Meghan Markle is opening up for the first time about her romantic relationship with Prince Harry, telling Vanity Fair the increased scrutiny to her personal life has been worth it.
“I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple,” she tells the mag in its October 2017 cover story. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love."
While the press has been keeping a close eye on the Suits star, 36, and her royal beau, 32, Markle has remained mum as they carried on their relationship between Toronto, the U.K., and other international destinations in between.
The actress tells the mag they initially met through friends in London in July 2016, and managed to keep their relationship private before the press caught wind of it at the end of October.
"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," she says. "Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Markle's more recently called Toronto home as she's filmed seven seasons of Suits in the Canadian city. While she certainly already had her fans from the Bravo series, she became more of a household name thanks to her romance with Harry, as tabloids speculate about everything from living arrangements to marriage.
“It has its challenges, and it comes in waves—some days it can feel more challenging than others,” she says. “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.”
Markle also has the support of her friends, including Serena Williams. The pair met at the Super Bowl seven years ago, and Serena offered her pal some advice amid the constant media attention.
“I told her, ‘You’ve got to be who you are, Meghan. You can’t hide,’” Serena tells VF.
And while she is enjoying keeping things as private as possible these days, Markle also admits she understands to a degree why people are interested in her private life -- at least from the perspective of appreciating a good love story.
“We’re a couple,” she says. “We’re in love. 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.”
Check out more of Meghan Markle's Vanity Fair cover story. magazinesMeghan MarklePrince HarryroyalsVanity Fair