Summer’s over, but it ended with big news for Summer House stars Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula.
The couple — who first met in 2015 and star on the Bravo reality show — are engaged to be married after two years of dating, PEOPLE can exclusively report.
“It’s surreal,” Batula gushes. “Aside from how funny and sexy he is, Kyle’s my best friend. He’s the person I go to for everything. And he forces me to be a better person in different ways by pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Life with him is exciting. And to think he wants to spend the rest our his life with me and I feel the same way, it’s just a real happy feeling.”
“Amanda’s the most authentic, genuine person I’ve ever met,” Cooke says. “I really look up to her. She’s incredibly selfless, thoughtful, generous and accommodating. She puts family and friends as the top priority, and bends over backwards for the people that are important to her. That’s what you look for in someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. She’s a hell of a partner.”
Cooke popped the question with a two-and-a-half carat diamond engagement ring, cushion cut on a split shank band. The stunning sparkler was custom made by Stephanie Gottlieb, a New York-based jewelry designer Batula had admired.
“I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, but the exact ring didn’t exist anywhere that I could find visually, so I gave him a few examples that he could choose from,’ Batula explains, admitting she didn’t expect Cooke would propose for another year. “He ended up designing exactly what I wished.”
She continues: “It’s beautiful. He did a good job. I look down at it and still can’t believe it’s my ring on my finger. When friends would get engaged in the past, I’d try their rings and you sort of get an idea about what it would be like if it was yours. But it’s so different when it happens. … I can’t stop staring at it.”
“I’m just relieved,” Cooke adds. “I kind of felt like I was living a lie for several months because I knew I was going to propose but I wanted to keep things secret, catch her off guard, and completely surprise her — all of which I managed to pull off.”
Summer House fans will certainly be excited to see the two taking this next step. The show has followed their romance though all its ups and downs, from when the two made their relationship official in the season 1 finale to arguments over whether they would move in together during the season 2 reunion.
Tough times only brought them closer, though. “You learn what’s important towards one another and how to handle and be respectful of the relationship and of each other,” says Cooke. “Those hard times brought us closer together.”
“The most important part of all those fights are arguments was that we were able to get through them and come out stronger on the other end,” Batula says. “You don’t let those fights break you. You work through them and you move forward. And that’s what we’ve able to do, which shows that we are compatible and that we’re only going to work harder towards our future together.”
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As for their wedding plans, Batula and Cooke are taking their time. “It’s going to be overwhelming and expensive and probably very stressful in our relationship, so right now, we’re just enjoying the engagement,” she says. “We haven’t even planned an engagement party, let alone even figured out where we want to get married!”
That doesn’t mean they haven’t discussed ideas. “We’ll probably stay on the East Coast, and it’ll probably be in a season other than the summer, because the summer’s crazy for us and it gets really hot,” she says. “Step one is to hire a wedding planner, map out when we need to do things by, set a date, and then back track from there.”
In the meantime, the couple are traveling on vacation in Spain and staying busy with work.
Not only is Cooke continuing to focus on FENIX, the one-on-one subscription-based nutrition consulting app he co-founded, but he and Batula have also collaborated on Loverboy — a new sparkling hard tea beverage made from all-natural ingredients that contains zero sugar and just 100 calories. Batula oversees the company’s creative direction.
“It’s been a great way to expand and test our relationship,” Cooke says.