Andy Baldwin, Marla Maples Discuss Their Love

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Former Bachelor star Andy Baldwin and Marla Maples â€" a.k.a. the former Mrs. Donald Trump â€" have a "blooming romance," the Naval officer says.

"We met (last year) and I found her to be very sweet, positive," he said of the 44-year-old Maples. "She's polite, respectful and has a great heart."

Although the two were spotted together in New York City over the holiday season â€" prompting rumors of romance â€" Baldwin said they didn't really get it on until February, when he returned home from an overseas military mission.

Baldwin is in the process of relocating from Hawaii to Washington, D.C. for a new job assignment. He's currently vacationing in Los Angeles, where he's been logging quality time with the California-based Marla Maples.

The two have been spotted frolicking on the beach and arriving arm-in-arm at Monday's taping of another reality show hit, Dancing with the Stars.

Marla Maples and Andy Baldwin

Marla Maples and Andy Baldwin: One hot reality TV couple.

"It takes someone special for me to spend time away from my daughter (14-year-old Tiffany), because she's my priority," Maples said.

"There's a lot of sweet, cute people in the world, but it's what's in here," Maples said, gesturing to Baldwin's heart, "that counts."

So is the age difference an obstacle?

"She has the mind, body and energy of a 25-year-old," insisted Baldwin. "When you have a connection with someone, age goes out the window."

As for social worker Tessa Horst â€" to whom he proposed on The Bachelor tenth season finale â€" they called it quits last September.

"I definitely care for her a great deal," said Baldwin, who keeps in touch. "I have no regrets about that experience or the relationship that we had."

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.