Surprise! Joey Graceffa has a boyfriend – and you’ve seen him before.
Graceffa is dating Daniel Preda, a creative producer who has made plenty of appearances on his YouTube channel, most memorably in his talked-about coming out music video – he’s the one Graceffa kissed at the end.
Fittingly, the two first met online, after Graceffa spotted a photo of Preda on his Instagram’s “Explore” page. After following him on the platform and on Twitter, Preda followed back, and the two started chatting over direct messages – Graceffa insists it was “like 5 seconds” after Preda followed him back, while Preda says it was closer to a few days.
But it wasn’t until a few weeks later, after many attempts (“we kept missing each other,” Preda tells PEOPLE) that they actually met up in person. Both out for friends’ birthdays, they ended up getting together at a bar in Los Angeles and chatting throughout the night.
“He was so handsome in person,” Graceffa recalls.
Things quickly got serious between the two after they started to discuss their families and realized their common past – both have an alcoholic parent.
“Being able to relate to somebody on that level is so foreign in L.A. or any big city, especially when you’re new,” Preda says. “It was one of the realest conversations I’d had.”
There may have been instant sparks, but things weren’t particularly smooth at the start: After their initial meeting, the two spent the next month apart, with both leaving town for two weeks at a time. But they kept in contact, and once they were both back in L.A., had their first official date.
As their relationship has progressed, it’s been a bit of an adjustment for Preda to get used to Graceffa’s life in the spotlight; he admits that when the two first started chatting, he didn’t really understand the YouTube community.
It also took Preda a while to fully grasp just how huge Graceffa’s star is, and how “being a digital celebrity worked” – a lot of which he chalks up to following a more traditional path of college and a 9-to-5 job. Now, he says, he does get it, and has an incredible amount of respect for Graceffa’s work.
“He has worked tremendously hard for what he has,” Preda says.
They may be taking their relationship public now, but if you watched Graceffa’s coming out video, which he published last May, you’ll recognize Preda, whom Graceffa says he knew he wanted to include in the video, even though their relationship wasn’t news yet.
“It just made sense that it should be my boyfriend,” Graceffa shares.
Ultimately, the two are glad they waited for the right time to confirm their relationship; and now that they’re public, they can’t stop talking about each other. When asked what their favorite quality about the other is, Graceffa mentions Preda’s sweet romantic gestures (like writing love letters!), while Preda says Graceffa has the biggest heart.
“It’s nice to have that person, like you see in the movies,” Graceffa says.
Or like you see on YouTube: the pair promises that from this point on, Preda will be appearing in plenty more videos.