This Week in Bachelor Nation History: Trista Sutter's Contestants Bring the Drama on First-Ever 'Men Tell All' Special
They paved the way! This week marks 18 years since the first-ever “Men Tell All” special aired during the inaugural season of “The Bachelorette” in 2003.
During the dramatic taping, standout contestants who competed for Trista Sutter’s heart took the floor to air their grievances with the original lead — or, conversely, shared their disappointment at not receiving her final rose.
First up to speak was Russ Woods, who memorably took pride in being the first man to kiss Trista. While he made it far in the series, the writer was sent home following an unexpectedly lackluster Fantasy Suite date. Previously, the pair had been known for their intense chemistry — but it was Russ’ “aggressive” approach to courting Trista that ultimately led to the demise of their relationship.
While chatting with host Chris Harrison, Russ claimed that he suddenly lost romantic interest in Trista toward the end of his time on the show.
“I wanted to get to talk to her and hang out with her and get to know her more. But romantically, I just wasn’t into it anymore,” he said. “I liked Trista and I was into it. But I was more concerned about the fact that I was one of the final three guys here. She didn’t really know who I was based on some of the conversations we had. So, it just was over. I just wasn’t into it anymore.”
Later, fan favorite Bob Guiney — who went on to lead Season 4 of “The Bachelor” in 2003 — made his way to the stage to reflect on his breakup with Trista. Just before Hometown Dates, the blonde beauty told Bob that she cherished their time together. “I’m really not going to say this to anybody else tonight, but if I had five [roses] to give, you hands-down would have been my fifth,” she said, grabbing his hands. “And this was a really hard decision for me.”
Unpacking his feelings with Chris, Bob explained, “I was really disappointed. It is rejection that you feel whenever you’re experiencing something like that, no matter if you’re feeling more like a friend to her or more like a romantic partner. And I felt that rejection.”
Elsewhere, fireworks flew when cowboy Brook accused Trista of being “shallow.” Early on in the season, the Texas rancher was wildly offended after Trista told him she couldn’t see a future with him because of her allergy to horses.
“I thought the reason why she got rid of me was very shallow. I mean, that’s pathetic. Maybe she is [allergic]. Maybe she isn’t. But you can get shots and pills for it. So be it,” he said. “Love can conquer anything. That’s what my dad always said.”
Brook might not have been so bold with his remarks had he known Trista was hanging out backstage, secretly listening to everything he and his castmates were saying about her. The special concluded with Trista walking out to confront the men she rejected.
Trista wasted no time giving Brook a piece of her mind. “Sitting backstage, I kind of got the notion that you thought maybe I was a liar — and not just shallow — because you might have thought that I really didn’t have an allergy,” she said, looking directly into his eyes. “When I think of ‘shallow,’ I think of something that you choose to be. And I haven’t chosen to be allergic to horses.”
She added, “I really do like horses, so I would love to be around that. It was just that I really wanted to be part of your life and it just wasn’t something that could’ve happened if you were the guy.”
Trista then responded to Russ’ account of their insipid Fantasy Suite date. “I was listening backstage and you said that when you were in the Fantasy Suite, you decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea — something to that effect,” she said before clarifying, “I specifically remember me making the decision that I was actually going to go back to my own hotel room.”
The former physical therapist also reacted to sexist backlash she received for dating multiple men on national TV. “I hate the stupid double standard stuff because I think people need to be compared not on a gender basis, not on a man to a woman, but individual to individual,” she eloquently stated, noting that “Bachelor” leads were hardly criticized for their actions.
“If you are going to compare me to Aaron [Buerge] and Alex [Michel], Aaron kissed seven girls, Alex kissed 12 girls, I think,” she elaborated. “I kissed four men, so I did what was necessary.”
Though it wasn’t known at the time, Trista had chosen hunky firefighter Ryan Sutter at the end of her “Bachelorette” journey. During the “Men Tell All” special, she revealed that she was “happy” with her winner — but admitted that it was emotionally taxing to watch her season back with him.
“Yeah, it’s hard for him. It’s very hard for him,” she said of her then-fiancé. “It’s actually hard for me also. Watching Russ and I kissing wasn’t necessarily the most fun experience, so it has definitely been difficult.”
Of course, the obstacle was no match for Trista and Ryan, who eventually tied the knot in a gorgeous California ceremony that was later televised on ABC. Today, the beloved couple — who celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary in December — live in Ryan’s home state of Colorado and share son Maxwell, 13, and daughter Blakesley, 11.