“I try to be a gentleman as much as I can. I think the thing that she needs most in her life is to be put on a pedestal,” newly crowned Sexiest Man Alive Blake Shelton tells PEOPLE exclusively about his girlfriend of two years. “Every day that I’m around her, that’s what my goal is.”
Shelton, 41, and Stefani, 48, started off as friends after meeting on The Voice in 2014, and romance blossomed when they formed an unbreakable bond after going through heartbreak at the same time.
“When you’re where she and I were, and you just feel so betrayed and on bottom, this bond that we formed when we found out what each other were going through, it’s still there,” says Shelton, whose holiday duet “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” with Stefani is featured on her holiday album.
For more of Shelton’s revealing interview—including his life with Stefani—pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday
“What’s most important to Gwen is somebody who has her back and is a best friend so that’s kind of how it started. It just feels like it gets stronger all the time,” adds the country star, whose new album Texoma Shore hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart this week.
Shelton’s also the first to admit it’s not just the fans who were confused by the pairing of a country king and rock queen. “She and I, on paper, we couldn’t be more different,” he says. “But in life, nothing’s ever worked better for me.”