Millions of people watched her get engaged to Chris Soules on national television last year, but when former Bachelor star Whitney Bischoff and her fiancé Ricky Angel were engaged on July 15, this proposal was decidedly more intimate.
“It was just perfect,” Bischoff tells PEOPLE. “I was completely shocked. Ricky got me good! I was so happy that I couldn’t quit smiling. My cheeks hurt!”
The 31-year-old fertility nurse met sales manager Angel on the dating app Bumble (“Ladies pick — finally it was my choice,” jokes Bischoff) last September; the couple moved in together in May.
“On our first date, we just clicked,” she says. “It was easy and that’s the way it should be.”
Still, Bischoff admits it was “nerve-wracking” to jump back into the dating scene after her painful split from Soules in 2015, nearly seven months after they were engaged. “I was still a little bit broken and trying to pick up the pieces. But from day one there was open communication with Ricky about what I had gone through. I think one of the reasons I fell in love so quickly is that I could say everything and know I was not being judged.”
Bischoff hasn’t spoken to Soules recently but says she wishes him well. “I hope that he meets someone, if he hasn’t already, just as great for him and Ricky is for me.”
Now, Bischoff still watches The Bachelor, but says she’s moved on from her own reality show past. “That journey was a big part of my life,” she says. “But since I’ve met Ricky, I really haven’t looked back.”
Busy with wedding plans (the couple are looking at a date next fall), Bischoff says she nonetheless has positive associations with the show. “It’s sad that it ended the way it had to end, but I was still looking for that perfect someone. I didn’t let my past close off my heart. Everything works out for a reason.”