“I’m very grateful for the relationship I have with Natalie,” the “Viall Files” podcast host, 41, exclusively told Us Weekly during a joint interview with Bachelor Nation‘s Ben Higgins ahead of their Tuesday, August 9, Celebrity Beef appearance. “[I’m] really excited [about] the direction it’s going and the pace in which it’s going.”
The season 21 Bachelor continued, “We often talk about, you know, our future together and our relationship and I’m not trying to [rush]. I don’t think either of us [is] trying to get ahead of ourselves, but we’re definitely grateful for the direction it’s going.”
When asked whether he was “itching” to walk down the aisle with Joy, 23, Viall simply teased, “Stay tuned.”
The twosome went public with their romance in January 2021 after being linked for several months. “It was very romantic,” Viall later joked on his podcast of how he sparked a connection with the surgical technologist. “We kind of kept hanging out, and she finally got to a point where she was like, ‘I want to date,’ and I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know.’ … She just was like, ‘OK, this is what I want. It’s fine, no big deal, but I’m gonna go do my thing,’ and she did, and I was like, ‘What?!’ … She went and showed me exactly what I’d be missing.”
By February 2021, an insider told Us the pair were “pretty much inseparable,” adding, “Their relationship is very real.”
As Viall and Joy’s bond continued to deepen, a second source predicted in November 2021 that an engagement could be coming “very soon.” The Wisconsin native’s friends “cannot wait for [an engagement] to happen because they know how long he’s been waiting to find The One,” per the insider, who told Us the couple are “very much in love.”
Fans met Viall in 2014 during Andi Dorfman‘s Bachelorette season, where he made it to the final two, only to be turned down for winner Josh Murray. The Dancing With the Stars alum returned the next year to pursue Kaitlyn Bristowe, again coming just shy of earning the final rose. In August 2016, Viall was chosen to be the Bachelor and ended his season engaged to Vanessa Grimaldi. They called it quits months after the March 2017 finale.
“We gave this relationship our all and we are saddened that we did not get the fairy-tale ending we hoped for,” they told Us in a joint statement in August 2017. “We will continue to be there for each other no matter what. This hasn’t been an easy decision, however, as we part ways, we do so with lots of love and admiration for each other.”
Despite his rocky romantic past, Viall is optimistic about his future with Joy. The pair celebrated their two-year anniversary in July, toasting to their relationship at the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn.
“When you don’t know your exact anniversary date so instead you just celebrate it for 2 weeks straight around the time to make sure you don’t miss it,” the reality TV personality teased via Instagram. “Always starting at the place we met.”
The healthcare specialist gushed in the comments, “Tellin u happy anniversary everyday [sic] for the next month. I love u!!!”
Viall and Higgins face off on E!’s Celebrity Beef Tuesday, August 9, at 10 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi