Block couple Tess and Luke have levelled explosive claims against the hit renovation series during an interview with news.com.au today, accusing producers of "bullying" and saying they wish they never appeared on the show.
Nine have today responded to the couple's' claims, saying they supported all the couples throughout the build and will "continue to support them."
The Cairns newlyweds were once more close to breaking point during Tuesday's episode, with Tess walking off-site after host Scott Cam tried to confront her about their budget issues.
• 'A flop': Lisa and Ribz win $150,000 on The Block as three couples go home with nothing
• The Block NZ: Firehouse - Third apartment sells for reserve price of $1.480m in post-auction negotiation
• The Block penthouse sells for $1.6m, but still no money for Mikaere and Sophia Gardiner
• The MediaWorks sale: what will happen to The Block, MAFS, Mark Richardson and Patrick Gower?
Block viewers have repeatedly been told this season that Tess and Luke's problems are largely their own doing — that they wouldn't be doing it so tough if she only picked up a paintbrush or if he put his building qualification to better use.
Speaking to news.com.au today, the couple insists that's all a lie — and the show is so "full of sh*t" they no longer tune in, in an effort to protect their own mental health.
"We didn't watch last night. We're getting sick of how they're editing us as being these big lazy pr**ks who don't get off their a**e and do a single thing. For some reason, they're just not showing us doing any of the work. We're just getting painted as these lazy people and we're bloody sick of it," Luke said.
"We're really disappointed. Even the other contestants have contacted us to say, 'That didn't happen, that was taken out of context'."
"We're pretty upset with how we've been painted — it's all a lie," said Tess, who also slammed the show for continuing to film her after she'd walked off-site in last night's episode.
LAST NIGHT'S WALKOUT
Tess was shown storming off-site last night, turning her back on Scott Cam when he eventually tracked her down for a lecture about the couple's budget issues.
According to Cam, they'd spent $25,000 more on trades than any other team.
Tess said she had been out shopping when she was called back to site for Cam's walkaround.
"I looked at a producer and said, 'I'm not coping today. My mental health isn't right. I can't go in there and be slammed by Scotty over something that isn't true'. So Luke took the beating and I hid because I wasn't OK. Luke took it like a champ. And it was all a lie — we didn't spend $25,000 more than the other contestants. We've been working our absolute a**es off," she said.
"So I walked off, because I couldn't handle it. I did say, 'You guys need to stop filming me because I'm not coping right now for mental health reasons' — and they didn't stop filming."
Luke revealed that the couple had called a meeting with The Block's executive producer just yesterday to complain about how they were being portrayed — specifically, the lack of footage of them working hard on their renovations.
"He said, 'It's on film, it'll be there'. We said, 'Well, it's not there. You're not showing Australia that we're actually having a crack'," Luke said.
Tess said many of this season's other contestants had contacted them to express their disappointment at the couple's edit — and she insisted that they were actually one of the hardest-working couples this season, regularly going to bed after 2am.
'WE'RE NOT COPING ANYMORE'
As this mammoth season of The Block nears three months on-air, four nights a week, Tess and Luke say they've been forced to stop watching to protect their own sanity.
"We're really upset — we're not coping with it any more. We're really heartbroken," Tess said.
"We thought this was going to be an amazing, positive experience in our life, but we wish we never went on this bloody thing. We got bullied the whole way through (filming) the show, and now we feel like they're bullying us on the show as well," Luke said.
"We just want this over and done with. It's really sad that we feel like we have to explain ourselves to people who have no idea who we really are. They're judging us based on a show that is completely full of sh*t," Tess said.
One silver lining: Tess said they'd become closer than ever since filming finished — a marked contrast from their regular arguments during filming.
"During the show, producers would talk to Luke, then talk to me, trying to pit us against each other. It was pretty horrible," she said.
"But in the last few weeks of The Block we just stopped giving a sh*t about the producers and stopped caring — we stopped talking to anyone and did our own thing. Then once we were done, we said, 'Whatever happens now, we've got each other's back'. Now, we're stronger than ever.
"We've been together for nine years, and it'll take more than The Block to tear us apart."
'SET UP TO FAIL'
During last night's walkaround, Cam repeatedly assured Tess that she and Luke were not being set up to fail — that The Block wants them to finish. She thinks otherwise.
"They said to us so many times, 'There isn't enough funding to finish this build'. There were so many things that happened throughout the show that made us go, 'You don't want us to finish'," she revealed.
Tess claimed acts of kindness — like foreman Keith pitching in to work on their house during last night's episode — were all for show.
"Keith would come in, lay a board, then go away for the rest of the day 'cause he can't do anything. Then he'd come back and lay the last board with us — he never actually helped us, it was just for show. And we felt that; we could feel that they were doing that to us. It's great TV to have someone not finish, isn't it? But we refused to let them get into our heads," she said.
"When you're on the show, that's hard enough. But when you sit back and watch it and it's completely false, it's really hard not to let that affect your mental health. We're struggling more now than we were on the show. It's really, really upsetting."
THE BLOCK RESPONDS: 'THEY HAVE OUR FULL SUPPORT'
News.com.au today approached Nine regarding Tess and Luke's extraordinary claims. Here's what a Nine spokseperson had to say:
"Tess and Luke have done an outstanding job creating a magnificent four-bedroom home. After a shaky start and budget struggles, they've won two room reveals so far and their renovating style has impressed the judges and viewers alike."
"We recognise the mammoth challenges facing all contestants. We supported all of them throughout the build and we had a psychologist and support team available at all times. We'll continue to support them as the program is broadcast and beyond."
The Block's Executive Producer, Julian Cress said that Tess and Luke "have been warmly embraced by the audience and rank as one of the most popular couples we have had on The Block. Through their sheer hard work and determination to finish they also won the admiration and respect of the entire production crew and they have our full support and will continue to."
HARSH REALITY OF 'REALITY TV'
Tess and Luke's shocking claims come just a day after it emerged that a former contestant who was portrayed as a "villain" on The Block's rival reno show House Rules won a workers' compensation case against Channel 7 for "psychological" injury. The contestant, Nicole Prince, said she and her friend Fiona Taylor felt "harassed and bullied" during their time on the program.
Prince said the bullying was "not only condoned by the producer, but it was aggravated, even encouraged by them", with the pair deliberately isolated from the other contestants.