Tim Tebow on Girlfriend Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters: ‘She’s Just So Special’

Things seem to be going well for Tim Tebow and his girlfriend, Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.

While promoting his new book, This Is the Day, the 31-year-old athlete told PEOPLE that he’s happy and content in the new relationship.

“I’m feeling great,” he tells PEOPLE. “We’re just about five months. She’s just so special; her whole family is. I’m getting to know everything about her and her family and background.”

The former NFL quarterback, who famously switched from football to baseball, is taking things slowly with Nel-Peters for now — but feels positive about the way things have been going. 

“I’m just so blessed,” he says. “I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

Tebow’s new book, This is the Day, is about seizing the day to achieve your dreams. The book — part self-help and part spiritual growth — encourages readers to make each day count. The tagline reads: “Reclaim your dream. Ignite your passion. Live your purpose.”

So, what recent days stand out to Tebow as being significant?

“I go to take my whole family to Hawaii for my dad’s 70th,” he says. “We got to do these private tours of Pearl Harbor. My dad got to see all the parts of the ship. We had a special dinner. That day stands out a lot.” 

“My first day with Demi was a big day,” he continues, “because I knew she was special from the start.”

But all significant days aren’t good; sometimes bad days are the ones that mold our lives. “I had a setback before spring training,” Tebow says, recalling how he injured his ankle on day one. “It was a crazy fluke thing, and it was super frustrating. But I improved throughout the year. Things happen for a reason.”

“Sometimes suffering can be beautiful,” he says. “It’s based on perspective. I was living the dream doing baseball, and I got to embrace competition every day. There were a couple of months where I just loved playing the game. I was able to embrace that and live it. But there were struggles, as well, and I had to embrace those struggles to make me a better person.”

“Special Laughs and Special Cries”

Over the years, PEOPLE has spent a lot of time with Tebow — on the golf coursein his home, even on a trip to Haiti. During those times, the athlete has always acknowledged that he’s in touch with his emotions.

“I like to create the special moments. Hanging out with my friends, spending time with my family in Hawaii. I look for special laughs and special cries — those are times you can’t replicate. When my dad turned 70, my brother wrote a poem for him called ‘Hey Dad,’ and we all got emotional listening to it,” he shares. “Those are meaningful moments; special moments.” 

“Some of my best moments have been hugging my teammates after amazing comebacks,” he says. “Or spending time with nieces and nephews. My book is about taking those moments to figure out your purpose.”

Tebow, who was named one of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2014, has long insisted that his relationships wouldn’t be based solely on outward appearances. “Of course it’s important to be attracted to someone,” he says, “but it really needs to be about who they are on the inside.”

While he continues to get to know Nel-Peters, Tebow is focusing on returning to baseball. He’s training extensively, working on his skills and eyeing a return to 2019 spring training.

He’s also continuing his ongoing charitable work of the Tim Tebow Foundation. Last February, the foundation threw its fourth successful Night to Shine, a worldwide prom for people with special needs.

“I can overthink things,” he admits. “I can overthink my training, which is probably why I broke my hand. I make lists of pros and cons; I think about things too much.”

And his relationship with Nel-Peters? “I try not to overthink things with my head,” he says. “With relationships, I’m very heart-driven.” 

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