May 11, 2016 10:20 AM

Donald Trump has some shocking words about Megyn Kelly: Respect. Ability. Potential.

At least they’re shocking, considering that the presumptive Republican nominee had spent the last 8 months criticizing the Fox News anchor as a “lightweight” who is “always negative,” “never worth watching,” “sick,” and “the most overrated person on TV.”

But now, Trump, 69, and Kelly, 45, seem to have reached a détente, with the candidate sitting down for an interview with the anchor for her program Megyn Kelly Presents May 17 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox broadcast network.

For her part, Kelly says it’s “surreal” to have landed the interview after their vicious feud, which first began when Kelly asked him pointed questions about his treatment of women at the first Republican debate last August. (He responded at the time by saying she had “blood coming out of her wherever,” and later pulled out of a debate just ahead of the Iowa caucus because Fox News executives refused to remove Kelly as a moderator.)

For more on Megyn Kelly, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Kelly Ripa on the cover of PEOPLE

Meeting Trump at his offices at Trump Tower in N.Y.C., “He could not have been more gracious. He was very complimentary and kind,” she tells PEOPLE in its new issue, on stands Friday, adding with a laugh, “I was nice too!”

Trump, for one, was impressed with her efforts.

“I have great respect for the fact that Megyn was willing to call me. Few people would have been able to do that,” Trump tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump
Douglas Friedman; Getty

And following their interview (during which the duo appeared to be all smiles), the candidate has come away with a distinctly different opinion of the woman he had once derided.

“She has natural showbiz ability with unlimited potential,” Trump tells PEOPLE. “Regarding the interview, I know people will enjoy it.”

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Kelly says she’s glad she never gave up.

“I knew all along that if there were a period of calm on his part, I could approach him and we could get to a better place,” she says of trying to sit down with Trump despite what she calls his “alarming” and “ceaseless” attacks on her, adding that it took until April to make it happen, because, “every time I was about to reach out to him, he’d start [attacking me] again.”

“This is the one opportunity to sit down with him, discuss it to some extent and then move on in every way, she says.

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