What a difference a year makes.
“It’s weird!” she tells PEOPLE exclusively about hitting the sweet milestone. “I was thinking about that because I feel like last year at this time, I went and took my kids to go see The Sound of Music for my birthday. You do that. You go, ‘Where was I last year?'”
The star celebrated her 47th birthday earlier this month and is the first to admit it’s been a life-changing year for her.
Stefani and Shelton, 40, are also grateful for their fans, who quickly embraced them as a couple. “We feel it,” she says of their support. “I was saying yesterday to somebody, I really feel the love, you know what I mean? It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a really cool thing to have that.”
And though she comes from the rocker world, Stefani – who’s executive producing Nickelodeon’s new animated series Kuu Kuu Harajuku (airing Saturdays at 9 a.m.) – has felt at home with Shelton’s country fans. “Doing a duet on a country track is something I never thought would happen,” she says of recording their hit song “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”
For much more on Gwen Stefani’s life now and how she found love and happiness again, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. To shop her limited-edition Harajuku Lovers by Gwen Stefani Red Hot! capsule collection, visit Time Inc.’s e-commerce destination People Shop (sales will benefit the American Red Cross Home Fire safety prevention program).
Stefani surprised Shelton’s fans with a performance of their duet at one of his recent tour stops, and “that was a really cool thing to be able to get up and cross-pollinate in another world,” she says. “He wanted me to come out and do the song, which I was like, ‘Duh!’ I want do to it as many times as we can.”
Though she’s played in many of the same venues as Shelton, his audience is “a completely different world,” she says. “You’re like, ‘These are not my people, yet they’re so warm and sweet.'”
Adds the star: “It’s just a really cool life experience to be able to do that!”