When it comes to successful couples from Married at First Sight, Shawniece and Jephte are a recent pair that people tend to laud. They struggled with some pretty terrible communication early on in their marriage, but managed to work through it, stay together, and welcome their first child together, Laura Denise Pierre in August. But when the cameras cut off, things didn’t go as smoothly as people might imagine. On their spin-off series, Married at First Sight: Happily Ever After, the couple revealed that at one point, they were separated and she threatened divorce — and for good reason.
In a clip from last week’s premiere, Dr. Jessica visits the pair and realizes they don’t have their wedding rings on because Shawniece took them. She said she did so because “we were at a point and time where we were just arguing and Jephte wasn’t happy, so I just said, ‘After eight months, if you’re still not happy, what are we doing?’ So I made the decision to separate.”
A lot of it had to do with the fact that Jephte was battling with depression and didn’t know how to vocalize that to Shawniece.
“I was reading the worst stuff about myself and I started to internalize that stuff,” he said. “I was really messed up in the head. It was really hard. I never felt like that before. It was really scary. I didn’t know what to do.”
He went on to say that he felt like he was “mentally drowning” during that time and didn’t want to worry her with it because it was early in Shawniece’s pregnancy and she was high-risk.
“I was scared to talk because I didn’t want to lose the baby,” he said. “In my mind I’m thinking, this is the best thing for the baby. I’ll take this mental L for as long as I can as long as the baby gets through. And you know how much I care about the baby.”
When he didn’t speak on his alleged internal turmoil, it ended up affecting their marriage. They went their separate ways for a few weeks and during that time, Jephte decided to go back to living like an unmarried man.
“We weren’t together at the time. We’re still married, but we weren’t really together,” he said. “I felt like I had to get back to being who I was before all of this happened, so I went back out and I was doing my thing. She was really mad. She was upset. She took the rings and I didn’t see her for maybe like two or three weeks.”
And as it turns, when Jephte said he was “doing my thing,” he wasn’t kidding. He was spending his time with other women according to their counseling session in Tuesday night’s most recent episode.
“When I came back, that’s when I guess he was doing him. I found condoms and it was bad,” she said. “It was all bad. It was all bad. I just lost it.”
“I was so messed up, so hurt, that I was like, ‘I just want to get my regular life back on track,’ so I was going back out and doing my thing,” he continued. “She told me she was filing and she told me ‘we’re done.’ So I’m like, ‘Ok, let me try and get back to how I was before, how my life was before.’”
“That’s when she took the ring and everything,” he added. “I knew she was hurt.”
Shawniece, pregnant and frustrated, said though she threatened divorce, she didn’t mean it 100 percent. She said she was still emotionally connected to him and wanted them to work on their marriage for the sake of their daughter. He realized that he wanted the same and was just acting out of pain, which he would inevitably get help dealing with during counseling with Dr. Jessica.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt you. It was more me trying to move through the process of trying to heal,” he said. “You know, I’ve never been in a situation like that before, I never felt like that before. I definitely would have done things differently.”
So like all couples, we are reminded that Jephte and Shawniece are a constant work in progress. What do you think of the hill they had to get over?