Gwen Stefani Says Blake Shelton Is Her 'Best Friend' as She Opens Up About Returning to 'The Voice'

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani have been dating since the fall of 2015, when they met as coaches on the set of The Voice

Gwen Stefani has many reasons to look forward to returning to The Voice, but there’s one, in particular, she’s extra excited about.

Nearly two weeks after it was announced that Stefani, 49, would be returning to the singing competition show and replacing longtime coach Adam Levine, the “Cool” singer appeared on The Talk Tuesday to discuss her new gig.

While chatting with the hosts about Levine’s “bittersweet” departure, Stefani revealed that she was very excited to spend more time with her boyfriend and fellow Voice judge Blake Shelton.

“To think that [Adam’s] not going to be there is like bittersweet. And plus, like, being between him and Blake, the amount of laughter, I would have to like stop and massage my face, because it would hurt,” she shared on Tuesday.

“But it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exciting. I mean, Blake’s my best friend, so I get to hang out with him at work,” Stefani added of the show where they first met. “I wanted to come back so bad. I mean, the show is so fun.”

Gwen Stefani with the hosts of The Talk.

On May 24, it was announced that Levine, 40, had decided to leave the show and would be replaced by Stefani. Following the news, Shelton, 42, wrote a sweet message to his friend on Twitter.

“Having a hard time wrapping my head around Adam not being at The Voice anymore. After 16 seasons that changed both of our lives. I only found out about this yesterday and it hasn’t set in on me yet,” he tweeted. “Gonna miss working with that idiot.”

Shelton wasn’t the only one who had a difficult time processing the news. Stefani also echoed her boyfriend’s sentiments on Tuesday, revealing that Levine’s decision to leave came as “such a shock” to her.

“I have not even posted, I haven’t talked about it yet, because it was such a shock,” she shared. “And, Adam’s actually the first person to reach out to me when they were trying to pitch me the show, he texted me out of nowhere, and I didn’t even really know him.”

Gwen Stefani on The Talk.

Though Stefani said she was sad to see Levine go, she was excited to watch him focus on his music career and spend more time with his family. (Levine shares two daughters — Dusty Rose, 2, and Gio Grace, 16 months, with wife Behati Prinsloo.)

“I’m happy for Adam because he’s been doing it 16 seasons,” she said. “He has his babies. He’s going to be able to go on tour and do music in a different kind of way.”

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Shelton and Stefani have been dating since the fall of 2015, when they met as coaches on the set of The Voice.

Over the years, the couple has got increasingly serious. Shelton has even formed a close bond with the No Doubt singer’s sons Kingston, 13, Zuma, 10 and Apollo, 5, taking them to the premiere of his animated movie UglyDolls in Los Angeles in April.

Though they’ve been dating for years, the couple has repeatedly shut down marriage rumors.

Last December, the country singer told the Today show he and Stefani “aren’t just dating, you know,” adding: “This is something that I feel like is meant to be. I’ve learned more from Gwen Stefani as a human being, and how to grow as a human being, than I have from anybody ever in my life — anybody.”

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A source also recently confirmed exclusively to PEOPLE that despite not being engaged, they’re planning for a long-term future together.

“They’re still madly in love and beyond inseparable,” said the source. “Blake has wanted to take his time with marriage, but he is absolutely committed to Gwen. They both feel they’ve found their true partner in life and plan to be together forever.”

“He still thinks he is so lucky that she wants to be with him and thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world,” added the source.

With packed work schedules between The Voice and Stefani’s Las Vegas residency, the couple also remain “very supportive” of each other “both personally and professionally,” explained the source.

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