A character arc is the last thing viewers expected to see at the end of Married At First Sight's most controversial season, but that's exactly what the finale of the reality juggernaut served up when it came to Ines Basic.
While things came full circle for the villain bride, she tells Woman's Day it's been a tough and exhausting journey.
At the height of the show's drama, the feisty 28-year-old had fans fearing the worst after photos revealed her weight had dramatically plunged amid growing concern over her physical and mental health.
"Losing weight when I'm highly stressed is not hard," Ines tells Woman's Day.
"I had the roughest time – filming was really demanding and I had a lot of personal dramas just before the reunion."
Weeks later, the TV bride snatched national headlines thanks to a DUI conviction that saw her fronting court with her own personal security and SVU transfers.
Ines says of the ordeal: "That was the lowest point of my life... I'm ashamed and disappointed in myself and I think I needed that life lesson."
WATCH: Tears, tantrums and truly scandalous times: Relive the most controversial Married At First Sight moments. Post continues after video...
Weeks after the show ended, a subdued Ines insists she's looking forward to putting it all behind her.
"[The show] is stunting my growth as a person," she declares. "People expect me to be the person they saw on the show, when really that was 10 per cent of the real me."
Indeed, while viewers saw expletive-filled rants and a frosty personality, Ines insists her true persona was left on the cutting room floor.
"I have a no-nonsense personality and I can be quite direct, but that's just a small part of who I am. There were a lot of times I showed my softer, more vulnerable side and caring nature, but those scenes were never shown."
While editing and dramatic scenes are hardly surprising in the realm of reality TV, Ines confesses she was blindsided by the extent of the show's manufactured plotlines.
"I went into the show most excited, but as filming unfolded I became more and more disappointed," she explains. "I really thought the whole experiment was going to be fun, but behind the scenes it was so very heavily controlled."
Ines' take on her TV marriage to business owner Bronson Norrish as "mismatched" is hardly a revelation, but the reality star says she felt forced to make it work, admitting she felt no future with him despite producers' best efforts to keep her on the show.
However, she says they did share some fun moments – they just didn't make it to air.
If you thought she was hellbent on shutting out her playboy tradie "ex" Sam Ball – who she infamously couple-swapped with – Ines has us guessing again.
"There's a part of me that would like to bump into him," says Ines. "[Especially] now we're out of that controlled environment."
She describes her initial chemistry with Sam as "insane", and stands by her onscreen admission he promised to continue their relationship outside the show. While he didn't, Ines insists there's "no bad blood".
Ines says she'll always look back on her reality show experience with disappointment, adding, "I just did not like how controlled and manipulated I felt."
As for love, Ines says she's more focused on growing her lifestyle businesses after sternly declaring she will not be returning to "trashy TV" – but wouldn't rule out an appearance on Dancing With The Stars.
"I used to do bit of dancing, it would be cool!" she says.
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020