Blake Horstmann 'Didn't Want to Sacrifice' Relationship with Giannina Gibelli by Going Public Too Fast

The Bachelorette alum and the former Love Is Blind participant met while filming the Paramount+ competition series All Star Shore

Blake Horstmann, Giannina Gibelli
Photo: getty (2)

After finding — and then losing — romance on The Bachelorette from Love Is Blind failed, Blake Horstmann and Giannina Gibelli were cautiously thoughtful about how they'd announced they'd found love with each other on All Star Shore.

"We decided that we're going to do as best we can to keep this relationship a secret, but we also didn't want to sacrifice it," Horstmann, 33 told E! News. "We didn't want to sacrifice hanging out together. We didn't want to sacrifice doing trips together. We wanted to make sure that our relationship was strong before going public."

Though talk of the connection was swirling for quite some time before All Star Shore's premiere last month (PEOPLE confirmed the pair were dating in January), Horstmann and Gibelli, 29, waited until the show debuted to go Instagram-official.

In a change of pace from their previous shows, Horstmann says All Star Shore wasn't exactly primed for romance.

"The way you see the way that this relationship happened was very just real and raw and genuine and there was no pressure ever to be together like on Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelorette," Horstmann said.

"In fact," he said, "it was the opposite. Sometimes producers and cast members were like, 'Leave each other alone. You guys are on each other all the time. Stop and compete.'"

John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images

Horstmann's first reality TV appearance was on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette. He later spent the summer looking for love on Bachelor in Paradise.

Gibelli's almost-marriage was featured on Love Is Blind season 1. Though she spent the season with Damian Powers, he ended their relationship at the altar during the show's finale. They reconnected off camera but eventually called it quits for good.

The reality star previously told PEOPLE how her breakup with Powers impacted her ability to find love again. "I've always had the philosophy of, it doesn't matter what happened in the past. It depends on what you do with it, moving forward," she said. "I just didn't want to be bitter. I wanted to always have my heart open and to be able to let love in, in whatever shape or form that may be, because that's just the sweet part of life."

Taking that approach, Gibelli found Horstmann and fell into a relationship she jokes was "the worst-kept secret ever."

"Within the first couple of hours of meeting him, we were already next to each other, like Velcro," she recalled. "We were like sticky tape, all the time."

Noting that Horstmann is "just such a genuine person," she couldn't help but gush that "he's just a delight to be around that I genuinely wanted to get to know him and to be around his energy, and he felt very comfortable."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

All Star Shore is available to stream on Paramount+.

Related Articles