How Married At First Sight Changed Cortney Hendrix - Exclusive

It is because of Married at First Sight that Cortney Hendrix is living her best life. Although she ultimately got divorced from Jason Carrion (per People)— adding to one of the most devastating breakups in the show's history — she still has no regrets about marrying a stranger. In fact, Hendrix, who remarried in 2020 (per People), is grateful for her time on television because it led her to the happy, healthy, and fulfilling place she's in now. 

The List sat down with the former reality star, who was just 26 when she was cast in this intense social experiment. The North Carolina native, who was living in New York at the time, was thrown into a crash course of adulting. There was no guidebook to follow on marrying someone she did not know, so she had to navigate her new relationship through trial and error with America watching. Although viewers rooted for her, they also criticized her handling of certain situations. "Eventually, I took the comments and understood some of it I deserved and needed to learn from and change," she explained.

Through starring in the series and its two spinoffs, Married at First Sight: The First Year and Married Life, Hendrix learned many life lessons and was able to put herself on a better path. "I'm completely different now than I was then. I've grown up a lot," she said. "I see the error in my ways which was a tough cookie to handle." 

Cortney Hendrix was the subject of a lot of scrutiny on social media

Part of being on a reality show includes having your dirty laundry aired on national TV. During Married at First Sight: The First Year, Cortney Hendrix was dealing with many stressful situations. For one, she was possibly getting fired from her job and her husband, Jason Carrion was entering into the fire academy (via YouTube). All these different factors took a toll on the newlyweds, and Hendrix started spiraling. "I also gained weight, chopped my hair off, and didn't look as put together as I always did when I got married," she said.

Viewers took notice and started weighing in on Hendrix's personal life on social media. "The worst comment was from an older man on Facebook; he said that he hoped I would never procreate because the world didn't need any more spoiled b*****s like me," Hendrix said. "I had the screenshot and saved [it] for a while." 

Fans also commented on Hendrix's looks, pointing out that her change in appearance was a sign of depression. "And I remember going back and watching the season and people even writing online, 'She looks depressed. She's not taking care of herself.'" Although it was devastating to hear, she knew that they were making valid points. "Something as simple as washing my hair, brushing my hair, I wasn't doing that," she said. "I didn't realize that how I felt on the inside was coming out on the outside."

Cortney Hendrix turned the negative comments into positive change

Much of Cortney Hendrix's self-realization came from the feedback she received on social media. Instead of growing defensive, she grew from it. "I had to answer for some of my behavior, I couldn't blame it all on editing," she admitted. Although it was hurtful to read, she realized that some of the commentary was warranted. And when she watched the show back, she saw the way she responded when things didn't go her way. "It was obvious. I was short fused and hard to please," she admits. 

After she accepted the constructive criticism, it was time for her to mend her ways. "It took me a long time to be like, 'Yeah, Cortney, you suck. These people aren't making it up. You need to reevaluate your situation.'" For one, she realized that how she handled conflict was childish. She learned how to address her anger in a more mature manner. Another thing she looked to fix was her relationship with God. "I was the farthest I've ever been away from Him during that," she said. 

And as Hendrix started transforming her life, she realized that she needed to make a change in her relationship status as well. "And slowly as I started to change for the better and get back to who I am truly as a person, it just really was, 'It's time for this to end.'" Hendrix announced her divorce on Instagram in 2019, after five years of marriage.

Married at First made Cortney Hendrix appreciate her profession even more

Growing up, Cortney Hendrix dreamed of becoming a soap opera actress. "Back then, reality TV wasn't a thing," she explained. "I never really thought I'd be on reality TV." After she was casted on Married at First Sight in 2014, the professional makeup artist who worked on film and television sets, quickly realized that the on-screen lifestyle was not her cup of tea. "I think that being on the show made me realize that I belong behind the camera and not necessarily in front of it," she said. "I don't need to be the talent, but I like to work with talent."

After she left New York to return to her North Carolina roots, she began working for her family's business. Now, she is on track to becoming a CEO there and enjoying the learning process. "It is really incredible to be a part of a legacy and something I'm really proud of," she said. As for her career as a makeup artist, she does "miss it terribly," but still hones her creative side when she can, even, very fittingly, doing bridal makeup for a friend's wedding. 

Catch Cortney and all previous seasons of Married At First Sight on Lifetime. Plus, new episodes of season 12 are now airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST.