On the final season of “The Bachelor,” Clayton Echard, the show’s 26th lead, said after a late night rendezvous with a hopeful bridesmaid, “If I ever need confirmation to know that this process is working, I’ll see it rather unfold before me.”
But by the numbers, perhaps unsurprisingly, that “process” — a weeks-long mass courtship in front of cameras that must end with a proposal and, presumably, marriage — isn’t very effective at yielding long-lasting relationships.
Since “The Bachelor” debuted on ABC in March 2002 and “The Bachelorette” the following year, only six couples who met on those shows are currently married. A seventh is expected to get married in May. In this time there have been 34 television shows in 44 seasons combined. Taking into account those who have met on other spin-offs, the number of currently married couples jumps from six to ten. (Representatives from Warner Bros. and ABC declined to comment on this article.)
As the franchise enters its 20th year, which can be seen from the most dramatic storylines of some of those still-married couples ever† Below, five of the six who met on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” discuss how they’ve made it work since meeting on set. (The sixth couple, Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo, declined to comment on this article.)
The Lowes met on season 17 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2013 and ended with Mr. Lowe in front of the camera in Thailand. They married the following year.
The couple, who live in Dallas with their two sons aged 5 and 3 and daughter aged 2, have since built a life around what Ms. Lowe called “super chill” family traditions, which include making homemade pizza.
“Our happy place is home with our kids,” says Ms. Lowe, 35, who runs a local gift service and started a furniture line with her husband of the same name, Home by Sean & Catherine Lowe.
Mr Lowe, 38, said that when people ask him how he found love on ‘The Bachelor’, his answer is always the same. “I liken it to meeting 25 strangers on a dating app — you could connect with one of them,” he said.
But “then you have to get into the real world, and it takes work,” he added.
That he and Mrs. Lowe, or a couple who married after meeting on the show, managed to stay together still seems somewhat unlikely to him. “If you have girls racing in bikinis while driving lawnmowers, that’s silly,” he said. “All the elements go against creating a long-term relationship.”
However, Ms. Lowe said she left the show feeling better about how to form a successful partnership. The accelerated courtship experienced by the participants made her realize the importance of focusing on “non-negotiable matters” at the beginning of a romance, rather than worrying about “things that don’t matter, like leave the toilet seat up.”
She added that meeting Mr. Lowe on set with other people around helped her better understand his character.
“I took that as such an insight into who he really was when the cameras were off,” said Ms Lowe.
Molly and Jason Mesnick
Mr. Mesnick, the lead actor in Season 13 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2009, stunned fans when he called off his engagement to Melissa Rycroft on air six weeks after proposing and later proposed (off air) to his future wife. , who was runner-up that season.
“I think the challenge is that the audience sees that as a real commitment,” said Mr. Mesnick, 45, of the series’ televised proposals, which he sees more as a commitment to “see what’s going to happen in the coming months or a year or whatever.”
Before the Mesnicks got married in 2010, they went through a bit of an introductory period, said Ms. Mesnick, 38.
“You have to start over and get to know each other,” she said, echoing Mr. Lowe that cast members don’t behave on set the way they would in real life. “They’re literally getting to know a completely different person when there’s no camera or producer in your face.”
On the show, Ms. Mesnick said, “I was very calm,” but in real life, “I’m very Type A and a little crazy.” Mr. Mesnick, on the other hand, is “super go-with-the-flow”.
“I think it took us 10 to 12 years to finally get a really good, easy groove on how to function in life,” added Ms. Mesnick ready.
The Mesnicks, who live in Seattle, now say their contrasting personalities balance not only their relationship but also their work as real estate agents who together lead a real estate team in Kirkland, Wash. -to-face with our customers,” said Mr. Mesnick.
When they met, Mr. Mesnick was a divorced father of one. Ms. Mesnick, who moved in with him and his then 4-year-old son in 2009, initially said “turn their world upside down”. But she and her stepson, now 17, eventually became “fat as thieves.”
The couple, who have a 9-year-old daughter, say open and honest communication has been essential to making their relationship last. Ms. Mesnick said it also helped that they got together before dating picks from “The Bachelor” became something of a social media sport.
“It would have been brutal,” she added of the reaction they’d have gotten when she and Mr. Mesnick got back together after he broke off his engagement to Mrs. Rycroft.
Chris and Desiree Siegfried
As two people who initially didn’t want to be on TV, Ms. Siegfried said she signed up for season nine of “The Bachelorette,” which aired in 2013, as a “skeptical joke,” and Mr. Siegfried said friends told him about it. convinced to join the cast after turning down an initial offer to join — neither of them thought the experience would have a fairytale ending.
