The former Food Network star sparked engagement rumors as she was snapped wearing a large diamond ring. A rep for Lee didn’t immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
Lee was previously in a long-term relationship with the embattled New York governor for 14 years. They ended their relationship in 2019.
Soon after Lee and Cuomo ended their non-committal union, Lee said she was still “sad” about the split and a source later relayed to Page Six that the cooking standout moved cross-country to California in order to “get her life back together again.”
Lee, 55, reportedly first met Youcef, 42, in March, but the relationship is still in “very early” stages, according to a report published Friday by People magazine.
“They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March. It’s very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection,” a source told the magazine. “But both are taking things slowly and enjoying getting to know each other.”
Sandra Lee is spotted out to dinner with her new boyfriend, writer and producer Ben Youcef. The couple were seen appearing very happy during a romantic date night in St. Tropez, France. (Backgrid )
Youcef is also a nonprofit interfaith leader and shares five-year-old twins with his former wife, California-based realtor Apryl Stephenson. He and his Stephenson filed for divorce in January 2020.
“I think she needed someone completely different from Andrew. It took her two years for her to even consider dating again as she wanted to be sure she could make herself happy and to heal before she brought someone in her life,” a friend of Lee told People magazine.
Meanwhile, Cuomo continues to be involved in an ongoing sexual harassment scandal.
The politician was found to have sexually harassed multiple women according to a report released last week by Attorney General Letitia James.
While it remains unclear if Lee knew of her ex’s extracurricular activities, Cuomo was revered as a caring partner to Lee when she was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2015 and ultimately underwent a double mastectomy.
The New York Post reported in April that those who worked for Cuomo at the time questioned whether his outward support for Lee during her illness was all a ruse to save face in the eye of the public.
Sandra Lee moved to Malibu after splitting with Andrew Cuomo. She’s currently on vacation in France with her new boyfriend Ben Youcef. (Backgrid )
In a joint statement at the time, the former pair said over the “recent past,” they “realized” their lives have “gone in different directions.”
“Our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship,” they said, adding, “We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls. Our personal lives remain personal, and there will be no further comment.”
Cuomo has continuously denied any wrongdoing regarding the harassment allegations
“First, I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said in a video address Tuesday afternoon. “I am 63 years old. I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am and that’s not who I have ever been.”
The sexual misconduct report prompted calls for the governor to resign from President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
On Sunday night, Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, stepped down.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,” DeRosa said in a statement, adding that the past two years have been “emotionally and mentally trying.”
Fox News’ Lauryn Overhultz and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.