Born in Texas in 1983, Melissa Rycroft’s first reality TV stint was on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, but it was her dramatic engagement and break-up with Jason Mesnick on the 13th season of The Bachelor that put her on the map. Shortly after the show ended, Rycroft joined the dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars (season 8), and placed third. She now appears on the show Melissa and Tye: A New Reality.
Melissa Katherine Rycroft was born on March 11, 1983, in Dallas, Texas. She was the first lieutenant of her high school drill team, then went on to graduate from the University of North Texas, where she majored in marketing.
Shortly after graduating from college, Melissa Rycroft auditioned to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The Country Music Television reality show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team was following the tryouts, and Rycroft appeared in both the 2006 and 2007 seasons. She was a member of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders both years.
In 2008, Rycroft was a contestant on the 13th season of The Bachelor. Jason Mesnick. Mesnick proposed to Rycroft in the season’s final episode, but broke up with her six weeks later on a televised follow-up episode, After the Final Rose, claiming that he had chosen the wrong girl and still had feelings for the runner-up, Molly Malaney.
One week after the The Bachelor’s finale, Rycroft was chosen as a last-minute fill-in for the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars, replacing Nancy O’Dell, who sustained an injury during dance practice. Rycroft had just two days of practice before the season premiere, but tied for second place in the first week’s performance. She finished third overall, and returned to the show in 2012 for Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars (season 15).
Despite her challenges on The Bachelor, 2009 proved to be a successful year for Rycroft: She became a special correspondent for Good Morning America, and co-hosted Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve alongside Ryan Seacrest. She was also named to People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People,” as well as Maxim’s “Hot 100” list. Most importantly, she reunited with her pre-Bachelor love, Tye Strickland.
In 2012, Rycroft published a book, My Reality chronicling her love life from heartbreak in 2006 to her engagement and very public break-up with Mesnick, to her life with her current husband. That same year, her reality TV series, Melissa and Tye: A New Reality, debuted on CMT.
In December 2009, Rycroft married Tye Strickland in a beachfront ceremony in Mexico. She splits her time between Dallas, where Strickland works, and Los Angeles, where the filming of Melissa and Tye: A New Reality takes place. The couple’s daughter, Ava, was born in 2011.