TV & Movies

Vanessa Grimaldi Says Her Friendship With Bachelor Ex Nick Viall Has Been "Healing"

"Being on friendly terms now and supportive of each other is a really nice feeling."

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When Vanessa Grimaldi and Nick Viall broke up just five months after their engagement aired on The Bachelor, it wasn’t exactly surprising. The two had been vocal about their struggles as a couple, and as Vanessa told Bustle last year, they were ultimately just too different. But it all worked out for the best: three years after The Bachelor, Vanessa now has a new fiancé.

She announced her engagement to Canadian businessman Josh Wolfe via Instagram on Aug. 9, telling Bustle the two met after Wolfe slid into her DMs. "I was always someone who believed in the fairy tale ending but with heartbreak after heartbreak, I almost lost hope that it could happen to me," she says, adding that the engagement means they're that much closer to starting a family. "I won’t get too mushy on you, but I have never felt more at ease or more in love in my entire life.”

As for Nick, the two have remained friendly. Vanessa recently appeared on his Patreon podcast, and Nick even congratulated her on her engagement on Instagram. "I think it is so healing to find neutral grounds with your ex, depending on how and why the relationship ended,” Vanessa says. “Nick and I were dedicated to the relationship and I think we both needed time to heal from it. Being on friendly terms now and supportive of each other is a really nice feeling."

Appearing on The Bachelor also helped Vanessa focus on her mental health through therapy — and as a result, she’s feeling much more confident. "While filming and for a while after my season ended, I felt like I had lost a piece of my identity," she explains. "I wasn't mentally prepared or knew how to deal with the newness of it all or understand how to deal with the perceived pressure of being a contestant from the show. It affected my level of confidence, productivity, and happiness."

She adds that it was difficult to continue watching the franchise "without feeling anxious" at first, but has recently begun tuning in again in order to "support the women who are going through similar experiences and feelings as I was in a few years ago." She most recently watched Peter Weber's Bachelor season, and says she's even since developed friendships with some of the women from the show.

Outside of The Bachelor, Vanessa runs the No Better You non-profit for special education programs, which she founded after her hometown date with Nick sparked the idea. “[My students] went through the rollercoaster ride with me and we had many discussions on how to cope with the outside noise and not letting people’s opinions of you change you," she say.

Crediting the platform being on The Bachelor gave her, Vanessa says No Better You has raised $100,000 since 2017 and helped open sensory rooms in four schools in Montreal, with another slated to open in Toronto. The non-profit has also donated $10,000 worth of sensory items to families in Montreal during the pandemic.

After all of that work, Vanessa is looking forward to having some fun with wedding planning. "There's still a lot to figure out with the pandemic,” she says, “but we would like to get married sooner than later."