Sheryl Sandberg Steps Out with New Boyfriend — After Being Set Up by Her Late Husband's Brother
Sandberg and her new boyfriend Tom Bernthal — the co-founder and CEO of Kelton Global — made their couple debut at a Garth Brooks concert
Sheryl Sandberg has found love again — and has a surprising source to thank for helping her find it.
The Facebook COO, 49, and her new boyfriend Tom Bernthal — the co-founder and CEO of Kelton Global — made their debut as a couple at a Garth Brooks concert in Boise, Idaho Sunday night.
“He’s a country music fan and he is trying to turn her into one too,” a source tells PEOPLE. “So far it’s working. She says it was the best concert she’d ever been to.”
The couple looked as happy as ever, taking selfies at the Albertsons Stadium and posing for photos with Brooks, 57, and his wife — fellow singer and Food Network star Trisha Yearwood
Sandberg even dressed for the occasion, wearing cowboy boots with a floral dress and brown cardigan.
The Lean In author and Bernthal, 45, were set up by Sandberg’s brother-in-law Rob Goldberg, whose is the sibling of her late husband Dave Goldberg, who died tragically in 2015 after suffering a heart attack while on vacation in Mexico.
“Tom is Rob’s best friend, and it is really special that Dave’s brother was the one to connect them,” the source says. “He’s this really nice, down to earth guy. They’re both devoted parents. It’s a nice thing that it has worked out so well.”
Though Bernthal is LA-based (his brother is Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal), “They have been making it work, and traveling a lot, traveling together,” says the source.
Their romance comes after Sandberg split with Video Game Billionaire Bobby Kotick after three years of dating.
“Sheryl and Bobby broke up recently after three years together,” a source close to the former couple told PEOPLE at the time. “He’s located in L.A. She’s in Silicon Valley. There had been a lot of travel involved over the last couple of years, and their busy schedules and the distance came between them.”
“But they remain very close friends,” the source added.
Sandberg and Kotick started dating in early 2016, almost a year after Goldberg’s sudden death.
Sandberg previously opened up about the heartbreaking moment she found Goldberg dead in a hotel gym.
“The last thing I ever said to [my husband] was, ‘I’m falling asleep,’” Sandberg writes in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, which she co-wrote with psychologist and friend Adam Grant.
She and Goldberg were in Mexico to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Sandberg fell asleep while the group played a game on their iPads, but when she woke up an hour later Goldberg was missing.
According to Sandberg, she alerted her friends and they all raced to the gym.
“We found Dave on the floor, lying by the elliptical machine, his face slightly blue and turned to the left, a small pool of blood under his head,” she writes. “We all screamed. I started CPR. Rob took over from me. A doctor came and took over from him.”
Goldberg was declared dead later in the hospital. He was 47.
Sandberg recalls saying goodbye to Dave for the last time.
“When his brother Rob, in shock himself, said we had to go, I took a few steps out of the room, then turned around and ran back in, hugging Dave as hard as I could,” she writes. “Eventually, Rob lovingly pulled me off Dave’s body.”
“Things will never be the same,” Sandberg, now wrote in a Facebook post a few days after his death. “But the world is better for the years my beloved husband lived.
The couple shares two children.
Although it was hard for her to come to terms with such a devastating loss — as she previously told PEOPLE she “could barely get through day” — Sandberg has encouraged women to not feel guilty about moving on after the death of a partner.
“People judge women much more than men if they start dating again,” Sandberg told PEOPLE in 2017. “And that is unfair.”
“Men date sooner, men date more, and women get judged more,” she said in an interview with The Guardian that same year. “And, you know, obviously that’s super unfair. I think I’m helping people remember that dating, for those who want to do it, is part of moving forward, and it is option B. If I could I would only date Dave. I made that choice. I made that choice. I just had that taken away from me.”