Speaking to PEOPLE alongside friend Brett Kissel in celebration of his music video for “Drink About Me” — featuring the happy couple! — the reality stars admit they’re constantly being asked about a proposal.
“I was talking to Jason and I’m like, ‘Somebody just sent me a message on Instagram saying, ‘Why do you put so much pressure on Jason to get engaged?’ And I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t put any pressure on him,'” says Bristowe, 34. “It’s just that every media outlet, that’s always the next question because we come from Bachelor Nation.”
Though their fame stems from the long-running ABC reality franchise (she as a wildly popular Bachelorette in 2015, and he as a fan-favorite contestant on Becca Kufrin’s season in 2018), they actually met off-camera while recording Bristowe’s podcast, Off the Vine. They started dating in January and have been going strong ever since.
“I think Kaitlyn and I have stuck to the rule that relentlessly under any and all costs, we’re just going to be ourselves and move at our speed, and share where we want, and do what we want,” says Tartick, 30. “So when criticism does come in either way, we can stay proud of the fact that we are who we are and we want to do what we’re going to do, and we’re going to do it that way. And I think the same goes for our engagement and the fact that we had gone through the necessary stages that we think make sense to have a strong foundation. We had a friendship. It turned into a relationship. We made the decision, I moved across the country to live under the same house. We adopted a dog. And I think the natural progression where her and I talk often is engagement is certainly the next step. So it’s a matter of where, when, and how.”
They also look to Kissel and his wife — who got engaged at 19 and have “been happily married since” — as an example of a successful relationship. The country crooner, himself a big-time Bachelor viewer, applauds his pals for staying authentic “as their celebrity star has risen.”
“I think that they’ve just maintained a very, very normal relationship, which is a wonderful thing to be, that they’re not caught up in the glitz and the glamor like you’d think,” says Kissel, 29. “I think it’s wonderful for fans to see that, that this isn’t fake. This is genuine. And you know what? They are two of the favorites that I think the franchise has ever had, if not the two favorites. So it’s really, really great for me as a fan to now have gone from fan to friend to see them do so well.”
While a wedding seems to be a ways off, Bristowe and Tartick are kept busy with their career. She was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Off the Vine and is embarking on a live podcast tour in November, and he’s preparing to launch Restart, a YouTube series in which he’ll interview prominent people about “their pursuit of health, wealth and happiness,” plus issues they may have faced like anxiety and debt.
Kissel is celebrating the success of his single and preparing to drop his album, Now or Never, on Jan. 1, 2020.
“I played some songs for Jason and Kaitlyn the other day when they were over at our place hanging out by the pool,” he says. “And I’m excited to see what the world is going to say … “
“It’s incredible!” Bristowe teases.