Two months after they first hooked up on season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, Josh Murray and Amanda Stanton are still crazy in love. As Us Weekly exclusively reported last month, the pair, who got engaged on the Tuesday, September 6, finale, are living together in the Irvine, California, apartment Stanton shares with daughters Kinsley, 4, and Charlie, 2.
The relationship has had its challenges — including competition between Murray and onetime rival Nick Viall for Stanton’s affections, as well as chatter among their Paradise costars about the claims of emotional abuse from Murray’s ex-fiancée, Andi Dorfman, in her tell-all, It’s Not Okay — but as viewers saw on the finale, their love endured.
A few weeks before their engagement aired on ABC, the lovebirds spoke about their controversial romance with Us Weekly‘s Rebecca Bienstock for the September 5 issue. Read on to see what they said about each other, drama on the show and their plans for the future.
Us: Describe that first meeting.
Josh Murray: I was hoping she was going to be in Paradise. I can’t lie about that. I followed her on Ben [Higgins’] season [of The Bachelor] and thought she was amazing — a very sweet woman. When I saw her, I thought, She is just absolutely gorgeous. It made me a little nervous.
Amanda Stanton: I thought he was adorable! He has the cutest smile in the whole world.
JM: I just knew there was something special with her. I took all the women aside first, because I wanted to say hi to everyone and I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Nobody said they were in serious relationships.
Us: You hit it off immediately.
JM: I was already starting to fall in love with her after that catamaran ride.
AS: I always get so nervous to go out on dates on the show, but I wasn’t with Josh. I was so comfortable around him. He’s a good listener. He’s easy to talk to.
Us: Amanda, you seemed to have such a great connection with Nick. What happened?
AS: I had a big crush on him going into Paradise. He was someone I wanted to get to know, but I just felt the spark wasn’t there. The night before Josh arrived, Nick and I were talking. We both said we wanted to get to know other people. We made it clear we were on the same page: We had fun, but it was still early on and we were keeping our options open. Cameras taped our talk, but it didn’t air.
Us: So Nick wasn’t as blindsided as he let on?
AS: No. But looking back and seeing that he was upset, I wish I would’ve said something.
Us: Josh, was upsetting your former rival icing on the cake for you?
JM: No, not at all. And it’s sad that that’s how it’s being perceived. I had no problems with Nick — I never have. Nick is his own person searching for love. Everybody wants to make it seem like there’s this rivalry. I truly, honestly wish everybody nothing but the best all the time.
Us: He was one of the people who made Andi’s book an issue. Did you expect that?
JM: You can call me naive, but I had no idea that was going to be brought up. It was a long, long time ago. I didn’t think people would care.
Us: Have either of you read it?
JM: No, but I’ve been asked about it in interviews, so I know pretty much everything she wrote. Yes, there’s a trueness in there, but it’s twisted in such a way that makes it the worst lie possible because it’s believable. I’m not perfect by any means, but I think I’m pretty decent!
AS: I haven’t read it, either. I know Josh pretty well now myself, so it’s not something I’m too worried about. There are two sides to every story.
Us: Will you ever read it, Amanda?
AS: I don’t think it’s fair to read a book someone’s ex wrote about them. I know if my ex wrote a book about me, I wouldn’t want Josh to read it.
Us: Amanda, when Evan told you about the allegations in the book, did it concern you in the moment?
AS: It made me a little more cautious because going into the show, I didn’t know anything about Josh. All of that was news to me. But it never made me question my feelings or gave me any doubts.
Us: Andi called Josh controlling and jealous. Have you found that, Amanda?
AS: He hasn’t been controlling. He’s definitely not abusive. We’re on a show where everyone is dating each other, so I think a little bit of jealousy is almost cute and flattering. Everyone’s a little big jealous. I think that’s normal and natural, especially in the early stages of a relationship, but nothing crazy or out of the ordinary.
JM: Amanda has nothing to worry about whatsoever. I’m just going to be the best person I can be all the time. That’s all I can do.
Us: Did the drama put a strain on you?
AS: It definitely did. It’s hard having to defend your relationship. Listening to a bunch of people judge him wasn’t easy, for sure.
JM: Hearing people talk about it behind my back was frustrating.
Us: Did you ever contemplate leaving the show?
AS: There was a time we were like, “We’ve already found each other! We could go home and date.” But I’m glad we didn’t do that.
Us: How is your relationship now?
JM: Things are going amazing! We balance each other out so very well. She’s a calming force. She helps bring that inner peace to me. I finally met my unicorn!
AS: He’s so dedicated and so loyal. He’s sweet and thoughtful and caring — it’s not just something he turns on for the cameras.
Us: And you’re living together?
JM: We are! I brought my dog [8-year-old bulldog Sabel] out here.
AS: He moved in with us shortly after we got back from the show. The girls are really excited to have a dog. They’re more excited about the dog than him! [Laughs]
Us: When did Josh meet them?
AS: About two weeks after we finished filming, he came out here for a few days and hung out with the girls. He’s told me that he has wanted a family since he was 21. He has all of the qualities that would make him a great stepdad. He wakes up every morning with me to drop the girls off at school, picks them up with me every single day.
JM: I’m in love with the kids. They’re the best. I’ve always wanted a big family. I’m very lucky to be a part of their lives.
Us: Have there been any growing pains since moving in?
JM: She’s not used to having anybody with her except the kids, and I’m used to having just my dog. It’s a little hectic sometimes.
AS: It’s a little chaotic.
JM: We like the craziness, though. It’s fun. That’s life.
Us: Have you guys discussed a wedding and babies?
AS: I definitely want to get married again. I do want more kids, eventually. I have my hands full right now, but somewhere along the road — yes!
JM: We’ve had a lot of discussions about the future, for sure. I 100 percent believe that Amanda is somebody I could spend the rest of my life with.