“Tye tried to call me, like, right as I got back in the country from filming, he was calling,” Rycroft recalled on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast in August 2020, noting he wanted her back. “I didn’t believe [him]. I mean, I was like, ‘Whatever.’ And not only that, I am engaged and I’m happy and you are a tool bag.”
While the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader got engaged to Jason Mesnick during the finale, which aired in 2009, he broke off their engagement to reunite with runner-up Molly Malaney. Following the split, Rycroft reconnected with Strickland.
“And then I just started talking to him again as a friend. And three, four weeks after that, we officially got back together under the stipulation that I said, ‘This time, it’s for good,’ you know,” she explained. “He was a hard relationship to get over, which is why I even went on the show and I had just gone through everything with Jason and I was, like, I don’t know if [I was] emotionally prepared to really get into a relationship again, but it was with Tye, it was the guy that I had wanted to be with before all of this happened. And I think having the show air, we weren’t really allowed to see each other, you know, so we just got to talk and focus on our friendship. And I think that’s what made the relationship the second time around that much stronger.”
Rycroft and Strickland wed in December 2009 and went on to welcome three kids: Ava, Beckett and Cayson. (Mesnick and Malaney, meanwhile, wed in 2010 and share daughter Riley.)
“2008 for me was strange. I left filmed a reality show I got engaged. I got dumped and then come 2009, I got in a new relationship. I’m engaged,” Rycroft concluded. “And by the end of 2009, I was married.”
Scroll through for more contestants who met their significant other before their time on the ABC dating competition: