Everything You Need to Know About the New Bachelorette Gabby Windey

From her NFL cheerleading background to her Bachelor Nation dating history, get to know the star of The Bachelorette Gabby Windey

Gabby Windey
Gabby Windey. Photo: Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Three cheers for the new Bachelorette Gabby Windey!

After enduring a rollercoaster ride of a time on The Bachelor, the former NFL cheerleader is keeping her spirits high because she's taking the lead on The Bachelorette in the hopes of scoring true love starting July 11.

Not only was the season "the most dramatic," but it was also very emotional as well as Bachelor Clayton Echard fell for three different women leading up to the finale. Controversy ensued after he announced that he was intimate and in love with each of them.

In the end, Echard broke up with his final two women, Windey and Rachel Recchia, and decided to pursue a relationship with Susie Evans (who previously chose to leave after hearing the Fantasy Suite news).

Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty

During the finale, Windey stood her ground when confronting Echard, and denied his traditional request to walk her out post-breakup. She won the hearts of Bachelor Nation, yet again, for her strength and smarts, despite the heavy emotions.

For more on Gabby Windey, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

Keep scrolling to learn more about Windey ahead of her run on The Bachelorette season 19.

Gabby Windey was an NFL cheerleader.

Gabby Windey
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Though an Illinois-native, Windey considers Denver, Colorado her home after moving to the Centennial State following her graduation from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She cheered professionally for the NFL for five years, rooting on the Denver Broncos.

"It really was everything I've always wanted to do," she said during an interview on Bachelor alums Mike Johnson and Bryan Abasolo's Talk It Out podcast after the show. "It teaches you so much like teamwork, putting others before yourself, a sense of community, and you always have people that have your back. It's so much more than dance."

Gabby Windey works as a nurse.

Gabby Windey

Not only is Windey an ICU nurse, but she's a history-making one too! Windey was honored for her work as a registered nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic and became the first woman to receive the Pop Warner Humanitarian Award in 2021.

"Windey is the first female and NFL cheerleader in the history of the award, which has traditionally been awarded to NFL players," Pop Warner Little Scholars wrote in a press release. "Windey's selflessness and commitment to helping others are an embodiment of sacrifice and teamwork, making [her] model representatives for young student-athletes across the nation."

Gabby Windey is a 'girl's girl.'

Gabby Windey
Gabby Windey Instagram

Having built solid friendships on her cheer squad and throughout college, Windey is a self-described "girl's girl through and through," she stated on After the Final Rose. Even on The Bachelor, where the house is known to get dramatic, Windey created friendships with the majority of the women.

But it is Recchia, in particular, whom she shares a special bond with after they both endured heartbreak on the show. During the finale, it was announced that Recchia will also be the new Bachelorette alongside Windey next season.

"I'm a girl's girl through and through so having a friend by my side, there's nothing I could ask more," Windey said.

Gabby Windey was previously linked to two Bachelor Nation alums before Clayton.

Dean Unglert ; Gabby Windey; Blake Horstmann
Steve Granitz/WireImage; Craig Sjodin via Getty Images; Presley Ann/Getty Images

Windey's intentions for going on The Bachelor were questioned when rumors started to swirl that she had a history with former Bachelor Nation contestants Dean Unglert and Blake Horstmann prior to going on Echard's season, but she cleared the air on the Talk It Out podcast.

"I dated Dean over ten years ago," Windey said of their college relationship. "He was one of my first loves. It was so long ago, it's a distant past from my experience on The Bachelor."

In contrast, she shut down dating rumors about Horstmann, saying, "We never actually went on a date, there were no drinks paid for, no dinner paid for." She added, "He's definitely friends with friends, we spent time together, but no official dating … no exclusivity."

Gabby Windey knows what she's looking for in a partner.

Gabby Windey
Gabby Windey Instagram

As someone who's known for her wit and sense of humor, personality is everything for Windey — and if this aspect lacks, he's a "hard pass," per her Bachelor bio. "Her ideal man will challenge her, communicate his feelings and work hard to equally carry the weight of the relationship."

Windey added that "she's hoping to find a man who will love her for the independent woman she is."

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