Jionni LaValle: 5 Things You Don’t Know About Snooki’s Fiance

 Sonia Recchia/

For the last year and a half, the Jersey Shore‘s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi has been a one-man meatball–and says she couldn’t have found a better guy to settle down with. “It’s meant to be,” Polizzi, 24, gushed to Us in January. “I’m lucky to have found [him]!” Us Weekly shares the five things you need to know about Snooki’s fiance and father to her baby-to-be Jionni LaValle.

1. He’s a real Jersey Boy.

Unlike his girlfriend, who was raised in Poughkeepsie, NY, LaValle grew up in East Hanover, NJ, as the youngest of four kids. “He comes from a great family,” a LaValle source shares. “He’s very close with them.”

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2. It wasn’t love at first sight.

Polizzi and LaValle met in 2010 at Seaside Heights hotspot Karma–but a source tells Us it took time for the pint-size reality star to develop feelings. “She wasn’t sure about him at first,” the insider shares. “She was hesitant because he isn’t the typical gorilla. He’s pretty quiet.” Her close pals, on the other hand, were immediately enthusiastic–especially when they compared him to Polizzi’s opportunistic ex-boyfriend Emilio Masella, who sources say was using her to get famous. “Emilio was always trying to be in all the photos, and make it all about him,” a Snooki source says. “Jionni wasn’t like that.”

3. He’s great with kids.

Polizzi’s beau once considered a career in teaching and has coached a high school wrestling team–so it’s no wonder that Polizzi believes he’ll be a great dad down the road. “I’m so down for making guido babies with him!” the now-expectant star exclaimed during a Good Morning America appearance last summer.

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4. He’s athletic.

In addition to coaching, “Jionni comes from a family of wrestlers, and wrestled in high school,” a source tells Us. LaValle’s passion for fitness seems to have rubbed off on the reality star, who debuted a slimmed-down shape last fall. “He’s definitely a positive influence on her, and motivates her to go to the gym,” a friend of the pair says.

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5. He shuns the spotlight.

“Jionni’s mom wasn’t too happy about them dating at first,” a family friend admits of the low-key entrepreneur. (LaValle heads up his own ATM business). “She thought appearing on the show would make him look bad. That’s where he gets his demeanor from–he wants to stay out of the public eye,” the source shares. For her part, Snooki says she appreciates her boyfriend’s low-key personality. “Jionni doesn’t like the cameras,” Polizzi told Us last month. But, she says, he knows it comes with the territory–and is more than willing to appear on-screen, if it means spending more time with his sweetheart. “In order to see me, he kind of has to suck it up.”

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Tell Us: Do you think Snooki and Jionni are built to last?

For more info on Snooki and Jionni’s relationship–including details about the proposal, and how they found out about her pregnancy–pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands Friday!

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