But Ms. Siegfried, 35, a fashion designer and the founder of Desiree Hartsock Bridal, said “truly natural” chemistry paved the way for them to fall in love on set.
Mr Siegfried, 36, a loan officer, said: “She was definitely someone I would aspire to outside of television.”
“Our conversation was easy,” he added. “And when we were talking, she knew what she wanted and was looking for in someone, and that was important to me.”
After filming their engagement on camera, Ms. Siegfried, who lived in Los Angeles and said she was “broken,” moved to Seattle, where she and Mr. Siegfried, who had moved there in 2011, moved into a new house together. .
“It would be difficult for one person to dive across state lines into someone else’s life,” she said. “It was nice to start over together.”
They married in 2015 and now live in Portland, Oregon, with two sons, 3 and 5. Although the couple has no plans to return to television, it remains a beloved pastime, Ms. Siegfried said. Recently, their favorite shows were “Yellowstone” and “1883,” she said.
Their relationship also benefits from spontaneous working days. “He says, ‘Hey, I’m on a break. Do you want lunch?'” Mrs. Siegfried said. “It’s nice to have that spontaneous lunch.”
Sincere compliments, or ‘affirmative words’ as Mr. Siegfried put it, will go a long way. “While everyone loves flowers, that’s not necessarily what they’re looking for.”
Mr. Luyendyk, 40, a real estate agent and race car driver, initially proposed to Becca Kufrin at the end of season 22 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2018.
But he soon ended their engagement because he couldn’t stop thinking about Ms. Luyendyk, 30, a fashion designer and the founder of the Shades of Rose line. During a live episode filmed after the pre-recorded finale aired, Mr. Luyendyk proposes to Mrs. Luyendyk in front of a studio audience.
“I want to do this in front of everyone because I want to show you that I should have done this a long time ago,” he said at the time.
In some ways, the Luyendyks attribute the strength of their bond to the backlash they faced after their engagement. “There was a lot of hostility in the room,” Ms Luyendyk said. “I saw people staring at me when I walked out.”
“We’ve always said, ‘It’s us against the world,'” she added.
The couple, living in Scottsdale, Ariz. lives, married in Hawaii in 2019 while Ms. Luyendyk was pregnant with their daughter, now 2. They became a family of five in June 2021 when the couple had twins, a boy and a girl.
Between work and parenthood, they say it was harder to make time for themselves, making their home an ideal place if they can fit it in. A recent activity: “Goat Yoga in the Backyard,” said Mr. Luyendyk. “It was messy.”
Their morning coffee ritual is another opportunity to connect. “We love getting up early and having coffee together and making that little bit of time for us before the babies wake up,” he said. Ms Luyendyk added: “Some nights I can’t wait to have my morning coffee.”
Trista and Ryan Sutter
The Sutters married in December 2003 in a three-part television special that followed their appearance on the first season of “The Bachelorette,” which aired earlier that year. They now live with their son, 14, and daughter, 13, in Vail, Colorado, and their 18-year marriage is the longest in the franchise’s history.
Ms. Sutter, 49, who has since written a book and hosted a podcast, was the second in season one of “The Bachelor.” She said her performance on both shows convinced her that love can be found anywhere, including “on national television like we did.”
Mr Sutter, 47, a firefighter, said that while “there is pressure” for finalists like himself to propose at the end of a season, “I’ve never felt like I made important decisions because of it.”
But, he added, “If I’m being honest, I really didn’t know her as well as I probably should have before I proposed.”
Like other couples, getting used to a normal life together after the show turned out for the Sutters. Mr Sutter said a mental health professional he spoke to during the casting process told him that the lives of the contestants could be affected for up to three months after their season ends. “She missed the mark by years,” he said.
Making time for personal conversations is something that both have prioritized over the course of their marriage. “Throw your phones in your drawer once you get home from work,” Ms. Sutter said of a tactic they use to eliminate distractions during one-on-a-time.
Playing pickleball, camping with their kids, and sitting down to dinner every day are other activities that improve their relationship.
While no relationship is always rose and diamond rings from Neil Lane, the Sutters say theirs is one that people continue to cite as an example of marital bliss. Over the years, Mr. Sutter said they’ve been asked how they make their relationship work “hundreds of times,” and their response evolved along with their marriage.
If they could sum up their answer in song, Ms. Sutter would refer people to ‘Legends’, Kelsea Ballerini’s 2017 single. “Basically it says no one believed in us, but we did.”