This week, when viewers first met Married At First Sight bride Martha, it was clear that family is everything to her.
So one can only imagine the heartache she felt when she and her cousin, George, got into a car crash back in 2005 and he tragically lost his life. He was only 19.
“My cousin had picked me and two friends up from the bar we were at. He was super-protective and always kept a close eye on me especially if I was out — he was always a phone call away,” Martha, who was 16 at the time, tells 9Honey Celebrity. “He had not been drinking and was the designated driver. We were having too much fun, so we went for a joy ride before we headed home… and lost control and hit a tree.”
The force of the impact was so strong that the solid hardwood tree uprooted, leaving Martha and George trapped inside the car, which crashed on Miller Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
“My other two friends were able to escape the car unscathed. Unfortunately for George and I, it was a different story,” recalls the 30-year-old makeup artist, who was matched with PE teacher Michael for the experiment. “He was taken out of the car after an hour and then it wasn’t until an hour-and-a-half later that I was cut free using the jaws of life. I was very lucky to be alive.”
It was a long road to recovery for Martha. Not only did she have to come to terms with George’s death, but Martha — who was sitting in the middle seat in the back of the car — also had to learn to walk again after the accident left her with a shattered femur.
“I had to have several operations on my leg during high school. I missed a lot of school,” she says. “I felt lost and didn’t have much direction until I was a lot older. While all my friends were having sweet sixteenths and going out on first dates, I was learning to walk again. It was really hard, but it’s made me grow to be really resilient and who I am today.”
And Martha credits her family and friends for rallying around her and helping her get through.
“I am lucky to have such a great support system. I stayed at my grandparents’ house because I needed full-time care and our family home was not wheelchair friendly due to stairs. So I was constantly surrounded by people,” she says. “Also my friends were amazing and never left my side!”
Experiencing a life-changing ordeal has taught Martha that tomorrow is never promised and to make the most of today.
“I realised very early on in life that we never know what tomorrow will bring and just how short our time on earth really is,” she says. “Not much can get me down these days, I always look on the bright side.”
Obsessed with MAFS? Catch up on the week that was and get more insider scoop by listening to the Talking Married podcast:
Married At First Sight Season 6 airs Sunday at 7pm and Monday to Wednesday at 7:30pm on Nine. Catch up on exclusive interviews and gossip at 9Honey Celebrity. Missed an episode? Get your Married At First Sight recaps here. MAFS obsessed? Tune into 9Honey’s weekly chat show,Talking Married, where you’ll get the inside scoop on every episode. For more on MAFS, including past episodes and behind-the-scenes clips, head to the official site.