The Bachelorette’s Graham Bunn Dating Soap Star
07/29/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT
The Bachelorette’s DeAnna Pappas may have given the final rose to--and accepted a marriage proposal from--Jesse Csincsak, but there's a happy ending for jilted bachelor Graham Bunn as well.
Bunn, 29, stepped out publicly with All My Children soap actress Chrishell Stause, 26, at the premiere of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 in New York Monday, where he flashed his pearly whites and gushed about his new girlfriend.
“I’m very grateful and very flattered to be with this beautiful lady," Bunn told PEOPLE about Stause. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. She’s just amazing.”
Bunn, a former professional basketball player who played in Germany, says there was an instant connection when the two met, but unlike his relationship with Pappas the pair took their romance at a steady pace. “I was immediately drawn and attracted to her," says Bunn. "She’s a funny girl but we take our time.” The two met through a mutual friend from All My Children before Bunn joined The Bachelorette. Despite rumors to the contrary, Bunn maintains they reconnected after his stint on the show.
"We had dated off and on before that, but the timing wasn't right. We stopped seeing each other in December," says Bunn, adding that after The Bachelorette, "we were out with friends . .. sparks flew."
Stause, who plays Amanda Dillon on the ABC soap opera, is equally smitten with Bunn, telling PEOPLE: “He’s a really good boyfriend. He’s very sweet. Anytime he acts up I say take your shirt off and just be quiet." (Bunn distinguished himself on The Bachelorette with his ripped physique.)
And what’s the secret to keeping their relationship hot? “The relationship is new so it hasn’t ever gotten cold,” says Stause. “He’s very romantic. For my birthday he did a special picnic in the park and set it up himself.”
Meanwhile, Bunn says he feels lucky he didn't win on Bachelorette. "I think I won, actually," he said. "My life is a lot better. DeAnna decided to go in a different direction in her life. And hopefully that worked out for her . . . but it really worked out for me." --Paul Chi and Jeffrey Slonim