Married At First Sight

How a nightclub "pash and dash" led Davina Rankin to marriage and motherhood a decade later

Finding love after MAFS was surprisingly easy for her.

By Maddison Leach
We first watched Davina Rankin walk down the aisle on Married At First Sight back in 2018, when she married (kind of) co-star Ryan Gallagher.
That romance didn't work out, but the 30-year-old beauty got a second shot at love – or was it third? – after the show ended.
Now engaged to partner Jaxon Manuel, Davina is getting ready to say "I do" for real this time, and we're hoping her IRL marriage gets the happy ending her MAFS romance lacked.
But who is Jaxon and how did he make Davina fall head over heels in love?
Davina Rankin and Jaxon Manuel met at a club years before they fell in love. (Image: Instagram)
Well, it all started with a chance meeting at a Brisbane nightclub around 2011, according to Jaxon.
"It was probably three o'clock in the morning on a dance floor, probably a bit of a kiss, a pash and dash, and that was it," he admitted to A Current Affair in 2019.
"And then I don't know, through mutual friends we rekindled on and off and then we well and truly hit it off pretty much after MAFS aired."
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Yep, the couple met years before Davina's stint on MAFS, which saw her portrayed as the "villain" at the centre of a cheating scandal on the show.
Despite being married to on-screen 'husband' Ryan, Davina hit it off with fellow MAFS star Dean Wells, who was 'married' to Tracey Jewel.
Dean and Davina shared a spark and agreed to ditch their original partners and pursue a romance with each other on the show, only for Dean to back out at the last moment.
Drama ensued (of course) when Dean announced the "affair" to the rest of the couples and the public turned on Davina, forcing her to abandon social media due to the backlash.
In her recent appearance on I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Davina revealed: "I think a lot of people remember me as the villain... I was the most trolled person in Australia."
Fortunately, Jaxon confirmed in 2019 that he didn't tune in to Davina's season of MAFS, so he had no reservations about the romance that blossomed between them in early 2018.
They had reconnected through friends after the show aired and started dating, things quickly becoming serious between the couple.
Davina debuted their relationship on Instagram in May 2018 and the pair moved in together soon after. Then, in 2019 she and Jaxon had bought a house together in Queensland.
That same year the couple announced their biggest news yet: they were expecting a baby!
Daughter Mila-Mae Manuel arrived on November 11, 2019 and rounded out the little family of three.
"I never knew a love like this existed, @jaxonmanuel and I are just absolutely smitten with you. Words can't even describe it!" Davina penned at the time.
Daughter Mila-Mae Manuel arrived on November 11, 2019 and rounded out the little family of three. (Image: Instagram)
The new mum-of-one took to parenthood with flying colours, as did Jaxon, and in the two years since Mila-Mae's arrival they've shared plenty of updates on their little girl.
From cute newborn snaps, to honest mum moments and adorable family photos, the proud parents have shared their happiest moments on social media.
In fact, welcoming their daughter only made their romance stronger, and in March 2021 Jaxon decided to make it official and put a ring on Davina's finger.
He popped the question on her 30th birthday, Davina sharing photos of the incredible diamond he chose for her on Instagram.
We hear wedding bells! (Image: Instagram)
"I am just absolutely blown away at the amount of effort my amazing FIANCÉ (wow so weird actually saying that now 😍💍) has put into this incredible weekend," she wrote.
"Honestly still pinching myself, and feeling so incredibly grateful to know I get to do the rest of my life with my best friend in the world. Mr & Mrs Manuel here we come baby 💍👰🏽🤵🏽‍♂️❤️"
Now the couple are planning to wed and we're certain Mila-Mae, who just turned two, will have a special role on their big day – we can't wait to see what it is!