Late last year, The Talk host and the former Bachelorette contestant had fans buzzing after they took their online friendship into the real world and grabbed dinner at Burntwood Tavern in their shared home state of Ohio.
"Finally met this guy in person after being Instagram friends for a year!!" Amanda, who now lives in Los Angeles, wrote in a Dec. 27 Instagram post that showed her wrapping her arm around Michael during the meal. "Lots of fried food, drinks, great chats and laughs!"
And while fans may have been shipping the duo, who both lost their respective spouses in recent years, they're not exactly checking out Neil Lane diamonds.
If they were dating, Amanda exclusively told E! News, "We wouldn't be, like, snapping the picture and posting it."
But she isn't mad about the rumors. "I know it all comes from a good place," Amanda said during an interview to promote her partnership with Traditional Medicinals and the wellness tea brand's new lozenges. "It comes from, you know, he has an incredible support system online and fans all over that just want him to succeed in life and find love again, and I have an amazing group of fans that want the same for me....We were both laughing at it, but neither of us were upset by it....People just want us to be happy and find love again. So, there's nothing wrong with that."
And when the fitness guru and The L4 Project founder from Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette met up over the holidays for what she called a "parents night out" (she's mom to 2-year-old son Elvis and he's dad to 5-year-old son James), they felt "an immediate comfort," Amanda noted, and an "immediate friendship."
Their connection was as immediate as one between a franchise lead and their first rose recipient with Amanda sharing it was "so nice to be able to sit down with somebody who you're first meeting in person but just to be so honest and candid, you know? And I think that's what going through a loss like this, it really just, it turns you into a very honest and candid person. It's just so comforting to, you know, sit down next to any widow or widower because that layer of B.S, I will say, is kind of off the table because you don't need it anymore."
While Amanda and Michael won't be getting each other's final roses, she is open to dating other people. "Please bring on the dates," she said. "You know, listen, I love love. I love being in love. I love being married. I love being in a relationship. I think too, like with Elvis, I long for that family again in my life."
And she knows it's what Nick would want for her, too. "I talk to Nick all the time in the car whenever I'm driving," Amanda continued, "and it was before the holidays I said to him, 'OK honey, it's time. Like, you gotta send me a really great guy 'cause I'm really lonely and I would love to be hugged and kissed again. So you gotta send me somebody that's really special 'cause I'm ready.'"
And, for the record, she's uninterested in anyone else's thoughts on the matter. "And you know, listen, you can judge a widow or widower all you want about when and how and the right time that they start finding somebody again," she noted. But this is her journey and she knows that "Nick would not want me to not find somebody in my life again."
Speaking of her journey, Amanda's latest stop is being a part of the 2022 Dancing With the Stars tour, along with Kaitlyn Bristowe, Iman Shumpert and more familiar faces.
It turns out her life on the stage is what first connected her to Traditional Medicinals and their organic lozenges.
"It's like a staple in everyone's dressing room if you are a singer and if you're a performer," she shared, recalling her time on Broadway. "Their famous tea is now in lozenge form, which I love because I'm so on the go. And I talk so much for a living."
She added, "When I teach, I'm often raising my voice, so even if it's not a sore throat or because I might have a cold, I keep them in my bag just because of how much I use my voice."
Whether she's busy with dating, work or mom life, Amanda said it's all about the "juggle." But keeping her "army" of friends and family close is what ultimately matters most.