Despite oversleeping by two hours in Russia and stopping for a milkshake in Oman on The Amazing Race, Chad and Stephanie Waltrip don’t really take things slow. After dating for only five months, the Ft. Lauderdale-based operations manager, 26, and hair stylist, 23, teamed up for the show and got engaged on camera. Months after their elimination, the couple spoke with PEOPLE and revealed they already tied the knot and are expecting a baby due in June.
Did you know Chad had the ring with him?
Stephanie: He was acting funny before we left. We had talked about marriage. We knew immediately after meeting that we wanted to be together forever. But I didn’t think he’d have the guts to propose on The Race.
Did you ever reconsider your plan?
Chad: Early on we struggled, had a tough time and I second-guessed myself. I was so amped up and we fought a lot. But once we started loosening up and letting go, especially me, I realized we’re still soul mates and the perfect opportunity presented itself in Oman. With the sun coming up over the ocean, you couldn’t ask for a better spot to ask the love of your life to marry you.
Stephanie: He claimed it wasn’t his style to do it on TV, but I think he was feeling pressured. I love our story. I don’t know anyone who can say, “We got engaged on a reality TV show in the Middle East.”
Did The Race change your relationship?
CHAD: Ultimately, it made us so much stronger. Stephanie already knew I have a quick temper. But I proved to her that I learned I can’t be so demanding and that sometimes I need to take a step back. We know we can take on anything now. At the end of the day, we still love each other despite some of the things I said and did on The Race.
Stephanie: It was like couples therapy every night. We would talk without cameras around about what we would have changed about the leg. The stuff that happens behind closed doors is what heals us and makes us a better couple.
And you’re already married?Stephanie: We were going to get married in March, but we didn’t see the point in waiting because I’m three months pregnant and due in June. In fact we’re driving back from Ponte Vedra Beach [in Florida], where we had a small wedding at a friend’s house.
Congratulations are in order.
Stephanie: I’m still getting used to saying it out loud. This has been a whirlwind, but it’s very us and we’re very happy.
Anything you would do differently on The Race? Perhaps not go eat?
Chad: I got really relaxed. I told Stephanie, “We’re going to be fine. We’re all on the same flight so let’s not stress. Let’s go have some Dairy Queen.” I wish I would have fought a little harder and waited it out to get the earlier tickets.
The call of the Blizzard is hard to resist.
Stephanie: I mean, it was a good Blizzard. But if you think about it, it was the most expensive Blizzard we’ve ever ordered.