Pop Culture

Forget 'The Bachelorette'! Love is where you least expect it on reality TV

Craig Sjodin / ABC / Today
Emily Maynard on "The Bachelorette."

Another season of “The Bachelorette” is over, and once again, true love -- or a reasonable facsimile -- prevailed. Yes, after weeks of cycling through suitors, (spoiler alert!) Emily Maynard gave her final rose to Jef Holm and he gave her a proposal (and a great big diamond too). And of course, she said yes.

Now they’ll live happily ever.... OK, who are we kidding? If Emily and Jef go the way the vast majority of couples from the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” reality TV franchise have, they’re far more likely to say “I don’t” than “I do” to each other.

In fact, with 24 seasons and 24 potential pairings between the two shows, only two season-ending couples ever swapped vows.

Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, from the first season of “The Bachelorette,” were married on an ABC special (aptly titled “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding”) in 2003. Today they’re still together and have two children.

And while Jason Mesnick gave his final rose to Melissa Rycroft on “The Bachelor’s” 13th season finale, he married his last-minute switcheroo pick, Molly Malaney. They too were married on an ABC special (aptly titled “Jason and Molly’s Wedding”) in 2010.

Two other couples can kind-of-sort-of chalk up their marriages to the shows, but they didn’t actually share any on-screen time together. Jesse Csincsak, of “The Bachelorette’s” fourth season and Ann Leuders of season 13 of “The Bachelor” walked down the aisle after meeting as show alums. It was much the same story “Bachelor 10’s” Petyon Wright and her now-husband “Bachelorette 6’s” Chris Lambton.

But that’s it!

Now don’t let those results lead you to lose faith in finding real love on the boob tube. Just because the shows that aim for a happily-ever-after often fail to find it, that doesn’t mean reality TV is lacking in love. You just have to know where to look.


Somewhere in between their attempts to outwit, outplay and outlast their tribemates, a few “Survivor” castaways managed to out-romance the competition and walk away from the game with the ultimate reality TV alliance -- marriage.

The first and probably best known “Survivor” union is the one between “Boston Rob” Mariano and Amber Brkich, two past players who found love during the “All-Stars” season, got engaged on finale night and made it official months later. They’re now the proud parents of three children.

Jaime Dugan and Erik Huffman met during “Survivor: China” and tied the knot less than two years later. Alex Bell and Kim Powers, of the “Amazon” and “Africa” editions of the show respectively, also found love on “Survivor.”

And the Jeff Probst-hosted reality TV staple could soon claim two more marriages. Past players and longtime couple Jenna Morasca (“Survivor: Amazon” and “All-Stars”) and Ethan Zohn (“Survivor: Africa” and “All-Stars”) are currently engaged, as are “Redemption Island” pair David Murphy and Carolina Eastwood.

“Biggest Loser”

There’s something about this weight-loss competition that leads to gaining spouses. Whether it’s the shared goals, the hard work or just the close quarters on the “Biggest Loser” ranch, the experience produces lasting love results.

For instance, while there were no visible sparks between season-two winner Matt Hoover and third-place “Loser” Suzy Preston during the show's run, the two fell for each other all the same. Months after their season ended, the pair appeared on TODAY, and Matt popped the question. Suzy accepted. The couple married in 2006 and have two children together.

During the finale for season three of “The Biggest Loser,” Marty Wolff became engaged to his former co-competitor Amy Hildreth. They later married and now have a child. And Stephanie Anderson and Sam Poueu, who met and fell in love in “Loser’s” ninth season, married in April of this year.

The next “Biggest Loser” success story to take place off the scale could be the match between former contestants Antoine Dove and Alexandra White, who were engaged during the season eight finale.

Marriages aside, both “Biggest Loser” and “Survivor” are responsible for plenty of other relationships, and the two reality competitions are far from the only ones to be able to boast that. In fact, for “American Idol” it’s practically a regular occurrence, with Jessica Sanchez and fellow “Idol” alum De Andre Brackensick being the show’s latest love connection. Engaged couple Brendan Villegas and Rachel Reilly met on “Big Brother,” which is known for its frequent “showmances.” Even “Dancing With the Stars” can claim pro-and-partner matches, as well as pro-and-pro ones, over the course of the show’s seasons. But romances rarely seem to last in the ballroom bash.

Are you surprised by the unlikely places couples find love on reality TV? Share your thoughts about the romance-themed shows vs. the shows that actually lead to more romances on our Facebook page.


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