Though Kaitlyn Bristowe's season of The Bachelorette was filled with plenty of dramatic breakups, it wasn't very surprising to viewers when she left the show engaged to Shawn Booth, the personal trainer who stole her heart from the very beginning. So it should be of no surprise to fans of the show that Kaitlyn and Shawn are one of the Bachelor couples who are still going strong post-show. How have they been able to navigate the perils of dating in the spotlight? For Booth, he says staying grounded has helped the couple maintain their connection once the cameras turned off.
"I think our secret is just having fun and not letting the pressure get to us. I know coming off a show like that, there’s a lot of pressure from the outside, everybody’s got their opinions, everybody wants to make assumptions and judge you for everything you’re doing," Booth tells Bustle over the phone. "But we’ve never let that get to us, we just continue to be true to ourselves, take our relationship at our own pace, do what’s right and best for us."
The couple spent November and December in New York City, while Bristowe was hosting the Home For the Holidays, a Broadway show that featured three singing competition champions — 2013 American Idol winner Candice Glover, 2014 The Voice winner Josh Kaufman, and 2006 America's Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan — performing holiday classics. Booth jokes that moving to the Big Apple with Bristowe was part of his professional journey. "Well first and foremost I’ve been a professional fiancé, which I’ve been really good at," Booth quips. "Traveling all around and supporting Kaitlyn with all her endeavors."
But though Booth and Bristowe might make adjusting to life together under the intense scrutiny of Bachelor Nation look easy, the couple works hard to remain humble and retain a sense of normalcy. "It was definitely a very crazy situation, cause I just went from working a regular nine-to-five job with my thing with personal training, to, you know, ending up on a People magazine cover and have paparazzi follow us around and wonder what we’re doing," he says. "But I think Kaitlyn and I have been really good with that, and just stay grounded, and just remain the same people that we are, and we realize that it was just a TV show. "
Booth also shares of the post-Bachelorette experience, "There might have been a little popularity after that, and we never look at ourselves as famous or celebrities ... So we just try to live as normal lives as possible and just have fun and just, you know we have a real relationship, and we have our ups, our downs. It’s about as real as it gets."
Yet Booth still recognizes the power of his platform, whether he considers himself a celebrity or not, and works to use that public voice for good through his work with the Movember Foundation. With five million global participants, the Movember campaign encourages men to grow a mustache for the month of November in order to raise money and awareness for men's health.
"I love rocking the mustache for one month of the year, and one month only," Booth jokes, before getting serious about how the cause affects him personally.
"After I started doing some more research about [the Movember Foundation], it really caught my interest because of the money that it raises for men’s health issues, like prostate cancer. That hit close to home because I’ve had family members deal with prostate cancer, so I just wanted to, you know, help out as much as I could the past few years with the platform that I’m lucky to have and just raise as much awareness as possible and encourage as many guys to rock the mustache to get the conversation started with everyone."
(Readers who may have missed Movember or who are unable to grow a mustache can still donate here.)
But will the couple be so consumed with their various ventures that they will be too busy to plan their wedding? Or, will wedding bells finally ring for Booth and Bristowe in 2018? Booth says that true to the couple's laid-back style, there is no rush to plan the big day. "Still taking it at our own pace, and I think I read somewhere that Kaitlyn has a couple wedding dresses picked out, so that’s good I guess. That might be more important than the actual wedding date right?" he says. "So we would do something backwards like that, that’s just our style. But once the date is set, everyone will know — or maybe they won’t."
Still, Booth and Bristowe haven't yet ruled out a televised wedding, which would place in the company with other Bachelor/ette couples to share their day with the world, from Sean Lowe and Catherine Guidici, Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum, and, more recently, Bachelor in Paradise stars Carly Waddell and Evan Bass. "Yeah we haven’t ruled anything out," Booth says. "When the time is right and, you know, we figure out what we want to do." He continues: "I think at this point I don’t know exactly what we want, obviously we want to have our close family and our close friends around us to support us and then from there we’re not sure what we want to do."
But true to the couple's quirky style, the wedding they envision could be just about anything. Booth and Bristowe still don't know "if it’ll be televised, if we have a huge blowout wedding, or if we go elope somewhere for a week," Booth shares.
Whether or not 2018 will be the year this fan-favorite couple finally says "I do," there's little doubt they are in it for the long haul. "If you take ten couples from The Bachelor franchise and take ten couples outside from the regular world, you’re probably going to get the same success rate either way, you know what I’m saying?" Booth says of the couple's unique post-Bachelorette success. "Some are gonna work, some aren’t, there’s really no secret — it’s really that you’re meant for one another or you’re not."
Seems like these two are definitely meant to be.