On a recent spring morning, Valerie Bertinelli left the CBS studios in New York City with a smile on her face and a new man at her side. “He was not supposed to come into my life, and here he is. He’s 10 years younger,” Valerie confided on The Drew Barrymore Show. “He’s thoughtful and kind and ridiculously talented.”

He is Mike Goodnough, 53, a New York-based writer who confirmed their romance in a Substack post. “Life is crazy, kids,” he wrote. “It’ll open the skies to deep blue and love and calling someone ‘Honey’ because you just love the absolute hell out of her and feel so very thankful for the gift of that feeling, the gift of her.”

Valerie Previously Swore Off Dating

After a traumatic divorce from her husband of 11 years, Valerie, 63, swore she was done with men. “I was going to die with my six cats and my dog and be incredibly happy doing it,” said the star, who began following Mike’s writing on his Substack, Hoarse Whisperings. “There was something about him that I connected with that felt familiar.

Like Valerie, Mike is a divorced parent of one son. He used to work in marketing, but after his son’s birth a little more than a decade ago, he refocused his career to writing so he could raise his son full-time. Mike and Valerie bonded quickly after they started chatting on Instagram. “He felt like a kindred spirit,” she says.

Valerie Bertinelli Shares Cute Video Cuddling Up With Boyfriend Mike Goodnough
Courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli/Instagram

And the timing was right. In the two years she’s been single, Valerie did a lot of work on herself, including therapy. Her new cookbook, Indulge, reveals her fresh outlook on life. “I was in the middle of growth and health and recovery and I found a way to be intentional with joy, and I want to share that,” she says.

New love was a happy accident — but one that Valerie is prepared to fight for. The California-based actress and her East Coast beau don’t let three weeks pass without seeing each other. “This is where I belong, in this man’s arms,” Valerie gushes. “It all feels incredibly right.”