8 Things You Should Know About Michael Phelps' Olympic Love Story

Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson are going for the gold with their hard-won romance.

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@nicole.m.johnson

Is there anything Michael Phelps can’t do?

He’s leaving the Rio Olympics with a record 28 Olympic medals — picking up four new gold medals and one new silver at the 2016 games — and his wins were even sweeter due to the constant love and support of his fiancée Nicole Johnson. So he’s not only an Olympic swimming legend, but he’s also in a functioning healthy relationship?! How is that fair?


Kidding aside, it’s been pretty tremendous watching Michael and Nicole’s relationship develop over the past several years. They originally met in 2007, but the couple had been “on again, off again” for a long time, until finally reconnecting for good in 2014. Their relationship has seemingly been an important factor in Phelps getting through several dark years in his career, culminating in a DUI arrest.

Fortunately, Phelps was able to turn things around in a BIG way, dominating at this year’s Olympics and proposing to Nicole in 2015 — they’ve been together ever since. One of the highlights of this year’s games was watching Nicole cheering for Michael in the stands, all while holding their ridiculously adorable three-month-old son Boomer.


So, what does it take to create such a powerful Olympic love story?

In interviews, the couple frequently refer to all of the hard work and earned maturity that it took for two such strong personalities to finally come together. Because EVERY successful relationship takes a lot of work, but things are understandably more difficult when one of you is non-stop training for the next Olympics.

Their relationship has endured long distances, hardships, break-ups, and all sorts of obstacles, but they’ve come out on top, which feels oddly appropriate for an Olympian.

If you want to know how Michael and Nicole were able to keep their romance alive on the road to Rio, here are eight things you should know about their gold-medal love story.


1Their Romance Has Been a Long Time Coming

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@m_phelps00

It’s been a long road to happiness for the Olympic couple. Although Michael and Nicole met in 2007 at ESPYs sports awards, they were “on again, off again” for almost eight years until they finally reunited for good in 2014. Phelps told USA Today, "It's been a long time. We've been through a lot. But I love her to death. We've been able to grow as a couple through everything we've been through, the positive changes I've made in my life. We're at a completely different level than we've ever been in our past relationships."


2Getting Back Together Wasn’t Easy

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Access Hollywood

After the long-break in their relationship — Michael and Nicole were not together for the 2012 Olympics — rescuing their romance wasn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. Phelps told Access Hollywood that, "We both had to go through some things in order to get to the point where we are now in our life.”

But their mutual need to mature didn’t stop the couple from fighting for their obvious attraction to one another. Phelps went on to say, "I always said, if I ever had a chance to get her back, she was the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with. … I didn't want to live my life without her and not have her know … I was ready for whatever she said to me and either ready to move on or try again. I wanted to just express my feelings to her."


3Their #RelationshipGoals Include Making The World A Safer Place

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@mpfoundation

Now that Michael has announced his retirement, the couple has two main #relationshipgoals. The first is to “build a family” and spend as much time together as possible. And the second is a little loftier. Michael and Nicole plan to devote a considerable amount of their time working for The Michael Phelps Foundation, a charity Phelps started to promote healthy lifestyles for children and to work to drastically reduce the global drowning rate for children. According to Nicole’s Instagram, “Drowning is the first leading cause of unintentional death for children, ages 1-4.”


4Michael Phelps’ Mom Has Always Been “Team Nicole”

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@nicole.m.johnson

In an interview with Access Hollywood, Michael’s mom Debbie said that she was always rooting for her son and Nicole to end up together. When asked if she hoped Nicole would be her son’s one-and-only, Debbie replied, ”Absolutely. But they had to figure it out themselves and they had to mature. But Michael knew when he'd bring someone else around me, he could read it on my face. ‘You don't like her, do you?’ ‘No, I don't.’” However, when it came to Nicole — “Yeah, I do.”

5Their Baby Has An Awesome Name

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@boomerrphelps

Michael and Nicole have a baby son, Boomer Robert Phelps, who was born on May 5, 2016. (The videos of him wearing his ear protection while Mama cheered on his Dad at the Rio Olympics are the cutest.) But where did the name “Boomer” come from? Phelps told Sports Illustrated that, when it came to baby names, he and Nicole wanted “something different and something cool.” So they landed on “Boomer,” which was inspired by Phelps’ grandmother, Roberta, and his long-time coach Bob Bowman.

Also Boomer ALREADY has his own Instagram account.


6Their Wedding Will Be Small, The After-Party Will Not Be

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@nicole.m.johnson

Michael and Nicole announced their engagement in February 2015 (with an adorable Instagram picture), and they’ve already set a date for the wedding itself — which will reported take place before the end of 2016. In an interview, Nicole said that she’d spent much of 2016 planning the wedding, which will be “small” and “intimate.” But she also said that the small service will eventually be followed by a “massive bash” (which is still being planned).

7Michael Is a Proud Papa

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson NBC Olympics

Anyone who’s seen pictures of Phelps interacting with his new son at the Olympics can tell that the legendary swimmer is relishing his role as a dad, and Nicole can confirm that. At the 2016 Olympic trials in June, Nicole told NBC that Michael “is over-the-moon in love with [Boomer]. He's willing to change a diaper, he's willing to jump in there and do whatever he can to help out. I've never seen him smile so big as he does now."

Michael also joked to US Magazine that he thinks Boomer might already have eyes on Dad’s Olympic medals. He said, “The other night when I was on FaceTime, he was crying as soon as I called. I was kind of, like, just moving the medal around and his eyes just locked right on it. So he’s already eyeing them up.”


8Their Dogs Are Social-Media Savvy

Love Relationships Michael Phelps Nicole Johnson Instagram/@nicole.m.johnson

In addition to their son, Michael and Nicole have two dogs together — Juno and Legend, two French bulldogs. Just like Boomer, Juno even has her own Instagram account, where her bio explains that she was “named after the Roman goddess who was an Olympian and queen of the gods.”