The relationship that began in Sayulita between Michael Allio and Danielle Maltby seems to be right on course and moving forward.
The Bachelor in Paradise couple revealed during last week’s season finale that, not only are they still together since meeting in Mexico, but Danielle is moving to Ohio to be closer to Michael and his 6 year old son, James.
Also during the finale, Michael said “I love you” to Danielle for the first time.
“You could tell by her face, she had no idea that was coming,” Michael tells People Magazine. “Prior to being on the reunion, I’ve only said ‘I love you’ to one [other] person my entire life. Sometimes the word gets thrown around, and it means something very significant to me.”
“I wanted to make sure that when those words did come out, that they felt real,” he continues. “But now it’s a moment that’s captured on TV that we can look back on.”
Danielle confirms that Michael saying “I love you” to her was “completely unexpected,” but she never questioned his feelings for her. You could tell by the surprised look on her face that she wasn’t expecting Michael’s declaration, but she didn’t take long to say it back to him.
“Even before you told me you loved me, I never doubted it,” the neonatal nurse tells Michael. “I’ve had men tell me they love me before, and none of their actions ever backed it up. I never felt completely safe and secure in the relationship.”
Danielle announced that she’s planning to move to Ohio as soon as she finds “the right clinic to work with.”
“If those logistics weren’t in play, she’d be here tomorrow,” Michael says. “We’re just excited to celebrate and experience the small things in life, the mundane stuff.”
That started with spending Thanksgiving together in Ohio with James.
“Danielle and James are going to be busy in the kitchen making pumpkin pie, and it’s going to feel like a good little holiday,” Michael says. “We both really haven’t had a significant other in our life for the holidays for quite some time, so we’ve worked hard for this. It’s going to be a beautiful couple months here.”
Michael says James — his son with his late wife Laura, who died of cancer — has “become buddies” with Danielle.
“There was a time where early on, it felt a little bittersweet,” Michael admits of Danielle connecting with his young son. “I had to make an adjustment, because I was used to seeing James with his mother, and seeing him with Danielle, it was sweet to see James be so receptive to it and to see their connection.”
“And ever since then, it’s just gotten progressively better,” he adds. “It’s beautiful to watch, and we’re very thankful that we found each other.”
Danielle jokes about looking forward to enjoying “two-for one-specials” together at restaurants and not having to hide her relationship with Michael.
“I don’t have to wear a disguise at pick-up [anymore]!” she quips.
Through his hard times, Michael has learned “you can make a beautiful life for yourself after tragedy and not allow it to define you.”
“I have no doubt that one day I’ll be able to see Laura again, and so between now and that time, I better have some good stories to tell,” he says. “You have to sometimes live for those that can’t. The last thing I would want is down the road, whenever my number’s pulled to go up there, let her know that I just sat on the couch and was sad. Because I know she would say, ‘Did you not learn anything from my experience from what we had?’ Life has to continue going on.”
Danielle has been through her own, similar yet different, struggles. She lost her fiancé, when he took his own life in 2011. She recognizes that during those tough times, “you do feel hopeless.”
“I just hope everyone knows that something beautiful is waiting for them and that they lean on their friends and family and in these moments. And don’t knock a good therapist!” she adds.
Danielle‘s convoluted journey to love has finally brought her to a good man in Michael.
“I’ve got really bad dating history,” she says. “I went for all the wrong guys, when I should have been going for someone like him all the time. I did not know love was this.”
Of all the Bachelor Nation couples we’ve seen get together on Bachelor in Paradise, I think the pairing of Michael and Danielle is possibly the most satisfying ever. These two people who have been through so much tragedy deserve to find happiness with each other. And for little James also.
I just wish them every good thing in life. Now where’s Neal Lane when you need him?
TELL US – WERE YOU HAPPY TO SEE MICHAEL AND DANIELLE GET TOGETHER ON BIP? ARE YOU SURPRISED OR HAPPY THEY’RE MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER?
[Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin]