The ABC dating show has produced many couples — some married, others engaged or dating. In honor of Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, we’re looking back at which former contestants beat the odds and found love.
BY TERRI POUS
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are dating game shows, but to the surprise of many, they often result in real love — albeit sometimes indirectly.
The 12-year-old franchise is built around a basic premise: One Bachelor or Bachelorette chooses from 25 contestants, with the promise of a proposal in the finale. Drama often steals the spotlight from romance with the amount of catfights, name-calling, and tears that ensue. After all, real people looking for love on reality TV can get tricky.
And yet, the franchise has produced nine weddings and many more happily dating or engaged couples. The official weddings are well known and often televised: Trista and Ryan Sutter, Jason and Molly Mesnick, Sean and Catherine Lowe, and so on. But “non-official weddings” are even more common among the contestants. These unions are comprised of couples from different seasons that met on spinoffs or at franchise events.
What couples met on the show or through the show? Which pairs were set up by a mutual friend? Even better, who married the lookalike brother of a Bachelorette contestant? (Yes, that really happened!) To celebrate the season premiere of the tenth season of The Bachelorette, we rounded up all of the long-lasting franchise-made couples.
Photos: Courtesy of ABC
Trista & Ryan Sutter
How & When They Met: The Bachelorette Season 1, 2003
It’s the couple that started it all. Trista Rehn was the runner-up from the debut season of The Bachelor. She went on to be the first Bachelorette, and she fell for sensitive firefighter Ryan Sutter. The season ended with Ryan delivering a hand-written poem and a marriage proposal. They tied the knot on December 6, 2003, as part of a three-episode ABC special.
Their million-dollar wedding drew in 26 million viewers — a ratings high for the series. They also became the first Bachelor-born couple to get married. But more importantly, they’ve remained happy over the past 10 years. Now parents to two children, Trista and Ryan reside in Vail, Colorado, and renewed their vows during an ABC special in January.
Jason & Molly Mesnick
How & When They Met: The Bachelor Season 13, 2009
The strongest love can come from the strangest situations. Case in point: During the course of his season as Bachelor, Jason Mesnick went from the single dad whose proposal was rebuffed by Bachelorette Deanna Pappas (more on her later) to the bad guy. What caused the change? He loved two women: Melissa Rycroft and Molly Malaney. He proposed to Melissa, and they lived happily ever after — at least until the live After the Final Rose special. During the show, Jason revealed he was still thinking about Molly. After the appropriately angry Melissa left the stage, Jason confessed his feelings for Molly. Molly gave him a second chance, and the pair got engaged later that year and married in February 2010. The couple lives in Seattle and welcomed a daughter last March.
Jesse Csincsak & Ann Lueders
How & When They Met: A Bachelor reunion cruise, 2009
Pro snowboarder Jessica Csincsak won Deanna Pappas’s season of The Bachelorette, but their romance was short lived. Never one to wallow, the zany Jesse met Ann Lueders (a contestant on Jason Mesnick’s season of The Bachelor) a year later on a Bachelor contestant cruise. The two quickly fell in love, and married in Las Vegas the next year, while Ann was four-months pregnant. Now, they’re parents of two and living in Vail, Colorado. And, perhaps to pay it forward, Jesse organizes Bachelor/Bachelorette reunions.
Deanna Pappas & Stephen Stagliano
How & When They Met: A Bachelorette party, 2009
Many pairings cross seasons or shows, but none are quite like this: Deanna Pappas became the Bachelorette following a stint on Brad Womack’s debut season. After her romance with her winning suitor Jesse Csincsak fell apart, she attended Bachelor/Bachelorette-related events. One of them, a party for “The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All” special following Jillian Harris’s season, was particularly fortuitous. Michael Stagliano was a fan favorite from Jillian’s season, and his twin, Stephen, attended the taping and after-party with him. It was there that Deanna and Stephen (a dead-ringer for his twin brother) connected. They got engaged in 2010, and married in October 2011. The couple welcomed a baby girl in February.
Photo: Deanna Pappas via Instagram
Chris Lambton & Peyton Wright
How & When They Met: Through a mutual Bachelor friend, 2010
Chris Lambton was the runner-up in Ali Fedotowsky’s season of The Bachelorette, while southern gal Peyton Wright competed on Andy Baldwin’s season on The Bachelor in 2007. Peyton appeared on Bachelor Pad in 2010, where she met Jesse Beck, another one of Ali’s suitors, whom Chris knew well. Though she left the spinoff show solo, Jesse invited Peyton to an event that Chris was attending. Sparks flew between Chris and Peyton and they were engaged a year later. Following their June 2012 wedding, the Cape Cod-based couple signed on to co-host an HGTV show called Going Yard (Chris is a landscaper), and the rest is Bachelor history.
