updated 01/12/2010 AT 10:45 AM ET
•originally published 01/12/2010 AT 10:00 AM ET
Tila Tequila is stepping back from Twitter and opening up about her memories of Casey Johnson, to whom the reality star, 28, was engaged in the weeks leading up to the heiress’s shocking death at age 30.
“I’m trying to remember what’s good,” Tequila told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview Monday. “She was such a loving and beautiful person. I want people to remember her as that.”
Though they had been dating only a month, Tequila, born Tila Nguyen, says she and Casey had known each other through mutual friends in Hollywood – and initially didn’t think romance was an option.
“We just hated each other through gossip. When people talk about someone you have preconceived judgments,” Tequila says. “But one day I texted and she was the cutest thing ever. She was nothing I had envisioned. I thought, I cannot believe this is the Casey Johnson people used to tell me about.”
Nervous First Date
On their first date, “She was so nervous at my house. Dropping things. I could tell she was nervous … We just ended up laughing all night. We just fell in love,” says Tequila.
And they didn’t waste any time moving the romance along. “Lesbians tend to move very fast. They call us U-haul lesbians and that’s what we did. She U-hauled herself into my house the next day,” says Tequila. “She brought all her dogs. Racks of clothes. I have two bedrooms and she filled up the entire bedroom and guest bedroom with all her shoes and clothes. I came home and the bathroom is filled with all her stuff. Makeup, picture frames of her daughter Ava everywhere. I was like this is hilarious. I said I feel like we’d been married five years.”
Indeed, marriage soon became a topic of discussion. “One night she comes over and she was so nervous. I was like what’s wrong with you, calm down!” Tequila recalls. “She was so nervous and so cute and finally she pulled out this fat ring that I had never seen before.”
After presenting Tequila with the 17-carat diamond, the Johnson & Johnson heiress said, ” ‘Will you please wear this? I want you to be my wife.’ ” Tequila recalls. “We started laughing and crying.”