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MAFS Australia stars Jono and Ellie© 9Now/jono.mccullough

MAFS Australia stars Jono and Ellie's relationship timeline: from texting scandal to where they are now

The pair originally coupled with Lauren Dunn and Ben Walters

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
April 25, 2024
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Married at First Sight Australia never fails to bring the drama, and season 11 has been no different. Full of explosive rows, cheating scandals and tear-jerking moments, it's been an emotional ride for this year's batch, particularly Jonathan McCullough and Ellie Dix, who are now in a relationship after being married to different people on the show. 

But what exactly happened between the new couple and their former partners, and are they still together? Keep reading for a timeline of events.

WATCH: MAFS fans will love E4's new dating show, Love Triangle

The MAFS experiment begins 

When Jono, 39, and Ellie, 32, first embarked on their MAFS journey, they were paired with other people. While Jono was originally matched with Lauren Dunn, Ellie was coupled up with Ben Walters. 

Jono and Lauren on MAFS Australia© 9Now
Jono was initially paired with Lauren on MAFS Australia

Ellie and Ben call it quits 

It didn't take long for Ellie and Ben to realise they weren't meant to be and they became one of the earliest couples to leave the show after just a few weeks. 

Tensions began to rise during the Alignment of Values task, when the pair were asked to rank 12 topics in order of importance. When 'Family Orientated' and 'Wants Children' were placed towards the bottom of Ben's list, Ellie wasn't too impressed. 

Ellie Dix and Ben Walters on Mafs Australia© 9Now
Ellie Dix and Ben Walters called it quits after a few weeks

At the next commitment ceremony, the pair decided to call it quits and both voted to leave the experiment.

Jono and Lauren hit a rocky patch 

At first, things appeared to be going well for Jono and Lauren. But cracks started to show during their honeymoon when Lauren said her new husband was "too nice" for her. "He's lovely, but I just feel like he's probably too nice for me," she explained, adding: "He needs to be a bit more vulgar, make it more interesting."

Sharing her concerns with Jono, she warned him: "I feel like I'm going to rip you apart, and it's not going to be good."

Jono and Lauren on MAFS Australia
Jono and Lauren hit a rocky patch during their honeymoon

Then, when intimacy week rolled around, the couple struggled to stare into each other's eyes during the eye-gazing task. Despite both agreeing that the task was "cringe", Jono was keen to see it through, which infuriated his wife. 

"I'm so sick of the, 'OK, OK.' I'm not going to do this experiment with some serial killer who has the same response to everything," she said. 

Later, Jono explained: "I spent 20 years trying not to be reactive trying to be calm and it's not what Lauren wants."

Jono fails to defend Lauren after 'muzzle' comment

Things took another turn for the worse when Jono failed to defend his wife at a dinner party after Jack told him to "muzzle your woman". 

Jono later faced questions from the experts, with John Aiken calling him out. Saying he was "disgusted" by Jack's comment, the expert said: "If someone said that to me about my wife, I would not back down. I would come out full throttle, all guns blazing," he said. 

View post on Instagram

"It's simply not good enough. If you're in that position again I want you to speak up," he continued, adding: "It's your responsibility to call out bad behaviour."

Lauren discovers Jono's secret texts

Despite their efforts to put everything behind them, tensions reached an all-time high after Lauren discovered Jono's text exchanges with Ellie. 

Lauren was fuming, telling her husband: "You reached out to her. These aren't just relaying information that happened the night before, this is more than that. My stomach dropped."

Jono and Lauren© @lauren_funn_/Instagram
Lauren was fuming when she discovered Jono's texts to Ellie

While Jono admitted to the texts, he downplayed the situation, further infuriating his wife. "It's humiliating, there are a lot of messages, it's constant," said Lauren. "And there's no, "How's Lauren?" like not once, my name was literally not mentioned. Why wouldn't you mention your wife one time out of 100 messages?"

Lauren and Jono go their separate ways

At the final vows, Lauren and Jono decided to part ways. 

While Jono said that meeting Lauren was one of "the best day I've had in years", he admitted that most of their time together was "not enjoyable for either of us". 

"I feel like you viewed everything I did through a negative lens, you would say that I wasn't assertive, that I was boring and robotic," he explained. "You said in our vows you will support and respect me, I don't really feel like you ever respected me. However I kept trying as I was hopeful."

Addressing the texting scandal, he went on to say: "At the next commitment ceremony it was mentioned that I had been messaging Ellie. I didn’t think this was an issue, you snatched my phone off me and pretended that the messages with Ellie were flirty."

Jono and Ellie pose for mirror selfie© elliedixoxo/Instagram
Jono and Ellie are still together now

He continued: "Seeing you so willing to lie like that to make me look bad astonished me, and by lying to the whole group to make me look bad, you showed you don’t support me and that makes me deeply upset. This is when I knew you aren't the person for me. I do wish you all the best in this crazy journey we call life."

Meanwhile, Lauren said it felt like her "world had come crashing down" after discovering the messages. "Instead of taking accountability at the final dinner party you chose to try and flip the script on me, blame me for not caring, never liking you and not being here for the right reasons," she said. 

"Although you completely wasted my time in terms for finding a romantic partner, you taught me that I should always trust my gut. Jono I don't see a future with you and no it's not me, it's you."

Jono and Ellie arrive together at the reunion

Jono and Ellie debuted their relationship at the reunion, leaving everyone shocked. It's safe to say things became heated between Lauren and Ellie, with the latter hurling expletives. 

Ellie and Jono at the reunion© 9Now
Ellie and Jono arrive at the reunion together

Lauren later took to social media to clear up the situation. Urging viewers to stop abusing Ellie, she said: "What you see on TV is only a small portion of what goes on. Regardless of what you saw on TV (filmed months ago) I have no problems with Jono and Ellie and neither of them deserve to be harassed or bullied."

Where are Jono and Ellie now? 

The couple are still going strong months down the line and even went on their first holiday together in celebration of Ellie's birthday. 

The couple recently holidayed together in Vanuatu
View post on Instagram

Marking the special occasion, Ellie penned a sweet message: "Our first overseas holiday! Aaaand the best boyfriend award goes to Jono who surprised me with a trip to Vanuatu for my birthday. Jono you are one in a billion and I'm so grateful to have met you. Already so excited for the next adventure with you."

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