Honesty has always been the best policy for Crewe-born Rosaline Darlington, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Giggly, garrulous, and brimming with girl next door energy, Rosaline (known as ‘Rozz’) is keen to set the record straight as she chats ten to the dozen from a hotel room in Manchester.
The 28-year-old florist, who lives close to her parents’ farm in Crewe, was thrust into the limelight after marrying a stranger, Thomas Kriaras, on the E4 show Married at First Sight, which aired last autumn. Meeting for the first time on their wedding day, Rosaline rocked up on a tractor, a nod to her family’s farming background. The couple headed off on honeymoon with a few months ahead of them in which they had to decide whether to remain married or to divorce.
“The wedding day was pretty special – it was a moment when I thought that this is the guy I have been waiting for, who the experts thought was perfect for me,” recalls Rosaline. Rosaline and Thomas’s journey was marked by an awkward rocky start and plenty of tears, all unfolding before the watchful eyes of relationship experts and viewers across the UK. From the outset, Rosaline bravely admitted that she wasn’t immediately attracted to Thomas. To strengthen their connection, the couple consummated their marriage. Despite the intimacy, Rosaline confessed to Thomas that her feelings remained unchanged.
“I got a little bit of hate when the show first aired, and that was a shock because I am a nice person and I’m thinking ‘this is my reputation and business on the line’. I went into the experiment with honest and genuine intentions. Most people have been so lovely and supportive, but of course there is trolling,” says the business owner of the Flower Paddock in Crewe.
The lack of initial romantic spark placed a strain on the duo, testing their commitment to the unconventional experiment. For a short period, it seemed their budding relationship would flourish into something serious. But it was not to be as the couple reached the final part of the nine-week process.
“It was during the homestays when you meet each other’s parents that really triggered me. As soon as I stepped into my sister’s house, I was overwhelmed and I felt so homesick, especially seeing my sister Millie and niece Maeve. I think I was overstimulated and overwhelmed after being reunited with my family and dogs,” remembers Rosaline.
“I also felt the pain I’d been through with my ex-partner of four and a half years. I started questioning everything. It was then that I realised if my heart was 100% in this with Thomas I wouldn’t be questioning so much.
“I think that’s why I had to be so honest with Thomas, because I think my ex and I potentially lacked honesty there, and I wasn’t a priority. It was just sad. I knew I couldn’t do that to Thomas.”
The difficulties faced by the couple underscored the raw and unscripted nature of reality TV relationships, shedding light on the vulnerability that participants experience both on and off the screen.
“It has been so hard,” she admits. “My friends and family are proud of me, and their opinions are the only ones that matter. People that have harsh opinions don’t know me. I am proud that I was strong enough to find the courage to be honest. No one wants a break-up, but healthy relationships are so important and if you can’t be honest with each other, where do you go?”
Despite the emotional rollercoaster, Rosaline has cultivated firm friendships and reveals that returning to life in Cheshire and her flower growing and floristry business has been a welcome retreat.
Brought up on a working farm in Crewe, surrounded by fields, ponds, and woodland, inspired Rosaline to become a florist. She attended Malbank School, and later studied floristry at Reaseheath College on the outskirts of Nantwich. “I never really liked school, I’m not the sharpest crayon,” she smiles, “I go wherever the wind takes me. I sort of fell into floristry and flower growing. It wasn’t a long-term dream, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else,” says Rosaline who loves escaping for walks on Bickerton Hill with her three dogs.
“The process of marrying a stranger has been chaotic and amazing at the same time. No, I didn’t find the love of my life. But I’ve realised that just because I’m getting closer to 30 doesn’t mean I have to chase for marriage and kids. I have to be happy in myself, love myself before I even begin to look for everything else. The experiment has moulded me and I am looking forward to new relationships and understanding what I need.”
Remaining friends with Thomas is high on Rosaline’s agenda, but she doesn’t foresee a romantic reunion. “If I could find the perfect person for Thomas, I would literally bring her to him. I want him to be happy. So that’s where we’re at. I don’t want to ruin the friendship, but I respect Thomas’s boundaries. Thomas and I worked on our relationship, and we have a great friendship and mutual respect.”
A heartbreaking episode where Rosaline admits she couldn’t imagine having children with Thomas brought the relationship experts to tears, and still stirs up deep emotions for Rosaline. “Honestly, when I watched it back, I cried because I felt everything, all over again. Remembering how vulnerable, sad, guilty, and how horrible I felt hurting Thomas was tough.”
Reflecting on her time on the show, Rosaline has zero regrets. “I obviously had some moments when I was receiving hate, and I think ‘why did I do it’? I was only ever myself. And when people hate on me, I’m like, I’m not acting. That’s genuinely me. But I don’t regret a thing, I’ve made the most amazing friends and I’m truly grateful for everything. It’s been incredible.”
Looking ahead, Rosaline has plans for the business and hopes to inspire others. “I’m so passionate about my business. I’d love to promote young people in business and the importance of British flower growing.”
As for love, Rosaline tells me she is not actively looking for her perfect man. “I wouldn’t say no to Chris Hughes or Ryan Gosling,” she jokes. “I really want to meet someone for who they are inside and how well they treat others. I feel like I’m happy working on myself. And I truly believe that if the right person arrives in five or 10 years, then that’s fine.”