“We started messaging [online], and I carded her,” Viall, 42, recalled during the Wednesday, May 3, episode of “The Squeeze” podcast, noting there is an 18-year age gap between the pair. “I wanted to make sure she was a real person.”
Joy, 24, remembered the Bachelor alum asking for her driver’s license before he officially asked her out. “He was like, ‘I want to see your ID,'” the surgical technician told married cohosts Taylor Lautner and Taylor Dome.
“The age [gap], at the time, I was very self-conscious about. I was very guarded,” Viall confessed, explaining that he initially told Joy they “would never date.”
The “Viall Files” podcast host even admitted that he turned down his partner “so many times” because of their age difference and the long distance.
“She slid into my DMs. We messaged for a couple of weeks. We met up in New York,” Viall told the Twilight actor, 31, and his wife, 26, of the couple’s initial in-person meeting. “I think we were both thinking the other person was a little crazy. We kind of both knew we’d end up spending the weekend together. I think we were both pretty guarded.”
Joy, for her part, was all-in from the start. “I knew after that weekend, I was like, ‘I’m going to spend the rest of my life with this man.’ And I knew it and he didn’t,” she confessed to the listeners. “So I was like, ‘I’m just going to hang on because he’ll come around.’ So I asked him several times to date me.”
The Alabama native and the TV personality went Instagram official in January 2021 and celebrated their one-year together in July of that year.
“Celebrating 1 year ish, by visiting the hotel where it all started,” Viall wrote via Instagram in July 2021 alongside a snap at the Williamsburg Hotel in New York City. “Thankful for every moment I have with you @nnataliejjoy❤️.”
More than one year later, the Wisconsin native proposed to Joy. “For the rest of my life, it’s you,” Viall captioned a series of pictures in January from the engagement.
“Many of us have hoped our path to love should to be clean, pure, and without disappointment. I have been that person. In reality, for many of us, our path to love is messy, dirty, and full of heartbreak,” the Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday author wrote via Instagram with even more pictures from the magical moment. “I consider myself truly blessed and lucky to have lived through the mess, so I can fully appreciate what I have in this moment.”
He gushed: “@nnataliejjoy, to me you are perfect. You’re a protector of the people you love. Your heart outshines your incredible beauty. You radiate joy, and bring so many smiles to those you get to be in your presence. I promise to wake up every day and choose you, us, and our family. Forever ❤️.”