EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef's Reece Hignell reveals the show took a toll on his relationship

''Leaving your partner for six months is hard.''

By TV Week team
Reece Hignell quickly became one of the fan-favourites on the Back To Win season of MasterChef this year, after first appearing on the show back in 2018.
And while he's certainly hit his stride now, while Reece Hignell was finding his feet in the MasterChef kitchen two years ago, things at home weren't going so smoothly.
The talented cook from Newcastle in NSW admits the intensity of the competition took a toll on his relationship with Dene, his partner of six years.
"It [the show] definitely affected it," he told TV WEEK at the time.
"Leaving your partner for six months is hard – it was tough. Dene was at home looking after bills by himself, and I'm out here not contributing. So, I felt very guilty."
Reece "felt very guilty" about leaving Dene behind to enter the competition. Image: Channel 10
To make matters worse, the all-consuming nature of MasterChef meant the couple struggled to find the time to work through their issues.
"You can't just sit and talk on the phone, because other people need to use it," the 30-year-old explained.
"You don't have unlimited time to talk, but even when you do talk it's hard to get everything across.
"I felt guilty I wasn't contributing to the relationship as much as I could."

Reece admits his relationship woes, combined with the stress of competition, saw him break down.
"I felt anxious and overwhelmed," he explains of his unravelling.
"And I found it hard to adapt. The judges could tell I was stressed. They sat me down and just said, 'Relax, don't overthink everything – you're thinking too much.'"
MasterChef is stressful in more ways than one. Image: Channel 10
Fortunately, it appears all is going well now for lovebirds Reece and Dene.
Reece says his boyfriend was beyond thrilled for him when he was asked to come back to MasterChef for the 2020 all stars season.
"Dene was super excited for me to return, maybe even more excited than I was!" Reece told Woman's Day in April.
And things are going so well that we might even be hearing some wedding bells very soon.
"I would like to say an engagement is on the cards, however I still haven't been asked! I am waiting, Dene!" Reece joked.
Fingers crossed for you Reece!
MasterChef Australia airs on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday nights at 7:30pm on Network Ten.

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