As stressful as House Rules can be, it was like a romantic holiday for Mel and Dave.
The Queenslanders have two young sons – Westin, five, and Billy, three – and Dave is a fly-in, fly-out worker. "It was actually amazing for our relationship," Mel, 33, says. "It was kind of like a hardworking honeymoon. I think we've fallen in love again, 100 per cent."
Dave, 34, agrees.
"Being able to sleep in the same bed as Mel for nearly six months… that's the most time we've spent together in 10 years," he explains. "We're stronger from this process. I love her to bits."
Once filming was over, Dave returned to fly-in, fly-out work. Soon after, the couple celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary apart.
"For our 10th anniversary, I'm hoping I'll be home to celebrate it in style," Dave says.
House Rules hasn't exactly been a lovefest between Mel and Dave and some of the other teams in the competition – especially Chiara and David.
"We don't hate them," Mel says. "We just don't get along."
The couple explain that their competitive nature is what makes them appear "arrogant" on TV.
"We went in wanting to win and that was the only thing we wanted to do – win," Mel says, before admitting their portrayal on TV was "cringe-worthy."
Despite their eyebrow-raising antics on the show, Mel insists it was desire to secure the prizemoney for their family that saw them so focussed on winning.
"You have to be in our position to understand it," she says. "We have a one-in-six chance at $355,000. It's not the money – it's what the money could do for us."
Mel and Dave hope to win the competition, and the money, so that he can quit his fly-in, fly-out job and stay at home with their family.
House Rules airs Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm, on Channel Seven
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