The country singer, 28, revealed that although she knew 31-year-old Palladio socially for years, they didn’t connect romantically until December.
“He’s super talented,” Pope told Taste of Country’s Sam Alex on Thursday, a day after PEOPLE exclusively confirmed that The Voice winner was quietly dating Palladio. They also attended Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd‘s wedding together over the weekend.
“We met a long time ago — I think it was at a CMA afterparty — and it was like a hi-bye, never saw him again, never hung out,” she recalled. “And then, gosh I think it was December of last year, we decided to take our dogs to the dog park … and we hit it off! For now — I don’t know, it’s still new.”
Not only is the couple’s chemistry a match, but so are their dogs. “They’re the complete opposites, but they love each other,” said Pope, who is the proud pet parent of French bulldog Cuppy, while Palladio owns a Whippet named River.
“I think the original idea [for the date] was his and then I was like, ‘How about tomorrow?’ ” Pope shared, adding that their relationship is “super easy breezy.”
This is Pope’s first relationship after ending her engagement to All Time Low drummer Rian Dawson last summer after seven years together. Palladio — who plays Gunnar Scott on the CMT series — previously dated Nashville costar Chaley Rose.
- Want to keep up with the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
“It’s kind of crazy – I thought about it not too long ago — how I’ve just never dated as an adult. My last relationship started when I was 18 and ended a year ago. And I definitely did the dating thing for a minute and was like, ‘I need to take time for myself.’ And it was the most monumental time in my life, which was both scary, terrible and amazing,” Pope revealed.
“I did go on an app called Raya; there were some hilarious people on there. It was fun. Honestly, it was just the flirting that was what made me think, ‘Okay I can do this.’ Because when you get out of that long a relationship, you’re like, ‘Will I ever find somebody again?'” she continued.
“You think this irrational thought: ‘I’m never going to find anybody’ and then you feel desired by people and you’re just like, ‘Oh, okay I can do this. This is going to be fine.’ And that was a really silly, fun time and I never did anything like that. I resisted it. Then I got tired and didn’t want to do this anymore and things fell into place.”
The “Think of You” star will be back to her old stomping grounds shortly as she returns to The Voice — which she won in 2012 — as Kelly Clarkson‘s adviser. Pope is scheduled to appear April 2, 3 and 9.
Pope will release her latest song, “Take You Home,” Friday at midnight. “Can’t wait for you all to hear it,” she captioned a video on Twitter, sharing a behind the scenes clip.