The 'Barstool Sports' host confirmed on July 27 that she started seeing the country singer earlier that month
In an exclusive video interview with PEOPLE at Sunday's Streamy Awards, the Barstool Sports host, 24, shared that she is getting a kick out of the internet "hate" over her "new relationship" with the "Something in the Orange" singer, 27.
"It's fun. I'm like eating it up," Chickenfry (born Brianna LaPaglia) tells PEOPLE with a laugh and a shrug, though she admits it was "kind of crazy at first."
"But now, I realize you can't buy into love — or hate — on the internet," she continues. "You just kinda gotta be yourself and see where it takes ya."
Adds LaPaglia, "I wanted to keep it quiet as long as I could, but everyone on the internet is FBI agents, so they figured everything out and I was like, 'I need to get ahead of it, I need to say what's right, what's real and what's true,' so I did it on my podcast."
On the July 27 episode of PlanBri Uncut, the Boston native, who currently resides in New York City, shared that she and Bryan began seeing each other three weeks prior.
“I think I might have some stuff to address: I’ve been hanging out with a guy named Zach,” LaPaglia told her co-cost Grace O’Malley.
When O'Malley asked for his last name, she responded "Bryan" and proceeded to share that they "started hanging out" about "three weeks ago."
“It’s fun, it’s casual... just wanted to address it because the whole internet is freaking the f--- out and people are doing s---."
The new couple first met at the 2023 ACM Awards in Dallas in May. At the time, she opened up about their encounter in a vlog titled "Meeting Zach Bryan at the ACM Awards."
Later that month, Bryan announced his split from his girlfriend Deb Peifer on Twitter (now X) "for transparency and with respect," sharing on May 31 that they had just broken up "about a week and a half ago."
LaPaglia, who was also dating someone at the time they first met, clarified the timeline for fans, explaining that she and Oklahoma-born Bryan had only snapped a quick photo together upon first meeting and that was it.
On June 23, LaPaglia went to Bryan's concert at Forest Hills Stadium in N.Y.C. Although they did not speak at the show, they began chatting a few days later.
“I was still with my boyfriend at the concert. And then, a few days later, me and Joey break up. And [Bryan] had already broken up with his girlfriend, and then he f---in’ slid into my DMs,” she explained.
“I made a podcast after we went onstage and was like, ‘Eat the rich besides Zach Bryan’ and he posted it and then he DM’d me and said, ‘That was so sweet, thank you guys for coming.’ And then we just started chatting.”
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Now that the couple is public with the news, LaPaglia also took a moment to rave to PEOPLE on Sunday about the country star's self-titled new album, released late last week.
"I've been listening to it for a little bit. It's really good," she tells PEOPLE. "All of the songs are like Top 20 right now, so ... go stream it!"
As for what she's learned through the process, she noted she's "learned how strong" she is. "There comes a lot of hate with being a creator, there also comes a lot of love," she tells PEOPLE. "But I really like what I’m doing and I’m where I’m at and I’m happy about it."
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