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Andrew Cuomo ex Sandra Lee and her fiancé Ben Youcef hug and kiss on Paris streets after engagement


TV chef Sandra Lee got engaged to boyfriend Ben Youcef in France as her ex Andrew Cuomo‘s career implodes over sexual harassment allegations in New York.  

Lee, 55, accepted 46 year-old Youcef’s proposal during a romantic break in Paris. They were seen outside L’Avenue restaurant in on Saturday night after Youcef popped the question. 

The couple visited the upmarket brasserie to enjoy a romantic dinner together.

 Youcef also appeared to be wearing a band on his ring finger.

Sandra Lee couldn’t contain her joy as she stepped out to dinner at L’Avenue in Paris with new love Ben Youcef

The couple who have been enjoying a long romantic holiday in France were seen sharing a passionate kiss as they headed to upscale French bistro, L'Avenue

The couple who have been enjoying a long romantic holiday in France were seen sharing a passionate kiss as they headed to upscale French bistro, L’Avenue

Sandra looked stunning in a white satin dress as the pair danced on the Parisian streets

Sandra looked stunning in a white satin dress as the pair danced on the Parisian streets

Sandra Lee was seen sporting what appeared to be an engagement ring

Sandra Lee was seen sporting what appeared to be an engagement ring

The former Food Network star appears happier than ever with her 42-year-old nonprofit interfaith leader beau

The former Food Network star appears happier than ever with her 42-year-old nonprofit interfaith leader beau

The couple could be seen holding hands and appeared to be dancing at one point

The couple could be seen holding hands and appeared to be dancing at one point

At one point, Youcef got down on one knee, again, in order to take a picture of Lee posing against a moped

At one point, Youcef got down on one knee, again, in order to take a picture of Lee posing against a moped

The beaming couple hit the town in Paris to celebrate their engagement

The beaming couple hit the town in Paris to celebrate their engagement 

The couple were captured whispering sweet nothings towards one another at a restaurant

The couple were captured whispering sweet nothings towards one another at a restaurant

The couple looked happy to be pointing out the sights to one another

The couple looked happy to be pointing out the sights to one another 

Lee and Youcef were spotted in the City of Love after Cuomo – the New York Governor – announced he would quit in two weeks on Tuesday, and were seen over the weekend hitting the town to celebrate their engagement.

‘Ben really wanted to distract Sandra from all the news, so he whisked her away to Paris,’ an unnamed source close to Youcef told the outlet.

‘He knows how hard this has been on her and he wants to make sure she feels loved and supported.’

The source added: ‘Ben is incredibly protective of Sandra. They’re soulmates and head-over-heels in love.’

Youcef looked casual in a black leather jacket, denim jeans and white sneakers while Lee wore white satin dress of her own

Youcef looked casual in a black leather jacket, denim jeans and white sneakers while Lee wore white satin dress of her own

The lovebirds were pictured as they made their way walking around the French capital

The lovebirds were pictured as they made their way walking around the French capital

Lee, a 55-year-old lifestyle guru wore a white summer dress as the pair strolled around Paris

Lee, a 55-year-old lifestyle guru wore a white summer dress as the pair strolled around Paris

The pair traveled to Paris after spending time in St. Tropez in the South of France

The pair traveled to Paris after spending time in St. Tropez in the South of France

The  couple stole a kiss while seated at L'Avenue in Paris on Saturday night

The  couple stole a kiss while seated at L’Avenue in Paris on Saturday night

The couple continued their smooch while other diners at L'Avenue around them appeared oblivious as to who they were

The couple continued their smooch while other diners at L’Avenue around them appeared oblivious as to who they were

The two could be seen outside Parisian hotspot L’Avenue on Saturday night, sharing an embrace before heading into the restaurant for dinner

The two could be seen outside Parisian hotspot L’Avenue on Saturday night, sharing an embrace before heading into the restaurant for dinner

Lee met Youcef after moving to Malibu and leaving behind the home she shared with Cuomo

Lee met Youcef after moving to Malibu and leaving behind the home she shared with Cuomo

Youcef, a divorced dad-of-two, was discovered by Steven Spielberg and went on to appear in his 2005 movie Munich

Youcef, a divorced dad-of-two, was discovered by Steven Spielberg and went on to appear in his 2005 movie Munich

The couple were originally seen earlier this month in St. Tropez, in the south of France, but decided to hit up Paris after the news broke last Tuesday that Cuomo was resigning from his position as governor, effective August 24.

Just a few hours earlier, Page Six reported, Lee, the former chef and author who broke up with Cuomo in 2019, and Youcef were seen stopping by a French church in the French Riviera. 

Lee and Cuomo never got engaged during their 14 years together. The relationship is said to have ended when Cuomo reportedly cheated on her. The former Food Network star was previously married to former KB Home CEO Bruce Karatz from 2001 to 2005.

Youcef, meanwhile, is a devoted father of five-year-old twins. He separated from his wife, California-based realtor Apryl Stephenson in 2019 and they filed for divorce in January 2020.

He is an interfaith leader, an actor and a producer who had his big break when Steven Spielberg cast him as a Palestinian member of Black September in the 2005 movie, Munich. 

