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Survivor star Zeke Smith proposes to Superstore ‘s Nico Santos at 2022 GLAAD Media Awards

Love wins!

Zeke Smith just pulled off the perfect surprise proposal to boyfriend (now fiancé!) Nico Santos in front of a live audience during Saturday’s GLAAD Media Awards.

“Nico, your love has taught me how to love. You are my other half, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” the Survivor star said getting down on one knee to propose to Santos during Saturday’s ceremony in Los Angeles, attended by EW. The Superstore actor, looking stunned, said yes as Smith slipped a ring onto his finger.

Fittingly, the couple’s love story began at the same awards show in April 2018, before making their relationship social media official two months later.

Smith gushed about life with Santos to EW in March 2021 when asked about what he’d been up to since Survivor. “I fell in love! About three years ago at the GLAAD Awards, I met my boyfriend, actor Nico Santos. We just bought a house and are mired in the domestic bliss of choosing paint colors, figuring out where exactly that draft is coming from, and replacing appliances that were just fine during the inspections!”

LISA O’CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images Zeke Smith and Nico Santos

Smith made headlines in 2017 when he was outed as transgender by a fellow contestant while competing on Survivor: Game Changers. Opening up about the experience to EW afterward, he defended CBS’s decision to air it and expressed surprise at the positive response he got from fans.

“I’m still struggling to make sense of it all. I received thousands of messages from people across the world sharing their stories and lending their support. I’m still a little flabbergasted and I’m touched. And what makes me so proud to be a part of this moment is that it seems like it marks a change in the way a trans story is being covered,” he said. “I just hope that this can be the model for how a trans person is received in the public arena going forward.”

Santos, who had a scene-stealing role in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, previously spoke with EW about the need for more diversity in LGBTQ storytelling. “There’s no one way to be queer. There’s a wealth of stories and experiences to draw from from our community, and I feel like our art should reflect that,” he said. “It should look like the world that we live in. Our flag is a rainbow after all, it’s not white.”

Gerrad Hall contributed to this report.

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