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MasterChef Australia Judge Melissa Leong Says Her Life 'Changed Irrevocably' In 2020

From becoming the show's first female judge to splitting from her husband, it was a big year for her professionally and personally.

‘MasterChef Australia’ judge Melissa Leong took a moment on Thursday to reflect on the unusual year it’s been, saying her life “changed irrevocably” in 2020.

The food critic shared an Instagram post in which she thanked family, friends and fans for their support over the past 12 months, during which she stepped into a new role as the first female judge on ‘MasterChef’ before confirming her split from her husband just before Christmas.

“It’s never all good, or all bad, and what prevails is the work we put into ourselves and the people we love,” she wrote.

“Thank you so very much to everyone to gave me the dignity of truly hearing and seeing me, for witnessing me take a leap of faith with kindness, support and patience.”

As she reflected, Melissa said her goal was to “set intention for a better, brighter year ahead” and hoped for the same for her social media followers.

She also acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has made the year particularly tough for everyone and that the health crisis has taught people “that we truly are always connected”.

It’s been a big year for Melissa on a professional and personal front.

She joined ‘MasterChef Australia’ as one of three new judges alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen, and in April she brushed off criticism she had received since the show premiered.

Melissa Leong joined 'MasterChef Australia' as a new judge this year alongside Jock Zonfrillo, left, and Andy Allen, right.
Don Arnold via Getty Images
Melissa Leong joined 'MasterChef Australia' as a new judge this year alongside Jock Zonfrillo, left, and Andy Allen, right.
Melissa Leong on the set of 'MasterChef Australia'.
Channel 10
Melissa Leong on the set of 'MasterChef Australia'.

“First and foremost, I take on this job knowing that I have the chops to do it well, otherwise I would not have been asked,” she told HuffPost Australia at the time.

“I take my critical responsibility very seriously, and want to do a job I can stand by and be proud of.”

Proud of her Singaporean-Chinese heritage, Melissa acknowledged her casting indicated some progress in terms of cultural and gender representation on TV.

“I am aware that my presence signifies a positive step towards diversity in the media landscape and with that comes a responsibility,” she said.

“And while I take it seriously, I’m proud to be just a part of the groundswell; I do not stand alone. Together, we represent inclusivity, and a broadening of stories and perspectives, and it’s with pride that I walk forward in great company.”

Earlier this month, she announced her separation from husband Joe Jones.

The food writer said she and her husband had chosen to “part ways” after eloping in 2017.

“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,” Melissa wrote on Instagram.

“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.”

She first met Joe at his Melbourne bar, Romeo Lane, before seeing him again at a function 18 months later and hitting it off.

They got engaged after just three months of dating before tying the knot two months later.

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