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Entertainment Tonight--

Hailey Glassman has been photographed snuggled up to recently separated Jon Gosselin, and now the 22-year-old is gushing over the reality star in a new interview.

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"He was so strong," Hailey tells People magazine of Jon's break up with wife Kate. "I admired him."

Hailey and Jon became closer when he stayed at her parents' house in New York City after his separation. "If you had told me a few months ago, I wouldn't have believed you," she says of her relationship with the "Jon & Kate Plus 8" dad.

She says Jon has become part of her family. "They think things happen for a reason," she says of her family's acceptance of her and Jon. "The most important thing is if someone fits in with my family ... This is perfect. It just fits."

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Hailey says of her time spent with Jon, "We're always laughing and joking. … We watch movies, play pool and ping pong. We laugh a lot because I beat him at everything."

As for what Jon, 32, likes most about Hailey, she tells People, "I'm a huge believer in not controlling someone. … I'll give my opinion but tell him to do what he wants to do. He said, 'I'm just not used to having an option.' I told him life is about options."

Photos: Jon & Kate