A contestant in reality dating show The Bachelor is legally married and embroiled in a High Court civil case with her estranged husband.
The Herald has learned Auckland lawyer Danielle Beston, 35, was married for four years to barrister Matthew Goodwin.
The pair are separated. Ms Beston left the relationship shortly after their fourth wedding anniversary about a year ago. They are still legally married as New Zealand law requires a couple to be separated for two years before a marriage can be dissolved.
So far Ms Beston has not disclosed her marital status on the MediaWorks show that airs on TV3.
She has not featured prominently in the first four episodes, but in a promotional interview spoke about her reason for participating in the show, where 20 women compete for the affections of the bachelor, businessman Arthur Green, 26.
"The reason I decided to put my hand up for The Bachelor was because I'm definitely looking for love and I'm making this a priority now."
Mr Goodwin declined to comment about his marriage breakup or Ms Beston's participation in the show.
But the Herald has learned that he, through the Goodwin Family Trust, has taken civil litigation against Ms Beston since the breakup. The case is before the High Court at Auckland. Further details were not available yesterday.
Ms Beston did not respond to the Herald last night.
MediaWorks refused to answer specific questions about Ms Beston's participation in the show.
"Danielle disclosed this information. She is eligible to participate in the show according to the terms and conditions set by format-holders Warner Bros/Eyeworks, and MediaWorks has no comment to make on her private affairs," the company said in an email.
A spokeswoman added that it was disappointing background details from contestants' lives were being sensationalised "that have no relevance to their participation in the programme".
The show has been plagued by problems since it revealed the 20 women vying for Mr Green's attention.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Matilda Rice, a viewer favourite, is an employee of MediaWorks.
Soon after the show went to air it emerged that Dani Robinson had a drink-driving conviction.
Danielle Le Gallais, who has since left the show, had been jailed for 18 months for stealing nearly $40,000 from her employer in 2005. The show's makers were unaware of her criminal past.