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Melissa Katherine Rycroft-Strickland was a contestant on the 13th season of The Bachelor, where she got engaged to Jason Mesnick.

Early life[]

Melissa Katherine Rycroft was born on March 11, 1983 in Dallas, Texas. She studied dance from an early age and served as first lieutenant of her high school drill team. She majored in Marketing at the University of North Texas and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega.


Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders[]

After graduating from the University of North Texas, Rycroft auditioned for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She danced for the team from 2006-2008. As a cheerleader, she made regular appearances on Country Music Television's reality show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

The Bachelor[]

She appeared on the 13th season of The Bachelor as one of the 25 bachelorettes competing for bachelor Jason Mesnick. In the season finale, Mesnick chose Rycroft over runner-up Molly Malaney, and proposed. Shortly after the proposal, Mesnick left Rycroft, explaining he had feelings for Malaney.

Dancing with the Stars[]

Melissa was a contestant on season 8 of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with Tony Dovolani.

She returned for the all-star season and was once again partnered with Tony Dovolani.

1Scores was given by guest judge Paula Abdul

She later served as the host of the 2015 Dancing With The Stars live tour.

Redneck Island[]

She is a host of CMT's reality-TV show Redneck Island.

Personal life[]

Melissa had a seven-year relationship with a boy she met in school. It ended abruptly when he broke off with Rycroft while the pair were in college. The boy married another girl within 2 weeks of the ending of the relationship. Rycroft said she was inconsolable and this relationship was in part, the reason she would later describe herself as the girl who was always dumped when she auditioned for The Bachelor. In her book, My Reality, Rycroft described how Tye Strickland constantly broke off their relationship, dated other women, and generally took her for granted.

After ending her relationship with Jason Mesnick, she returned to a former boyfriend, salesman Tye Strickland, of Southlake, Texas. The couple married in December 2009 and now have three children, daughter Ava Grace, born on February 16, 2011 (2011-02-16) (age 13), and sons Beckett Thomas, born on April 20, 2014 (2014-04-20) (age 10) and Cayson Jack, born on May 18, 2016 (2016-05-18) (age 8).