While reality TV might have its perks, Tanner Tolbert couldn’t wait for the day when he could take his fiancee, Jade Roper, out on a date in public — like a regular guy.
And now he can: On Monday’s “Bachelor in Paradise” finale, fans watched Kansas City’s Tolbert, 28, get down on one knee and propose to Roper, also 28.
“It was fun hiding out and keeping the suspense, but we’re excited to be a normal couple,” Tanner said in a phone interview Wednesday from Los Angeles, where he and Jade appeared together on Monday’s “After Paradise” live recap show.
Although they knew each other for only three weeks before becoming engaged, Tanner and Jade said they spent almost every minute together and quickly opened up and had deep conversations. They described themselves as the “boring married couple” on the show and are planning to start a life together in Kansas City.
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The ABC show, filmed in Mexico earlier this summer, features former “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants who are looking for a second chance at love.
The couple have had to keep their engagement quiet since July, when the finale was filmed. But that didn’t stop them from seeing each other. Jade visited Tanner in Kansas City four times, and the two have never been apart for more than 10 days. Jade, who moved to Nashville recently, said she made impromptu trips here, usually by car, an eight-hour ride. And when she did fly, she tried to keep a low profile — she even wore a wig.
“We wanted it to be a surprise for the fans,” said Jade, who was also on the phone. “But Tanner’s neighbor did catch me once.”
They’ve been mostly confined to Tanner’s house, with the occasional quick driving tours of the Country Club Plaza and downtown. But, yes, Jade has tried the barbecue, specifically Joe’s Kansas City and Jack Stack.
“I’m pleasantly surprised with Kansas City,” she said. “I didn’t realize how big it was.”
They decided to live here because Jade, who owns Naturally Jade Cosmetics, has the flexibility to work anywhere, and she grew up in Nebraska.
“I like KC. It’s home here,” added Tanner, who is a finance manager. “My family is here. My friends are here and my work is here.” Tanner attended Blue Valley West High School and the University of Kansas.
The couple watched a majority of the six-week show together and said it was an accurate representation of their relationship — though Jade said she wished the show aired more of their “cute” moments together, since both families were watching. They were also able to sneak in private conversations in the mornings — before the cameras started filming — and let their “guards down and talk about real things,” Jade said.
They were allowed to tell their families right away about the engagement. Tanner even called Jade’s dad to ask for permission the day after he proposed.
Throughout the season, Tanner and Jade were fan favorites with an intense following on social media — so much so that Bachelor Nation fans saw them as “relationship goals” and nicknamed the couple “Janner.” “Orange Is the New Black” actor Jason Biggs showed up on Twitter saying he “was so invested in them,” and even Martha Stewart Weddings tweeted that it was “Team Janner.”
“It’s definitely weird,” said Tanner, laughing about “Bachelor” fans’ intense support. “ But it’s also really nice. The support for us as a couple has been outrageous.”
The two plan to marry next summer in Mexico. They haven’t done any wedding planning, just “wedding talk,” Jade said. They just might have a TV wedding, as other “Bachelor” franchise couples have.
“We would be open to it, since there’s been such an outpouring of support for us since the show aired,” Jade said. “Our whole relationship and love story have been on TV too. But we haven’t really talked too much about it.”
But for now, Tanner and Jade have “normal people” plans, like going to next week’s Kansas City Chiefs home opener and a Sporting KC game.
Said Tanner: “I’m just excited to take Jade on an actual date.”
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