Radio talk show host Guy Benson heard plenty of odd stories throughout his career, but he didn't imagine he would one day be at the center of one. All of that changed when Benson received a message from a stranger, and found himself tangled in a complicated love triangle.
Before we walk through this journey of love and deception, meet the face our story starts and ends with - literally: Guy Benson. For years, the Fox News journalist and radio host has raked in quite the following.
From eager fans to online skeptics, the public figure knows exactly how to get people talking. So perhaps, it's no surprise his documented endeavors have landed him endless responses. Only nothing could have prepared him for the DM that popped up one fateful day in 2020.
He Received a Mysterious Message
All it took was one stranger behind the keyboard, hundreds of miles away to turn his life upside down. On a typical day in July, Guy took to Instagram as he scrolled through his latest notifications. Only the DM that soon emerged on his screen was anything but ordinary.
A man named Michael had reached out to him. Sure, Benson was no stranger to online messages, only this one was different. "The backstory was irresistible," as Guy put it. The mysterious user was an avid listener of his radio show. But there was a catch. He also had a request; One that would change Benson's life forever.
Well, what was the catch? In order to understand the events that soon transpired that fateful afternoon, let's backtrack a bit. Everything traced back to the summer of 2010; To the moment Michael's cousin, Alyson Mulloy, stumbled across the love of her life.
In her eyes, it was no coincidence that the two had met the way that they did; A thought that would soon lead her to take matters into her own hands. But before we rehash Alyson's remarkable scheme to win over her future soulmate, who was this special somebody? And why was she willing to risk it all for him?
She Met Her Future Soulmate
That very summer, as most teenagers found their way to summer camp, so did Alyson. Only hers was a bit different. Titled Teen ACTS, or "Jesus camp," the annual religious retreat was dedicated to strengthening one's connection to faith. Little did the devout Catholic know, her beliefs were about to change in more ways than one.
She soon crossed paths with Dylan Doucette. Otherwise known as the teenage heartthrob every 15-year-old girl in the area already had their eyes on. Boasting an out-of-date haircut and boyish charm, the young boy caught Aly's eye. And you can bet people noticed.
They Had an Instant Connection
In fact, their connection was almost immediate. From that point forward, the two went from strangers to fast friends. And as the years continued to pass, their bond continued to grow. But it wasn't long before Aly's true feelings continued to emerge.
"Alyson liked Dylan. Everyone knew this. Dylan probably (definitely) knew this, too," childhood friend, Rachel Daley joked. But the more time the two continued to spend together only called for more confusion. The lines between friendship and romance had suddenly become blurred.
Better Off As Friends
As fate would have it, those blurred lines were suddenly as clear as ever, come 2017. Dylan had finally asked Alyson out to dinner. On an actual date; Something the young girl had dreamed about from the moment she first laid eyes on him. Only the events that transpired that night didn't quite go according to plan.
After an awkward dinner at Chili's and a trip to the local bowling alley, the two came to a bitter realization: They were better off as friends. Or at least that's how Dylan saw it. He simply wasn't ready to head down a romantic path. But there was a deep-rooted reason why he felt the way that he did.
Dylan Didn't Want to Risk Their Friendship
The truth was that Dylan Doucette had always cared about Alyson Mulloy. In fact, that's exactly why he had to pump the brakes. Their entire relationship was so special, "that it wasn't just deciding to ask out a pretty girl," as he explained to The Knot. Instead? "It was discerning if she was the one forever."
She would never just be a casual fling or ex-girlfriend he could leave in the past. Alyson was his best friend; Someone he valued more than almost anybody. Which was why he wasn't ready to risk everything they'd ever built for a chance of it crumbling to pieces. He simply needed more time.
Michael Hatched a Plan to Win Dylan Over
Unfortunately, though, the clock was ticking. At least if you asked Alyson. After endless years of being told she was wasting her time, the hopeless romantic had finally reached her breaking point; Sure, it felt so right. But if they were truly meant to be, why were things so... difficult?
