Exclusive: True Love or True Lies’ gay couple ‘happy to be evicted’

One of the first gay couples to take part in a reality show has told PinkNews they were “glad” to be voted off the show.

Northern Irish strongman Chris and London mechanic Jon were evicted from True Love or True Lies‘s Italian mansion last night (August 9).

The MTV show – which, unlike Love Island, features multiple LGBT contestants – sees real and fake couples competing for a prize of at least £50,000 – with a £10,000 bonus for every pair of frauds who are voted off.

The couple was voted off last night

But for Chris and Jon – who met on Grindr – it was never about the money.

Instead, the couple wanted to help normalise gay couples, particularly in Northern Ireland, which is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is still illegal despite having the support of two-thirds of people.

“We never went on the show looking to win or looking for the prize money; we went on the show to help people who have been in similar situations to us with their sexuality, so they could see our relationship,” Chris told PinkNews.

They saw their elimination coming – but they were “glad”

“And also to help modernise things in Northern Ireland a wee bit as well,” he added. “We felt that we’d been on the show, we’d done what we set out to achieve. I definitely think it was a good time for us to go.”

The powerlifting champion, who got engaged to two women before coming out and becoming an LGBT rights campaigner, said the first six couples, which included two other same-sex pairs, were “amazing people” – unlike the most recent entrants.

“When the two most recent couples came on, not that there was any negativity towards anyone who was gay, it was just – I looked at Jon, and Jon looked at me, and I was like: ‘Well, this is us now. We’re gonna go,'” he revealed.

“You could just tell they weren’t going to get a gay relationship. I was proved right.”

The couple won a lot of fans’ hearts

Jon added: “They hadn’t seen it before, and they couldn’t relate to it either.”

But the two men weren’t disappointed. Chris said that even though it had been “f**king nerve-wracking as f**k” to go on the show, it had been worth it to broaden viewers’ minds.

“There were people saying ‘I’m so glad Chris and Jon were real, that gives me hope,’ and that’s exactly why we were on the show. That’s exactly why we wanted to do it.

“Hopefully it reaches out to so many young people out there. We’re not the stereotypical gay couple, and we’re not against any stereotypes – we both love drag queens and feminine gays, we both party at weekends – but on reality TV, you just don’t see a gay strongman or a gay mechanic.

“So we’re hoping in that way that it’ll help some people who are struggling with their sexual identity to come out.”

He added: “I think it’s really important for Northern Ireland, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment. For a gay couple from Northern Ireland to go on that show, it helps to modernise the whole thing.

“In Northern Ireland, it’s a big thing to be gay. It’s improving, but it’s still the only part of the UK and Ireland that you can’t get married in, and there’s still so much homophobic abuse from politicians.

“It has to be work from the ground up, because it’s not going to be from the top down – people like me and Jon doing things like this, going on TV, showing a new modern-day life for people who haven’t seen it yet.

“I think it’s really important, and I hope we can use our profiles now to stamp a lot of s**t out,” continued Chris.

For Jon, it was important that the pair showed “that there’s nothing special about a gay relationship – we’re still just human like everyone else, and you’re still two guys. One doesn’t have to be a woman, it’s just two guys.”

Chris also revealed that he and Jon are now engaged, and are planning on inviting all the original True Love or True Lies couples to their wedding – including Luke and Jack, who they want to win the show.

“We got engaged in Dublin on June 1, on the first day of Pride Month,” he said happily.

“We might be waiting a long time for Northern Ireland – it seems like it’s one step forward, a few steps back, so I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. My sister got married, and she had to go down south.”

The day after they got engaged, thousands of people took to the streets of Belfast to march for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

But despite public support, political progress has been slow, so the pair is currently planning on holding the wedding in the Republic of Ireland – which Chris said was proving difficult.

They said that planning a gay wedding while living in Northern Ireland was “very frustrating”

“We get in the car and we have to travel three hours to get to a venue, so it’s frustrating in that way,” he revealed.

“It’s very frustrating as well with friends who come round and say: ‘Oh, you should try such-and-such a place, it’s really nice!’ and we say: ‘Yeah, but it has to be over the border.'”

After the LGBT visibility they’ve achieved on MTV, both men want queer people on Love Island, with Jon saying: “It’s a lot more mainstream and it’s quite a well-known name now, so it would be nice to have even more publicity when it comes to gay relationships.”

Chris agreed, saying: “It would be really stupid for them not to do it now, because it would be such a wow factor with gay people in there.”