Cooper, of River North, found his "true love" while appearing on season seven of "The Millionaire Matchmaker" — the hit Bravo television show starring Patti Stanger that quests to find wealthy clients their perfect partners.
Justin Breen and Jackie Kostek chat about their meeting with Justin Cooper and Becca Tepper:
Cooper made his fortune working in broadcast and digital media sales and marketing for nearly a decade, and was named to Atlanta's "Power 30 Under 30" in 2011.
Cooper, who is Jewish, said that finding a partner of the same religion was very important to him. He said he thought Stanger, who also is Jewish, would be the perfect person to set him up.
Cooper and Tepper's episode was taped over seven days around Halloween in California. A mixer was held at Stanger's office, where Cooper picked Tepper from a large pool of women.
A highlight of their date, planned by Cooper, was dinner at a pitch-black restaurant with visually-impaired servers. Cooper is blind in his right eye and wanted to make sure he and Tepper connected on more than their appearances.
"As Patti would say, he got under the hood of the car and wanted to find out who this girl really was," said Stanger's assistant, Justin Bird, who is featured prominently on every show. "While some people might put up a front on a first date as to how they want to be perceived, Justin engaged and asked smart questions, and most importantly, was himself.
"He took the time he was given at the mixers and made the most of it by asking pointed questions that most guys don't ask," Bird added.
Their date was a big success, but there was a rather large logistical issue that followed since Tepper, 23, lived in San Diego. The couple made frequent weekend trips to each other's homes after their first date, and after Cooper traveled with Tepper's family on a 14-day vacation to Barcelona in January, he asked her to move into his tony corner apartment.
Tepper has been in Chicago since, arriving with only a couple boxes and suitcases.
"The weather was hard for her, but she loved the energy of the city, and she really hit the ground running," Cooper said.
Tepper is a nanny to a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, and she's studying the hospitality industry at Kendall College and working as a premium bottle service hostess. She stressed that she never expected to discover love on a reality TV show.
"Are you kidding me, no!" Tepper said. "It's usually the creepiest or rudest guys. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even think I would get picked."
Tepper and Cooper have been fans of "The Millionaire Matchmaker" since its first season. When it first aired, Cooper said he told his aunt, Nichole Wilder — whom he considers to be almost like a mother — that he wouldn't be surprised if he auditioned for an appearance.
Cooper said he had seen the many millionaires who failed to find a match during episodes and wanted to avoid their mistakes.
"What I noticed is whether the millionaires are successful with money or power or looks, they go, and their ego runs everything," said Cooper, a graduate of DePaul's CIMA Interactive Marketing Program. "For me, I wanted to find out more about the girls, so I could choose based on them."
Cooper and Tepper's episode debuted March 13, and they held a viewing party for family and friends at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. But one of the night's most amazing moments for Cooper was when Tepper helped apply makeup for Wilder, who has had kidney and liver transplants and is battling cancer.
"Becca made me feel special, like it was important for her to be part of the process of getting ready for a special occasion," said Wilder, of Tamarac, Florida. "I feel that Becca is a warm, loving, giving person. I adore her. Becca is a dream, and I support their relationship 100 percent ... and I know these two loving young people will have a great tale to tell their grandchildren one day."
Cooper said he loves Tepper's youthful energy, while Tepper said she's impressed that "Justin is such a nice person."
There are no plans for an engagement or wedding anytime soon, but Cooper said Tepper is definitely "the one."
"I do believe that in my heart," he said. "Now, it's really about how we are going to build our life together."