Trista Rehn: The Untold Truth Of The First Bachelorette

Bachelorette Trista Rehn is basically the fairy godmother of the Bachelor franchise. 

First appearing as a contestant on the first season of The Bachelor, Trista captivated viewers of the groundbreaking ABC reality show with her wit, authenticity, and disarming honesty. The former Miami Heat dancer was a fan favorite throughout the season, as well as a favorite of the Bachelor himself, Alex Michel — even though he ultimately rejected Trista. However, Trista's heartbreak proved to be the first step to finding her happily-ever-after love story. 

On Jan. 8, 2003, a new Bachelor spinoff series premiered on ABC, aptly titled The Bachelorette. The first season of the show featured Trista in the lead role, showcasing her journey as she dated a group of eligible bachelors with the hope of finding her future husband. Viewers were delighted when the Bachelorette accepted a proposal from firefighter Ryan Sutter at the end of the season, and even more elated when the couple exchanged vows in a romantic televised wedding. Of course, even the biggest Bachelorette fans are still curious to know more about the woman who started it all. Here's a look at the untold truth of Trista Rehn.

The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn was reportedly the reason this relationship ended

Before The Bachelorette, Trista Rehn was just a woman looking for love on national TV as a contestant on The Bachelor — a first-of-its-kind ABC reality show. As fans of the popular franchise can attest, the series quickly took off, solidifying its place in the reality TV history books for years to come. 

However, the Bachelor franchise isn't famous for producing long-lasting romantic relationships. While some Bachelor franchise couples have seen success, most have made headlines with their breakups — much like Alex Michel and Amanda Marsh. As the very first Bachelor, Alex dumped Trista, his runner-up, to pursue a relationship with Amanda. However, the couple eventually split in 2003 (via Life & Style).

Speaking with Inside Edition in 2003 (via Entertainment Weekly), Amanda said the split was due to Alex's lingering feelings for Trista. According to Amanda, these feelings were confirmed when Trista emailed her and revealed that Alex had reached out to her shortly after choosing Amanda, hoping to "keep the door open" with his runner-up. Fortunately, Amanda is in a much better place now — and so is Trista. 

Since The Bachelorette, Trista Rehn has become a published author

Bachelorette Trista Rehn was the first to prove that finding the love of your life on a reality dating show (and going on to have a successful marriage and beautiful family) was entirely possible. So, when Trista published a book years after her Bachelorette run, fans were excited to read all about how she'd managed to have it all. 

Published in November 2013Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart was Trista's first writing venture. And, according to an interview with MomStart.com, it wasn't exactly an easy experience. "I've come to realize that I am a writer that needs almost complete silence," Trista told the site. She continued, "[And] with two young children and a husband who likes to watch SportsCenter whenever possible, I ended up disappearing to my neighbor's house or local bookstore on many occasions."

As Trista revealed, writing a book was never part of the plan. However, she's grateful for the experience. "I haven't necessarily ever dreamt of becoming an author, but I am now proud to say that I am one," the reality star told MomStart.com.

Trista Rehn was compensated generously for her Bachelorette wedding

As the first Bachelorette, Trista Rehn set an incredibly high bar for her successors. 

The first season of The Bachelorette ended with Trista accepting a proposal from Ryan Sutter — a hunky firefighter from Colorado who stole Trista's heart (as well as the hearts of viewers across the country) with his gentle, calm demeanor, romantic disposition, and rugged good looks (via Entertainment Tonight). And in 2003, only months after viewers witnessed Ryan ask Trista to marry him, the couple wed in a dreamy, nationally televised ceremony on ABC. According to The Smoking Gun (via People), the wedding came at no small cost to ABC. As the website reported at the time, the network paid Trista and Ryan $500,000 for the rights to their wedding, on top of a $100,000 payment for signing the 17-page contract in May 2003.

However, the million-dollar payment meant Trista and Ryan had to make some sacrifices. As reported by The Smoking Gun, the lengthy contract stated the network — not the couple — would have the final say on Trista's wedding gown, the wedding cake, the music, and even the flowers used in the ceremony.

Trista Rehn has "a maternal instinct" when it comes to other Bachelorettes

Since Trista Rehn kicked off the spin-off series with flying colors in 2003, dozens of women have been chosen to lead their own respective seasons of The Bachelorette. Of course, that number continues to grow — and Trista continues to happily and fully support every new Bachelorette.

