May 20, 2010 09:25 AM

Having turned 50 only last month, Valerie Bertinelli is looking forward to another milestone: a wedding this fall to her boyfriend of six years, businessman Tom Vitale.

Vitale, 48, proposed on a romantic night in Florence during a recent trip to Italy. “We’d talked about getting married, but I was still shocked. It was sweet when he asked me, because he was so scared. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” the actress tells AARP The Magazine in its July/August issue.

The couple met in 2004 after their previous marriages ended. On the Italy trip, the stars aligned for a proposal. “If the time wasn’t right, I wouldn’t have asked,” Vitale says. “We’re both still a little afraid of commitment, but then we were over there, and it was like our souls were calibrated.”

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A wedding is set for this fall, and Bertinelli says she’s leaving the planning up to Vitale. “He already knows the different kinds of bells he wants to go off during the ceremony,” she says.

Having lost more than 40 pounds since 2007 as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Bertinelli says her weight issues have never been a problem for Vitale. “I’ve never felt more beautiful at any weight than when Tom looks at me,” she says. “He loved me no matter what. In his way, he’s teaching me to love myself just as I am.”

Bertinelli, now starring in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland, has a son, Wolfie, 19, from her marriage to rocker Eddie Van Halen. Vitale is the father of four children who are now between the ages of 11 and 19.

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