The most controversial Australian reality TV moments ever

·6-min read

We love reality TV for its soap-like storylines and range of controversial contestants, who make for excellent viewing. 

However, there were some moments in the shows that made us question what was acceptable on Aussie TV and for people in general.

Here we look at the most shocking moments on Aussie reality TV ever.

Cheating Scandals

Davina Rankin and Dean Wells

Davina Rankin and Dean Wells on MAFS
Davina and Dean decide to hook up on Married at First Sight. Photo: Nine

While Married at First Sight is seen as a pretty controversial reality experiment, in 2018 Dean Wells and Davina Rankin took it to the next level. The pair had been married off to different partners but when they found themselves attracted to each other, nothing was going to hold them back. 

"I feel like you and I like each other more than anyone else in that room," Davina told Dean as the couple snuggled up on a sofa out of sight of everyone else. And Dean agreed. The viewers however were furious at the duplicitous pair.


Bianca and Carla on The Block

Former netballers Carla and Bianca on The Block
Former netballers Carla and Bianca renovated a penthouse in the 2018 season of The Block and were known for bending the rules sometimes. Photo: Channel 9

Netball champions Bianca and Carla knew they were breaking the rules when they offered tradies on The Block a bribe of a case of beer to winch some timber up to their penthouse apartment. All the contestants were told that the crane was not to be used by them but they did it anyway! 

Sam Ball and Ines Basic

Sam and Ines on MAFS in bed
Sam and Ines thought they could hide their 'affair' from their 'spouses' in MAFS. Photo: Nine

The 2019 season of Married At First Sight was a real soap opera and Sam and Ines had one of the most controversial storylines.

"They belong with each other," Sam's 'wife' Elizabeth told TV WEEK after the show had aired. 

"They would act sweet to my face and then tear me apart behind my back. I think they're disgusting."

War of Words

Cyrell Paule and Martha Kalifatidis

Martha pours her wine over Cyrell in Married At First Sight
Martha pours her wine over Cyrell in Married At First Sight. Photo: Nine

The dinner parties during the 2019 season of MAFS were always pretty explosive and none as much as between Martha and Cyrell. "I’m going to pour my drink on her! I am," Martha told Ines and moments later she tipped her glass of red wine over Cyrell's head. 

Things of course descended into mayhem with shouting, drink throwing and everyone getting involved but overall there were definitely no winners!

Josh calls Amy a 'slut' 

Amy serving Josh on My Kitchen Rules.
Amy serving Josh on My Kitchen Rules. Photo: Seven Network

Josh Meeuwissen shocked on the 2017 season of My Kitchen Rules when he called Amy Murr a 'slut' as she served him his entree.

"He now understands very clearly that it is never appropriate or funny to say that to someone," Amy explained to "He apologised. He was very sincere in his apology. I accepted that apology."

Toxic Behaviour

Body-shaming Paulini 

Paulini Curuenavuli performing on Australian Idol
Paulini Curuenavuli performing on Australian Idol. Photo: Network 10

Paulini Curuenavuli was just 21-years-old when she chose to audition for the very first season of Australian Idol. While fans loved her, one judge, Ian 'Dicko' Dickinson was a little more critical. 

In the final five week, Paulini belted out Survivor by Destiny's Child. but rather than focussing on her stellar performance, Dicko and fellow judge Mark Holden had a dig at her appearance. "You should choose more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds", Dicko said to her.

While Paulini was devastated by the comment, Dicko has admitted he has learnt something from the backlash too. "I still get people 11 years on berating me for it," he revealed to Woman's Day. "I don’t regret saying it – it’s such a big, fascinating stain on my character that I don’t want to scrub it clean. It’s part of who I am and who Paulini is and it binds us together."

The Big Brother Turkey Slap 

Michael “John” Bric and Michael “Ashley” Cox on Big Brother
Michael “John” Bric and Michael “Ashley” Cox express their regret and remorse over their practical joke gone wrong in the Big Brother House. Photo: Network 10

It was the early hours of the morning in the Big Brother house when Michael 'Ashley' Cox and Michael 'John' Bric called the only other housemate awake, Camilla Severi, over to the bed they were on. Camilla was held down, told to close here eyes and Ashley 'turkey slapped' her, rubbing his naked crotch into her face.

The incident made headlines all the world, with Prime Minister John Howard telling Macquarie Radio it was "a great opportunity for Channel Ten to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air".

Speaking to SBS Insight years later, Camilla said: "I did not feel traumatised about the situation at the time, but the way it was rehashed constantly, that was... I'm not going to say traumatising, I don't think that's fair, but it certainly did me no favours.

"I've tried to put it to bed a lot of times, but people like to talk about it."

Outrage still rages about what happened in the Big Brother house. 

Fat-shaming Chrissie Swan

Chrissie Swan on Big Brother
Chrissie Swan overheard Big Brother crew members fat-shaming her on the show. Photo: Network 10

In a huge breach of trust, Chrissie Swan was getting changed in the Big Brother house in 2003 when she overheard someone say "I know you like big women". At first she challenged her fellow housemates but as she walked to the diary room, it dawned on her.

"Maybe the camera-men up near the bathroom need to be a bit more quiet, cause I can hear what they’re saying," she told Big Brother trying to hold back the tears.

She has since admitted that the thought of these men making these comments while taking pictures of her was humiliating. "I felt very vulnerable and scared" she told Studio 10.

And one that we didn't know about...

Celebrity confesses to cheating on wife

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here
A celebrity on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here apparently confessed to cheating on his wife. Photo: Channel 10

This apparently happened on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here and while there are no names revealed in this story and it never aired, it is still gossip-worthy. "There was a series where a celebrity told a story in camp about a girl he had been with. And he talked about specifics, in terms of what he had been doing on that day, what time of year it was," producer Alex Mavroidakis told the TV Reload Podcast.

"He then came running up to the Tok Toki straight after that conversation saying, ‘it’s OK for you to use that scene, but please don’t say the time or the place because I’ve just realised I was still married at the time'. Basically, he just outed himself."

We don't know what series it was but let the guesses begin...

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