Aly had waited and waited for her crush to finally come around. Only he hadn't budged an inch. Dylan needed a push. And sure enough, Michael was about to give him one. After watching his lovestruck cousin, he decided to take matters into his own hands: He was going to make Dylan jealous - by inventing a fake boyfriend for Aly.
Alyson Wanted to Protect Dylan
But just because Michael was ready to scheme his way into Dylan's heart, that didn't mean that Aly was. "I was dead against this," Alyson revealed of the disapproval her cousin was initially met with. "I told Michael, 'We are not going along with this… Dylan is my best friend!'"
All's fair in love and war, though, right? At least that's how Alyson soon felt, after having a change of heart. And from that moment forward, the two set off on their cat-fishing endeavors - all in the name of love. But where would they even start? Their little plan had to be a secret, or they'd risk losing Dylan, forever.
Searching For the Perfect Boyfriend
Well, what came next? After endless hours spent typing away, Aly and Michael's search for a "generic white man" had finally found a winner: A charming young man, clad in a gingham button-down and crisp blue blazer. Little did they know, the face smiling back at them was none other than Guy Benson.
But before their scheme came full circle, what would they do next? Sure, the journalist's 2011 headshot was a good start, but that's all they had. They needed a story. What would his name be, for starters? Where had he and Aly met? There were tons of missing gaps they needed to fill in, and no room for mistakes.
Becoming "Ryan Stevens"
Luckily "Michael always had something up his sleeve," as Aly put it. Perhaps that's why it wasn't long before her dream boyfriend was finally written into existence. He was Ryan Stevens, a promising Merrimack College student a few grades ahead of Alyson. There was no going back now.
They say love makes you do crazy things. And for Alyson? We're about to find out just how far she went to achieve that fairytale ending. It was time for her to finally put her plan into play. And she did just that, as she began sharing the big news with family and friends - just about anybody who'd listen; Including Dylan.
Michael's Scheme Brought Them Together
Some might say what happened next was fate. Others might say it was Ryan Stevens. Whatever it may be, the events that transpired weeks later in the St. William's Church parking lot were suddenly all too real. And as Dylan leaned in to kiss Aly that summer afternoon, suddenly, everything had been worth it.
Michael was right. All Dylan really needed was a gentle shove in the right direction. And sure enough, their little detour had led him to his final destination: Alyson Mulloy. But while her and Dylan's friendship was now over on paper, this was only the beginning.
The Start of Dylan and Aly
"It occurred to me that I do have strong feelings for Alyson," Dylan explained of the moment everything changed. And, well, it was only up from there. Sure, there was a lot of lost time to be made up for. But Aly and Dylan certainly made every second count.
From baseball games to traveling the world together, their time as a couple was everything they could have wanted and more. After all, they had been best friends for years. And their latest chapter would only continue to grow their unbreakable bond. But there was one slight problem.
Alyson Revealed What She'd Done
How long was Alyson going to hide what she'd done to win Dylan over? After all, her little scheme was the reason Dylan had worn his heart on his sleeve. She would eventually have to be honest with him, too. But would her boyfriend be as disturbed about the idea as she once was?
Unfortunately, actions tend to speak louder than words. And while Aly tried to keep quiet, her face soon said it all: "I just kinda brought up [Ryan Stevens]… and her face contorted a little," Dylan revealed of the moment Aly finally came clean. There was no more hiding. It was time to put everything out in the open.
Their Relationship Grew Stronger
As for how Alyson's deceived boyfriend took the news? Believe it or not, Dylan wasn't mad at all. In fact, he was actually rather… pleased. "It all made sense," he gushed. "I saw a handsome picture of [a guy], and I felt pretty good about myself." In Dylan's head? He had won.
Sure enough, airing her dirty laundry had actually brought them closer than ever. And on July 27, 2019, Dylan decided to take the next step in their relationship. He got down on one knee, at the very same place their love story once started - St. William's Church, as he asked a giggly Aly to spend the rest of her life with him.
