange vows. For six weeks, they’ll live together before deciding whether to stay together or divorce.
PEOPLE talked with all six singles, in part to determine whether they were hopeless romantics or absolutely crazy.
The athletic 34-year-old trauma nurse from Jackson, New Jersey admits to being a “player” in his 20s. “I was young,” he says. “But I’ve grown up. It’s time to settle down.” As Varricchio gets older, he says that dating becomes more challenging. “The more I’ve gone through, the harder it has been to find someone,” he says. “But this process has science behind it; why can’t it work?”
The biopharmaceutical sales rep has built a successful career, but never found that special someone. “I tried all the dating scenes in New York,” she laughs. “Online dating, blind dates, colleagues, everything. Nothing seemed to work.” Kullar, 34, decided to leave the decision up to the experts – but realizes that not everyone agrees with her decision to participate in the show. “It was hard for my family to swallow,” she says, “but I believe in the scientific process. I’m happy with my life and my decisions, and I don’t apologize for them.”
“I saw the success of the couples from the first season, and decided to apply,” says the 28-year-old Long Island real estate agent. Ranellone says he values honesty more than anything. “If you lie to me about little things, you’ll lie about big things. Trust is huge for me; lying is a deal-breaker.” Another requirement: his new wife must love kids. After his sister’s death, Ranellone became very involved in his niece’s life. “I’m looking for someone with strong family values,” he says. “I want to have children someday.”
Methuen, an outgoing 29-year old sales representative for a vodka brand, acknowledges how people view the show. “To any sane person, this sounds insane,” she laughs. “Six months ago, I wouldn’t have even considered doing this.” Still, Methuen says she has been calm through the entire process, even on her wedding day. Her next obstacle: dealing with judgmental viewers. “I know I’ve opened myself up for criticism,” she says. “I’ve never felt so vulnerable.”
Ryan De Nino
De Nino, a 29-year-old business owner says he’s looking for a mate who is caring, trustworthy and independent. Looks matter, too. “Everyone wants an attractive significant other,” he says. “Obviously, that’s not more important than what’s on the inside, but I do want someone I find physically attractive.” Leaving the decision to other people was difficult for De Nino. “It was hard not to second-guess the process,” he says, “but I felt that the experts had my best interests at heart.”
The 30-year-old receptionist was in a 7-year-relationship that ended badly. “My dating habits were obviously not getting me anywhere,” she says. “So I was willing to give this a shot, but it’s a scary process. I was 100 percent honest with the experts, because I wanted to find the perfect match.”