Courtney + Alex: Our Reality TV Romance

A Story of Finding Love While Losing Weight

It’s a crisp, sunny morning in Crown Point Indiana when the alarm rings. It’s early, but Courtney is happy to get out of bed for her morning routine—the only “routine” part of her day-to-day. She finishes lacing up her sneakers, looks up, and smiles to see that her husband, Alex, is ready to go, too. It’s time to work out.

Seeing this couple exercising together in the gym—Alex guiding Courtney through some new lifting routine, or Courtney leading them both in a cardio sequence—they seem like any other couple trying to stay fit. What’s not readily apparent is that the lifting routine was learned on a phone call with Chris Powell, the cardio sequence came from firsthand experience on The Biggest Loser ranch, and both Alex and Courtney used to weigh in at over 400 pounds.

The Finals Bring a New Beginning

The detour-filled journey that led them to this healthy, laugh-filled Midwestern morning began five years ago at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles, when both of their lives looked dramatically different. They were there as two of 18 hopefuls for a new, unnamed weight loss show on ABC, and this was finals week. Between all the testing, photo shoots, and interviews, there was a lot of down time, during which all 18 of them naturally began to bond.

“We were all in the presence of people that were just like us,” says Courtney. “Most of us had friends that could never understand being over 400 pounds and what life looks like that way.” The contestants spent time together in the pool, hot tub, bar, and each other’s rooms for the 10 days they spent in LA. But there was one hopeful who hung back: Alex. A reserved gentleman from Georgia, he felt more comfortable in his room than in the big party going on down the hall with the other contestants (usually in Courtney’s room).

"In fact,” Courtney says, eager to share one of her favorite parts of their story. “There were times that he was in his hotel room with the “Do Not Disturb” sign on. I thought it was so weird! But after three days, Alex finally called me and said ‘What are y’all doing?’ in his little southern accent.” After that, Alex was part of the group, although a bit quieter than the rest of the crew—especially Courtney.

Alex remembers his first impression of Courtney as a popular girl with a “sparkly” personality who is always the life of the party. She remembers being intrigued by this quiet, reserved southerner who was nothing like the blunt guys she’d known back in Indiana. But despite—or perhaps because of—these differences, there was an immediate connection between the two. “It seemed that each night, Alex and I would have long, in-depth conversations about life,” Courtney remembers. “And it was always deep and beyond the surface, which I really loved.”

Separate, But Together

Shortly after finals week, Alex learned that he had been selected for the show, while Courtney got the news that she hadn’t. Disappointed but determined, she decided that she’d begin her weight loss journey on her own, staying in touch with Alex and using his journey on the show (which turned out to be Extreme Weight Loss) to support hers. Alex would share his workouts from Chris, and Courtney would help talk Alex through the mental and emotional roadblocks that serious weight loss entails. “We both had rough times during those nine months, and probably couldn’t have gone through it without each other,” Courtney says.

After losing 100 pounds on her own, Courtney got the call that she’d been selected as a contestant for The Biggest Loser. With 150 pounds more to go, she said yes. Around that same time, Alex went away to the Extreme Weight Loss boot camp in Arizona and cut off contact to focus on finishing the year strong. Courtney was upset, but understood. She channeled her energy into her own journey.

By the time she got home to Indiana for Christmas, she was healthier and happier than she’d ever been. And then, even happier: right after she arrived, Alex called. They hadn’t been in much contact, so she was surprised and thrilled to hear from him…and then, when they decided to chat on Skype, more surprised than ever. “I couldn’t believe my eyes! He looked like a COMPLETELY different person,” she says. “See, those three months that he wasn’t talking to people much were the three months that he fully changed his life. I was so proud of him, and he was so proud of me.”

"I Always Knew in My Heart that I Loved Him."

With their respective TV shows over and weight loss journeys underway, Courtney and Alex rekindled their friendship. Going through weight loss and the process of TV production individually, while supporting each other along the way, had forged a connection they shared with no one else. They were both casually seeing other people at the time, and became each other’s go-to advisors on their relationships. They were best friends. “I always knew in my heart that I loved him, though,” says Courtney.

After a year and a half of friendship, when they were both single, their friendship moved to the next level. But the change had less to do with relationship status than it did with their personal evolution. “When we both fully loved ourselves and were able to see our value and worth, [we could see] that we deserved each other,” remembers Courtney.Eventually, Alex moved from Georgia to Indiana to help Courtney open a frozen yogurt shop. He planned to stay for six months and then return home. Needless to say, he changed his plan.

“My dad gave me my mom’s wedding ring for me to give Court two years before the actual proposal,” Alex explains. He decided to pop the question on New Year’s Eve 2014, when they would be with Courtney’s side of the family. “Nobody had any idea what was going on except her mom, dad, and sister. I put together a slideshow set to music and fired it up on the TV. I was so giddy and nervous! I wasn’t nervous she would say no, it was just such an incredible moment that I wanted it to be perfect.” When Alex got down on one knee, Courtney said yes (through tears). They got married the following November, surrounded by 350 guests (including Chris Powell as a groomsman), and, as Alex says, “the rest is history!”

In Love, Off TV, and On Track

Today, Courtney and Alex live in their home in Crown Point and run the frozen yogurt shop together (yes, they live and work together and are married and are still this crazy about each other). And, as their morning workout routine demonstrates, health plays a big role in their relationship today. Together, they help one another find balance and stay on track.

“I love to cook, so I love preparing our meals for the day or week. I’m all about it!” Courtney says. Alex takes the lead when it comes to workouts, getting tips here and there from Chris Powell. Because they both have struggled with the same issue of food addiction, they each recognize where the other one is coming from and can support each other to stay on track when times get tough.

Perhaps most powerful of all, they are able to recognize when they’ve overindulged and get back on track without beating themselves—or each other—up over it. “We have found ourselves falling back into old habits or enabling each other,” Courtney says. “For us, it’s just important to recognize when this is happening and stop it right there. We just make the next choice a better one and move on.”

This doesn’t mean total deprivation—it means finding a space for every kind of joy in their lives: the joy of food, the joy of movement, the joy of friends, and, of course, the joy of each other. And, a few months after their wedding, the point of balance they’ve found seems to be working out just fine. Or, as Courtney puts it: “Married life is AWESOME!!!”

Want Courtney + Alex's amazing energy to help fuel your own weight loss? They're co-hosting the first EVER partner Transformer, starting on Tuesday, 4/4! Join today, invite a buddy to be your partner, and motivate each other to lose 10%! If you both meet your goal, you could win an epic night out on the town for two (worth $1,000)!

Make it WayBetter

Courtney hosts regular dietbets, and is one of our most active hosts, filling her games with the "sparkly" personality Alex fell in love with. Let her energy propel your weight loss by joining her next game! Follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/bl11courtney) and Twitter (@BL11Courtney) to stay in-the-know about her upcoming games.