Katie’s unconventional journey — which was cohosted by Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe after Chris Harrison stepped down amid controversy — featured many twists and turns. Blake’s late arrival, for example, threw some contestants for a loop, but Katie never wavered on their strong connection.
“I definitely knew who he was, which also Tayshia’s ex-boyfriend! So that’s weird,” the former bank marketing manager exclusively told Us Weekly in June 2021. “We had chatted before, but usually what happens is, like, the guys will reach out to the women once they’re eliminated and be like, ‘Good luck, you did great.’ Like, very generic, you know? And so to see him, I was like, ‘Why is he here?’ Like, ‘What’s happening?’”
The shock of Blake’s arrival quickly wore off and the wildlife manager became a clear frontrunner. After first impression rose winner Greg Grippo surprised Katie with his abrupt departure following their hometown date, she was forced to regroup and reassess her remaining relationships.
The Washington native got the clarity she needed after her fantasy suite date with Blake, which aired as a part of the three-hour season finale in August 2021. Despite some hesitation on the Canadian’s part when picking out the perfect engagement ring, the couple got engaged during the finale and couldn’t stop smiling as they made their first official appearance together on the After the Final Rose special.
“It’s actually probably the most romantic thing someone’s ever done,” Katie gushed during the special, reflecting on Blake’s choice to crash her season. “I know you question it in the beginning. I know a lot of people did, but knowing that I could’ve turned him away and he would’ve looked dumb, he took all these risks for me and no one’s ever believed in me like that. So for him to just trust in us early on, it just means everything.”
Katie made it clear that she was confident she’d found The One — despite some fans’ skepticism about their connection.
“I think everyone can agree that this is exactly who I was supposed to be with,” she noted during After the Final Rose special. “He fought to be here for me and chose to stay even when I’m telling him to his face that I considered leaving. That he was confident enough to hold both of us till the end, I’m just so lucky. I love him so much.”
Scroll down to relive the couple’s road to romance: