Dating shows are an incredibly popular branch of reality TV. Maybe it’s the generally terrible outfits, the cheerful and/or stilted teasing and banter, or possibly just the shameless schadenfreude we get from watching a situation so painful it’s hard to bear without closing your eyes. At any rate, dating shows are big news, so much so that they’ve endured for over fifty years. One of the first dating shows was The Dating Game, which ran from 1965 to 1986, and which introduced the concept of a blind date as watchable TV: a woman would have her choice of three bachelors, to whom she could talk but could not see, and would decide which one she wanted to go out with after asking them a series of questions. From there, the genre took off, and since then there have been countless successful dating shows aired in various different countries, including Blind Date and Freaks and Geeks.
When we think of dating shows, we (for the most part) don’t think of couples living happily ever after in wedded bliss. Painful awkwardness broadcast on TV for all the world to see, followed by an equally excruciating compulsory date isn’t particularly conducive to long-term romance. However, there are a few – very rare – cases of couples who met on dating shows and did actually manage to stick it out and find real love. This article lists five such couples, who might just remind the cynics out there that true love can endure even in unlikely places…
5. Sean Lowe and Catherine Lowe — The Bachelor
At number five are Sean and Catherine Lowe, formerly Giudici, who met on TV show The Bachelor. The show had its debut in 2002, a one-hour reality show in which one man gets to pick between twenty-five women, narrowing down his choices as the series goes on. The bachelor of each series gets to know all of the women on a series of different dates. The man narrows down his choices week-by-week by presenting the women with a single red rose each — however, the ladies have an agency too: should they decide they don’t want to date the bachelor any more, they can reject him at any time. At the end of the series, the aim is to have found a life partner. Challenging the mindset of cynics who doubt the show’s ability to form lasting couples are Sean and Catherine Lowe, who met on the show and got engaged in Thailand in 2012.
The couple married in January of this year in Santa Barbara, and proved their love with their meaningful and emotional vows: Catherine told Sean that “sometimes [she] feels like [she’s] going to burst with how much [she] loves [him]”, while Sean countered with allusions to fate, saying “I know that we met on The Bachelor so that I could fall in love with my best friend”.
4. Trista and Ryan Sutter — The Bachelorette
At number four is married couple Trista and Ryan Sutter, who met on The Bachelorette, sister show of The Bachelor. The show follows the same set up as The Bachelor, with the obvious difference of a woman having her pick of the bunch instead of a man. The Bachelorette was first aired in 2003, and Trista and Ryan remain one of the rare success stories of the show to date, despite the fact that they met in the very first series, over a decade ago. The then Trista Rhen and Ryan Sutter’s timely real romance produced just the hype the fledgling show needed to keep viewers hooked, and they remain together to this day.
Ryan proposed to Trista on the show, and the pair married in 2003, with their wedding being televised – which also produced fantastic publicity for The Bachelorette. Trista and Ryan had their first child, Max, in 2007, followed by a daughter, Blakesley Grace, in 2009. In 2013 Trista released a book about her relationship with Ryan, called “Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart”, then shockingly just a month later both she and Ryan signed up to be on TV show Marriage Boot Camp, allegedly due to their problems with communication. Happily, the Sutters seem to have come through with their relationship intact, and are still one of the show’s most notable success stories.
3. Ashley and Alika — Dating Naked
Just when you thought meeting on a dating show couldn’t possibly get any more awkward, think again: the third dating show success story comes courtesy of Dating Naked, a TV show that does exactly what it says on the tin. A new dating series as of 2014, the show focuses on one man and one woman in a remote and exotic location, each of whom date a few potential partners — while everyone is entirely naked, naturally. A recently revealed success story of the show is that of Ashley and Alika (surnames as yet not revealed), who will be tying the knot next month, while naked, of course. Ashley is an art therapist while Alika is a sexual healer, and the two are both hardcore hippies, which possibly goes some way towards explaining the impulsiveness of their marriage. Their wedding will be televised (and heavily censored) on September 18th on VH1.
2. Dave Cobain and Adele Vellacott — Take Me Out
A slightly unusual entry is at number two; Dave Cobain and Adele Vellacott are a couple who met on British dating show Take Me Out, although they were not actually one another’s dates on the show. Take Me Out is a so-bad-it’s-good dating show with versions in several countries; on the UK show, heavily-accented host Paddy McGuinness from Manchester attempts to help thirty women find their perfect match in several men that take the floor in front of them. The men in question have to introduce themselves, play a video extract and showcase one of their talents. The women each have a button connected to a light on their podium, which they can turn off at any stage if they’re not interested in the man. If there are still lights on at the end of the whole ordeal, the man gets to choose which lady he’d like to take on a date.
Adele and Dave appeared on the second series of Take Me Out in 2012, and Dave ended up going on his date with another girl, but Adele persisted and their friendship eventually became a relationship. The couple now have a baby boy, Freddie, and were recently married in Monmouthshire, Wales.
1. Alex and Sue Tatham — Blind Date
At number one is a couple who’ve really beaten the odds: Alex and Sue Tatham, neé Middleton, were the first marriage to come out of the quintessential English dating show Blind Date, and are still going strong twenty-five years later. The format of Blind Date, a huge hit in the 80s and 90s, saw men and women choosing one out of three members of the opposite sex to go on a date with based on their answers to various questions posed to them. Sue recalls that after the two met on the show they were often recognised in the street, which she hated. However, the couple did decide to televise their wedding in a Blind Date special in 1991, and have gone on to have a very successful quarter century of married life.