Jessika Power spoke about her family and upbringing on Married At First Sight, but never went into detail about her biological mother.
Now the reality star has broken her silence about her mum, Melinda Mackenzie, explaining the need to defend herself after her mother told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia that Jess was “embarrassed” by her, and therefore didn’t invite her to the MAFS wedding.
“I’ve never once done an interview on my mother, purely out of respect for her and the relationship we did have growing up,” 27-year-old Jessika exclusively tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.
“She’s upset obviously that she hasn’t been invited to my wedding. Even if I was getting married in real life, I would never invite her to my wedding.”
Jess says she hasn’t had the best relationship with her mum for many years, which explains Melinda’s claim that her daughter never reached out to her once during filming.
“That affected me more than anything because I would have wanted nothing more than to see my daughter walk down the aisle,” says Melinda.
Jess admits, “I don’t even call her mother... My aunty has brought me up, my aunty has been my mother.”
Indeed Jess’ aunt, Melinda’s sister Rebecca Mackenzie, was the one who was present at Jess’ TV nuptials to Mick Gould.
Rebecca praises her famous niece’s approach to handling questions about her estranged mother in the past.
“She has never said anything derogatory about her mum,” Rebecca tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.
“She gets obviously hundreds of questions about her mum. She’s maintained her self-respect as well as her mother’s respect in all of this.”
According to Jess, it was a mixture of drug and alcohol-related issues that put a strain on their relationship over time.
“My mother [while I was growing up] was a drug addict,” explains Jessika.
“I helped her, the whole family helped her through it. She got clean, she was a perfect mum again. She went to university, she got her mental health diploma, she was a manager for a mental health company and then she got into the alcohol.
“I said, ‘If you don’t pull your sh*t together, I will cut you off’.”
Melinda confirms she’s struggled with drugs and alcohol in the past.
“I was a drug addict for five years in Jess’ childhood. That is true,” she says.
“I haven’t been clean for the whole extent of [the past] 15 years but over the 15 years I’ve probably used [drugs] once or twice a year. Yes, I’ve had my relapses as any reformed drug addict does,” she claims.
“I haven’t had a relapse in a long time but I have had relapses.”
Melinda admits she’s also struggled with alcohol in the past.
“I went to AA for 12 months. I addressed my problems that were around the alcohol at the time.
“It’s known that addicts do love a drug and do really well being sober and clean, but if they’re not given the right support, they’ll have another one straight away.”
Jess believes her mother “basically pushed all family away”, meanwhile Melinda says she experienced a “breakdown” that drove her back to the bottle.
“I had a breakdown and that was caused from raising my children virtually on my own,” she reflects.
“I would have one or two drinks a week or a day, and not have any more than that, but I was never an alcoholic.”
During the filming of Married At First Sight, family tragedy struck when Jess’ grandmother tragically passed away.
“My mother passed away while Jessika was on the show,” reveals Rebecca.
Her priority now is being there for Jess, her brother Rhyce and sister Eliza.
If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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