Ryan's Identity is Revealed
News around town spread like wildfire about their engagement. Just about everyone had been keeping up with their roller coaster of a ride. But it wasn't over just yet. There was still a major puzzle piece missing from the entire equation. Who was the mystery man that helped bring the two together?
How would Aly and Michael ever find her fake fling's true identity? It all started one fateful afternoon, months later. As Michael flipped on the TV to watch the latest news segment, he couldn't believe his eyes. Standing there, right before him, was none other than Ryan Stevens.
Confronting Guy Benson
It had to be a sign. I mean, what were the odds the very man he once used as a catfish was now the host of his favorite show? Michael knew he couldn't keep silent. But as he rushed to slide a message into the journalist's inbox, suddenly, a new idea popped into his head.
"I don't typically indulge odd requests from random people on the internet... But the story he told compelled me to oblige," Guy revealed of the moment their two worlds collided. And just like that, Michael had come clean about everything: The plan, the picture - the engagement that sprouted as a result. It was surreal.
How Did Guy React
But how would the radio host react to being told he was used in a cat-fishing scheme? Granted, Aly and Michael's slippery slope was paved with good intention. But would Guy Benson see it that way? Sure enough, the journalist was speechless. Alyson and Dylan's love story had officially thrown him for a loop.
But it wasn't over just yet. Not if Michael had any say in the matter. And lucky for him? He did. "That's when the messages started: Would I be willing to record a short congrats video for the couple, as Ryan Stevens?" Benson revealed of the bizarre request he was soon met with. "How could I possibly say no?" he wondered.
He Surprised Them At Home
And so, as Michael's family gathered around the sofa one afternoon, Guy had other plans. "Oh, hi there," the on-air reporter said as he soon hijacked their TV screen. "I'm sure that you recognize me." And they did. But they were also confused. They couldn't quite place him. Why did he look so familiar?
But all it took was three quick words to send that room into complete and utter silence: "I'm Ryan Stevens," the smug star continued, sending Alyson's jaw to the ground. "Even though you ditched me heartlessly… I'm happy for you both," Benson joked. It was a success; Yet another accomplishment for Michael to tick off the list.
But Michael's relatives weren't the only ones taken aback by Benson's storytelling ways. In fact, it wasn't long before Ryan Stevens' remarkable journey found its way onto our Twitter feeds - and into our hearts, as it took the online world by storm.
"Ok, Twitter — pull up a chair, and buckle up for a wild, bizarre, hilarious story," the Fox journalist began, before spilling the saga of how Aly and Dylan truly came to be. "Have you ever heard of an online catfish scheme that actually and totally *worked,* in every possible way? I had not, until [now]."
Alyson Had Another Surprise Planned
From introducing Ryan Stevens to finding their way onto our Twitter feeds, Michael and Aly were seemingly unstoppable. In fact, Michael's latest endeavors called for memories - and stories, of course - that would last a lifetime. But now it was Alyson's turn to get the last laugh.
With her July 24th wedding date slowly creeping up, Alyson knew the big day was destined to be one for the books. But not only for obvious reasons. That's right, there was a major surprise headed for her New Hampshire wedding hall. And she couldn't wait for everyone to see.
Wedding Troubles Arise
Unfortunately, she'd first have to tackle all of the obstacles that came with tying the knot during Covid-19. And unlike her time with Ryan Stevens, her latest endeavors wouldn't go as planned. First, she'd have to push off the wedding shower. Then, it was her wedding date. But the bride's troubles were far from over.
The truth was that planning a wedding in the midst of a global pandemic was a challenge in and of itself. Nonetheless, she and Dylan had already been through it all together. And they were going to ride this one out as well. "At the end of the day... through all these tough times, Dylan's been my rock," Aly revealed.
