Mark Dagostino and Kristin Boehm
April 03, 2008 06:25 PM

Best known for laying the smack-down, Hulk Hogan showed his softer side this week in Miami Beach – splashing around with new girlfriend Jennifer McDaniel.

“He’s very happy,” a source tells PEOPLE. “He just seems very happy. His mood has changed. He’s in a better place.”

Hogan (real name Terry Gene Bollea), 54, whose wife Linda Bollea, 46, filed for divorce in November, reportedly met McDaniel around the first of the year.

And while Hogan hasn’t publicized his relationship, the two are spending a lot of time together. Besides their latest frolic in south Florida (both live in the Sunshine State), the duo went to New Orleans Mardi Gras together, were in Los Angeles last week to film a promo for NBC, and McDaniel is expected to accompany Hogan to L.A. for the next few weeks while he films the new season of American Gladiators.

“I hear she’s very sweet and nice and a very good influence on him,” the source adds. “He’s in a much better place.”

Hogan’s rep had no comment.

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