John Hersey, 27, made quite the first impression when he met Katie Thurston, 30, for the first time during The Bachelorette season 17 premiere. When John stepped out of the limo, he admitted to her that it all felt like a dream. John and Katie then hug, with Katie declaring that John is definitely her “type” as he walked away. Katie ultimately chose Blake Moynes by the end of her season; but the two announced their split in October after getting engaged in the August finale of the series. Katie and John have since begun dating after developing a close friendship after the show.
Katie’s rep confirmed the new coupling to PEOPLE: “John has been there for her through all the major changes in her life and they are excited to explore this newly found romantic connection.” The former Bachelorette has since shared the news with her Instagram followers, sharing a Story (above) on Nov. 23 that features her and John on a plane and in a bar together as Taylor Swift‘s “Begin Again” plays in the background. She even added footage from their first meeting on the show. So, who is John? Below, a refresher on the former Bachelorette contestant who has wooed Katie post-split.
1. John is an aspiring pilot.
John is currently studying to get his pilot’s license. In the meantime, he is also a bartender in California, both evidenced in Katie’s Instagram Story. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
2. John is a thrill-seeker.
John’s definitely not afraid of risk-taking adventures. From jumping out of planes to falling out of a hot air balloon, John loves to get his adrenaline pumping. “Sometimes reckless. Always wild,” he captioned the Instagram video of his fall from a hot air balloon.
3. John gushed over how ‘genuine’ Katie is before the premiere.
A day before the season 17 premiere, John posted a photo of himself with Katie on Instagram. “Taking a second to appreciate the stillness of such a special moment with this strong, goofy, and genuine human being,” he wrote. When John first meets Katie, he raves over how “wonderful” and “gorgeous” she looks.
4. John is a romantic at heart.
John revealed in his ABC bio that he would “love to find a woman to share a burrito with while watching the daily sunset over the San Diego coastline.” John is looking for someone “genuine, honest, and willing to challenge him to be a better version of himself.” He loves a woman who is “confident in her natural beauty and says that nothing turns him on more than a woman who pursues her passions every day.” John has “little tolerance” for anyone “being unfaithful or dishonest and says that his one major dealbreaker is when someone treats another disrespectfully.”
5. John is a dog lover.
John has a dog named Dexter. “While Dexter is admittedly one of the stranger creatures to exist on this planet, he is gifted with what I have come to realize is something like a superpower- he makes everyone smile,” John wrote about his dog in 2019.