It's hard to imagine a world of TV without The Bachelorette, but Bachelor Nation's summer staple is only turning 15 this year. Before Hannah Brown's Bachelorette season begins on May 13, ABC is taking viewers down memory lane with its May 6 reunion special. 12 of the past 14 leading ladies are heading back to the mansion to reminisce, and that group includes the first woman to hand out roses on a regular basis. What's Trista Sutter doing in 2019? The first ever Bachelorette is still married to the man she fell in love with on the series.
Thanks to an endless loop of seasons, spinoffs, and Instagram posts, it's not difficult to keep track of our favorite Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants these days. But once upon a time, social media was nonexistent and reality TV was limited, so curious viewers were drawn to the 2002 premiere of The Bachelor on ABC. Starring businessman Alex Michel, the month-long season culminated with Alex choosing to date event planner Amanda Marsh instead of pursuing a real relationship with dancer Trista Rehn. That romance soon fizzled out, but Trista's popularity with viewers led to her starring in Season 1 of The Bachelorette in 2003.
Not many members of present-day Bachelor Nation were watching back when Trista fell for firefighter Ryan Sutter, but their love story has become Bachelor lore. Ryan proposed to Trista in the season finale and they tied the knot in a televised ceremony in December 2003. Say what you want about the validity and longevity of Bachelor relationships, but it's pretty incredible that The Bachelorette struck gold from the very beginning.
You can currently watch Trista's Bachelorette season on Tubi, but catching up on her happily ever after is even more satisfying. She and Ryan now live in Colorado and have two kids, having welcomed a son, Maxwell, in 2007 and a daughter, Blakesley, in 2009. Their kids were recently featured in the "Bachelor Babies" segment of Colton Underwood's Bachelor premiere, and in that, Max fessed up to not initially knowing that his parents met on TV.
That's not the only sign of how normal the Sutters' everyday lives are, but there are a few public exceptions. In 2013, Trista wrote a book about expressing gratitude in the aftermath of her Bachelorette journey, and she competed on Dancing with the Stars before appearing with Ryan on a season of Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars. In 2017, she and Ryan also opened up about her health scare on a family vacation.
But other than these brief returns to the spotlight, these two mostly stick to sweet Instagram updates about their kids, family milestones, and each other. They're essentially what any Bachelor contestant participating for the "right reasons" aspires to have someday.
As the OG couple goals of the franchise, Trista and Ryan, now retired from firefighting, are fairly removed from the current Bachelor bubble of Instagram ads and public events. But seeing as they're busy hosting sleepovers, cheering at hockey games, and posting the occasional Bachelor throwback, I don't think they're complaining. Just call them Bachelor Nation's mom and dad!
Viewers may hear more about what Trista's up to on the upcoming Bachelorette special. The Bachelorette Reunion: The Biggest Bachelorette Reunion in Bachelor History Ever airs on Monday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Season 15 of The Bachelorette premieres on Monday, May 13.