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Trista & Ryan turn reality TV into real life

Posted at 10:38 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 00:38:17-05

It’s a Monday night ritual for one of Colorado’s favorite couples: Watching the adventure of Denver-based Bachelor Ben Higgins.

“It’s really because of Ben,” said Ryan Sutter. “It’s like cheering on a football team because you know the player and you want him to do well.  That’s how I feel about Ben.”

Thirteen years ago, Trista Sutter (the original Bachelorette) and Ryan (the man who won her heart) got engaged on reality television after a very few, very public dates.

Trista remembers them like they were yesterday.

“Sea World, Seattle, my house, your house and the group date,” she said.

“Group dates don't count,” said Ryan.

“It does. It counts,” said Trista with a smile.

It may be one of the weirdest dating conversation ever, but dating was just the start.

Trista and Ryan got married, moved to the mountains outside Vail and had two unsurprisingly beautiful children.

Now, dinner is in the slow cooker, and everything seems so… normal.

But in reality, Trista and Ryan never quite left the limelight, renewing their vows in a TV special, making headlines and raising money for charity on “Who wants to be a Millionaire.”

Because of what Ryan calls their “pseudo” fame, they have a genuine opportunity to make a difference.

Ryan has raised more than $100,000 for First Descents, a Colorado nonprofit which gives free adventure therapy to young adults with cancer.

He is still a Vail firefighter, and just finished getting his masters degree while helping to start two new businesses.

Trista, meanwhile, wrote a book on gratitude and was invited to give a Ted Talk on finding your value.

"I'm just like everyone else and I struggle with my own inner demons and I think we all do and I want people to know they aren't alone," said Trista Sutter.

That talk can be seen here.

From their reality TV beginnings, Trista and Ryan say they have found something real.

Still, every Monday night, they still get lost in the fantasy.

“It is hard to tear yourself away if you wander through the room and start watching it,” said Ryan with a smile. “You just can’t walk away.”

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