Married at First Sight returns to Lifetime for a ninth season this summer after moving from Philadelphia to Charlotte, North Carolina. Eight new singles hope that a blind leap of faith will pay off and among the newly matched couples this season are 32-year-old Matthew Gwynne and 27-year-old Amber Bowles, who both feel confident in the show's matchmaking process. As an international basketball player, Matt towers over petite Amber, who doesn't even reach the tops of his shoulders in their wedding photo. For more on who Matt from Married at First Sight is, here's what a little digging unearthed.
His Instagram account is set to private and he doesn't do much tweeting. But according to ESPN, Matt played basketball for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for two seasons from 2006-2008 and his old team photos are very much worth revisiting. He then transferred to Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina and played for the Flying Camels (yes, that's really their team mascot) for one season from 2008-2009. The forward/center hails from Angier, North Carolina.
Failing to be drafted into the NBA, Matt went on to work with the USA Select International Tour. According to its website, "USA Select Basketball was formed to assist American basketball players find professional opportunities internationally." You can check out Matt's 2016-2017 season highlights reel below. His Instagram bio also notes that he's a camp director and musician, so, you know, Matt contains multitudes.
In an interview with People ahead of the MAFS premiere, Matt said, “I’m getting married at first sight because I like to take risks. No risk, no reward. He added, “I’m single. I’ve been a hopeless romantic my whole life, so why not?”
Matt admits that his basketball career takes him out of the country for several months out of the year, which has impacted his ability to sustain a relationship, or even date. Will his bride-to-be be able to cope with his touring schedule? From the way Amber describes herself, she seems pretty strong-willed and independent, so it might work out.
Amber is an identical twin who grew up with her sister and her dad, with whom she's very close, after her mom came out as a lesbian when Amber was 4 years old. Amber's mom then moved to Massachusetts to establish a more authentic life. My wild guess is that there's some lingering abandonment trauma surrounding all this that may rear its head as Amber and Matt develop and grow their relationship.
Amber, however, seems ambitious, up for the challenge, and super determined to make it work. She's described as a "strong-willed and sassy tomboy who is also a hopeless romantic," and she definitely seems to be over the conventional dating-to-find-a-husband process. “I don’t want to date anymore!” she told People. “I’m so ready to start my forever.”
As for parental trauma on Matt's end? His parents recently divorced, according to his Lifetime bio, which has strained his relationship with them. He's looking for a partner committed to commitment (and athleticism, obviously) and he hopes Amber can be ~the one~. Married at First Sight premieres Tuesday, Jun. 12 on Lifetime.