More than 30 million households watched “Love is Blind” within a couple of months of its premiere on 13 February 2020 on Netflix. The unscripted reality television series featured an unconventional approach to dating, in which 30 single men and women talked to each other from behind a wall in the hope of finding their one true love without seeing them in person. It might sound ridiculous, but it actually worked as some of them made it to the altar to say their wedding vows. Naturally, it left everyone wondering if the couples are still together after that, if their love survived in the real world.
About the show
The executive producer of “Love is Blind,” Chris Coehlen, came up with the idea for the show sometime in 2018; he’s the same guy who created the hit TV show “Married at First Sight” (MAFS), which premiered in 2014. Both were social experiments that aimed to help people find the love of their lives. In MAFS, participants were matched to marry complete strangers, while in “Love is Blind” the participants could choose whomever they wanted to marry without seeing them.
It was explained in the show how everyone wanted to be loved for who they were and not for their looks, background, income, or race, but a person’s value was mostly judged by a photo in dating apps. The goal here is to form an emotional connection, an intimate bond with a prospective partner that would serve as a foundation for a lasting relationship.
How does it work?
The show’s hosts, Vanessa and Nick Lachey, would meet the 15 single men and 15 single women in their separate lounges and go over the dating rules. The participants could then interact with one another via a speaker while in adjoining soundproofed pods, each 12 feet by 12 feet or about 3.5 meters square, with a glass roof, and outfitted with a couch, a small table, and a rug – it was also fully stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The pods were designed to be comfortable and to give off an intimate vibe. Connecting the two pods was a blue panel or wall that was opaque but with some kind of shimmer to it to make it ‘feel like a living, breathing presence.’
Initially, the participants followed a speed dating format, in which persons could only talk for about 15 minutes before moving on to the next propect. It was important to meet everyone, and to then choose who they would want to get to know better. They weren’t given instructions on what to say or what questions to ask; it was basically up to them how the conversation would go on their initial ‘date’.
In season one, the participants slept on cots in trailers that are situated next to the lounges, and in season two, they slept in hotel rooms; they were escorted to ensure that they wouldn’t meet their potential partners. In the lounges, they could talk about how their dates went, and whom they were falling for, if anyone.
After day one of pod dating, the production would inform each of the singles if someone was interested in them. They were told the time and pod number, but not who was coming to see them, but were given the chance to know whom they would likely form the strongest connection with.
Later on, there would be no limitation as they could choose whomever they wanted to spend time with, whenever they wanted, and for how long they wanted it to last.
They were given 10 days to find their future spouse; once a proposal was accepted, the newly engaged couple would meet for the first time the following day. They would then go on couples’ retreat and take their relationship to the next level, and be physically intimate. They could also mingle with the other participants. After that, they would move in together, and discover more things about each other to see how they got along as a couple in the real world. Four weeks later would be their wedding day…. they were given a choice to marry or not, and would happen right at the altar with their families and friends in attendance. Not all of those who were engaged actually married.
Lauren and Cameron (Season one)
The 32-year-old content creator, Lauren Speed, and 28-year-old scientist Cameron Hamilton, felt an instant connection on their first day at the dating pod.
He said that he was looking for someone who understood him and who wasn’t afraid to tell him things that were difficult. She was drawn to him because his vibe was great, and their chemistry didn’t feel forced. Day four at the pod already had them both saying ‘I love you’ to each other – he did wonder if he was being rash, but said that it felt right. Lauren shared that it was like falling in love with a stranger yet not, as she knew everything about him – it was both scary and amazing as she felt like she jumped out of a plane. They trusted each other and in what they were feeling. Cameron said that if they marry, they have to make it work.
He spent every second of this experiment focusing on finding his wife, and believed he’d found her in Lauren, so he wasted no time and proposed to her by day five. At the pod, he asked her to approach the blue wall then got down on one knee and said, ‘I feel so blessed to have you come into my life. I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’ Lauren said yes and told him, ‘You’re such a beautiful person. I don’t have to see you to say that.’
Nothing else mattered while they were at the pod, but when it was time for them to see each other for the first time, she felt scared that he might not like the way she looked and vice versa, and that it might change the way they felt toward each other. For his part, he had a blank slate in his mind, so he could appreciate whatever she looked like. When their doors opened, they kissed and hugged.
Cameron said he couldn’t be happier. Lauren initially had some concerns about what her peers were going to say, as she’s black and he’s white, and she never had any relationship outside of her race before. She’s very independent, and it took her some time to adjust to living with someone as it was her first time doing that.
Filming took place in 2018, so they were married in November of that year and have been together since then. Their YouTube vlog “Hanging with the Hamiltons” started shortly after the TV series aired in 2020, and chronicled their daily lives and adventures.
They also released a book entitled “Leap of Faith: Finding Love the Modern Way.” Cameron and Lauren planned to have children, but not just yet, as they were busy with all the opportunities that came their way.
In 2021, Lauren hosted a dating show on MTV called “Match Me If You Can”. The following year, when Netflix launched its newest podcast, “We Have the Receipts,” she was tapped to host that too, along with Chris Burns from “The Bachelor.” They would dive into the juicy details of all the reality TV shows on the streaming giant.
