Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Why The Block’s Sara and Hayden quit the show

In her only magazine interview, Sara sets the record straight.
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There’s only so much criticism a person can take, and Sara Vale tells TV WEEK she and husband Hayden have reached their limit when it comes to the emotional turmoil of the past three weeks on The Block.

“As a person, you can get to a point before you explode,” the 31-year-old flight attendant says.

Sara and Hayden, from Sydney’s Sutherland shire, are one of five couples renovating five luxury apartment spaces in iconic hotel The Gatwick in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

The teams are competing to win prize money of $100,000 – plus any profit made when their apartments go under the hammer at a live public auction later this year.

Winning the Logie-winning reality show would be a life-changing event, but the couple have decided to quit the show in a move that’s shocked reality TV fans.

Now, after weeks of rumours about her marriage being in tatters and media stories picking over why she stormed off set, Sara wants to set the record straight.

“I’d got to the point where if I’m going to be constantly insulted on national TV, I’d rather spend time with my family and daughter,” she says. “It just broke us.”

Sara and Hayden shock fans with their exit from The Block.

Sara says hearing the judges – Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer – call their $75,000 bathroom “ugly”, “dated” and “styled weakly” was gut-wrenching.

“It ripped my heart out,” she says.

Sara stormed off the set in the wake of the critique, but says her dramatic exit wasn’t just for the cameras – she was finished with the show.

“I told the producers I wasn’t coming back,” she explains. “I was really hurt and didn’t want to be there. The judges weren’t nice to us for three weeks; they were harsh. It got worse and worse, until that pivotal moment of the bathroom [judging] and I was like, ‘I’m done.'”

However, Sara says she and Hayden did come back to the set, but purely out of necessity and not because they wanted to continue filming for the show.

“All our stuff was there,” she explains. “We had nothing with us. But when we returned, I told the producers I didn’t want to talk to anyone.”

The production team did try to encourage the couple to come back, but as fans will see this week, they weren’t persuaded.

“Shaynna wanted to have a meeting, to kind of get us back on track,” Sara says. “To be honest, the way I was feeling the night of the reveal and the morning after the reveals, I just wasn’t interested.”

“The judges’ comments ripped my heart out,” says Sara.

While a question mark hangs over the couple’s future on the show and if they will indeed leave for good, there’s one thing Sara wants to make clear isn’t ending – her marriage.

Tabloid magazine headlines have boldly declared the pressure of the show has caused the couple to split. But Sara vows she and Hayden are stronger than ever.

“When those tabloids said our marriage was over, I sent Hayden a message saying, ‘Jeez, babe – you could have told me to my face,'” she recalls with a chuckle.

Sara agrees that although they might come across as fiery and argumentative on screen, in reality, they balance each other out perfectly.

“They [the producers] are playing it like we argue all the time,” she says.

But the couple are more than just fine. In fact, they’ve so loved-up, they want to have more children.

“Everything is amazing between us,” Sara declares. “And, to be honest, we want to try for another baby. We want to expand the family.”

With their future on the show up in the air, Sara reveals there’s more to the story of why she walked out from The Block in the new issue of TV WEEK. On sale Monday 27th of August.

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