Poh Ling Yeow as you’ve never seen her before during Mormon years


Poh Ling Yeow has candidly discussed how she left the Mormon church and experienced a ‘tumultuous’ marriage to her first husband. 

Ahead of her appearance on Australian Story, the MasterChef Australia star tells ABC that her relationship with Matt Phipps was ‘fiery’ from the start and the pair had wild screaming matches. 

‘Matt and I absolutely murdered each other,’ the 49-year-old said of her former spouse, who she married in 1990 and divorced in 1999.

Poh Ling Yeow (pictured) has candidly discussed how she left the Mormon church and experienced a ‘tumultuous’ marriage to her first husband

The chef recalled one ‘nuclear’ fight where she threw muffin mix at her husband. 

‘It was just on. We were screaming at each other like absolute lunatics,’ she explained to ABC. 

The pair, who met in an Adelaide church, were both Mormons – but began to question their faith together. 

Ahead of her appearance on Australian Story, the MasterChef Australia star tells ABC that her relationship with Matt Phipps was 'fiery' from the start and the pair had wild screaming matches. Pictured on their wedding day

Ahead of her appearance on Australian Story, the MasterChef Australia star tells ABC that her relationship with Matt Phipps was ‘fiery’ from the start and the pair had wild screaming matches. Pictured on their wedding day 

Eventually, they decided to leave the religion, shocking their families.  

‘It was incredibly controversial. A huge cloud lifted. Probably for the first time in my life. I felt completely free,’ Poh says. 

The star has maintained a close friendship with her ex over the years – despite him later marrying her best friend Sarah Rich. 

The pair, who met in an Adelaide church, were both Mormons - but began to question their faith together. Pictured as a teenager with her family

The pair, who met in an Adelaide church, were both Mormons – but began to question their faith together. Pictured as a teenager with her family 

While most people would struggle to cope with such a bizarre turn of events, Poh said she’s thankful for how it all turned out.  

‘It was hard to swallow at the beginning,’ Poh told the ABC of the romance between her ex and her best friend, who met in 1996. 

‘But, like, I could actually see this calmness that Matt had around Sarah. I thought I would never be able to bring that out of him. We just don’t work like that.’

The star has maintained a close friendship with her ex over the years - despite him later marrying her best friend Sarah Rich. Pictured: Matt Phipps, Sarah Rich

The star has maintained a close friendship with her ex over the years – despite him later marrying her best friend Sarah Rich. Pictured: Matt Phipps, Sarah Rich 

The reality star also credited the fact that she and Matt didn’t have children as a reason why it was so easy to end their relationship in a ‘clean, adult’ way. 

Poh and Matt’s relationship is so strong that they are currently co-owners of Jamface Cafe at Adelaide Central Market.

Matt’s new wife Sarah and Poh’s second ex husband Jono Bennett have also been pictured working at the trendy cafe. 

'It was incredibly controversial. A huge cloud lifted. Probably for the first time in my life. I felt completely free,' Poh says of leaving the church

‘It was incredibly controversial. A huge cloud lifted. Probably for the first time in my life. I felt completely free,’ Poh says of leaving the church 

Having grown up in a home where there were ‘six deities at an alter’ to pray to and later ‘flirting with born-again Christianity’, the Malaysian-born chef started following the Mormon church with her family as a teenager.

Poh told Good Weekend’s Benjamin Law that she left the church, after her world view was broadened by a transgender friend from Canada.

Poh explained her family were in a ‘vulnerable’ state when Mormons came door-knocking. 

While Poh's family still practice Mormonism, Poh left the church at 24

 While Poh’s family still practice Mormonism, Poh left the church at 24

‘We were like “look at these pristine young men who are so wholesome and happy! Yes, yes we want to be part of of this!” For my folks, it was an immediate social network,’ Poh explained. 

While Poh’s family still practice Mormonism, Poh left the church at 24. 

It was a ‘big deal’ for Poh to go against her family’s beliefs, but she felt her experiences, such as travelling and going to university, helped her ‘broaden [her] mind’.

It was a 'big deal' for Poh to go against her family's beliefs, but she felt her experiences, such as travelling and going to university, helped her 'broaden [her] mind'

It was a ‘big deal’ for Poh to go against her family’s beliefs, but she felt her experiences, such as travelling and going to university, helped her ‘broaden [her] mind’ 

‘One of the placed I’d moved to was Canada and my first friend there was transgender. She took me under her wing and taught me how to catch the subway. 

‘An amazing person. When I came home again, I was forever changed. I couldn’t really accept [my] religion anymore,’ Poh said. 

Poh became a household name after appearing on MasterChef season one in 2009, before returning for Season 12 where she placed 6th.

Poh became a household name after appearing on MasterChef season one in 2009, before returning for Season 12 where she placed 6th

Poh became a household name after appearing on MasterChef season one in 2009, before returning for Season 12 where she placed 6th

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