Ty Pennington is soon to be a married man. In late July, the HGTV star shared the exciting news that his girlfriend Kellee Merrell said "yes" after he dropped to one knee and proposed. While Pennington is a well-known and beloved figure in the home renovation world – he currently stars on numerous HGTV series – less is known about his fiancée. Before the newly engaged couple head down the aisle, who is Kellee Merrell?
Merrell is a 33-year-old social media manager from Vancouver, Canada, a representative for Pennington previously confirmed to PEOPLE. Although Merrell's job involves managing a brand's presence on social platforms, she herself keeps a near nonexistent presence on social media. In fact, she has only made a handful of appearances in Pennington's posts, the most recent being a July 30-dated post just after their engagement. In that rare photo, Pennington revealed that his fiancée "hates having her picture taken." He also did not tag Merrell, who does not seem to have any public social media accounts.
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Merrell first met Pennington, who is 23 years older than her, more than a decade before the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition alum popped the question. The newly engaged couple first met back in 2010 while Pennington was filming a TV show in Toronto. They did not spark romance during that initial meeting, however, though they did remain in touch over the following years via mutual friends. Flash forward 10 years, and after Pennington "admired Kellee from afar for years," the couple reconnected, with Pennington explaining that their "paths finally crossed at the right time." Romance blossomed after they decided to quarantine together amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In July, Pennington proposed over morning coffee on the dock of his home in Palm Coast, Florida. He shared the news on social media with a photo of Merrell's hand donning a glistening diamond ring on her ring finger. In a statement to PEOPLE, he said "it's one of those things where you just feel happy being around a person. I never thought I would get married, but she changed that. Glad I waited for the one." Merrell has not released a statement about their engagement.
Although the couple has not revealed any of their wedding plans, they have already taken a major step together in their lives as a couple. Pennington and Merrell recently purchased a 19th-century home together in Savannah, Georgia. They are currently in the process of renovating the home "into their dream home," Pennington's representative confirmed.