In a March 2019 interview with Us Weekly, Trista gushed over Bachelorette Hannah Brown — who had recently been announced as the lead for the show's 15th season. "I love her. She's an Alpha Chi, I was an Alpha Chi, so there you go," Trista said. She continued, telling Us Weekly, "She's just so cute, and I know that she's catching some flak for being young. But who's to say that she's not ready when someone who's 35 is ready?"

Added Trista, "I have a maternal instinct for everyone who goes on the show, because I am way older than everybody else. But I hope, like, I do for everybody, that she finds her love."

This is Trista Rehn's favorite moment from The Bachelorette

Bachelorette Trista Rehn is a giant fan of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. So, for a July 2020 piece published in Variety, Trista used her writing skills to describe her all-time favorite Bachelor franchise moments. 

Like any true superfan of the show, Trista recounted the excitement of watching Clare Crawley totally tell off bad-boy Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, as well as the shock of witnessing Jason Mesnick dump fiancée Melissa Rycroft for his runner-up, Molly Malaney, after a dramatic Bachelor season. However, her most treasured Bachelor Nation moment is much closer to home.

Revealing that her top moment was shown during the credits of her televised December 2003 wedding to Ryan Sutter, Trista wrote, "Ryan had taken the words he wrote in the poem 'Something About Her' that he gave me on our date to SeaWorld, turned them into the lyrics of a song, put them to music ... and had Brad Paisley record it." Revealing that Ryan surprised her by having Paisley perform the song during their first dance, Trista wrote that the memory is still one of her "all-time most cherished."

After The Bachelorette, Trista Rehn competed on Dancing With the Stars

Trista Rehn was the first Bachelorette in Bachelor franchise history, the first lead to have her wedding televised on ABC, and the first Bachelor franchise star to compete on Dancing With the Stars.

Trista appeared on the very first season of the reality dance competition, trotting her way across the ballroom floor with her professional partner, Louis Van Amstel. Unfortunately, however, Trista was the first contestant to be eliminated (via Entertainment Weekly). One thing's for sure — this gal has a lot of firsts under her belt!

As Trista explained to Today, DWTS premiered in June 2005 — meaning she and husband Ryan Sutter had been together for years before she joined the competition. As fans know, Bachelor franchise stars are a mainstay on DWTS these days; however, Trista's DWTS experience was far less stressful and time-consuming than it is for the titular stars today. "We practiced maybe two times a week, like a couple of hours of practice, and it wasn't even close to what they're having to do now," the star told Today. Added Sutter, "[That] takes so much practice when it's something that is completely foreign."

Trista Rehn has mixed feelings about her kids discovering The Bachelorette

Trista Rehn starred in the very first season of The Bachelorette all the way back in 2003 — years before social media became such a major player within Bachelor Nation. After all, considering the iPhone wouldn't even be released until 2007, it's safe to say Trista wasn't concerned about creating content to secure her future as an Instagram influencer after the show. 

However, with the ever-advancing technology of today, Trista and Ryan Sutter have had to face the fact that their children, Blakesley and Maxwell, will be able to find and watch their parents' entire love story unfold — all thanks to the magic of the Internet. Still, Trista and Ryan certainly won't be volunteering to introduce them to their season of The Bachelorette. "Their parents making out? No, we don't need to be showing them that," Trista told Today

That said, Trista revealed in a 2015 interview with Today that she'd support her kids if they decide to someday search for love on reality TV. "I tell everyone, if you are truly looking for the love of your life, then go for it," the reality star exclaimed.

What's former Bachelorette Trista Rehn's secret to making her marriage last?

Trista Rehn has managed to remain a relevant Bachelor Nation figure since making her Bachelorette debut in 2003, thanks in no small part to the success story that spawned from her season. 

Unlike the majority of Bachelor Nation couples, Trista's relationship with her final pick, Ryan Sutter, has beaten the odds and withstood the test of time. After accepting his romantic proposal during the final episode of her season, Trista went on to wed Ryan in a super dreamy wedding ceremony which was broadcast on ABC and watched by a whopping 17 million viewers (via Entertainment Tonight). Before too long, the reality stars were parents to two kids — and the happily married couple is still going strong today. 

In a March 2019 interview with Us Weekly, Trista revealed how she and Ryan have managed to build such a healthy, solid, and happy marriage. "You just put your time and effort into your marriage, and into each other," the reality star told the publication. She continued, "You prioritize each other. You focus on trust and respect and love and friendship, and enjoying each other..."