Kiptyn Locke & Tenley Molzahn
How & When They Met: Bachelor Pad Season 1, 2010
Bachelor Pad (a spinoff) was designed to pit love against money. Castoffs from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette competed for a $250,000 prize in pairs. Though Kiptyn Locke, a runner-up from Jillian Harris’s season of The Bachelorette, and Tenley Molzahn, a dancer who competed for Bachelor Jake Pavelka’s heart, were friends going into the season and left as much more than that. After coming in second place in the competition, “Kipten” embarked on a long-term relationship. Though they took a nearly year-long break, they’re back together — and we have a feeling that this comely couple will be the next to get engaged.
Ashley & JP Rosenbaum
How & When They Met: The Bachelorette Season 7, 2011
Ashley Hebert, who competed for Brad Womack’s heart during his second run as Bachelor, got her chance to pick a suitor as Bachelorette and JP Rosenbaum was a standout from the start. After a proposal in Fiji, the couple settled down in Princeton, New Jersey. The lovebirds said “I do” during a televised ABC special in December 2012 in front of guests that included Trista and Ryan Sutter; Jillian Harris, Emily Maynard, Sean Lowe, and Jason and Molly Mesnick. The duo is currently expecting their first child, a baby boy.
Holly Durst & Blake Julian
How & When They Met: Bachelor Pad Season 2, 2011
Holly Durst, a competitor on Matt Grant’s 2008 season ofThe Bachelor, showed up to the second season of Bachelor Pad with former fiancé Michael Stagliano — the two had a difficult relationship. Blake Julian from Ashley Hebert’sBachelorette season also appeared on the spinoff. As Holly and Michael sorted through their feelings, she and Blake began seriously flirting. Holly and Michael went on to win the show’s grand prize, but their relationship was over thanks to her new romance with Blake. On the season finale, Michael was shocked as Holly and Blake announced their engagement. The pair tied the knot in June 2012.
Sean & Catherine Lowe
How & When They Met: The Bachelor Season 17, 2013
When Emily Maynard sent home Texas-based insurance salesman Sean Lowe near the end of her Bachelorette season, she confessed that she said goodbye to “the perfect guy.” ABC agreed, and made him the next Bachelor. His season culminated with his proposal to Catherine, a graphic designer from Seattle. The pair beat the odds and became the only couple from the Bachelor franchise to get engaged during the finale and ultimately wed. Sean and Catherine said “I do” on live TV in January 2014 in front of a plethora of former Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants. Their televised wedding special chronicled their planning and decision to wait to have sex until their honeymoon. And judging by their lovey-dovey social media activity, it was worth the wait!
Desiree Hartsock & Chris Siegfried
How & When They Met: The Bachelorette Season 9, 2013
Sean Lowe sent Desiree Hartsock home on The Bachelor, but her girl-next-door persona won her a spot as the next Bachelorette. She fell hard for Brooks Forester, who suddenly left the show before the finale. But former baseball player Chris Siegfried helped her pick up the pieces, and before she knew it, they were yachting through the Caribbean. Chris gave a heartfelt proposal on the finale, and the couple plans to marry during a televised ABC special this year.
Ty Brown & Elizabeth Kitt
How & When They Met: A charity gala, 2013
When this twosome announced their engagement in October 2013, most people were more surprised that they were even dating! Elizabeth Kitt, a castoff from Jake Pavelka’s season who later appeared on Bachelor Pad, and Ty Brown, a musician who had competed for Ali Fedotowsky’s heart, reportedly met through mutualBachelor friends (of course) and began dating soon after. They got engaged at the home they share in Nashville, and tied the knot in March.
Juan Pablo Galavis & Nikki Ferrell
How & When They Met: The Bachelor Season 18, 2014
Juan Pablo Galavis, a soccer player and one of Desiree’s former suitors, became the first Hispanic Bachelor, but controversy managed to overshadow his momentous season. In between verbal gaffes, angry contestants, and a dramatic finale in which Juan Pablo insulted runner-up Claire Crawley before sending her home, it’s a wonder that he and Nikki Ferrell, a pediatric nurse, made it work. And yet their relationship is going strong; Nikki is reportedly mulling a move to Miami to be closer to her man.