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Johnson, founder of Elevate International, led the retreat in Arizona and said he and Williams were in “very similar places on a personal level.”
“I was in a horrible, dark place,” Williams said. “I just needed to go somewhere where I could get a message of hope and restoration, rejuvenation — get connected to God.”
“Michelle was coming off the heels of a really bad relationship, and I was just in a place of despair as well,” Johnson, a professional sports chaplain who has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers and L.A. Dodgers, said.
The two kept in touch after the retreat and progressed from texts to FaceTime calls.
"We spent almost three months without even seeing each other, just building a strong foundation on the phone and through FaceTime," Johnson told People. "It was really built on friendship and communication."
The two went on their first date at a wedding in the Dominican Republic, had their first kiss and decided to date officially.
“I told her, ‘I’ve been looking. I don’t want to look anymore. I’m done. My search is over,’” Johnson said.
A year to the day Johnson first reached out to Williams -- on March 21 -- the two got engaged. Johnson proposed with a 5-carat ring and a video of himself with members of Williams’ family.
“I started weeping and wailing when I see all these special people,” Williams said. “Towards the end of the video, something in my head said, ‘Pull yourself together! He’s about to propose! Stop all this crying!’”
Williams said she was drawn to her now-fiance because she could be herself with him, adding that Johnson calls her by her first name.
“My first name is Tenitra; my middle name is Michelle. I felt like I could be Tenitra; just ratchet, I didn’t have to have on any makeup, if I had to have on my hair bonnet — he just made me feel very safe in being myself,” she said.
The two plan on having a wedding this summer.
“It’s gonna be … think James Bond-meets-’Midsummer Night’s Dream’ — with a little hood in it,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be very traditional. We’re doing black-tie. We want it to be small and intimate and very private.”
Find out more about Johnson's proposal and the couple's love story at People.com.