Four months after landing in the Top 8 on “American Idol” and forging a close friendship with winner Iam Tongi, singer-songwriter Oliver Steele has more good news to celebrate. The Nasvhille-based musician surprised fans on social media on September 27, 2023, by revealing that he’s engaged.
Steele, 26, revealed the news in an Instagram post updating fans on “what’s been happening” in his life since “Idol,” from recording new music to his recent proposal to his love, who goes by the name Vernon on Instagram.
Accompanied by a photo of him holding Vernon’s hand, showcasing a sparkling engagement ring, Steele wrote, “So in case anyone has been wondering what’s been happening in my life, I played a show in Indiana and helped raised money to send two kids to Disney world, I signed a lease for a condo starting in November, I’ve been recording new music and…! They said yes ❤️”
Many of Steele’s fellow “American Idol” contestants from Season 21 shared their excitement for him and his fiancé, who identifies as non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. The couple has been friends for a long time, but only started dating when “Idol” was ending in May.
Here’s what you need to know:
Oliver Steele Has Known His Fiancé Since They Were Kids
Steele has known his fiancé for many years, though they have shared differing stories about exactly what age they were when they met. But during a June appearance on the “American Idol Unaired” podcast — now known as “Idol Insiders” — Steele said they had only recently started dating.
Talking about coping with the letdown of the show ending, Steele said, “I actually stayed in LA for at least a couple of weeks. I was staying with my best friend who was just awesome to be around, and we recently started dating.”
“I love them with my whole heart,” he continued. “We’ve known each other since we were like 12, but I was hanging out with them and just spending as much time with them as I could.”
The day after their September 26 engagement, Steele’s fiancé also recalled their early friendship in an Instagram post.
They wrote, “Last night, the love of my life took me to the very first place we met when we were 16 and I had traveled here to Nashville with my Chamber Singers choir from school. He got on one knee and told me that he didn’t want to wait until I’m back for our big move in November to pop the question. Talk about impatient 🙄 jk I love you Ollie ♥️”
Hours later, Vernon posted the view from a plane, heading back home until their November move to Nashville, where Steele is still pursuing his music career.
‘American Idol’ Alums & Fans Celebrate Oliver Steele’s Engagement
Multiple musicians who appeared on “American Idol” with Steele celebrated his engagement news by leaving comments on his post.
Top 20 contestant Matt Wilson wrote, “My bro! I am so happy for you both ❤️❤️❤️ love you man!!!”
Rebecca Bruner, who didn’t make it past Hollywood Week but lives near Steele in Nashville, wrote, “So happy for you sweet friend!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ love y’all!!!!”
Adin Boyer, who didn’t quite make it to the Top 24 but is remembered for sharing his story of living and working as a musician with autism, wrote, “Congrats bro!!”
Sarah Beth Liebe, who made headlines for leaving the competition during Hollywood Week and saying judge Katy Perry “mom-shamed” her on the show, commented, “Oliver yay!”
At the time of publication, Steele’s closest friend from the show, 19-year-old Iam Tongi, had not yet publicly commented on the engagement news.