Nicole Johnson and her fiancé, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, have had a lot on their plates lately: They got engaged last February, their son, Boomer, arrived in May, and Phelps just brought home six medals from Rio. Now, with the excitement of the games behind them, they can focus on their next big celebration: their wedding later this year!
"I took on everything [wedding-related], obviously, because he had to focus on going to the games," Johnson told Cosmopolitan.com. "And now I'm like, ‘What do you think about this and what do you think about that?'"
The one aspect of the big day Johnson was surprised to learn Phelps cared about? The flowers!
If you thought the couple might incorporate a swimming or Olympics theme into the day, think again: Johnson says Phelps's profession will likely be kept separate from their ceremony and reception. There won't be a pool, and he won't be wearing his medals or a swimsuit down the aisle (duh).
Speaking of Speedos, Johnson also revealed how she really feels about people "ogling Michael's bulge," as Cosmo put it: "It goes with the territory," Johnson replied. "He's a swimmer and you leave little to the imagination. I laugh about it. When he very first met my grandmother, she said, 'I didn't recognize you because you're not in your Speedo.'"
This relaxed attitude is a big part of their relationship. "What I see as being romantic is probably different from what other people see as being romantic," Johnson said, citing cooking at home and playing cards and cornhole together as typical date nights.
"For me, those moments are shared together at home. I always expected him to roll over one morning and propose to me in bed. I never expected something extreme, like other people would do it in front of others or they'd do it out on a cliff somewhere."
The actual proposal seemed similarly low-key but no less romantic: Both Phelps and Johnson posted photos lying in the snow together (with a shiny diamond on Johnson's finger) to announce the engagement in February 2015.
They started dating in 2007 and were off and on for a while; Phelps and Johnson have been very open about their rough patches. "There definitely were times, and I think Michael would say the same thing, where I hated him," Johnson said. "We were at odds at times. Even when I loathed him, there were still times when I was like, 'God, I wish I was with him.'"
Phelps's mom, Debbie, for one, always knew Johnson was the one and that they'd work it out—and she was right! "We both had a lot of learning about ourselves to do," Johnson said. "I don't think you can be in a good relationship unless you love yourself to the fullest and you want to help the other person become a better person. We definitely needed that time apart to recognize that about ourselves and to appreciate one another." #Preach.
Now happy parents to a baby boy—and headed down the aisle soon—Phelps and Johnson are looking forward to the next phase of their lives. "Now we get to have fun," Johnson said. "We were out riding bikes yesterday while my mom watched Boomer. We get to enjoy parts of life that everybody gets to on a daily basis that we had to step away from so Michael could go and do what he needed to do."