Taking their time! Kristen Doute doesn’t “feel the need to rush” into marriage with boyfriend Alex Menache. “I think Alex and I are just doing it the way that’s right for us,” the former Vanderpump Rules star, 37, exclusively tells Life & Style.

“We’ve had that conversation, of course,” Kristen adds. “I think we’re both in the right place at the right time of our lives and if it happens, it happens.” Kristen and Alex, who began dating earlier this year, have grown much closer in recent months.

“We started casually dating before quarantine and we actually were in Mexico together. He took me on a trip to Tulum right before quarantine started,” the He’s Making You Crazy author recalls. “So by the time I got back, he was still out of town and I’m like, ‘You have to get back. I don’t know if you’re going to be allowed back. This is getting crazy around here.’ And so from that moment, when he got back into California, we were quarantined together.”

Kristen Doute Boyfriend Alex Menache
Courtesy of Kristen Doute/Instagram

While in self-isolation, the pair very quickly learned each other’s “little quirks,” but ultimately, it made them “so much stronger,” Kristen explains while promoting James Mae’s new Peaceful Protest Collection. “I mean, I spend every single day with him. He’s really special. He’s the best thing.”

While Alex and Kristen are still in the first year of their relationship, they’ve actually known each other for much longer. “We’ve been friends for about four years, like buddies. We met through a mutual friend of all of ours on the cast,” she recalls, referring to her eight-season stint on VPR.

A lot of the cast knew him already and they’re really good friends with him. So we’ve been buddies but didn’t really know each other that well,” Kristen continues. “It was just kind of a moment that happened in November and we were both single and started hanging out a little more one-on-one and then next thing you know, I just fell in love.”

James Mae, founded by Kristen Doute and Magen Mattox, will be donating 25 percent of profits from the collection to nonprofits Watts Empowerment Center in Los Angeles and Black Fashion World. The collection, which features artwork from Terren Rae Zinbi, is available for purchase at JamesMae.co.

Reporting by Diana Cooper