'This Is Us' Writer Reveals Kevin's Chosen Love Interest Was 'Always the Endgame'

Tuesday night's episode gave viewers the answer to who Kevin will end up with

THIS IS US -- “The Night Before the Wedding” Episode 614 -- Pictured: Justin Hartley as Kevin
Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

It's been a long time coming.

Justin Hartley's This Is Us character, Kevin, found love on Tuesday night's episode, with someone fans had long hoped would be part of his future.

A romantic exchange, and kiss, at the end of the episode finally confirmed that Sophie — Kevin's childhood love and ex-wife, played by Alexandra Breckenridge — was the woman he'd end up with as the NBC show nears its series finale.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting confirmation on who Kevin would choose as his lasting love, and according to This Is Us' story editor, who also wrote Tuesday's episode, the surprise has been long-planned.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Danielle Bauman said "we can rest easy" now that Kevin and Sophie have reunited.

"I can speak for me and I can speak for the writers as a whole: For me, Sophie was always the endgame," she told the outlet.

THIS IS US -- “The Night Before the Wedding” Episode 614 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Alexandra Breckinridge as Sophie
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Though Sophie was on Bauman's mind throughout the series as Kevin's true love, it took some convincing from other members of the This Is Us crew.

"For us as a whole, there was a push and pull. There was a shortlist. There were times where we were open to the idea that maybe Kevin is going fall for somebody else and that's okay," she explained. "But just imagine that all these writers are Kevin's hardheaded libido, right? There were times when it was like, 'Well, maybe it's Cassidy!' 'Maybe it's Madison!' 'Maybe it's someone totally different!'"

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This Is Us is known for its emotional, and sometimes heartbreaking, realities that take its characters in authentic directions — and Kevin's journey to find love was no different. Bauman said that his confusion among love interests was modeled after "the way that anyone is when they are on the search for their true love."

"You have moments of doubt and moments of confusion, and we as a group were on that journey with Kevin," she noted.

THIS IS US -- “The Night Before the Wedding” Episode 614 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Alexandra Breckinridge as Sophie
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

At the end of the day, the writer's room held on to hope that the childhood sweethearts could find a way to make their romance work.

"Even though, yes, there was a shortlist, deep down most of us were gunning for Sophie," Bauman said. "There were some outliers and there were some people that were like, 'No, no, no,' but I think deep down they knew that was the way it was going to go. We're all with Kevin on this journey."

"There was, of course, 'Let's all talk about it and feel it out.' But [the] end of season 5, beginning of season 6, we kind of knew in that gut instinct of like, 'These two, for all their flaws and all their ups and downs, are meant for each other,'" she added.

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Since the episode aired, both Hartley and Breckenridge have also spoken about their characters rekindling their romance.

"I think that they have this magnetic pull toward each other, and they have that kind of love at first sight thing that's never left either of them," Breckenridge recently told PEOPLE. "I was just really, really happy with the episode and how the characters come together and that they get to explore this rekindling of their feelings for each other in this beautiful place. It's really romantic and it was just very satisfying."

Speaking to Variety, Hartley added: "I think it's safe to assume that they have found their peace and they've found their partner and it was always the same person all along — and through a bunch of missteps and immaturity that played a huge role."

"Just being insecure and self-absorbed and all that, as far as Kevin is concerned, Sophie just got there a lot sooner than Kevin did and I think Kevin has been able to catch up and meet her exactly where she is," he said.

This Is Us will continue to air on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC until the finale episode on May 24.

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