It's a hard job, but someone's gotta put up with Ryan Lochte! LOLz!
As you know, the Olympic gold medalist popped the question to Kayla Rae Reid over the weekend during a romantic helicopter tour of El Lay — and now, the 32-year-old is opening up about how he knew the model was "the one" after just nine months of dating.
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Speaking to ET backstage after Monday night's Dancing With The Stars, the swimmer gushed about this "exciting" next chapter of his life:
"This is what I've been wanting my entire life: to have a family of my own and to find that right one. I finally found her and I'm just so excited!"
"When I first said I loved her, I just knew there was something different about her."
One telltale sign that Kayla was a keeper was her loyalty during the controversy surrounding Ryan's false report of being robbed at gunpoint in Rio:
"Through everything that's happened, we've established ups and downs [that] most people establish in a relationship in 20 years. We did it in a matter of almost a year. She stuck right there by me and just was my rock. That's when I knew. I was like, 'I'm not letting this one go.'"
Well we're glad something good came out of all that negative press!
As for the actual proposal, Lochte admitted despite practicing in the mirror, he couldn't seem to find the right words when it came to game time:
"[I] rehearsed it in my bathroom [by] getting down on one knee, opening up the [ring box]. I couldn't get the ring out of my pocket, so I was like, 'No I'm ruining this!' And then the words couldn't come out of my mouth and I was like, 'What is going on? Just say how I feel!' All I could say is, 'I love you so much, I'll never hurt you, will you marry me?' And she started crying and gave me a big hug, and I was like, 'YES!'"
The New York native further explained to Us Weekly:
"We were in a helicopter and we went down around West Hollywood and Hollywood, and then we flew over Santa Monica and the pier, and we went up the coast in the helicopter. Then they landed us on top of a mountain in Malibu, and on the mountain there was a picnic that had roses and champagne, and she was like, 'What's going on?' And so we got out and that's when I got down on one knee. But I was messing up! I had practiced it so many times in my bathroom, I had my suit, my jacket on, and I was pulling the ring out, and everything was perfect. Then when it actually happened I couldn't get the ring out of my pocket and I was stumbling over all of my words! And I was just so clammy and nervous — but then I finally got the courage to ask, 'Will you marry me?' And she said yes! And I was like, 'Yeah! My life is complete!'"
So considering how much Kayla has been there for Ryan, he really wanted to make sure the ring was perfect:
"She liked a ring on her Instagram and I saw it and I remembered it. So I wanted to get that same design, and I went to a jeweler that I know and I was like, 'You have to make me this special ring.' But the ring she liked was only like two or three carats — and I said, 'No, I want to make it bigger, I want everyone to know that she's taken!'"
Trust us… we know! Ha!
As for the newly-engaged duo's preliminary plans for the big day?
The athlete dished:
"We're not going to hurry up and get married really quick. We want to plan out everything, make sure it's perfect, and I want to be there for her with all the flowers and everything, all the planning, because I want to be a part of it! We'll probably do it in the fall of next year. I just want my family and my closest friends there and she wants the same thing. So we might keep the wedding small, but the party afterward — that's going to be big."
Aw! So cute to see RyRy so giddy!
Congrats, you two!
[Image via Instagram.]
Tags: cute!, dancing with the stars, instagram, kayla rae reid, love line, put a ring on it, ryan lochte