The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Stephan Mansfield


Author, Happily Ever After, (2013)

Winner, Season 1, ABC’s The Bachelorette, 2002

College:MS, Physical Therapy, Univ.of Miami

Has been featured in Parade, Good Housekeeping, etc, and on The Tonight Show, Oprah and 20/20

Recently co-hosted on The View

Designer for her Grateful Heart Collection with Glory Haus

Married to Ryan for 10 years; 2 children


Trista Sutter’s Happily Ever After

In 2002, Trista, then 30, was single and living in South Florida.  She was working as a pediatric physical therapist at Miami Children’s Hospital and worked at night as a Miami Heat dancer.  Her schedule was full but she felt empty and bored.  One night she was watching TV when a Hollywood casting director began talking about a new reality show based on one guy getting to know 25 girls in the hope of finding a fiancé.  Trista tried out and after numerous interviews and tests, she made it on the first season of ABC’s The Bachelor.  She had no intention of falling in love with a guy after 6 weeks, but as the days passed, Trista felt a real connection with bachelor Alex Michel.  By the end of the season, Alex had 2 girls left: one of them was Trista.  Instead of getting a proposal at the end of the night, Alex said he was sorry and chose the other girl. Trista was heartbroken on national TV.  As the show aired later, Trista watched with her family and friends.  On the night of the finale, Trista got a call from the executive producer asking her to become the first Bachelorette.  Trista agreed.  So in October 2002, she began filming the show with her choice of 25 men! 

“Ryan had been a front-runner since the first night,” says Trista.  “But after holding that position myself for much of the journey I shared with Alex Michel….I decided to keep my heart as open as I possibly could and not make a decision until the very end.”  At the final rose ceremony, Trista said goodbye to Charlie and the man remaining was Ryan.  “I had worked very hard to keep my feelings to myself,” says Trista. “The good news is that he showed up when it mattered most – when I could finally tell him that I had fallen for him.”  They were engaged on November 11, 2002 and after a grueling 3 months apart (to conceal their happy ending from the media and the audience), they were ecstatic to start their life together.  Their wedding was televised on ABC.  Away from the cameras and spotlight, Trista says their life is not without a daily balancing act of work and play, tidying the house, paying bills, and taking care of the kids and dog.  “While I may have found my prince and landed at the center of some extraordinary moments, I have also suffered and struggled thorugh my fair share of disappointment and pain,” she says.

Trista says she wakes up every morning with a grateful heart.  She says her days are not perfect but that she believes wholeheartedly that there is good all around us.  Trista quotes Olympian Jesse Owens who said, “Find the good.  It’s all around you.  Find it, showcase it, and you’ll start believing it.”  Trista says this simple act of gratitude keeps her receptive to the joys of life.  After they were newlyweds, Ryan and Trista wanted to start a family.  After they were unable to conceive naturally, Trista and Ryan sought out fertility clinics.  Soon she was pregnant!  At 29 weeks, Trista suffered gestational diabetes.  Though she encountered difficulties, Trista chose to keep her chin up.  She makes it a priority to be grateful for all the things in her life, big and small. She delivered a second child in 2009.

Trista grew up in a Catholic home.  Her father was Presbyterian though not as religious, so she attended church with her mother regularly.  After Confirmation, Trista’s mom let her decide whether she wanted to go to church.  Trista decided it wasn’t a priority at that time until after she went to college.  In college, Trista met a guy who was very religious and a virgin.  He brought Trista to church and helped her strengthen her core belief system.  She began to attend Bible study and non-denomational church services.  Today she is a member of Calvary Chapel in Vail, Colorado where she attends with her children.

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