He’s best known for his efforts to match hopeful singletons as a relationship expert on Married at First Sight.
But John Aiken’s own marriage has been one marred by tragedy after his wife Kelly Swanson-Roe was widowed at just 24 years old after her first husband died in a canoeing accident.
The tragedy saw 30-year-old Jon Roe killed – along with 20 others – while he and Kelly were on a Contiki Tour in Switzerland in 1999, just three years into their marriage.
Kelly later met in John in New Zealand where she already had a public profile as a newsreader and journalist – a position which made her known to John before they were introduced in person.
John took on Kelly’s loss and told 9Honey, “Rather than saying, ‘No, I need to be separate with Kelly,’ I just said: ‘I’m going to bring her past partner into the relationship and really make him a part of it all.”
Now, after more than 12 years of marriage and two children together, John and Kelly have found a way to integrate the tragedy into their family’s life.
“We talk openly about it, and we have photos of him – we have a little family event each year where we will remember him. (He’s) just a very key part of it all,” John said.
“You essentially grow together, you have your own relationship but he is a part of us as well.”
On the recent anniversary of her first husband’s death, Kelly paid a touching tribute to her lost love on Instagram.
“19 years gone today my Jonny Roe…” she said in her caption.
“But still crystal clear in my memory is the warmth, kindness, humour and intelligence of that beautiful soul of yours. To the world you were just someone, but to me you were the world.”
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