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Trista and Ryan Sutter on Their 'Bachelorette' Journey and Secret to Success (Exclusive)

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Trista Sutter started it all. The Bachelor franchise experienced a lot of firsts with the former Miami Heat dancer. She was its first-ever Bachelorette, accepted the franchise's first-ever proposal when her now-husband, Ryan Sutter, got down on one knee, and tied the knot in its first-ever televised wedding.

Trista and Ryan were also the Bachelor franchise's first lasting couple, and they're still going strong, nearly 20 years later. 

"It's actually gotten to the point where it seems like you have to sort of remind yourself you're even on it," Ryan explained, as he and Trista spoke with ET's Lauren Zima via video chat on Monday. Ryan added that the megahit show "has been a really positive component of our life and obviously brought us together. So I can't complain too much."

The first seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were featured on Monday night's episode of the highlight show, The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! For the Sutters, it was nice reliving their love story onscreen -- although Trista admitted it's easier for her than her husband.

"We met, we got engaged, we got married, had a family... for me, that's why I want to watch, because I want to see our love story unfold again," Trista explained. "And it's easier for me to get past me kissing other guys."

Trista was the runner-up on the first season of The Bachelor, starring Alex Michel, in 2002. Her season of The Bachelorette debuted the next year, in 2003 -- and that's where 30-year-old Trista met and fell in love with 28-year-old Ryan, a firefighter from Vail, Colorado. Seventeen million viewers tuned in to watch their wedding on ABC. 

Dala Yitzhak/Walt Disney Television via Getty Image

These days, it's Trista and Ryan's two kids, 12-year-old son Maxwell and 11-year-old daughter Blakesley, who are keeping them busy at home in Colorado. Now, with this highlights season of The Bachelor, Trista said she'd be OK with their kids learning about how their parents met on TV.

"They are actually at an age where I'm OK with them watching. I think it's part of their history, and the best part of our particular season of the Greatest Seasons Ever is that it's like a highlight reel," Trista shared. "So they don't have to see everything!"

She also explained that their son "could care less" about watching his parents' fall in love in front of the cameras, but Blakesley "is in tune with people who are like, TikTok famous and YouTube famous... and I think it's coming up more amongst her friends too, so she thinks it's kind of cool."

Trista and Ryan have stuck together through thick and thin. In 2017, Trista suffered a seizure while on a family trip to Croatia, and the pair have dealt with life in the spotlight as well as they could hope to while remaining a normal, happy family.

According to Ryan, the secret to their successful relationship is maintaining balance and making sure to give each other enough love and attention. Ryan explained that, when couples find love on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, they usually don't "walk off the show equally." At least for them, Trista was the superstar and he felt like a supporting character.

"That's how it is at first. And that can get uncomfortable. Especially, you know, when one person is getting tons of attention and the other person's just sort of over at the water fountain, just drinking water and waiting to go home," Ryan said. "[But] Trista did a great job of prioritizing what's important in my life."

"She brought a lot of the balance back so that it wasn't one person on a pedestal and one person off the pedestal. It was more of like an equal relationship," he added.

"I think that, you know, also marriage is hard work and we work constantly on trying to be better, and you have to," Trista shared. "I think that there's so many components that go into happy marriages. And we've been really lucky, but it takes a lot of work."

Watch Trista and Ryan's full, candid chat on Tuesday's Entertainment Tonight. Check here for local listings.

The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more on Trista and Ryan in the video below. 

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