Married At First Sight UK star JJ Slater says he was viciously trolled for ‘being gay’ during his relationship with transgender bride Ella Morgan.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, the clothing brand owner, 31, from Essex insists that he is straight and only ever saw Ella as a woman, but admitted the couple did not have sex before parting ways at the end of the E4 series.
JJ and Ella were brought back into the experiment as a new couple following the breakup of their respective marriages to Bianca Petronzi and Nathaniel Valentino, after they told the show’s experts about their growing feelings towards each other.
But speaking in depth for the first time about the romance, JJ says both viewers and certain contestants greeted their relationship with scorn, which turned into full scale homophobic and transphobic abuse online.
The TV personality admits he was deeply saddened by the vile reaction from ‘uneducated’ trolls and hopes that Ella’s participation on the show will help to change those that still possess ‘narrow minded’ views.
Married At First Sight UK star JJ Slater says he was viciously trolled for ‘being gay’ during his relationship with transgender bride Ella Morgan
The clothing brand owner insists that he is straight and only ever saw Ella as a woman, but admitted the couple did not have sex before parting ways at the end of the E4 series
JJ says both viewers and certain contestants greeted their relationship with scorn, which turned into full scale homophobic and transphobic abuse online
The TV personality admits he was deeply saddened by the vile reaction from ‘uneducated’ trolls and hopes that Ella’s participation on the show will help to change public opinion
He said: ‘I faced a backlash… it is so sad that it happened. With Ella there has been a lot of transphobic and homophobic abuse.
‘I am a liberal, open minded person, and a straight man. I have only ever been with women, and I see Ella as a woman.
‘For people to have a problem with that, I don’t understand it. As mine and Ella’s story progressed, it stopped but there are still some silly people now that have something to say but it has eased a lot. I only read the negative stuff because it hits harder.
‘I got emotional during the final vows because Ella thanked me for accepting her but that shows what she has been through, she shouldn’t have to say that… I don’t have to thank anybody for accepting me… I really value her.’
JJ insists his friends and family were ‘supportive’ of his relationship with Ella, 29, who underwent gender reassignment surgery aged 21.
But he admits, at points, the abuse from trolls became too much and he hit back, especially on TikTok where the harshest bullying took place.
He explained: ‘Questions about my sexuality did arise, some trolls were saying that I’m gay, they’re not nice and they’re not easy comments to deal with.
‘I know who I am and people that know me know who I am and a lot of the public that understand and aren’t so small minded and are more liberal, know that Ella is a woman and therefore I’m a straight guy.
JJ insists his friends and family were ‘supportive’ of his relationship with Ella, who underwent gender reassignment surgery aged 21
Despite their love and admiration for each other, JJ and Ella decided to part ways during the show’s final vow renewals
Essex born JJ entered the experiment in the hope of finding The One and was matched with bride Bianca Petronzi, but their marriage ended in heartbreak
After growing close to Ella, the pair were given permission by the show’s relationship experts to rejoin the experiment as a couple, leaving Bianca devastated
‘I have only been with girls and will only ever be with girls, not that I’m against anyone doing anything else but that’s just me and who I am. I answered back a couple of times… a lot of people are trying to get a reaction especially on TikTok live but I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal myself.’
He continued: ‘A lot of people are uneducated, and Ella has helped to educate so many people, me included, Ella is the first trans person that I’ve ever met… the whole time I was just trying to follow my heart and be kind along the way.’
Despite their closeness on the show, JJ admits the exes resisted going all the way in the bedroom, adding: ‘We didn’t have sex. It was about being in the right place. It was already intense, and I didn’t want that. Even with Bianca, I didn’t do any of that.
‘For me, it has to be right. In previous relationships, I’ve lost that spark and doing things at the right pace was really important to me.
‘I value women and I try to treat them with respect, I’m not out there trying to sleep with every girl I’ve taken on a date… I try and do the right thing so splitting with Bianca was difficult for me, I was trying not to upset people.’
JJ says himself and Ella remain close friends and he credits her for helping him ‘grow as a person’ during the experiment.
The pair both agreed during the final vows stage their relationship had broken down, having admitted to rowing behind-the-scenes, especially if Ella had been drinking.
But Ella praised JJ for becoming the first man in her life to fully accept her as a transgender woman.
Ella and JJ’s romance caused drama among the cast, especially amongst Bianca, who called out Ella for not being a ‘girls’ girl’ and making a mockery of the dating experiment
While he’s not ready to date yet, JJ says he is open to seeing women who aren’t his ‘usual type’, previously admitting he’s attracted to females with cosmetic surgery
She told him: ‘Being seen for Ella as Ella without any judgement is something I thought would never happen for me.
‘I want it to be you, but it isn’t right now. I’ll never forget you and what you’ve done for me, you’ve changed my life forever.’
And while JJ admits he’s not ready to date again as a result of the E4 show, he says the process has taught him not to always chase his ‘usual type’ including women with plastic surgery and glamour models.
He said: ‘I would say I am definitely more open now and I have learned a lot from the experts. I haven’t always only gone for women with cosmetic surgery, that was built up to be bigger than it is.
‘It’s not always been the case, as long as there’s a spark… that’s what I’m looking for… I’m not going to be with someone if they’ve had surgery or not.
‘I often find that women with cosmetic work like me, that’s who approaches me… perhaps it’s because I’m from Essex, it could just be the circumstance of where I live and where I go out.’