The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ co-host explained that Donaldson, whom she met in 2012, is “the male of version of me”
Ring or no ring, Vanna White is secure in her relationship with longtime boyfriend John Donaldson.
The Wheel of Fortune co-host, 66, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that the pair’s commitment to each other isn’t in any doubt, even if they haven’t made it official.
“I mean, we’ve been together 12 years, and I feel like we are married,” she shares. “Do we have to get married? No, because we feel comfortable in our relationship. You know what I mean? I know that he’s the one. He knows I’m the one.”
White and the JDC Construction + Development Group founder haven’t discussed the topic of marriage. “We don’t really talk about it, but you never know,” she says. “I mean, I guess we could, but in my eyes and his eyes, we are married.”
She also says the relationship has last more than a decade because Donaldson “is the male version of me. We really are very similar. We get along so well. He’s easy. He’s easy, and he lets me be me, and I let him be him.”
When asked what she thinks is the key to finding a successful relationship, White urges people to settle for nothing less than a partner who accepts — and appreciates — authenticity.
“Don’t be in a relationship because you’re lonely, because if you’re not happy, you’re still lonely,” she advises. “Just be who you are, and don’t let anybody change who you are. It’s nice when they make you feel good about yourself, or they love who you are as a person and don’t want to change you. It’s got to be easy.”
White and the real estate developer met in 2012 when a friend brought him to one of her barbecues a decade after her amicably split from Santo Pietro in 2002. She recalled to PEOPLE in 2019 that she was smitten from their first meeting.
“I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘He’s really cute,'” she said with a laugh. “We ended up talking for a long time that night.”
“It just works,” she added. “He lets me be me, I let him be him. There is no drama.”
Wheel of Fortune airs weekdays at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.