Cheryl Hines had reason to be down: Her ABC sitcom, Suburgatory, was recently canceled after three seasons. But boyfriend Robert Kennedy Jr. was able to quickly put a smile on her face!

“He told her, ‘You’re not alone in the world. I’m here for you, and I hope I always will be.’ Cheryl was drinking a glass of apple juice, and at the bottom was an engagement ring!” a friend of hers tells Closer. “She was over the moon.”

Two years after the tragic suicide of his estranged wife Mary, Robert is ready to embrace happiness, thanks to Cheryl. “Robert has been desperate to move past the heartbreak,” says a Kennedy family friend. “He has become a sweeter, happier person through his relationship with Cheryl.”

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The 48-year-old comedienne is hardly an obvious match for 60-year-old environmental activist Robert, but the couple, who have been involved for over two years, have more in common than it might appear.

Both are devoted parents — Robert has six kids, and Cheryl has a 10-year-old daughter. “There really aren’t a lot of date nights,” Cheryl tells Closer. “It’s usually family, playing charades or something.”

cheryl hines

Cheryl with daughter Catherine Rose

What really connected the couple was Cheryl’s support after Mary’s death in May 2012.

She and Robert had started dating five months earlier, and though he’d been separated for almost two years, “he had a lot of hurt to deal with,” says the insider. “Robert could confide in Cheryl. I don’t know how he would have handled it without her.”

Now they’re planning a wedding! “You’re looking at a big affair,” says the Kennedy insider. “Cheryl was a lifesaver. She got Robert thinking of a bright future, not a sad past.”