Her story and face became fixtures in the headlines 10 years ago as Amanda Knox, then a 20-year-old American studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, faced a charge of murder alongside her then-boyfriend amid allegations of a sex game gone wrong.
She spent four years in prison overseas before an appeal reversed her homicide conviction and, in 2015, she and Raffaele Sollecito were exonerated by Italy’s highest court in the 2007 killing of Knox’s 21-year-old British roommate, Meredith Kercher.
Now, six years after Knox’s homecoming, the subject of the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary Amanda Knox tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue that she’s savoring the “normal-person” life she’s reclaimed, with a new love in her native Pacific Northwest — and she’s even planning a return next year to the Italian city where she lost her freedom.
“I’m not disappearing into oblivion,” says Knox, 30. “I have something to say.”
These days she shares a small, rented Seattle house with her 35-year-old boyfriend, Christopher Robinson. She is writing and devoting herself to a new mission as an activist working to prevent wrongful convictions from happening to someone else. The nightmares that she would be sent back to prison are gone.
“Now I have normal-person fears — fears of failure, of not being smart enough or strong enough or kind enough,” she says.
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Knox rebounded from prison by writing a memoir, finishing college and taking on an arts column for the West Seattle Herald. She met Robinson in 2015 at a book party after she reviewed the novel he co-authored, War of The Encyclopaedists. They moved in together last year and are writing a reality-TV proposal about those caricatured by the media.
But it’s the private, personal moments now far removed from her time in the spotlight that matter most.
“My little sister is getting married this November, and I’m having a blast coming up with awesome ways to make her feel special about that really important decision in her life,” Knox says.
And while she and Robinson talk “all the time” about getting married and having children, they’ve deferred plans until after Knox’s sister, Deanna, 28 — who put her life on hold during Knox’s legal ordeal — has her time as a bride.
WATCH: Amanda Knox on Her Love Life: ‘I Very Much Love Chris and Feel Like He’s My Partner’
• Watch the full episode of People Features: Amanda Knox — My Life After Prison, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN or download the app on your favorite streaming device.
As for having love and building a family of her own, Knox says, “I look forward to that part of my life that I had always taken for granted growing up and then had to let go of in prison, and then [I] suddenly find myself with that as an actual opportunity again. I can only be insanely grateful for that.”
“I’m not free from scrutiny,” she says. “But now I feel like I can stand up for what I think.”