A casual fling was never going to be an option. That's something Nick Jonas simply had to know before he reached out to Priyanka Chopra this spring and suggested that they "connect".
After all, the pair had been close for some time, their joint appearance at the 2017 Met Gala the start of, while not a romance like many were quick to assume, certainly a fulfilling friendship. And even if that weren't the case, a quick Google search would let Jonas know that the former Miss World turned Bollywood powerhouse turned actress, philanthropist and investor doesn't do undefined.
While she's bristled at the idea that everyone in her native India is in an arranged marriage, she says her upbringing has dissuaded her from taking part in the casual hookup culture enjoyed by many of her peers. "I've never dated. I've always been in relationships," she told In Style in 2016. In India, continued the daughter of two army physicians, "It's very different. You like someone, you court each other, you get into a relationship. You're answerable to each other. Whereas the nonanswerability of dating, my god, I don't know if I would ever be able to."
Thankfully she never had to find out. At just 26-years-old, former boy bander Jonas had already garnered enough experience from romancing the likes of Miley Cyrus, Olivia Culpo and Kate Hudson to recognize he'd found everything he'd ever been looking for in the 36-year-old Quantico alum. "She is different from anyone else he's dated," a source told E! News mere weeks after a trio of Memorial Day outings cemented the pair's new couples status. "She's very mature and sophisticated."
As such, the source continued, their romance had already approached whirlwind status before they hit the two month mark. "They have gotten serious super quickly," noted the source. "They've known each other for a while and were always friendly so they skipped a lot of the getting to know each other phase." He's crazy about her and is excited about where things are going."
Those checkpoints are now familiar to anyone following the duo's story: Jonas proposed during her July birthday trip to London, they marked their engagement a month later with a traditional Roka ceremony in her native India and later this week, in a multi-day affair, Chopra will officially shed the fiancée status she's held for just four months. "This is such a wonderful new step in my life," she exclaimed to ET, "and I'm still getting used to it because it's obviously been a whirlwind and I haven't seen myself happier."
Though their progression may have felt dizzying to anyone on the sidelines, it took the future spouses a solid year and change to go from zero to suddenly serious. Connected through an unnamed pal in late 2016—after Jonas had fully worked through the unraveling of his romance with Culpo with his cathartic Last Year Was Complicated album—"We started talking for awhile," he revealed during a September appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Some six months later, they finally got around to meeting in person and when they discovered they were both attending that spring's Met Gala as guests of Ralph Lauren, "We were just like, 'Hey, you know what, let's go together," Chopra explained.
It wasn't a date-date, Jonas told Jimmy Fallon. But he gets how it looked, how working the steps of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is akin to announcing that you're exclusive. And though they "had a great time," he shared, neither saw an immediate need to upgrade their platonic status: "Our lives were kind of taking us in different places."
So when both interviewers and pals inquired if their turn on the red carpet was some sort of statement, they answered honestly that, nah, they weren't seeing each other. "People thought we were being coy," Jonas recalled. "And so did we. Until we cut to, now we're engaged. So the story kind of wrote itself."
The part in the middle found Jonas sending that fateful text earlier this year. "I actually didn't make the first move—he did," Chopra explained to ET. "The first time was a text just saying, 'I think we should connect,' and whatever and that's how we started talking."
Once they met up in person again, "It was kind of immediate," Jonas shared with Fallon, "and I think we just knew it was right and jumped right in."
Soon Chopra, who once bragged about her ability to evade photographers while out with a significant other, was being spotted all over Southern California with Jonas, each sighting (first Beauty and the Beast Live in L.A., then a San Diego Padres game and finally marking Memorial Day on a boat ride with pals) solidifying their pairing. Days later, they were Instagram official with Jonas commenting "That smile," on an admittedly attractive snap of his gal eating at In-N-Out.
Chopra—who told Filmfare in 2016, "I've never flaunted my relationships"—returned the favor asking "Who is cuter? Lol," when Nick posed with a koala at an Australian zoo.
