TV & Movies

Shaq & Kirsten Are In A Better Place After Their MAFS Breakup Shocker

He felt he never met his now ex-wife’s high standards.

Originally Published: 
'Married At First Sight' Season 16 couple Shaquille and Kirsten
Matthew Kahn Photography/Lifetime

When Shaquille “Shaq” Dillon met Kirsten Grimes on Lifetime’s Married at First Sight Season 16, he barely had enough time to balance work and school. In fact, the first major conflict in their marriage quickly arrived when Shaq, a 31-year-old grad student and executive director of enrollment services at Tennessee State University, delayed their honeymoon in Jamaica to present at a research conference in Mississippi. The disagreement was a barometer of the couple’s success: Shaq broke up with Kirsten on Decision Day, despite her desire to continue working on their marriage.

On the MAFS Season 16 reunion, Shaq and Kirsten revealed that they’ve gotten to a better place since filming wrapped. Though they occasionally check in with each other, they’re not back together. During their conversation with reunion host Kevin Frazier, the exes attributed their breakup to communication issues, and Shaq admitted that he didn’t feel he was good enough for Kirsten, particularly given her financial requirements.

After all, their issues began as soon as they laid eyes on each other. Kirsten’s MAFS bio notes that she’s had difficulty finding a man who meets her standards, and it didn’t take her long to decide — and make no secret of her position — that she was not attracted to Shaq. “He’s bald and he’s younger than me, so that’s two strikes,” Kirsten said. So when the officiant announced that Shaq could kiss his bride, the 32-year-old real estate agent only offered her cheek. As she explained to Distractify, “I was expecting to see a man with a haircut, low beard, not just good looking.”

They continued to be at conflict over their non-mutual physical attraction as the season went on, too. Though Shaq said Kirsten was exactly his ideal “type,” she continued to feel that there was “not really” any chemistry between them and questioned their emotional connection as well. She initially hoped that Shaq’s nice smile and outgoing personality would eventually outweigh a lack of attraction on her part — though that didn’t end up being the case in the end.

Prior to their divorce, Shaq seemed to hint that he and Kirsten were no longer together when he told Distractify in January that his “life [hadn’t] changed much” after MAFS filming ended. Both Shaq’s and Kirsten’s Instagrams are set to private, so there aren’t many further clues of what they’re doing today.

Despite their breakup, the MAFS matchmakers weren’t totally off base. Shaq and Kirsten both put an emphasis on religion, naming their “deal breaker” as someone not sharing their Christian faith. “I would have been confused with the experts’ matchmaking process, had I been matched with a person who is not religious,” Shaq explained, while Kirsten added, “As a child and as an adult, I pray daily and attend church. I want my future family to be raised in a Baptist church.”

Their shared values were not enough to sustain a successful marriage, though.

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