Giada De Laurentiis says that following her split from fashion designer Todd Thompson in 2014, she took some personal time to find herself and strengthen her relationship with her 9-year-old daughter, Jade. In 2015, she felt ready to step out with a new man.
In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the Food Network star, 47, sat down to talk about her happy family life at home and her second chance at love with boyfriend, TV producer Shane Farley.
“Giada is one of the most positive people I have ever met,” Farley tells PEOPLE exclusively. “She is warm and absolutely beautiful—what you see on the outside is there on the inside as well.”
Watch People Features: Giada De Laurentiis—Food, Family and My Second Chance at Love, available now, on PeopleTV. Go to PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.
So, who is the man who won De Laurentiis’ heart? Here are 5 things to know about Shane Farley:
1. His relationship with De Laurentiis was strictly professional at first.
For five seasons, the 45-year-old worked as a producer for The Rachael Ray Show. However despite working on a food-centric talk show with a fellow Food Network host, he didn’t cross paths with De Laurentiis during his time there. It wasn’t until he was hired to produce a talk show with De Laurentiis and her close friend Bobby Flay that the pair met and hit it off. “I just thought she was really smart and funny and I thought, ‘God, she would be a great host for a show,'” says Farley of their first meeting. Although the talk show didn’t end up moving into production, their pair stayed friendly and reconnected once Farley relocated to Los Angeles to work on the one-season show FABLife. Farley now produces Steve Harvey’s hit talk show.
2. Like De Laurentiis, Farley was also married once before.
Farley separated from his ex-wife, New York City-based personal trainer Jennifer Giamo in 2015 after 15 years of marriage. The pair did not have any children. In a post for Thrive Global, Giamo opened up about turning to a shaman to help cope with life after the divorce. “As someone who hardly missed a workout, I didn’t have the energy to walk my dog. I was caught in the trap of destructive behavior despite my predilection toward wellness. I knew I had to try something different. A friend suggested I see her Shaman,” she told Thrive Global.
Farley relocated to L.A. shortly after his divorce and recalls running into De Laurentiis often—her production company was based in the same place as the FABLife set. “We would bump into each other, we would grab a drink. We were just friends and then eventually we started dating,” he says.
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3. He has a strong relationship with Jade.
“I do not have children and to be able to have such a well-adjusted, fun kid around has been really nice,” says Farley. “She’s just a great child. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s adorable.”
“Jade has got two amazing parents, so I can be a part of her life without any pressure,” he adds. “I really enjoy hanging out with her.”
The two even connect over Farley’s work: “She’s a big fan of Steve Harvey so she often asks me, ‘Who is on the show? What did Steve say that day?’ And sometimes I’ll come over and she’s watching the show from that day,” he adds. “So that’s been cool.”
4. Farley is not afraid to take over the cooking duties—every once in a while.
“Shane does cook for me but he needs a heads-up,” says De Laurentiis, whose upcoming cookbook Giada’s Italy is out March 27 . “He has to plan, it’s like a week-long planning session if he’s going to cook for me.”
When he does step up to the stove, “It’s intimidating but it’s like she’s rooting for me,” says Farley. “She’s not trying to show that she knows more than me or she’s teaching me, she’s really rooting for me.”
5. He and De Laurentiis share a love of Italian food.
Though he is only half Italian, the former New Yorker says he is “more connected to the Italian side” because his Italian grandmother lived with his family growing up.
Now, it strongly influences his date-night food choices. “Giada makes fun of me because I will always eat Italian and I will always eat steak,” he says. “And she’s like, ‘There’s got be more!’ So she’s been trying to expand my repertoire of food.”