This Is Us star Mandy Moore opens up about overcoming personal turmoil and why now she’s happier than ever. Subscribe now for a look inside her new life — only in PEOPLE!
“I’m more grateful than I ever have been in my life,” Moore tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It’s a very happy time.”
The joyful moments are sweeter still given the fact that to get here, Moore, 33, overcame personal and professional turmoil.
“I had a few years of just unhappiness,” the This Is Us star reveals. “From a career perspective, I felt like I was barely treading water. I was really discouraged and dismayed at the sort of opportunities that weren’t presenting themselves any longer. That coincided with my personal life not being in a great place.” (Moore was wed to rocker Ryan Adams for six years; they divorced in 2015).
Discouraged, Moore ultimately had a “light bulb epiphany moment” and set about getting her life back on track. Says Moore: “I stopped, I regrouped, I got myself better situated, and six months later [This is Us] came around. And I was ready for it.”
Says Moore of the emotionally driven show: “I’ve never been part of a project where [fans] are so willing to be vulnerable and talk about their lives. It’s pretty mind-boggling. And [the cast] is one big family. We all dig in and do the work and connect to it every single day. Every day I drive into work I’m like, ‘Thank you, universe!’”
Moore is also thanking social media for introducing her to her new fiancé Taylor Goldsmith, frontman for the band Dawes.
“I took a picture of their album and posted it on Instagram,” says Moore. Somehow, Taylor saw it and sent a note to me. We started emailing back and forth, then we went on a date and the rest is history. Thanks Instagram, for helping me meet my fiancé!”
While separated (Goldsmith is often on tour; Moore shoots This is Us in Los Angeles), “We spent hours FaceTiming each other,” she says. “We fell in love before we’d even really held hands or kissed or anything. It was great.”
The couple got engaged in September (“It was an emotional moment,” Moore says) but aren’t planning any over-the-top nuptials. “We are both pretty quiet, private people,” says Moore. “I never imagined myself with some beautiful dress in front of 300 people. It will be quiet and private — just for us.”
Most importantly, “I feel incredibly understood and supported,” says Moore of Goldsmith. “I feel incredibly lucky to have somebody who is like, ‘I got your back.’ I found the right person and I feel like we can handle anything together.”
Reflecting on her journey over the last few years, Moore admits that her life has “shifted profoundly.” Adds the star: “I’m better equipped to appreciate everything because of what I’ve gone through. I cannot believe my life and good fortune.”
For more on Mandy Moore, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on stands Friday