Jono Pitman hasn't spoken about his experience on Married At First Sight since the show wrapped last year.
But as the new recruits of contestants prepare for season four of the controversial dating show, Jono is finally ready to share his side of the story.
“I was pretty naive about the show, honestly I had no idea about the whole experiment before I even went on,” Jono tells Now To Love.
After being set up with Clare Verrall, the pair’s marriage quickly crumbled in front of the nation.
Clare, who has post-traumatic stress disorder following a random attack in Melbourne in 2015, has previously expressed her upset over being matched with Jono, who in 2008 was ordered to complete an anger management course following a pub brawl.
“I was very disappointed that, knowing my history of PTSD after a violent attack and knowing I had joined the show earnestly trying to put myself out there to find love, the show and psychologists partnered me with someone who had known anger management issues and who has been arrested for violent behaviour,” she explained.
At the time, a Nine spokesperson revealed the couple were screened through “an exhaustive process of testing” and were aware of each other’s history.
“Clare’s assault was publicly recorded as was her advocacy in relation to dealing with her experience. Jono does not have a history of violence, he has no criminal record. He was involved in an incident eight years ago and attended an anger-management course, which was known. Clare and Jono discussed the incident on the honeymoon and at no stage did either request to withdraw,” the rep continued.
Despite the experts’ supposed rigorous research, their coupling proved toxic and they lasted just three weeks into the experiment. In September, Clare put her doomed wedding dress up for sale on eBay, while simultaneously labelling Jono a “total wankpuffin.”
In another Facebook post, the rescue dog advocate penned, “Want to know more about the season 2 peeps. Then add my page where I will be receiving [sic] what REALLY went on, the emotional & even physical abuse I suffered for ‘Good TV.’”
Indeed, the statistics in Australia are alarming with one woman dying every week at the hands of domestic violence.
Jono says this particular post (see above) caused many people to jump to worrying conclusions about him.
"I’m not a violent person, I’ve been in one fight my entire life [referring to the 2008 pub brawl]. For her to just open her mouth and say untruths and bulls---t like that, just to get her name out there. That kind of stuff really affects ya. She’s responsible for where I was at.”
“She went public on social media and said ‘if anybody wants to know about the physical and mental abuse that I copped’… none of that happened! I had to play football for the rest of the year with my mates and on the side-lines I’m getting called a woman basher. I’m totally against violence against women,” the 29-year-old claims.
Jono reveals as a result of Clare’s allegations, he battled with anxiety.
“Clare said I physically abused her, I had death threats. Luckily I was a strong enough individual to deal with that,” he recalls.
WATCH: Clare and Jono lock horns. Post continues after the post...
“I had two to three months where the anxiety was crazy. I never even knew what anxiety was until then. One day I woke up, and it just sort of hit me.”
Eventually, Jono turned to a good friend and a psychologist for help. “I was lucky enough to have a mate who had been on reality TV before, who had been through a situation that put him in a shitload of hot water on that show.”
“Then I saw a psychologist up in Brisbane for a while and he was an absolute legend, he really helped me out. From there, I learnt a lot from him and I’ve even used his tools to help other people.”
“I struggled for a few months there and now I’m better than I’ve ever been. I don’t blame the show, I don’t blame people on social media for having a dig. I blame Clare," he says.
As far as nasty reality TV break-ups go, Clare and Jono’s takes the cake and nearly a year later, Jono still wishes he never met the uber driver.
“I know this sounds brutal but [the worst thing to come from the show was] meeting Clare. I honestly wish I never met her, that’s the truth.”
“If I saw Clare now, I’d turn my back and I’d walk away. I don’t have a single thing to say to her. If she wanted to apologise, I wouldn’t even want to hear it. She probably thinks the same thing about me and that doesn’t faze me in the slightest,” Jono tells NTL.
Clare watches the season four premiere of MAFS. Post continues after the video...
“To a point I feel sorry for her... But then I don’t because of what she put me through. I don’t wish that on my own worst enemy. She knew exactly what she was doing and she still continues to do it now. I said this to a few people, and I don’t mean it with malice but if I never had to see Clare again, I would be a happy man,” the footy fanatic laments.
A skeptical Jono also believes he and Clare were “never ever going to match. We probably wouldn’t even become friends.”
“Honestly, it was for ratings to a point. But at the same time, I think it comes down to myself and Clare taking a bit of responsibility for it too.”
The Melbourne local is still single and has just landed a new job in pool construction.
“I’m at the stage of my life where I’m not looking for anyone. I’m not searching for it. If it comes, it comes. I’m really looking forward to what’s next. After being on the show, I’ve learnt so much and I’ve never been in a better place than right now,” he says.
But Jono insists he can’t dish out any wisdom to the incoming MAFS stars.
“Season four is totally different to what we had to go through. The best way to describe the new season, it’s a mixture of Geordie Shore and Big Brother.”
“They’re putting ten couples in a house together, knowing they’re not going to match, I think it’s enticing them to cheat, which I believe has actually happened,” Jono claims.
Meanwhile, Now To Love reached out to Clare for comment but the reality star says she's put "MAFS firmly in my rear view mirror."
Ultimately, we may never know the truth behind Clare and Jono's fall out.
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