After her bitter divorce, the country star is dating former college player Jay Barker

By Eileen Finan
Updated February 04, 2008 02:10 PM
Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

After a bitter divorce battle that ended last fall, Sara Evans has a new man in her life.

A friend of the country singer confirms to PEOPLE that Evans and Jay Barker, a former football star at the University of Alabama who now hosts a sports radio show in Birmingham, are an item. “They are dating,” the friend tells PEOPLE.

Evans, who turns 37 on Tuesday and whose divorce from Craig Schelske was finalized in September, appeared as an in-studio guest on Barker’s show, “The Opening Drive” on WJOX, the day after Thanksgiving.

“They had been dating for a while, but she hadn’t been on the show until then,” a friend of Barker’s says. “That was the announcement that they were together.” Evans (who proudly wore a red Alabama T-shirt to a recent PEOPLE photo shoot) has called in to the show a few times since, and Barker has accompanied Evans on some of her tour dates.

Barker, who as quarterback took Alabama to a national championship in 1992, also went through a divorce last summer. “But I can tell you that Sara had NOTHING to do with Jay’s divorce,” his friend says.

Meanwhile, Evans is keeping busy with her music career. Last week she appeared with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine for an episode of CMT’s genre-mixing show Crossroads in her hometown of Franklin, Tenn. After finishing a duet together, Levine turned to her and gushed: “You were lovely!” then, turning to the audience, asked “Are you guys having fun watching us flirt up here?”