For American Idol fans, watching Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson admit on Monday night's (May 21) Season 16 finale that they were dating was perhaps a moment even more charming than Poppe's eventual win. So why did the 20- and 19-year-old, respectively, keep their relationship a secret?

In an interview with Us Weekly published Wednesday (May 23), Hutchinson said he's a pretty private person, so even though “a lot of people suspected it,” he didn't want to let a label interfere with the competition. And when the outlet asked when the two became official, he noted: “If you ask me, it was January 21st, which was the first day I laid eyes on her.”


And still, he can't help but gush over Poppe.

“Watching Maddie win was the coolest thing ever, really,” he said. “Before she was my girlfriend and all that, she really has been my best friend since we met. Through this whole thing, me and her haven’t really been apart, and I’m there for her whenever she’s worried about anything and she’s there for me. It’s been great.”

And while Poppe didn't cop to much about the relationship, she added: “We need to collab for sure. On the tour maybe."

More generally, she said winning the competition has been a dream come true.

“I feel so overwhelmed. I don’t have many words to describe this, really. I can’t believe that people believed in me this much and just to make it to the top two was winning already,” she said. “Even when I got to Top 24, I was winning. Just to have actually been named the winner of the show is incredible because I was myself. I just got to be who I wanted to be and the fact that I am here and I can tell you that I won the show doing exactly what I wanted to do and I didn’t have to change myself for anybody is incredible.”

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