Ryan Lochte and his fianceé, Kayla Rae Reid, opened up about their whirlwind relationship, her Playboy past and his Rio de Janeiro gas station scandal in a new interview with Cosmopolitan, published on Monday, December 5.
The couple, who got engaged in October, met in January at the L.A. nightclub Bootsy Bellows. The swimmer, 32, and the model, 25, recognized each other because they’d previously matched on Tinder.
"We did that double-take, like, Oh, my gosh, it’s you," Lochte said of their chance meeting. "And then we reached out and grabbed each other’s hands.” The following night, they went on their first date: drinks, followed by a Justin Bieber performance at another nightclub.
Once the public caught wind of their romance, Reid lamented that she was frequently referred to as a Playboy model. "People were saying, ‘Oh, you know, a Playboy model’s with him.' I don't like the term 'Playboy model,'” Reid told Cosmo. "I'm not a Playboy model. I'm a centerfold. Once you’re a centerfold, you’re a centerfold for life. I have a month designated for me. No one can take that away. I am Miss July 2015 — like, that’s it.”
However, the 12-time Olympic medalist has chosen not to look at any of his fiancée's Playboy photos. "I don't want to see her as just that,” Lochte said. "There’s more depth [to her].”
Lochte feared Reid would break up with him after his highly publicized Rio incident. The athlete falsely claimed he was robbed at gunpoint, when he actually had vandalized a gas station bathroom. However, Reid stood by his side through the ordeal. “She was like, ‘F–k this, I don’t care. I’m with you no matter what,'” the former What Would Ryan Lochte Do? star recalled.
In the aftermath, Lochte and Reid holed up in their Charlotte, North Carolina, home for a week to avoid the paparazzi. "She saw my life pretty much going up in flames,” the Dancing With the Stars alum said. "I was like, 'What am I doing here? I should just die and end this.' I was getting death threats. It was just the darkest point in my life. I was like, 'I’m just never going to come out, never.’”
Reid helped her beau through the media circus by keeping him away from the internet and TV immediately after the Olympics. "You kind of felt violated, in a way," Reid said. "Yes, he did let down a lot of Americans, and Brazilians as well, but at the same time, it felt like it was a murder case or something. It was something just completely, I don’t know, catastrophic.”
Besides wedding planning, the duo are also focusing on their impending move to Los Angeles, where they hope to pursue a reality TV show about their lives as well as acting opportunities. Reid is also considering writing a cookbook, but admitted, “I’m in that transitional phase where I’m having my quarter-life crisis. Like, what now?"
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