Meghan Markle is finally opening up about dating Prince Harry — and insists that despite the intense public scrutiny surrounding their relationship, “it’s really simple. We’re two people who are really happy and in love.”
The Suits star spoke out about her relationship with the 32-year-old royal in the October issue of Vanity Fair, her first time doing so since Harry confirmed their relationship in a rare statement in November.
“I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple,” Markle, 36, said. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love.
“We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”
Markle did not address rumors that the couple became engaged during their recent trip to Botswana, a special place which Harry first visited 20 years ago shortly after Princess Diana‘s death. Africa is also where older brother Prince William took the then-Kate Middleton to pop the question seven years ago.
The high-profile romance hasn’t been without its challenges. Since the duo met in London through friends in July 2016, Markle’s name has been splashed all over tabloids. Although it’s territory that comes with dating one of the most famous bachelors in the world, Harry’s statement addressed the “wave of abuse and harassment” that the actress had been subjected to.
“It has its challenges, and it comes in waves — some days it can feel more challenging than others,” Markle said. “And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend’s support.”
She added, “I don’t read any press. I haven’t even read press for Suits. The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise.”
“Her personality just shines,” Williams told the magazine about Markle, who sought the tennis star’s advice on how to handle the challenging aspects of fame. “I told her, ‘You’ve got to be who you are, Meghan. You can’t hide.’ ”
At the end of the day, however, the actress and philanthropist is focused on her relationship.
“We’re a couple. We’re in love,” Markle shared. “I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.