The couple were all smiles as they paraded around the French capital on Saturday night

The couple were all smiles as they paraded around the French capital on Saturday night

The pair sneaked in several kisses as they became overwhelmed in the City of Love

The pair sneaked in several kisses as they became overwhelmed in the City of Love

The pair looked to the sky to count their lucky stars for having met and become engaged

The pair looked to the sky to count their lucky stars for having met and become engaged

The pair looked at ease with one another as they walked through the historic streets of Paris

The pair looked at ease with one another as they walked through the historic streets of Paris

The couple took time to take in their environment soaking up the distinctly French atmosphere

The couple took time to take in their environment soaking up the distinctly French atmosphere

The couple took a moment to peek through the window of French high-end retailer Franck Namani

The couple took a moment to peek through the window of French high-end retailer Franck Namani

Lee could be seen fixing one of the straps on her dress as she made her way inside

Lee could be seen fixing one of the straps on her dress as she made her way inside 

Lee went inside L'Avenue restaurant in Paris to fix something on her dress

Lee went inside L’Avenue restaurant in Paris to fix something on her dress 

Sandra Lee and Ben Youcef were seen strolling around the streets of St. Tropez earlier this month. They are now reportedly engaged, with Lee spotted wearing her ring in Paris

Sandra Lee and Ben Youcef were seen strolling around the streets of St. Tropez earlier this month. They are now reportedly engaged, with Lee spotted wearing her ring in Paris 

Friends have said the two are 'soulmates' and are 'head-over-heels' in love. Their engagement comes as Lee's ex Andrew Cuomo resigned as Governor of New York over sex pest claims

Friends have said the two are ‘soulmates’ and are ‘head-over-heels’ in love. Their engagement comes as Lee’s ex Andrew Cuomo resigned as Governor of New York over sex pest claims 

Before their trip to the City of Love, Youcef, 46, and Lee, 55, explored the market in St. Tropez

Before their trip to the City of Love, Youcef, 46, and Lee, 55, explored the market in St. Tropez

Friends have said that Youcef is very protective of Lee, so he brought her to Paris after news broke that her ex, Andrew Cuomo, announced he was resigning as New York governor

Lee and Youcef passionately kissed while walking through the market in Saint-Tropez

Lee and Youcef passionately kissed while walking through the market in Saint-Tropez

News of their relationship broke earlier this month, when Lee told Page Six that she had lost 25 pounds and was dating again during a UNICEF Gala in Capri.

They are believed to have met at a charity event in Santa Monica back in March, with Youcef making the first move.

A friend told Page Six they were drawn together because they are both ‘grounded in spirituality,’ with another saying, ‘We’re just happy for her. We want Sandra to be happy, she deserves it.’

And Lee, a former QVC star who later hosted her own Food Network show, does appear to be happy, telling People, ‘I’m having the best summer of my life.’ 

Sources told the Post that friends have been rooting for them since they met in the spring, shortly after Lee moved to Malibu following her 2019 break-up with Cuomo.

‘Ben is a serious and accomplished nonprofit Interfaith leader providing the call to prayer heard all around the world,’ a source familiar with the couple told Page Six.   

Lee had dated Andrew Cuomo for 14 years until she broke up with him in 2019

Lee had dated Andrew Cuomo for 14 years until she broke up with him in 2019

People close to Lee said she struggled to get her life back over the past two years in the wake of her split with Cuomo, with one friend telling Page Six: ‘It’s very hard for Sandra to move on – she’s not done licking her wounds.

‘She’s just trying to do the best she can to keep her head above water,’ the friend said, noting that Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal ‘has all been tremendously horrible and painful for her to read about.’

‘Her heart was absolutely shattered,’ the friend said, even though it had been ‘an open secret’ that Cuomo was cheating on her during their time together.

‘When she split with Cuomo, she has never even spoken out about her time with him, she’s always kept her mouth shut,’ the unnamed friend said. ‘She’s just trying to find some kind of solace and happiness.’

‘This is the first joy Sandra has had in years,’ another unnamed friend said, ‘but it’s really not accurate to say she’s moved on.

‘She’s spent the past two years in anguish since her split from Andrew. She had to move across the country to get her life back together again.’

Lee moved to Malibu, California following the 2019 break-up, where she bought a $3.4million beach house. 

She sold her Mt. Kisko, New York home – named ‘Lily Pond’ – for $1.85 million last October. 

The star was famously seen loading a U-Haul truck with her possessions before beginning the mammoth journey to her new home on the other side of the US.  

Last Tuesday, Cuomo announced he was resigning as governor amid an attorney general's report showing that he had sexually harassed 11 women while in office

Last Tuesday, Cuomo announced he was resigning as governor amid an attorney general’s report showing that he had sexually harassed 11 women while in office

He has continued to deny the sexual harassment allegations. Pictured last week on August 10

He has continued to deny the sexual harassment allegations. Pictured last week on August 10

Cuomo, meanwhile, gave his two-weeks notice on August 10, just weeks after Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing report concluding that he sexually harassed 11 women while in office.

He had repeatedly denied those claims, even as he announced his resignation, saying: ‘Part of New York tough is being New York smart. New York smart tells us that this situation and moment are not about the facts. It’s not about the truth. It’s not about thoughtful analysis. It’s about how do we make the system better.’

‘Now you know me.  I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated,’ he continued. 

‘I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful, and I believe that it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society. If I could communicate the facts through the frenzy, New Yorkers would understand. I believe that, but when I took my oath as governor, then it changed. I became a fighter, but I became a fighter for you, and it is your best interests that I must serve.’

‘And I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And, therefore, that’s what I’ll do because I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you. Because as we say, ‘It’s not about me. It’s about we.”

His resignation goes into effect on August 24.



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