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MAFS EXCLUSIVE: Duncan says he's 'open' to returning to the show next year

The season 10 groom spills on a potential return to reality TV after Married At First Sight.

He was given the title of ‘Prince Charming’ on this year’s season of Married At First Sight thanks to his good looks, chivalrous behaviour and emotional intelligence, and now Duncan James has revealed he’s open to returning to the dating show next year.

The 36-year-old, who ended things with Alyssa Barmonde during Sunday night’s final vows, tells Yahoo Lifestyle he isn’t opposed to appearing on reality TV for a second time in an attempt to find love.

MAFS’ Duncan James at final vows.
MAFS’ Duncan James says he’s ‘open’ to returning to the reality show in 2024. Photo: Channel Nine

“Look, I haven't thought about anything to do outside of MAFS while the experiment’s been on, but I guess it's a bit of an honour if you get sort of asked about being the Bachelor or being linked to that,” he shares.

“I'd definitely be open to looking at finding love in some other way. I thought it was a great experience, even though there were some hard times, and I’m definitely still trying to find the right person for me.

“Who knows what the future holds? I wouldn’t say no to anything.”

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Duncan was recently asked about being the next Bachelor at Nova’s MAFS dinner party last week, telling Fitzy, Wippa and Kate Ritchie that he’s “just a young man looking for love”.

When pushed by the radio hosts for an answer, Duncan brutally said that “no one watches The Bachelor”.

This comes after So Dramatic! revealed that Duncan was almost cast as the Bachelor in 2020 but ended up “pulling out at the eleventh hour because he’d met someone”.

MAFS’ Duncan James at his wedding.
Duncan was almost cast as the Bachelor in 2020 but pulled out at the last minute. Photo: Channel Nine

'It got worse each week'

Speaking about his dramatic final vows with Alyssa, Duncan says he spent a few days deliberating over the good and bad times in their relationship and was “pretty resolute” in his decision by the time they reunited.

“I had a lot of time to think about it and what I think is a healthy relationship and what I'm looking for in a relationship and I just didn't think that we were great together, even though I think Alyssa is a great person,” he explains.

“I know what a really good relationship looks like and I know what being in love looks like. I’ve also had some bad relationships, and I’m going to trust myself and my gut to make the right decision for me - and for her too. I can't make a decision for Alyssa, but it's not good for her to be in a relationship that's not right if it's not right on my side.

“It felt like we had an amazing, great connection at the start of the experiment, but as the experiment went on I felt like it got worse each week.”

MAFS’ Duncan James and Alyssa Barmonde looking stressed at the commitment ceremony.
‘As the experiment went on I felt like it got worse each week.’ Photo: Channel Nine

Duncan reacts to Alyssa's speech

Duncan went on to admit that he was surprised to hear Alyssa say she wanted to “help” him during her speech.

“I didn't expect to hear that,” he says. “I didn't know that I needed so much help, I guess.

“Look, that’s Alyssa’s view. I would like to think that what I'm bringing to the table in a relationship is I know who I am and what I want and I can articulate that quite easily. I think I'm pretty fair and open and honest and I don't think I have a lot of trouble that I need to sort of work through.

“I just think it was a really hard, confusing time for Alyssa and for me and that sort of manifested itself and sometimes words come out that maybe aren’t exactly what you're feeling. It might’ve just been a throwaway line.”

He adds that he and Alyssa have had minimal communication since the show finished filming, but he’s open to changing that.

“We’ve had a little bit of interaction on text messages and, as I've said many times, I’m available to chat with Alyssa at any time if she wants to,” he says. “But I'm also really mindful that she may not want to and that's totally fine as well.”

MAFS’ Alyssa Barmonde and Duncan James at final vows.
Duncan admits he ‘didn’t expect’ to hear Alyssa say she wanted to ‘help’ him during her final vows speech. Photo: Channel Nine

Duncan defends Alyssa amid backlash

Although things didn’t work out for Duncan and Alyssa in the experiment, the TV groom is still very defensive about how the public treats his former ‘wife’.

“The public obviously has their view on myself and Alyssa’s relationship and there are lots of things that I don't agree with that happened on the show or how our relationship dynamic sort of sorted itself out as we went through the experiment,” he details.

“Having said that, at the same time I hate seeing that Alyssa is getting some of the hate that’s online. I think there are a lot of people out there that are pretty hard when they're behind their keyboard and saying some really derogatory things and I don't think anyone deserves that, especially Alyssa.

“There’s this idea that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, but it’s just bulls**t. Online bullying and people DMing people and saying horrible things to them really does hurt people and it can have really horrible consequences.”

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