March 2015: In an Instagram Live video, Ciara and Russell revealed that they met on March 26, 2015, when they attended a University of Wisconsin basketball game. They chatted a bit before Russell asked Ciara to dinner around 9:30 p.m. He hoped to meet up with her after another dinner he already planned with a group of business partners. But that time was a little too late for Ciara, so Russell phoned his friends to push back their plans. He and Ciara ended up hanging out that evening, but never went to dinner. They instead talked for hours, and Russell's other plans slipped his mind. "I completely forgot about the 10:30 [p.m.] dinner," he said. "Next thing I knew, it was 12:00 [a.m.], 12:30 [a.m.], and I was sold on you."
April 2015: Ciara and Russell look as happy as can be during their first public appearance together at the White House's Japanese state dinner.
July 2015: Russell discusses their decision to remain celibate in an interview with Miles McPherson, a pastor at the The Rock Church. "She was in the dressing room getting ready to go before she went on stage, and she was sitting there, and God spoke to me and said, 'I need you to lead her,'" Russell said. "And I was like, 'Really?' And he was like, 'No, I want you to lead her.' So I told her, 'What would you do if we took all of that extra stuff off the table and just did it Jesus's way?'" Russell also touched on the challenges of abstaining, joking, "I ain't going to lie to you all now. I need you all to pray for us. I know you've seen her on the screen. If there's a 10, she's a 15."