"I just recently found a brilliant new love," Ricki Lake tells PEOPLE
Nearly two years after the tragic death of her second husband, Ricki Lake is in love.
“I found love again,” Lake, 50, said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California.
“He’s making me really happy,” she gushed of Scult. “We’ve been together for three-and-a-half months. We met through a mutual friend.”
Last week, she shared a smiling photo of the couple at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and captioned the Instagram post, “This is what happy looks like. ❤️.”
The new relationship comes at a bittersweet time for Lake, who will honor Evans’ life on Monday, Feb. 11 — the two-year anniversary of his death.
In 2017, Lake revealed on Instagram that Evans, whom she married in April 2012, had taken his life. Lake then disclosed that he had been battling bipolar disorder and that his manic episodes had led to the couple’s divorce in 2015 even though they continued their relationship until as recently as fall 2016.
“I have to spread the word about recognizing this disorder and getting treatment as soon as possible,” Lake told PEOPLE in 2017 after his death. “Christian didn’t want to be labeled as bipolar, but he admitted he was in the note he left. That was him finally owning it. That was him giving me permission to tell his story.”
This month, Lake was able to share more of her own story with fans — including the pain she experienced from the “darkest, terrible loss” — on The Masked Singer. On Wednesday’s episode of the Fox celebrity singing competition series, Lake was revealed as the raven — a costume that “represented” herself.
“For me, the raven and what it represented [was] the loss of my husband,” said Lake. “So much of the last year-and-a-half has been getting over my darkest, terrible loss. It really resonated with me.”
“It was a lot fun. It was really fun to sing again and to have this production value. And being anonymous and getting to do something that was very public was a thrill. And I was also happy to be done,” Lake said of her elimination. “I was in so much pain in the end. I wasn’t the best singer, but I wasn’t the worst. But I loved my costume and I loved my story. I got to share my story about my husband who passed away. It was a real cathartic experience.”
During the episode, the “clues” provided in the raven’s video package for celebrity panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Ken Jeong included her saying, “Looking back on my life, I have a bird’s eye view. From death to love to birthing you, my greatest joy is being a mother to my flock.”
“I had sciatica during this period of making the show. I could barely walk. I had never had it before,” said mother of two Lake, who shares sons Milo, 21, and Owen, 17, with ex-husband Rob Sussman.
“A lot of the clues were about my beloved, my husband who passed away,” she added, referencing Evans.
While Lake admitted that she “was in a lot of pain during the process,” the overall experience was positive: “but I still managed to have a great time!“
WATCH: Ricki Lake Wants To Help Others Struggling With Depression After Her Ex-Husband’s Suicide
Although Lake is now happy and in love, before she met Scult, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to find it again.
While appearing on an episode of PeopleTV’s Chatter at the end of October, the actress explained that the one thing she’d like to experience for the first time was something she has already felt.
“I found true love with my husband who passed so I’m hoping to find love again,” Lake said. “I don’t think I will. I’m open to it, but I think what I had — I was so lucky to have found that, it’s what everybody wants in life.”
Though Lake filed for divorce in 2014 after two years of marriage, she and Evans continued their relationship until September 2016 amid his struggle with the mental illness.
“I had true, unconditional love so I’d like to have something along those lines again,” she continued. “But I feel like lightning doesn’t strike twice.”
Added the Cry-Baby actress: “I had the real deal; I just didn’t have it as long as I wanted it.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.