MAFS' Mel Schilling on heartbreaking moment she told 9-year-old daughter she had cancer

Married At First Sight's Mel Schilling opened up to OK! about her stage three colon cancer journey - including the day she told her nine-year-old daughter Maddie about the disease.

Mel, 52, who is one of the show's resident love gurus in both the UK and Australian series', shares her daughter with husband Gareth, 51.

And talking to OK!, for our exclusive at home shoot, Mel revealed once she finally got her diagnosis, after suffering with symptoms such as weight loss and stomach pain, she and Gareth decided to be transparent and told Maddie the day they got the news.

Mel Schilling and her daughter Maddie at home
Mel is mum to nine-year-old daughter Maddie -Credit:David Cummings

“I think she has a nine-year-old’s version of what cancer means,” she explained.

“She knows I’m having chemo and she knows that when I have an infusion I’ll be tired and need extra cuddles, which she is there for. She understands it in her own way.”

Mel's diagnosis took a while to obtain after two doctors firstly put her symptoms down to constipation.

But the Aussie star, who is currently going through chemotherapy after she had keyhole surgery to remove the tumour, has her hubby by her side every step of the way and described him as "a rock".

Mel Schilling, husband Gareth and their daughter Maddie in the kitchen at home
The MAFS star has the support of her whole family -Credit:David Cummings

“He’s gone through his own tough year as he’s had grief in his life, but has still been there for me," she said.

"It really does feel like a team, I can open up and be honest about how I’m feeling and we make adjustments at home to match that.

"We have a non-traditional relationship, I guess, as I’m the one who goes out to work and he does the majority of parenting at home. It works well for us.”

As well as treatment, Mel has thrown herself into work and has been filming the latest series of MAFS UK.

Mel Schilling
On 20 December 2023, Mel had a 5cm tumour removed that was “blocking everything and was growing pretty quickly” -Credit:Instagram/Mel Schilling

“I’ve had to adjust my work schedule so the chemotherapy isn’t near when I’m filming something – I like to make the most of my energy,” Mel told us.

“Working is so important to me, and while it does take energy from me, it gives me energy too – I get so much out of my work and I need it."

While Mel is battling the disease, she has her mum, who recently overcame her own battle with cancer, as someone she can talk to about her treatment.

“My mum has just gone through breast cancer; she has survived and got through that. It’s been really good to talk to her about things like chemotherapy, which she’s also been through. She told me, ‘You’re the strongest person I know – if I can do it, you can do it.’”