Michael received a one-on-one date with Katie on last week's The Bachelorette episode, and he tugged at viewers' heartstrings by sharing the story of how his late wife, Laura Ritter-Allio, died from breast cancer in January 2019 when their son James, now four, was very young.
During a recent episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast hosted by Season 14 The Bachelorette star Becca Kufrin -- who said "the world needs more men like Michael" -- Michael opened up about how he believes Laura played a role in his decision to join Katie's cast and compete for her heart.
"It's kind of strange because I really didn't watch the show too much, my wife loved it," Michael revealed to Becca and her temporary co-host, The Bachelor alum Catherine Giudici.
Michael apparently only saw the downside of being on a reality TV show and the risks involved at the time -- until he received a blessing from his parents and support from his in-laws to finally give The Bachelorette a chance.
"And so when production reached out to me, it was really right around my wife's two-year anniversary [of her death]. So it's like you're always looking for signs, right? And this one was just so obvious," Michael shared.
Laura -- whom Michael met in college and married in 2012 -- was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and died only two years later after a fierce battle in which the couple had traveled the country in search of a cure.
Michael went on to recall a "funny" and "true" story for Becca and Catherine.
"Even before cancer hit our life, when we got married, Laura would watch the show and she would basically say, 'You know, we should get a fake divorce and you can go on there and do your thing, and then you come back to me,'" Michael said with a laugh.
"So it was something that was in her head, and when this opportunity came up [to appear on Katie's season], I couldn't help but hear her kind of telling me to do it."
Michael acknowledged that after discussing the opportunity with his loved ones, he realized The Bachelorette might put "pep in [his] step" and get him out of "a rut" he had been in before the show.
"And yeah, it's really, really amazing," Michael explained of how he ended up on The Bachelorette 17.
"I feel like I've been able to grow and take a lot from it, and whatever happens, happens."
Becca gushed about how Michael is one of the more "incredible" and "profound" people she's had on her podcast and announced if it's something Michael would want, she'd love to see him become the next The Bachelor star in 2022.
"I'm just going to put it out there in the universe! Becca noted.
Michael pointed out it's "totally valid" for people to question whether he's had enough time to heal from his wife's passing, but he believes a person needs to be proactive and force him or herself to grow by entering awkward situations, such as dating again.
"I mean, sometimes you just have to acknowledge the fact that you're not whole but it doesn't mean you can't be happy or you can't grow. And I would really say that I'm thankful that I spent that time to find a way to progress," Michael shared.
"I put that kind of work in when it was most uncomfortable and most awkward... early on so that it would make me ready to go through this journey. And once I got there, I felt like I was ready and I was prepared, and I wasn't wasting anybody's time."
Katie gave a rose to the 36-year-old business owner from Akron, OH, towards the end of their one-on-one date on last week's episode, and Michael told Katie that their love story could be totally "unique" and "special."
Michael expressed how it would be a gift to be able to love twice, and Katie was absolutely taken with Michael's words and outlook on life.
Michael called The Bachelorette star "extraordinary" and said he could picture himself loving her, and Katie in turn gushed in a confessional, "I think this could be the start of me falling in love with Michael, and it's so unexpected!"
Click here to learn more about Michael, and also click here to read spoilers on Katie's The Bachelorette season and find out who finished as her winner and whether the pair got engaged.