Maddie Poppe, 24, and Caleb Lee Hutchinson, 23, had quite the meet-cute. The couple met during American Idol season 16 and quickly fell for one another. Even though Caleb lost to Maddie in the season 18 finale, he walked away with something even better: a lasting love.
Since Maddie and Caleb took their romance public, they haven’t been shy about their love for each other. From their relationship’s beginnings on American Idol to sweet milestones, take a look at Maddie and Caleb’s relationship timeline.
Maddie & Caleb Meet During Hollywood Week
Maddie and Caleb first crossed paths during American Idol season 16. Both Maddie and Caleb were competing to become the next American Idol champion, with Maddie ultimately being crowned the winner in May 2018. Maddie revealed to HollywoodLife and other reporters that she and Caleb had been hanging out since Hollywood Week.
“He was a standout on that day and I remember thinking, ‘I need him in my group for group round.’ We were in group round together, but they didn’t air the footage,” Maddie said at the time. “Ever since then, we were friends first. There was a spark and we’ve been dating for about three months now.” Caleb added, “January 21st was the first day I laid eyes on her. From then on, we haven’t been apart at all.”
Maddie and Caleb were later guests on the HollywoodLife podcast and revealed that Maddie went up to Caleb during Hollywood Week to tell him how good he was. She admitted that he was “so shy at first.” Caleb added, “She scared me to death. She freaked me out. It was weird. It wasn’t like I came to American Idol trying to find a girlfriend or anything. I was sitting or standing, or talking to a bunch of people, and she just randomly walked up and started talking to me. I was like, ‘What is this? What’s she trying to sell me?’”
Maddie & Caleb Make It Official At Disneyland
A few months after the American Idol finale, Maddie revealed that she and Caleb officially started dating after a trip to Disneyland in 2018. “Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend in Disneyland. I mean yeah we were pretty much dating way before then but you girls know how it is you have to have an official proposition amirite. Anyways, it was sorta precious. He’s sorta precious,” Maddie captioned a sweet photo on Instagram.
Maddie & Caleb Go Public During ‘Idol’ Finale
Maddie and Caleb kept their relationship a secret right up until the final moments of season 16. When Caleb and Maddie were revealed as the top 2 finalists, Caleb revealed their relationship to the world. After that, it wasn’t hard to tell that these two had eyes for only each other.
Maddie explained why they waited so long to come clean about their relationship. “We didn’t want people to think we weren’t concentrating on the competition,” Maddie told the media. Caleb later told Entertainment Tonight, “It was one of those things where I didn’t want it to affect anything, and I didn’t want to exploit my feelings for her, because they were very, very real. But once voting was over, I was like, ‘Shoot, I want the world to know.’”
After Maddie was announced as the new American Idol winner, Caleb sweetly congratulated Maddie on Instagram. Since they had gone public with their romance, Caleb shouted his love for Maddie from the rooftops. “MY GIRLFRIEND WON AMERICAN IDOL!!! No one deserved it more than you babe. I am honored to know you and even more honored to call you mine. Don’t forget about me. I love you,” he wrote on Instagram.
Maddie penned a heartfelt note on Instagram and gushed that Caleb was “one of the best gifts” American Idol gave her. “This guy captured my heart from the start and showed me what love truly means. I’ve never cared for or adored another person so much, @calebleemusic you mean so much to me and I’m so blessed to be able to have had you alongside me throughout this journey and hopefully for many more moons to come,” she wrote.
In September 2018, Maddie and Caleb spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about their reasoning for keeping their relationship hidden for so long. “My main concern was I didn’t want people voting for me, or voting for Maddie, or not voting for one or the other because of a relationship,” Caleb told HollywoodLife. “We were there to be singers. Here’s the thing, Maddie won because of her talent. She didn’t win because she was dating me.”
Maddie and Caleb weren’t the only couple of season 18. Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner also found love while on the show. The couple married in 2019 and have a daughter named Baylah.
Caleb Celebrates Meeting Maddie
In January 2020, Caleb took to Instagram to write about his love for Maddie. The occasion? Meeting Maddie two years prior while filming American Idol season 16.
“When I first saw her I was immediately drawn to her,” Caleb began. “Little did I know the amount of joy, laughter, good times and love that we’d share together, or the painful times of us being apart. Never in my life did I think i’d be with someone who made me feel like myself, when often that is such an abstract concept to me. It’s not just sunshine and rainbows all the time, this relationship comes with its own unique types of challenges and struggles, but with her even the bad times are good. There have been many periods in my life where I questioned what it all meant and what is was all worth. This woman is a constant reminder to me from God that whatever darkness you may deal with, there are always better days ahead and you simply have to trust in God and keep the faith during those times. I could go on forever but honestly I hate even posting personal things out there on the internet. I mainly wanted to share with y’all to keep going even when it’s tough, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and you might just get as lucky as I did. And of course to remind this gal what she means to me. There’s no one else I’d rather be constantly questioned about by strangers. Thank you for making my world so much brighter in these two years Maddie, I look forward to many many more with you.”
Maddie & Caleb Return To ‘Idol’ In 2022
American Idol is celebrating its 20th anniversary with season 20. The show is bringing together some of the most beloved Idol contestants of seasons past during a reunion episode on May 2. Maddie and Caleb will be returning to the Idol stage for a night of epic performances.
Ahead of the reunion show, Maddie shared a behind-the-scenes photo featuring Caleb, Jordin Sparks, Justin Guarini, and more. Maddie, now rocking dark brown hair, went for a retro look with a green floral dress and white boots. Caleb was standing right next to Maddie and had his arm sweetly around her shoulder.