Why Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp Got Engaged Now: 'They Are Old Enough to Know What They Want'

The couple, who have been dating off and on for seven years, are now engaged to be married

Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp have always been ultra-private about their on and off-again relationship over the past seven years, but they were happy to share the good news that they’re engaged.

“John and Meg are a great combination,” a source close to the rocker tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. Adds an entertainment insider: “They relate on many levels. John loves her intellect, personality and sense of humor. Meg is in awe of his talent.”

This will be the second marriage for Ryan, 57, who was wed to actor Dennis Quaid for 10 years (and shares a son, Jack, 26), and the fourth for Mellencamp, 67, who has five kids from his three previous marriages. The couple began dating in 2011, after Mellencamp ended his 18-year marriage to model Elaine Irwin, despite Ryan living in New York City with her daughter Daisy, 14, whom she adopted in 2006, and Mellencamp preferring to stay in his home state of Indiana.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - June 24, 2013
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The two called it quits in August 2014 primarily because of the long-distance and Mellencamp dated Christie Brinkley for a year. Still, there was hope of a reconciliation. “I loved Meg Ryan,” the rocker told Howard Stern in 2017. “She hates me to death. I think it’s because I’m a child. I throw fits, I gripe, I complain. I’m moody.”

In June 2017, the couple were photographed together at the Art Cliff Diner in Martha’s Vineyard. A month later, a source confirmed they had reconciled because “they have a bond.” They’ve since been spotted together on the East Coast and even caught a New York Knicks basketball game with her son Jack and Mellencamp’s son Hud, 24, from his marriage to Irwin.

Taormina Filmfest 2013 - June 20, 2013

When they venture out to a restaurant or to listen to music on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina, where the singer has a home, “they only have eyes for each other,” says the Mellencamp source.

Now with wedding plans likely underway, it remains to be seen where the couple will call home. “They have different lifestyles but they’re busy enough to be able to handle their differences,” adds the entertainment source. “They are old enough to know what they want.”

For more on Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp’s engagement, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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