MAFS' Dr Trisha Stratford dead at 72: The secret heartbreak behind her passing

The former reality TV star had 'so much planned' for the future.

Married At First Sight fans were left devastated on Monday when it was announced that the show’s former relationship expert Dr Trisha Stratford had died aged 72.

What's even more heartbreaking is the fact that the neuropsychologist had only just reached what she'd told friends was the “happiest stage of her life”, and had “so much planned” for the future.

MAFS’ Dr Trisha Stratford and John Aiken.
MAFS’ John Aiken announced on Monday that his former co-star Dr Trisha Stratford had died aged 72. Photo: Instagram/johnaikenlive

Throughout her life, Yahoo Lifestyle understands that Trisha mostly prioritised her career over her own happiness.

Not many people know that prior to her stint on the Channel Nine reality show, she had been a war correspondent in Somalia and Bosnia, published two books, and produced and directed 20 prime-time documentaries on social justice issues.

If this wasn't impressive enough, the academic also had experience in hostage negotiation and ran resilience, conflict transformation and visionary leadership workshops around the world.


The mum-of-one then started to look towards slowing down her schedule when she turned 60 and relocated from her home in New Zealand to Sydney to be closer to her only daughter, Gina.

It was then that she received an offer to appear on the inaugural season of Married At First Sight, which led to her life becoming more of a whirlwind than ever before.

“I love to reinvent myself,” she previously told The Daily Telegraph of joining the show at 62, after producers approached her off the back of her PhD research.

MAFS’ Mel Schilling, Dr Trisha Stratford and John Aiken.
Trisha appeared as a relationship expert on MAFS for the show’s first seven seasons. Photo: Channel Nine

Why Trisha Stratford left MAFS

Although she found the first couple of seasons “fulfilling”, Trisha says she found herself “conflicted” as the show's direction shifted to focus on drama rather than genuine connections.

“I thought I had very strong resilience after everything I've done in my life, but MAFS took me to another level,” she told Woman's Day in 2021 after quitting ahead of season eight.

“By the end, I couldn't compromise my professional and personal standards because there were participants on the show who I felt shouldn't have been there.”

Before making this decision as the show became less enjoyable and more consuming for Trisha, a blind date set up by a friend led to the Wellington-born star meeting the love of her life, Roger, at 65.

“When we met, it was so natural, we had to give each other a hug – we had such energy,” she told Woman’s Day.

The pair were then an item from their first date but had to have a long-distance relationship as Trisha was based in Sydney for the show and Roger lived back in Auckland. This was also a huge factor that made her walk away from the hit program in 2021, despite it being at its peak.

“Long-term distance relationships, I believe, don't work. They do for a couple of years, but then you have to make a decision,” Trish admitted at the time.

MAFS’ Dr Trisha Stratford and her partner Roger / Trisha cycling.
Trisha moved in with her partner Roger after leaving MAFS and enjoyed a quieter life in New Zealand. Photos: Supplied

Life after MAFS

As the New Zealand native then moved to Auckland and in with the love of her life in 2021, the “inseparable” pair spent their days happily cycling, jogging and collecting art.

They also purchased a property in the South of France together, in a village of just 1,400 people, that the couple had planned to spend several months of the year living in and renovating.

Sadly though, Dr Trisha Stratford only managed to visit the property a couple of times before her untimely passing.

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