When we first interviewed Married at First Sight Season 10 participant Meka Jones last December, ahead of the premiere, we asked her what she would want people to know about her before the show aired and we got to make our own assumptions and determinations. We realize now that she was giving everyone a warning of what was to come — a lot of foolishness.
“I think I would just want everybody to know, not even just about me, but about how much patience and how much effort being married at first sight truly does take,” she said at the time. “I think it’s so easy for people to say, oh you’re married at first sight so you knew you were about to be married, but I don’t think any of us truly, truly, truly knew what we were signing up for.”
In Meka’s case, she unknowingly signed up to be married to Michael Watson, a guy she now can confidently say is a “pathological liar.” Her estranged husband spent about all eight weeks telling lies about things big and small, to the utter confusion of Meka and viewers. Tthe couple failed to have much chemistry. Not to mention, their efforts were lopsided. She tried. He lied.
After reliving the experience by watching it, Meka told us it was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through in my life.” We chatted with the newly crowned MAFS alumnus about the crazy moments we watched her deal with on camera, the bright side of her time on the show, and what marriage was really like when the cameras weren’t around. In turn, she filled us in about what became of that anniversary trip to “Jamaica,” the struggle of dealing with online critics, and the biggest lie Michael told that we didn’t get to see.
MadameNoire: First and foremost I have to ask you, because the people want to know, whatever happened to the trip to Jamaica?
Meka Jones: [Laughs] Oh my God, girl. I’m not even in the least bit surprised this is the first question because literally everybody has been blowing up my social media asking me that. So about the Jamaica trip, of course it never happened. I don’t think that’s much of a shock to anybody but he actually did show me a Groupon he bought. So he did buy a Groupon for swimming with dolphins in Jamaica, however, he never purchased plane tickets, he never purchased any way to get there, it was literally just the one thing, which was the Groupon, that obviously he got a refund for.
Woooow. He was like, let me see how this works out before I even bother.
Or, he was like, I don’t plan on doing any of it. But we’re on TV and everybody’s going to love me and think, “Oh, he got a good gift!”
Right! So I obviously I asked that because people watching came to the conclusion that Michael was incapable of just telling the 100 percent truth, which had to be frustrating. How was it living through that? Because if we’re all dating and we find out someone is a habitual liar, we head for the hills. But I know trying to make it work was important to you.
Honestly, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through in my life. It was hard because like you said, in the dating world, I would have said to Michael, “I’m done.” I don’t really want to be with someone who can’t be honest with me. But I made a commitment to be married, and I made a commitment to follow through and finish out the eight weeks. so even in the times I was so frustrated and begging him to tell the truth, I knew that I had to see this journey through, if not for the marriage, at least for myself, to get what I needed to get out of the experience. That was a personal commitment I made to myself, that even when it got hard, I would still do my best to follow through on my commitment and see it through to the end. I kept telling myself, if you look at your entire life, two months is nothing. You can for two months just try it, even when it’s hard just stick it through. But really, it was extremely challenging for me.
Was that strict commitment because you were trying to trust in the experts or just because of how seriously you looked at marriage?
I think it was a combination. I appreciate the experts, I feel that they match us for a reason. Even before I got on the show I was a fan of the show so I believed in the process. It was a part of that. But I think the majority of it was just me and how I approach situations in life in general. I don’t like to quit. I like to see things through. If I commit to something I like to follow through, so it was more so the pressure and expectations that I put on myself.
What do you say to people who felt that when caught in a lie, Michael used his tears and his childhood experience, being adopted by a family member, as a get-out-of-jail-free card? Was that not how you saw it?
No, I would absolutely agree with those people. I think he 100 percent uses his childhood and his adoption and how he was brought up as a crutch or as an excuse to his bad behavior. Not to be mistaken, I do believe part of why Michael acts the way he acts is because of his upbringing, but that’s no excuse. At some point, as an adult, you have to take accountability for the fact that we all went through stuff as kids! That’s not to say anybody’s situation is any worse than anybody’s, but we’ve all been through things. As an adult you realize, I have these habits and these things I do that are not healthy as an adult, and I need to work on myself to fix those. And I think for Michael, because he had never really been held accountable, I believe, and this is just my opinion, when he was called out on things, if he was ever called out on things, that was always his go-to. “Oh, well, I was adopted and it was hard for me growing up and I don’t really trust people.” And you don’t want to be the person who says, “Okay, I get that you were adopted but still let’s get to this issue.” I think for so long people who tiptoed around it were like, “You know what? He’s adopted. Let’s give him a pass this time.” All of his life he constantly got passes. So when you watch back the show it’s so obvious, and I don’t even think I knew it as I was in it, but when I watched it back it was literally every single time he was called out: “I was adopted and I don’t trust people and I’m dealing with this and I don’t know my mom and rejection…” It was just like, Michael, why do you not say all of those things at a moment where it’s not just convenient for you? It’s only when you’re being called out that you have to bring up what you’ve been through in your past. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to who you’re talking to. You’re putting people in a position where they feel like they’re being insensitive, which, at times I did, or they have to like just brush it under the rug and say, “Okay, it’s fine. You were adopted so I’m going to give you a pass.” I don’t think that’s a fair position to put anybody in, and especially not your wife.
