"Even when I loathed him, there were still times when I was like, 'God I wish I was with him,' " Nicole Johnson says in a new interview

By Rose Minutaglio
Updated October 28, 2016 11:43 AM
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Credit: Source: Nicole Johnson/Instagram

She was his biggest cheerleader during his thrilling races in Rio, but Michael Phelps‘ fiancée, Nicole Johnson, says her time with the most decorated Olympian of all time was not always easy.

“There definitely were times, and I think Michael would say the same thing, where I hated him. We were at odds at times,” Johnson, 31, told Cosmopolitan.com. “Even when I loathed him, there were still times when I was like, ‘God I wish I was with him.’ ”

Johnson, a former Miss California, had an eight-year on-and-off relationship with the swimmer before their 2015 engagement.

“Michael and I both know that had we tried to have a child and get married in the previous time we were together, it probably would not have ended pretty,” she explained of Phelps, also 31. “We both had a lot of growing up to do.”

She goes on to say that they both had “a lot of learning to do” before they could settle down and begin a life together.

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“I don’t think you can be in a good relationship unless you love yourself to the fullest and you want to help the other person become a better person,” she told the site. “We definitely needed that time apart to recognize that about ourselves and to appreciate one another.”

Phelps and Johnson welcomed son Boomer Robert Phelps (who already has his own Instagram account) on May 5.

Johnson says Michael manages the infant’s account himself and they are cautious before posting photos to it.

“I don’t think Michael or I expected [his Instagram] to blow up the way that it did. The day he was born, we got his [name secured on social media], just because we wanted to make sure we had that handle. Then we were out and Michael said, ‘Hey I’m going to post something.’ ” she says. “Michael runs it – he asked me if I wanted the password to post pictures on it and I told him no because I love watching him do it. I send the pictures and Michael does the posting.”

Phelps and Johnson have a date set for a “small and intimate” wedding, which they say will happen soon.

“I know Michael well enough to know he doesn’t need to partake in the tiny, miniscule decisions,” Johnson told the site. “But I also know that he does want to be involved in what flavor our cake is going to be and what flowers he thinks are ugly and what flowers he thinks are really pretty. I show him pictures and I ask what he thinks and he’ll either brush it off, which means he doesn’t really care, or he’ll give me his opinion.”

And the bride-to-be says there will be nothing swimming or Olympics related incorporated into their wedding.

“That’s like Michael’s job,” said Johnson. “I don’t see us getting married in a pool either!”