Amber and Matthew (Season one)
27-year-old engineer Matthew Barnett, introduced himself as Barnett as that was what his close friends called him. Admittedly, he’s interested in pretty girls, so this experiment was nerve-racking for him, but he said, ‘It’s not all about physical attraction in the long run.’ Many women liked him, and he was interested in three: Amber Pike, a 26-year-old ex-tank mechanic, who excited him but scared the hell out of him; Lauren “LC” Chamblin, a 26-year-old recruiter, whom he said was similar to him; and Jessica Batten, a 34-year-old manager, whom he thought was wife material.
He was ready to propose to Jessica and even told her that she’s the yin to his yang. However, it bothered him to learn that another guy named Mark also had a connection with her, and it appeared to him that Jessica was telling everyone the same thing she was telling him. She was ready to accept Barnett, but he was indecisive so Jessica had enough of him and chose Mark.
Amber said that because of her looks, many people didn’t take her seriously and were even surprised that she could hold her own in conversations. She was a cheerleader, and she enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard when she was 17 and did eight years of service. She described herself as ‘off-the-wall crazy.’ From the get-go, she liked Barnett as he made her laugh a lot. She wasn’t discouraged at all with all the girls who were into him as well. For her, it was him or no one at all.
In the end, Barnett proposed to Amber, telling her that she was the only one who made him feel like there’s a burning fire in his heart.
She later revealed that it wasn’t shown on TV that the proposal was long, and that she hesitated before accepting it, as she needed assurance that they were both going to work on their marriage together. ‘I can’t carry the weight of this emotional connection by myself. I can’t be the only one always trying to get you to open up,’ she told him. Barnett said, ‘I’ll do whatever you want to make you happy. I love you.’ They were ecstatic when they finally saw each other.
Being married wasn’t easy, and Amber even came close to consulting a divorce lawyer. It appeared that they had different expectations of marriage so they often clashed, but they were able to work things out. They are still together, having the time of their lives as they travel and go on adventures; it was all documented on their Instagram accounts. There were some who criticized them for the way they lived, but she didn’t care, saying, ‘I have been nothing less than blessed to find a partner that looks at life the same way that I do, as an adventure meant to be lived out instead of just dreamt about.’ Barnett left a comment on her post. saying, ‘I love our life together! Wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything else.’
Iyanna and Jarrette (Season two)
Iyanna McNeely, a 27-year-old program co-ordinator at an agency, joined the TV show as she didn’t want to be judged for her looks on dates. Having no breasts and butt, she was sometimes mistaken for a 13-year-old boy if she didn’t dress well. She was looking for a husband who would also be her best friend. She said it would be an awesome story to tell her kids, ‘I met your dad in a social experiment where I was also dating 14 other guys.’ As an only child, she wanted to have a big family.
Jarrette Jones, a 31-year-old health care consultant, wanted to find a wife who’s a good person at her core. He wanted someone who would be by his side through thick and thin. He said to Iyanna that he felt like he had known her forever as he could talk to her about things that only family and his close friends knew. She shared about being sexually molested when she was 17, and this made her very selective in whom she allowed to get close to her. Being able to open up about her traumatic past to him made her realize that he’s the one for her.
However, he also had a connection with a 32-year-old non-profit manager named Mallory, who even gave him the nickname, “JerBear.” Iyanna knew about Mallory as he told her how he was having a hard time choosing between them.
Jarrette asked Mallory if she saw a future with him if he proposed to her; she had good things to say to him and about their connection, but told him she was more drawn to Salvador. After he had time to think, he talked to Iyanna about what happened with Mallory and how he still wanted to pursue what he had with Iyanna. She was clearly hurt as she realized that she was his second choice, and said that she deserved someone who’s certain about her. Later on, however, he asked her to marry him and she didn’t expect that. She kept asking him if he was sure and he assured her that he was, so she said yes.
They were married and are still living together happily. Since the show finished airing on 4 March 2022, they could now travel together and let people know they are a couple. They planned to enjoy themselves before settling down and starting a family.
Danielle and Nick (Season two)
Danielle Ruhl, 28, who worked in advertising, was looking for a guy who would love her sincerely. Nick, 35, worked in software marketing, and was looking for someone he could spend the rest of his life with. He’s the first person in his family to have graduated from college. He had a great career and a condo, and the one thing that was missing was someone he could share all that with.
She was interested in Nick, but was afraid that his dates with other women were more fun. She admitted to having a lot of insecurity about being overweight in the past, but he shared about being a bit chunky while he was growing up, but getting fit in college. He told her that she needed to have a partner who would also be her best friend.
Being with Danielle made him feel calm and content, and the connection that they had was unique in so many ways, as they were able to spend hours getting to know each other at a deeper level.
The more they talked, the more they discovered things about each other that they liked, or that they had in common. Whenever she had doubts or was over-analyzing things, he would always try to assure her that they were partners, and would be in this together. He was at a point in which he couldn’t imagine life without her. Nick proposed to her and she accepted. Danielle felt like the luckiest woman in the world, as she wanted him to be her husband more than anything. She believed that he was a good person and a good match for her.
They tied the knot, with Nick saying he had no doubts whatsoever that Danielle was the person he was supposed to be with. He was glad to have found her and told her, ‘I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life being better together.’
After the show aired, they started posting photos on Instagram as they could finally share that they are a happily married couple. They have been attending couples’ counseling to help them communicate better, and make their marriage work.
The producers didn’t know what to expect when they started this social experiment, as it was all up to the participants. They were initially worried that nobody would propose, but in the end, they had couples who were engaged but whose stories weren’t featured in the series because there were too many of them.
It seemed that they had proven that love is blind, as people could actually fall in love, sight unseen.