Was there one lie out of the many Michael said this season that was most ridiculous of all?
So two things: I thought the mileage lie was extremely weird. I really don’t get, why lie about the miles on your car? And I don’t know if anybody really pays attention, because I didn’t see a lot of people calling it out, but when I watch that scene, he literally volunteered that information to me! I didn’t even ask him about the miles on his car. That was one of the lies where I was like, this is such a small thing and you are volunteering this small lie to me.
And also when he told me that he went to Brazil when he never went to Brazil. He told his entire family he went to Brazil, he posted pictures saying he was in Brazil, tagged Brazil as the location, and he was literally in Mexico the entire time.
Stuff like that, I can’t understand. I can’t justify it in my head. It’s not logical. It doesn’t make sense to me. Those small lies, I think, were the harder to understand.
So in the nine weeks you guys filmed together, including the wedding, when cameras weren’t around, how were your interactions with Michael? From the outside in, it seemed like you guys weren’t really comfortable and your chemistry wasn’t strong. So what was the living situation like off-camera?
Honestly, off-camera interactions, there weren’t very many to be honest. Off-camera we didn’t really talk. We didn’t really go out. We didn’t really do anything that a typical married couple would do because we were both very uncomfortable with each other. It was very awkward then to have conversations with each other. I’m sure people saw it, but even when we filmed sometimes it was like pulling teeth just to get us to have a conversation together because we were just on different pages. We never really had chemistry. So when we were off-camera, the times we would try to talk, sometimes we would make progress. Sometimes we would have these deep conversations, but I felt like it was never followed up with action. So at some point, even if we have these off-camera conversations, if nothing changes, then what’s the point? He would literally off-camera say, “Meka I want to talk to you.” For two hours, he would like profess his feelings for me and say how he wants to make this work, and then the next day he would get on camera and lie again. I’m like, I’m not going to keep doing this. I’m not going to be wasting my time accepting these commitments from you that you’re not going to honor. It’s pointless.
You briefly seemed like you saw something in Michael near the end of the experience, on the last date, that you you felt you could work with. You seemed optimistic. Was that the case, or had you known for a long time that you were going to move on come Decision Day?
I think there came a point and time where I realized that it was a very, very, very small chance that Michael and I would stay together. On the last date, what I said was real, which was I felt that was the first time Michael opened up and had been 100 percent honest. I did believe that. Going into Decision Day, I had to consider, it’s this one conversation that lasts for an hour or two hours, versus the entire nine weeks I spent of lies. Which one is going to outweigh the other? It’s obvious that either Michael really did feel that way and the only reason he was stepping up was because it was now or never, or Michael was just doing that to try and blindside me. Either way it’s like, I don’t want somebody in my life who shows up when you’re at your wits end. I don’t want to be with somebody who decides to fight for me when I’m already halfway out the door.
What was the best part and the worst part of your experience?
I have a couple best parts. The best part was my producer Montré [Burton]! I honestly don’t think I would have made it through the nine weeks if it wasn’t for him mentoring and coaching me and always being on my side and always understanding where I was coming from. I swear out of everybody out of the show, he got me. He always understood, even in my lowest moments. So any interaction I had with him was part of the best parts of the show. And then any interaction with the wives. I’m coming out of this with four friends I’ll have forever. So I think that was a huge part that kept me going when there challenges.
The hardest part, I think the hardest part of this experience was the public criticism. Going through it was hard, but re-watching it, reliving it, and then having the whole entire world call you names that you don’t believe about yourself, I think that was harder than anything. I would rather go through what I went through with Michael than to have to listen to criticism and have to see so many people with negative things to say about me that weren’t true.
I appreciated at the reunion that you were able to acknowledge, looking back, that you felt there were times where you were a bit harsher than you needed to be in your reactions to things he would do and say. Some would say it was deserved. Others might say your demeanor at times was a little off-putting. But why for you was it important to call that out at the reunion when he, in comparison, was struggling to acknowledge that he hurt you?
I think in general, I try to be as self-aware as I can be. During filming, multiple times, I acknowledged the fact that I could have been softer. I could have been less harsh in a lot of my interactions with Michael. I meant it. That was the truth. I still to this day, when I was living it, I was like, I should not be getting this upset. I was getting disappointed in myself because I knew I was better than that. So even in the moment I was able to check myself and say, “No, Meka, you’ve got to do better. You can not allow anybody to get you to this level.” And so admitting that was easy for me. I don’t think I’ve always been the type to take accountability, but I think at some point in my life, I realized you can get so much further by just owning your stuff. If you mess up, just say you messed up! I don’t get why people are so scared to just admit that you made a mistake. I’m human just like everybody else. Just like I said on the show, I never claimed to be perfect. I know I’m not. I make mistakes just like everybody else. I wanted Michael to know that, I wanted America to know that, and me to know that for myself. I’m going to acknowledge my mistake and I’m going to move forward from it and be a better person.