Poh Ling Yeow’s manager was her husband for nine years but is now with her best friend, while the cooking queen has married a man she met on MasterChef – and all four of them own a café together. Are you still with us?
It isn’t the tale of acrimony that usually comes with divorce but, for Poh and former husband Matt Phipps, their supportive, if fiery, friendship was too important to throw away.
“Why do we have to,” asks Matt, “simply because tradition says we should hate each other’s guts?”
Not having children perhaps simplified the situation, but the pair still seem more evolved than most.
According to Poh, the two of them remain each other’s closest confidant, despite breaking up a decade ago.
“We were such great mates – that’s what made it so hard for us to break up in the first place,” explains 43-year-old Poh, who found single-name fame in 2009 as runner-up behind Julie Goodwin in the first season of MasterChef Australia.
“It just made sense to figure it out – because we really love each other.”
Their bond is so strong, in fact, that it has survived Matt falling in love with Poh’s best friend, Sarah Rich, and the two couples going into business together, opening Jamface café at the Adelaide Central Market two years ago.
Outsiders are puzzled by the set-up, but it’s apparently no big deal to any of them.
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And as much as everyone loves the idea of a communal love nest, there is nothing salacious about it.
“He’s like my brother,” says Poh. “We’re much better suited as friends.”
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however.
Poh’s husband, 35-year-old actor-DJ-carpenter Jono Bennett – who met Poh when he was a production runner on MasterChef, driving the contestants to and from the studio – admits he was initially suspicious of her relationship with Matt.
“It was hard at first, but it was my own personal issues of confidence in myself and jealousy, which had no reason to be there,” he says. “It was something we all had to work on essentially. I know it’s very human to be jealous, but it doesn’t make it right.”
Poh and Matt met in 1990 when they were both Mormons, and leant on each other as they extricated themselves from the church a few years later.
“They went through a lot when they were together and really helped each other,” says Jono. “There’s a lot of history there, so it’s not something that can be taken away. It’s not something that should be.”
Both feisty and opinionated, Poh and Matt say their current, easy-going partners are much better matches, but memories of the harrowing break-up period still occasionally make Poh cry.
“It came to such a hairy end,” says Poh. “There was just so much pain between us that it was kind of a relief to let it go and let that turn into something really beautiful – a lifelong friendship.”