From the outside, they looked like the perfect couple. Tyler was living the dream as one of the faces of the wildly successful trick-shot group Dude Perfect. He was traveling. He was hanging out with celebrity athletes. Bethany was a mom of three. They had a new house. Seemingly, no worries. Everything was good.
But… it wasn’t.
This is the untold story of Tyler and Bethany Toney.
I remember the first time I saw a Dude Perfect Video. I managed a team of writers at a New York City-based news company. I had assigned an editor to find some interesting stories, and he came to me with an idea.
“I found these guys who do trick shots. It’s not traditional ‘news,’ but I think our audience would love the mental break,” he said. So I told him to give it a shot (pun intended).
Tens of thousands of clicks later, I knew the tricksters would be big. However, I never imagined they’d be this big.
In case you’ve been living under a rock (or a panda, which is a Dude Perfect reference), “DP” as they’re known, are five friends who do incredibly hard and incredibly entertaining trick-shot videos. Sometimes it involves Nerf guns. Sometimes it involves cards. And many times, it involves celebrities. As a result, they’ve amassed over 58 million followers on YouTube and over 15 BILLION views. The team – that met in college – consists of Garret Hilbert, Cody Jones, twin brothers Coby and Cory Cotton and Tyler Toney. And today, they are some of the most recognizable names and faces in the media.
From the outside, it looked like the group had had an easy, meteoric rise. They woke up one day and found they had “gone viral” before “going viral” was even a thing. But from the inside, the story is a lot more...complicated.
Now, in a new three-part I Am Second series, we see what it was truly like becoming the Dude Perfect we know today from the eyes of one of the founders, Tyler Toney. But there’s an added layer: We also get to see what it was like through the eyes of Tyler’s wife, Bethany.
There’s plenty in the film that will resonate with a variety of people, but there’s one thing in particular that stood out to me. It’s when Bethany talks about how she and Tyler’s marriage was in “shambles” as recently as 2020.
“It was during COVID,” she said. “We had just had a really hard night, and I looked at Tyler and said, ‘I don’t want to do this. I’m tired of you putting Dude Perfect in front of our family.’”
They spent some time apart. Tyler was “broken.” He didn’t know where to turn. Bethany was devastated. Everything seemed on the verge of crumbling.
Many say that two of the most powerful words ever spoken in the Bible are “But God.” That may seem a little dramatic, but it’s so true when you think about it.
So many struggles in our lives seem insurmountable. They seem impossible. They seem unforgivable. Can I tell you something? They are. The truth is we overestimate our abilities to keep things going, to fix them. We crumble under pressure.
But then there’s God.
He comes in when all hope is lost. When marriages are in shambles. When relationships are broken. When life doesn’t seem worth living. When our kids go astray. When our addictions overwhelm us. When our fears control us.
“We were not in a good place,” Tyler admits. “I was not the husband to Bethany that I needed to be. I was not the dad to my kids that I needed to be. I was struggling with pornography for a long time. Lust was always an issue for me, and I think, looking back, the thing that got us through it was not only our faith but our community.”
Tyler realized he didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. So he got that right first, and then? Well, that’s where the story really gets incredible. That’s where the “But God” moments start piling up.
I’m not going to spoil it all for you. But suffice it to say that you’ll want to see all of the three-part series. The vulnerability is astounding. In fact, I dare you not to cry. (You can watch it here.) And as you do, I beg you to keep two words in mind: But God.
Friends, even the most “put together” people face challenges and difficulties. I’m sure you’ve found that to be true. I know I have. And yet two words have gotten me through my own struggles – especially my mental health struggles.
I invite you to watch the video of the Toneys and experience that for yourself. And whatever you’re going through, know there is a God of infinite power and possibilities waiting to blow your mind.
And the result is more incredible than any trick shot video Dude Perfect could come up with. Just ask Bethany and Tyler.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.
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