Not only did America crown a new American Idol winner on Monday night’s finale of the hit competition series, but fans also were shocked to learn that winner Maddie Poppe and runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson had been secretly dating.
After the big reveal, ET’s Lauren Zima caught up with the couple, where they dished about staying quiet about their personal lives while leaving their hearts on the stage. Caleb noted that their romance started on Jan. 21, the day they met during Hollywood Week.
“It was the first day of Hollywood Week and we haven’t really spent any time apart since then,” he dished. “It was one of those things where I didn’t want it to affect anything, and I didn’t want to exploit my feelings for her ‘cause they’re very, very real. Once voting was over, I was like, ‘Shoot, I want the world to know.’”
Maddie Poppe 'On Top of the World' After Winning 'American Idol' Season 16 (Exclusive)
Caleb blushed when asked if he was “in love,” coyly replying, “I mean, you know…I remember looking at her. I knew very quickly."
Maddie told ET that they had secretly hoped to be in the final two together. “We really wished that this could happen and just that it happened, I’m just so happy, so on top of the world, that I can’t even believe this is my life, so it’s pretty amazing,” she gushed.
As for Caleb, he had no trouble losing to his new girlfriend. “I mean, it was honestly, it wasn’t as challenging as you might think," he explained. "When I looked over at Maddie, I was like, 'I win either way.' I really do. I don’t feel any type of bitter loss at all. I’m just so happy for her.”