1:06pm PT by Christina Schoellkopf
'The Bachelor's' Nick and Vanessa Defend Their Tense Public Debut
Nick Viall finally found love on Monday's finale of The Bachelor — but then he appeared with his winner on live TV.
After two failed proposals on The Bachelorette, and one stint on the ABC summer spinoff Bachelor in Paradise, the 36-year-old entrepreneur got down on one knee and popped the question to his TV love, Vanessa Grimaldi. Though both Viall, 29, and Grimaldi, 36, had voiced their fears and hesitations about the future, Grimaldi accepted with a resounding yes.
When the couple made their public debut on the After the Final Rose special, which aired live immediately following Monday's finale, the two revealed that, now four months later, they are still engaged. But they both admitted the ride has been a rough one.
“There have been moments where I wanted [Nick] to be a little more empathetic towards my feelings," said Grimaldi, not mincing words when speaking to franchise host Chris Harrison and before a live TV audience Monday night. And Nick echoed the red flags: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t [have worries]. We’re still getting to know each other. That’s the reality.”
During a press call on Tuesday, the four-time Bachelor star said he and his new fiancee still have many issues to address.
"We’re just being realistic about our relationship. We’re not a couple that’s known each other for a year before — we’re going to walk before we run, so to speak," Viall explained. "Every couple before us feels the pressure. That pressure exists. There’s no denying that. Vanessa and I are not pretending that we don’t have our challenges ahead of us. We’re going to give it our best shot and we’re going to treat each other with respect. We’re going to put each other first."
Grimaldi added, "There aren't major issues, just discussions. It is difficult to relive this entire process."
Grimaldi, a special-needs teacher who hails from Montreal, has spoken out about how difficult it's been to watch Viall's other relationships as the season re-aired. She couldn't even watch runner-up Raven Gates' half of the finale.
But the larger issue is that the engaged pair is still divided by international borders. After announcing Grimaldi's plans to relocate to Los Angeles the night prior, the couple told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday that the timeline of her immigration process remains up in the air.
"Right now, I’m in L.A. and here to cheer on Nick with Dancing With the Stars," Grimaldi said of Viall, who will appear on his next ABC reality series starting Monday. She said on the call that she is currently trying to get a work visa.
Viall confirmed settling in Southern California is their goal for now. "L.A., for the kind of foreseeable future, will be where we call home," he said.
Viall added that "it made the most sense for us to be in L.A.," despite Grimaldi's deep roots in Canada and close ties with her family and students there. "That might change down the road," he hinted, while Grimaldi shared that they're still "waiting for the right moment" to book her one-way ticket.
Grimaldi has pushed back on uprooting her life all season long, even confiding moments before the proposal, “I love my work. I love my students. I’m so close to my family. Who’s going to make the compromise? And if we can’t, let’s not waste each other’s time. I go back and forth on whether I want to be engaged at the end of this or walk away alone.”
But post-proposal, she has changed her tune.
"I was willing to uproot and move to the United States for the relationship," Grimaldi said Tuesday. "My co-workers are very supportive about it, too. I'm working on a charitable organization, so I’m bringing a part of my life in Montreal to my new life here in the United States."
Despite her having an active IMDb profile, Grimaldi told THR she does not plan to pursue gigs on the big or small screen once she lands in Hollywood. "It’s funny that I acted — barely acted — back in Montreal," she said. "It was something that I tapped into in the summertime while I wasn’t working, since school goes from September to June, as a part-time thing for a very short amount of time."
The Bachelor has yet to visit Montreal since his fiancee's hometown date about four months ago. They did, however, get a chance to sneak away as a couple to Toronto while their season aired, and they have loose plans to return to Quebec. "Obviously my dancing [on Dancing With the Stars] kind of makes it hard right now," said Viall.
Though the difficult conversations between the pair have been ongoing, they both maintain they're hopeful about what lies ahead.
“We’re very supportive of each other. We’re very happy together,” Grimaldi said. And Viall explained that he values Grimaldi's tough love as they carefully think through their transition from reality TV to the real world.
"I really appreciated not only Vanessa’s realism, but I went in being realistic as well," he said. "The last thing I wanted to do was to get engaged to someone who could be caught up in the moment."
On social media, the pair have painted a rosy picture about their relationship.