After narrowing the field to just two women, Sweet Home Alabama star Tribble Reese chose Tristan Smith on the season finale on Friday night (Dec. 9).
Although they risked being found out, the happy couple sneaked into CMT recently to chat about the dramatic final episode, meeting each other's parents and what the future holds.
CMT: Tristan, did you have any idea if you were going to be the winner?
Smith: I didn't know what to think. It makes it look so quick on the finale, but we had to wait eight hours. And it was a lot of time by yourself. Wardrobe would come in sometimes. It was tough. Then they would say, "It's time," but then they'd say, "No, wait." I just wanted to get it over with. I just wanted to know what was about to happen, what he was going to say. No, I had no idea what was going to happen, but then you don't ever know.
What was it like meeting his parents?
Smith: I was nervous because I didn't see the episode in the first season when his mom came on, so I didn't know what to expect. All the other girls were talking about it, and it was making me so nervous. I was like, "What if she comes in here and is just ruthless or doesn't like us?" We didn't know what to expect. But after they got there, all my nerves went away and they were so much fun and so easy to talk to, just like Tribble.
Tribble, have you met her parents?
Reese: Yeah, I met her mom, and I've gotten the chance to hang out with all of her brothers and spend some time with them when I went down for a charity event down in Mobile. It was really good to see her home life and see how close her family is and how much it means to them because family is important to me, as well.
Tristan, what made you want to do this show?
Smith: Cody Harris [a previous contestant on Sweet Home Alabama] talked me into it. I didn't actually apply for it. I was in nursing school, and I saw Cody on the show from the first season. Cody is my good friend and told the producers, so they called me. I was really hesitant at first. Even the first day, walking into the house and moving into the house, I was like, "Gosh I hope I made the right decision." But obviously I'm glad I did.
Reese: I need to thank Cody every day for giving her that push.
Tristan, when did you realize you were interested in Tribble?
Smith: Probably our second date, whenever we went on the boat waterskiing. Our first one-on-one at Alligator Alley was so much fun. You get butterflies, but it wasn't that long of a date. I don't even think it was supposed to be a one-on-one or a date. It just kind of ended up being that way. So definitely on our second date because I got to know him more. And I was like, "All right, this is getting serious."
On to the good stuff. What is it about Tristan that made her the one?
Reese: Well, look at her. She is very attractive, and initially in any relationship, that really pulls people in, at least for me. There were a lot of girls on that show, so she really stood out in that aspect. Then it's really getting to know her. Like she said, on our second date, we got to spend some good time together. She is one of the sweetest girls I've ever met. She has a huge heart and loves helping kids. That's the most attractive quality about her. Also, her relationship with her family -- because that is important to me. Before I even went on the show, they asked me what I was looking for, and I wanted someone who is family-oriented and loves kids. That is her to a "T."
Smith: With him, it's the same thing, really. It is the way he talked about his mom on the show all the time and the way he talked about his family and the way he was with the kids, the way he was with everybody in Clemson. ... On the dating show, it's just the two of you. You don't get to see him around other people. The way he carries himself made me that much more attracted to him. The way he handles people and interacted with them. We just have fun together. We joke around. We noticed while watching the show, we don't get serious. We don't ever talk serious until the second-to-last episode, but we still always just had fun together. We never talked about what we wanted in a relationship or anything like that.
What's next for both of you?
Smith: I am going back to nursing school in January, and I'll graduate in August. Only one more semester of classes and clinical, and then I will be done!
Reese: I am just figuring it out. I'm really riding the wave right now. Like I tell her, I don't know where I'll be a week from now. I'm not a planner.
Smith: That's what stresses me out.
Reese: But she doesn't need to stress out because it's all going to work out.
Smith: I know that! He has time to figure it all out. And that's what I tell him. I wish I could be more like him.
Reese: But I'd still like to do something on-air, hosting. I think I can transition into something like that easily with my skill set. I can come up with something better than taking blood
Smith: Hey, now! I don't know what I'm going to do with him.
Editor's note: The third season of Sweet Home Alabama with Paige Duke begins Jan. 13.