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Looking back at our shows, we often wonder about the people who've left. Where did they go when their moment in the Bravo spotlight was over? What are they up to now? Each week, we'll be looking into the lives of one of these familiar faces. Today, it's Justin Cooper and Becca Tepper from The Millionaire Matchmaker.
Trust in Patti. That was Chicago business exec Justin Cooper's mantra when he appeared on The Millionaire Matchmaker in March 2014 looking for "a nice Jewish girl." Justin, who lost the vision in his right eye due to glaucoma, described his business- and entertainment-focused "Ari Gold-meets-Donald Draper" lifestyle as a big reason he was still single and implored Patti Stanger to help him find a partner he didn't feel compelled to "fix." "You're a hot Jewish woman — you know it's hard to find other attractive Jewish people," Justin, a senior director of sales at a tech startup, told Patti in his submission tape, "and I know that you can help me find a woman that I want to be with."
His trust was rewarded. After a Mad Men-themed mixer, Justin took San Diego stunner Becca Tepper on a master date to restaurant Opaque, a pitch-black dining experience where "Justin," Patti later said, "killed it." Becca thought so too: Nearly 21 months after they taped their episode of Millionaire Matchmaker, she and Justin are still together and happier than ever.
"People are shocked," Justin tells the Daily Dish, "because on reality television, there aren't many couples that stay together. But it's turned into a fairytale for us. Patti did a great job: She introduced me to my dream girl, and for that, I owe her everything."
After Millionaire Matchmaker's cameras stopped rolling in Los Angeles around Halloween 2013, Justin went back to Chicago and Becca headed home to San Diego, but he quickly made plans to see her again. "We only spent a few hours over a few days getting to know one another on the show then we talked on the phone after the taping and I flew her to Chicago for a weekend for Thanksgiving and a few more times before the New Year," he explains.
Things were going well, so Becca then invited Justin to get to know her mom, grandmother and brother during a two-week family vacation to Europe in January 2014. That sealed the deal. "I realized that if you can spend all this time traveling with my family and my grandma who doesn't even speak Englishand make everyone love you that's a good sign," says Becca with a laugh.
They knew a long-distance relationship would be hard, so Becca accepted Justin's invitation to "take it to the next level," he says, and that February, with her mother's blessing, Becca traded Southern California's mild winter for Chicago's icy cold one and moved in with him. "She walked in with three bags and said, 'If you don't like me, let me know and I'll go home. If I don't like you, I'll let you know and go home,'" Justin recalls. Adds Becca: "That helped our relationship because it didn't put any strain on it." That sort of honesty and good, direct communication has led their romance to get "better and better" over the last year-and-a-half, says Justin. "We know what makes each other happy." And, adds Becca, "We know what annoys each other!"
Living together has been "fun and exciting," says Justin, 34. Although they both love to go out, Becca, 25, often accompanies him to dinners, concerts and athletic games when he's entertaining clients they've found balance in other ways too. "Some people might think the age difference would be difficult, but it made it better," he says. "It's like we push each other: She grounds me and keeps me young, and being driven in my career, I encourage her to chase her dreams," he adds. "We're a great team."
Thanks to Justin's encouragement, in 2014, Becca launched her own jewelry line, Becca Tepper Jewelry, which is sold online (her body chains also just landed in their first store, Jolie Femme in Del Mar, California, near her hometown). "Justin's given me a lot of inspiration. If I hadn't met him, I don’t think I'd be so ready to take on the world," says Becca, who also attends Kendall College, where she's studying hospitality management. "Justin and I are like best friends: I see how motivated he is and it really motivates me."
Millionaire Matchmaker fans may remember that on the show, Justin spoke about how his aunt, who's fighting cancer, has been a second mother to him following his own mom's death five years ago and how it was important to him to find a woman who could earn her blessing. Good news, says Justin: "My aunt loves Becca."
Justin does too, and both see an engagement, marriage, and family down the line. "On the show, Patti said I was a fixer and I agreed with it but I don’t have to fix Becca. I just genuinely love her," says Justin. "The connection so real, I don’t need to look for ways to make her better there's nothing to fix." Becca feels it too. "I didn’t think I would find somebody this soon in my life," she says. "We're taking this slow now and having fun and trying to live our dreams and make some good money and good friends, but we've definitely talked about the future and I see Justin in my future."
Justin hopes to reconnect with Patti to thank her for introducing him to the love of his life. "I've watched all eight seasons of Millionaire Matchmaker," he says. "I couldn't believe it when I heard the news that Patti's leaving Bravo but I'm thrilled that Becca and I are now a part of Patti's legacy of successful matches."
Thanks to the show, he adds, "Becca and I talk about how one day, when we have kids and they ask about how we met, we can say, 'Do you want to see it?' It really is this fairy tale — it just happened to start on TV."
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