‘Time has come’: MasterChef star splits


Popular MasterChef Australia judge Melissa Leong has announced she and husband Joe Jones have split after almost four years of marriage.

Leong made the shock pre-Christmas announcement via her Instagram page on Sunday, telling fans that "the time has come" for her and her bar owner husband to part ways.

"It has brought us such happiness to walk together, but the time has come for Joe and I to part ways and walk on, apart," she wrote, alongside a picture of the pair on their wedding day at the Joshua Tree in California.

"We ask for your kindness and consideration for our privacy, we will not be making any further comment as our private lives have, and will always remain exactly that. We wish you peace at the end of such a challenging year for all."

Leong had gushed about her relationship with Jones in a June interview with TV Week, explaining that they were engaged after dating for just three months, and married two months later.

"When you know you know," she said at the time. "Everything's so good as it is - I'm really happy."

Leong became MasterChef's standout star earlier this year when a complete hosting reshuffle revitalised the cooking show after more than a decade on air.

Viewers were hooked, dubbing her "the best thing to happen to prime time television in 2020."

Leong with husband Joe Jones. Picture: Christian Gilles
Leong with husband Joe Jones. Picture: Christian Gilles

Since then, she's been crowned WHO Magazine's sexiest person of 2020 - an honour she said would "mean something to others who aren't used to seeing difference in this capacity" - and stunned at the AACTA Awards earlier this month in a showstopping red carpet outfit:


RELATED: How Melissa Leong revitalised MasterChef

Leong has also earned admiration by opening up about her own private struggles with viewers, revealing her battle with clinical depression and that she uses a codeword on the MasterChef set to let producers know if she's struggling.

"I have a codeword with our executive producer," Leong said.

"There are some times when I just need to go into a quiet space and shut the door and have half an hour to myself."

Season 13 of MasterChef Australia is expected to air on Ten in the first half of 2021 - but before that, could Leong be headed into the jungle? She shared a post counting down the days until I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! premieres on Ten on her Instagram stories over the weekend. Clues revealed so far for the contestants include a "TV star" and a "renowned chef" - does Leong fit the bill?

Originally published as 'Time has come': MasterChef star splits

An instantly popular addition to MasterChef.
An instantly popular addition to MasterChef.