For Chopra it was the sense of mutual reverence that convinced her she'd found the guy that was worth changing her stance on public relationships. "That was a decision I took when I was very young," Chopra explained to People of her privacy first policy. "Especially in entertainment because women have such public lives, we always end up being reduced to a plus one or 'blahblahblah's' girlfriend. And I wanted to give myself enough time where I'm able to stand on my own two feet and have my identity as well."
But it wasn't just that she'd cemented her status as Priyanka Chopra major actress and world changer. "Truly this is what worked for me, he has to be someone who respects you," she said of the moment she knew she was done looking. "Then everything is so easy because you give each other credit for your intelligence, you give each other the benefit of the doubt because you trust each other. There's so much that comes out of that. I think don't settle for less than that."
Plus if you can find someone with matching values, well, that's only going to help. Despite often being some 12,000 miles from her India-based family, Chopra is so tight with her kin that after her father passed, she memorialized him with a handwritten Daddy's Little Girl tattoo. And, of course, Jonas' entire entree into fame was built around his closeness to his siblings.
Asked to verbalize how they just knew so quickly, he told E! News' Jason Kennedy, "I can go into all of it and get all mushy, but I think the thing that really connected both of us is our love for family and faith and the importance of being connected to those that are always going to be there for you. We found that in each other as well, which is a beautiful thing and I'm excited to start our life together."
That journey started four months ago when the Texas native shut down a London Tiffany & Co. outpost so he could select the perfect four-carat cushion-cut diamond in private and fulfill his future bride's dream of wearing a bauble from the brand synonymous with flawless engagement rings.
"I've always had a romantic fascination with Tiffany since I was a kid," Chopra told People. "It's just so chic and classy and timeless. So somewhere I'd mentioned it to Nick that I wanted my ring to be a Tiffany ring and I think he remembered."
Because of course he did.
Since then, Jonas has proven he's every bit as dreamy as Chopra initially imagined, charming her entire family by nailing the puja prayers at their August Roka ceremony—the kickoff of their engagement celebrations. "It was a new thing for him and he took it seriously," her mother Madhu Chopra shared with After Hrs via DNA India. "He followed what our panditji said and chanted the Sanskirt mantras accurately. Both he and his parents did it beautifully."
Because it was important for Jonas to do right by his future spouse and her family that he'd charmed during a summer visit mere weeks before his proposal. "It was really special," he told Fallon. "And, for she and I, I think it was just nice to be able to have that time with the family first and then be able to share with the world afterwords."
In the months since they officially confirmed their engagement with matching social media posts, they've grown increasingly less shy about taking their love to the 'gram.
Chopra documented both her 100-person October bridal shower bash at Tiffany's flagship location on New York's Fifth Avenue ("It wasn't a normal shower," she told WWD. "I haven't even opened gifts yet, it was just dancing and cocktails and fun,") and her November bachelorette trip to Amsterdam. And just last week she revealed her man had touched down in India, officially beginning their days-long wedding celebration.
The itinerary includes celebrations that honor her faith (a source reports she'll have henna applied during a Mehndi party) and his (a Christian ceremony will precede the main event at a sprawling, historic palace). "They really want to blend wedding traditions from both of their cultures," an insider explained to Us Weekly.
Most importantly, though, are the details that are uniquely them. A source tells E! News they've tapped Ralph Lauren, the man that brought them together a year and a half ago, to design both a bridal gown and dresses for Chopra's 12 bridesmaids to wear at one of the ceremonies: "The significance is super cute and meaningful to them."
And while Chopra has throughly enjoyed every moment of planning the kick off to forever with Jonas —"She isn't stressed at all, she's just really excited to marry Nick," shares the source—she's well aware that the best is truly yet to come.
Not buying into the idea that marriage is the end goal, the culmination of any good relationship, she stands firm that this is just the beginning for her and Jonas. Considering that a year ago their coupling wasn't even on the map, well, it's hard to imagine what lies ahead. (Though starting a family is certainly within the realm of possibility considering she recently told E! News, "I just have a few of my friends who are having babies right now, so I'm like, 'God I need to catch up!'")
Mapping out her argument to ET she detailed, "Every fairytale ends at the princess getting married to the prince. What happens to her life after that? So the idea is, 'Oh my God, she found her prince and now her life's done.' Most people's lives start after they get married. And that's how it should be."