Trista & Ryan
Of all the couples who have paired up on the networks’ reality dating shows, why are the Sutters the only ones who have tied the knot? “There is no secret formula,” says Trista, 31, who finally moved her things out of her L.A. apartment over New Year’s weekend and into the four-bedroom Vail, Colo., home she now shares with Ryan, 29. “Ryan and I were obviously ready. I was at a place in my life where I was ready to move for him, because long distance is hard on a relationship. What can I say? It was in the cards for us.” And do the cards also predict Bachelorette babies? “Definitely yes,” she says. “We want kids. But we’re happy with married life as it is for now.”
Especially now that they’re finally away from the TV cameras. After their 10-day honeymoon in Fiji, the couple made a joint appearance on The Tonight Show on Dec. 30 followed by a New Year’s Day ride on a Tournament of Roses Parade float in Pasadena. Back in Vail a few days later, the couple settled into married life. While Trista unpacked, Ryan returned to work as a firefighter – but not without fanfare. On Jan. 17, Vail mayor Rod Slifer presented the couple with an honorary manhole cover – the Vail equivalent to a key to the city.
Ryan finds all the attention a bit unsettling. “The other day we came out with a guy on a stretcher,” he says, “and there were four bystanders just taking pictures. This poor guy’s now going to be in someone’s photo album.”
Occasionally Trista stops by the firehouse to visit. After being together 24-7 last year, “it’s probably healthy for our relationship to spend some time apart,” Ryan says. Except, adds Trista, “it’s just not so fun being home by myself.” After organizing their wedding album and decorating the house (“We have to find a place for the manhole cover now,” she says, laughing), Trista eventually plans to open her own boutique in Vail. It will be “mostly gifts and home decor,” she says, maybe even some furniture built by Ryan someday. For now, the couple are content to build a life together. The past year has been “so crazy,” he says, “it’s nice to spend a little time not thinking about the future so much.”
Evan: “I wasn’t expecting to find love,” says ex-construction worker Evan Marriott, 29, who went from Joe Schmo to B-movie actor and host of the Game Show Network’s Fake-a-Date. In fact, he says, love won’t come “until my life settles down, whether I get on a show or just fade away forever.”
Zora: “Nice guy – just no connection,” is how Zora Andrich, 31, sums up her time with Evan. The ex-teacher has used some of the $500,000 from Joe for an aunt’s chemotherapy, to start a pet charity and open a clothing store in New Jersey. And romance? “I’m dating. I’m content in that area.”
Bob: When his Bachelor relationship ended in record time, Detroit mortgage broker Bob Guiney, 32, faulted himself, in part for spending too much time promoting his book and solo CD 3 Sides. With a tour slated to begin in late February, Guiney’s schedule isn’t getting any easier. Even so, he has been linked with All My Children’s Rebecca Budig. So what about it, Bob? Guiney laughs. “I won’t deny it,” he says. Budig’s take? “I won’t deny it either. I’m seeing him, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Estella: The drama of it all: Bob broke up with her on the phone just after they attended Trista and Ryan’s wedding together. But her mother “has been an amazing friend” throughout her romantic disappointment, says Beverly Hills mortgage broker Estella Gardinier, 28. For now, she says, “I’m not interested in dating.” She adds with a laugh, “Thanks to him, I probably won’t date for the rest of my life! I think I’m becoming a nun!”
Andrew: Before breaking up in December, millionaire California vintner Andrew Firestone, 28, and his pick, Jen Schefft, 27, had made plans with friends to spend New Year’s Eve in a rented house in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He decided to go solo, and “it turned out to be all couples with the exception of him,” says his roommate Kevin Krystofiak. Firestone celebrated anyway. “He was among all of his best friends,” says Krystofiak. Recently it wasn’t a broken heart but a sore throat that kept Andrew sidelined from dating. “He didn’t even go out this weekend,” says his roomie. “He is just renting movies and resting up.”
Jen: Back in her hometown of Chicago after moving out of Andrew’s pad in San Francisco, the onetime account executive “is just trying to figure out what her choices are” jobwise, says her friend and roommate Abby Smith. “She’s just getting back into the swing of things.” She and Firestone are “still friendly,” says Smith. “I don’t know if they talk every day or every other day. I do know they definitely will be friends for a long time.” And is Jen seeing anyone? “No. She’s not.”
Melana & Jason: On the Jan. 22 episode of Days of Our Lives, Melana Scantlin and her non-Average Joe pick, Jason Peoples, made a joint cameo as a couple at a kissing booth – only they were smooching other people. Which is pretty close to real life. “For us to say we were together and in love would be lying to everybody,” says Scantlin, 26, who has been busy working in TV (she’ll cohost the Game Show Network’s new show World Series of Blackjack). Peoples, 27, meanwhile, is still waiting tables in L.A. (though he has moved out of his parents’ house) while pursuing acting gigs. Both are seeing other people, so “I would classify Melana and me as really good friends,” says Peoples. “We’re cool.”
This is an online excerpt of PEOPLE magazine’s cover package.
• Written by TOM GLIATTO and MIKE LIPTON
• Reported by CYNTHIA WANG, OLIVER JONES, WILL KECK and BRENDA RODRIGUEZ in Los Angeles, JASON BANE in Vail, KATE KLISE and BARBARA SANDLER in Chicago and REBECCA PALEY and MOLLY LOPEZ in New York City