The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn struggled with infertility

Trista Rehn found love with Ryan Sutter during the very first season of ABC's hit reality dating show The Bachelorette. And while Trista and Ryan went on to prove the naysayers wrong by staying happily married, they struggled while trying to start the family of their dreams.

Speaking with Fox News in 2015 (via People), Trista revealed that she and Ryan struggled with infertility for two years as newlyweds. "When you get married you believe, 'Okay, the next natural thing is to have babies,'" Trista said. She continued, telling Fox News, "When that doesn't happen you start to question your relationship, you start to question yourself, even God." Added the former Bachelor contestant and Bachelorette, "So that was definitely a dark time in my life."

Fortunately, Trista and Ryan's dreams came true in July 2007, when they welcomed their first child, son Maxwell Alston. And, in April 2009, the memorable Bachelor franchise couple welcomed daughter Blakesley Grace Sutter to the world. Talk about a happily-ever-after ending!

The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn met her long-lost biological sister

Bachelorette fans watched Trista Rehn meet the love of her life on national television. However, Trista's love story isn't the only aspect of her life worthy of a made-for-TV special. 

In her book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart, Trista describes the night her mother — then a college student at Purdue University — was raped by the man she'd been dating. As Trista explains in the book, her mother soon realized she was pregnant, and made plans to give the baby up for adoption. 

However, the story doesn't end there. As Trista revealed in a February 2015 interview with Fox News, the child her mother gave up for adoption found her way back into the picture decades after being born. Explaining that her mother received a phone call from her firstborn child 40 years after placing her for adoption, Trista said she was finally able to meet her biological sister. "[Kathy] is her name and she is part of our family now as we've always wanted her to be," the reality star revealed about the special moment.

Bachelorette Trista Rehn doesn't lead a glamorous life

Judging by Trista Rehn's Instagram grid, one might assume that the former Bachelorette leads a somewhat charmed and glamorous life. However, despite the many photos of her and husband Ryan Sutter smiling next to their two children, vacationing in tropical locales, and cozying up in their gorgeous home — Trista insists her life is far from perfect. 

In her book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart, the Bachelorette pioneer writes about the reality of her day-to-day life — which is so not the reality seen in carefully curated reality TV moments. "Our off-camera lifestyle now includes a daily balancing act of work and play, a house in need of constant tidying, bills to pay, mail to open, kids needing Mommy and Daddy, a dog who could probably use a bath and some belly rubs, and a marriage that needs just as much attention, if not more, than everything else on my long list of things to do."

Added Trista, "The main thing I've learned about what makes a happy life, right up there with good health and lots of love, is gratitude." 

The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn suffered a major health scare

While Trista Rehn has certainly been lucky in love throughout her life, the reality star has also seen plenty of bad, sad, and scary days – like the day in 2017 when she landed in the hospital after suffering a terrifying seizure. 

On June 2, 2017, Trista posted a photo of herself lying in a hospital bed, seemingly hooked up to a cardiac event monitor. "This was me yesterday ... two hours after I had a seizure," Trista wrote. She continued, recounting the scary experience, "Two hours after I fell on my daughter's chest and she watched, along with her brother and grandparents, in confusion and horror as her mommy stared blankly off into the distance and started turning blue."

In her caption, Trista explained that the seizure — which occurred while on a family trip to Europe — had inspired her to truly appreciate her life and loved ones. "I have an expiration date," she wrote. Added the reality star, "I've never been perfect and I never will be, but from here on out, I vow to try my best to live this life to the fullest."

Despite their Bachelorette fame, Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter don't consider themselves stars

Say the name Trista Rehn to any Bachelor franchise fan, and there's no doubt they'll know exactly who you're taking about. And considering the sheer popularity of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and the franchise's other spin-off shows, it's safe to say even non-fans still recognize Trista as the very first Bachelorette to grace ABC. 

However, despite being a bonafide star amongst connoisseurs of reality television, Trista doesn't consider herself a star. Of course, this has become increasingly more confusing for her children with husband Ryan Sutter — Blakesley and Maxwell — as the youngsters have gradually come to realize that Trista's not like a regular mom (and Ryan's not like a regular dad).

"I remember Blakesley, one time, she was like, 'Are we famous?'" Ryan said in a July 2020 interview with Good Morning America, as Trista laughed at the idea (via People). He continued, saying, "And you're trying to explain to her that people know who you are, but we're not really famous." Well, guys, you're still stars in our eyes!