The Big Day Finally Arrives
Sure enough, on July 24th, 2020, there was not a dry eye in the crowd as guests watched Alyson Mulloy finally become Mrs. Doucette. It was a long time coming; Something the young girl had dreamed about for so long. But as we already know, that doesn't mean it was easy.
"Clearly, the odds have been stacked against Dylan and Alyson from the very beginning," Maid of Honor, Rachel Daley, reflected. But through their ups and their downs, the two had made it to the other side. They'd made it out that much stronger. And this was only the beginning.
There Was a "Missing" Wedding Guest
But with their love for one another now as clear as ever, there was still one question that needed answers. What surprise had the mischievous bride arranged for all of her guests that fateful day? Safe to say, her latest scheme was about to be the icing on the cake of this sweet, sweet journey.
It all started when Aly gathered her closest friends for a photo op, ready to put her plan into action. As the photographer began snapping away, the bride suddenly stopped him. There was somebody missing from the picture, as she put it. Any guesses who our special somebody might have been?
They Finally Met Ryan Stevens
"Is there room for one more in the photo?" a mysterious voice appeared to ask from behind them. And there he was: Ryan Stevens, a massive smile hijacking his entire face. Waltzing into view sporting the same gingham shirt he'd once worn years earlier, it was almost like nothing had changed.
It was the perfect ending to their decade-long journey. The very same man who once cat-fished his way into their hearts now stood right before them, all too real; Something Alyson had managed to pull off in complete secrecy. But would those around her share her same excitement?
Everyone Was Speechless
On paper, it might have been a bit uncomfortable. But off-paper? Aly's family and friends were beyond excited to have been brought along for the ride; Including, of course, Michael and his husband. "Everyone was so incredibly welcoming and kind," as Guy later gushed on Twitter.
Alyson had pulled off a stunning surprise, there was no denying it. Even Dylan, who was once cat-fished by the man now before him, welcomed Guy with open arms. "I even got a shout out in the matron of honor's speech," Benson joked. But wait. The fun wasn't over just yet.
The Joke Wasn't Over Yet
After flying out her former college sweetheart to join in on the festivities, Aly had clearly gone above and beyond. But she wanted her first exchange with the famous Ryan Stevens to be as memorable as possible. So, what did Alyson have planned for her guest of honor?
Not only did she snap endless pictures with her former sweetheart, but Mrs. Doucette also ordered Benson a special memento; Something he could take home and cherish forever. It was a place card, paying tribute to the name that started it all: Mr. Ryan Stevens.
Guy Was Moved to Tears
As the night continued to pass, our amused guest was met with an overflow of emotions. In the span of weeks, Guy Benson had been brought along this remarkable roller coaster of a ride. And while he loved every minute of it, it soon blessed him with a bittersweet does of nostalgia.
"Up until that exact moment? The entire Ryan Stevens caper had been nothing but pure fun," Benson explained. But suddenly, he was moved to tears as he watched the newlyweds dance to Rascal Flatts' My Wish. He too had danced to that song with his husband at his own wedding, last Fall. It was a beautiful sight to be seen.
Where Are They Today?
Ryan Stevens' surprise appearance at the Doucette wedding was perhaps the greatest gift Aly and Dylan could've asked for; A memory that will be cherished for a lifetime. But fast forward to today? And the newlyweds have since welcomed yet another priceless gift: Parenthood.
"Excited to announce we're adding a new member to our family this July!" Alyson gushed on Facebook on January 22, 2021. "May we never take for granted this incredible miracle." Safe to say, we can't wait to see what adventures await baby Doucette. If they're anything like mom and dad's? We're certainly in for a ride.
They say that good things happen to those who least expect it. And from the looks of it? Alyson and Dylan Doucette might just be living proof. In fact, the sweethearts' bumpy journey from deception to "I Do" is certainly one for the books; Isn't it?
With the help of a stranger behind the computer, we watched Alyson and Dylan embark on a love story like no other. And the best part? They've managed to change another life in the process. "I'm honored to have played a small part in their story," a beaming Ryan Stevens, no, Guy Benson reflected.