“He was booked to come on the show later to promote Blue Bloods, and I said, ‘Can you just switch the date to be my first guest?’ ” she tells PEOPLE. “He makes me feel really comfortable and puts me at ease and he brings out the best in me. So I thought, ‘Why not step out of your comfort zone, for me, and make me feel comfy on that day?’ ”
She says Wahlberg, 44, was more than happy to comply. “He said yes, so I was really grateful he did that.”
Another sign things are getting serious? The New Kids on the Block band member has spent quality time with her son, Evan.
“They had their first meeting and it was incredible, it was perfect,” she shares. “Evan loves to catch frogs, so my backyard has a big creek and they caught a few frogs and had some great, perfect amount of time together to get to know each other.”
McCarthy says she has yet to meet Wahlberg’s two sons, but she reveals that being single parents juggling demanding careers is part of their chemistry.
“Our work ethic, I would say, is a huge characteristic trait that makes me attracted to him. He understands my work schedule and he has his and I get it and we’re both single parents and he’s trying to juggle all of that while I am too. That’s another huge point in his direction,” she says.
Their busy lives means that they can’t always be together, but she says they have learned to make the most of the time they have.
“It s really, really tricky but we manage to do it,” she says. “If it’s only one hour at one o’clock in the morning then that’s what we get and we make that one hour feel like a week.”
• With reporting by MABEL MARTINEZ