Sandra Lee, 55, is dating younger beau Ben Youcef, 42, after split with Andrew Cuomo 


Television personality Sandra Lee has found love once again and is reportedly dating actor and interfaith leader Ben Youcef, who is 13 years her junior, People reported on Friday.

The 55-year-old former Food Network star is said to be a ‘good match’ with the 42-year-old divorced father of two said a source who added Lee ‘needed someone completely different from Andrew [Cuomo]’.

Her new romance comes as her ex, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, is facing bombshell sexual harassment allegations and calls for his resignation across party lines. 

New romance: Television personality Sandra Lee has found love once again and is reportedly dating actor and interfaith leader Ben Youcef, who is 13 years her junior, People reported on Friday (pictured in June)

Ben Youcef, Sandra’s new beau, is an actor, producer and nonprofit interfaith leader in Los Angeles. He split from his wife and mother of his two children in 2019, finalizing the divorce at the start of 2020, People reported.  

‘They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March,’ a source told the outlet. ‘It’s very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection.’

They added: ‘But both are taking things slowly and enjoying getting to know each other. Meeting each other during COVID was challenging. He’s become her friend and loving confidante quickly.’

There is more than a decade in age between the newly minted couple and an insider said that the large gap was a turn off at first for Lee but she eventually came around. 

'They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March,' a source told the outlet. 'It's very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection.'

'They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March,' a source told the outlet. 'It's very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection.'

‘They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March,’ a source told the outlet. ‘It’s very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection.’

It’s been some time since the Semi-Homemade mogul was in the dating game after she took some time off following her 14-year relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that ended in 2019.  

‘I think she needed someone completely different from Andrew,’ the source said. ‘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.’

Sandra and Ben are currently on a romantic summer holiday together in St. Tropez, France. 

Page Six reported that Youcef’s acting career was spearheaded by Steven Spielberg who discovered the Algerian actor and gave him his first break in his 2005 film Munic and later mentored him. 

'I think she needed someone completely different from Andrew,' the source said. '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.' (pictured in 2020)

‘I think she needed someone completely different from Andrew,’ the source said. ‘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.’ (pictured in 2020)

‘Ben is a serious and accomplished nonprofit Interfaith leader providing the call to prayer heard all around the world,’ a source told the outlet. ‘He is as beautiful inside as he is outside – they make a gorgeous couple. They’re both extremely spiritual.’

Meanwhile Sandra’s longtime ex, Andrew Cuomo, is in the midst of political upheaval as he deals with sexual harassment allegations. 

Lee and Cuomo dated for nearly 15 years after first meeting a cocktail party in the Hamptons in the fall of 2005. Their relationship became public the following year when she left California and moved to New York. 

Sandra is reportedly very concerned about the impact that Andrew’s sexual harassment scandal will have on his three daughters, Michaela, 23, Cara and Mariah, both 26, whom Lee considers as her own. 

Ex: Sandra is reportedly very concerned about the impact that Andrew's sexual harassment scandal will have on his three daughters, Michaela, 23, Cara and Mariah, both 26, whom Lee considers as her own.

Ex: Sandra Lee and Andrew Cuomo dated for 14 years after first meeting a cocktail party in the Hamptons in the fall of 2005 (seen in 2018)

A source told The New York Post: ‘Sandra has spent her whole life advocating for women, and her thoughts are obviously with these women who have bravely brought these issues to light. 

‘She is a woman’s woman and a mother first and foremost and her love is with Andrew’s daughters, that’s the thing that she truly is concerned about.’ 

Cuomo, now 63, divorced his ex and the girls’ mother Kerry Kennedy — Bobby Kennedy’s seventh child — in 2005 two years after he said he discovered she was having an affair with his close friend, polo player Bruce Colley. They had been married for 15 years. 

He refused to resign on Tuesday despite growing calls to step down and the increasing likelihood of impeachment. 

Problems: New York governor Andrew Cuomo is facing bombshell sexual harassment allegations and calls for his resignation across party lines

Problems: New York governor Andrew Cuomo is facing bombshell sexual harassment allegations and calls for his resignation across party lines 

He is contesting a damning report from AG Letitia James which found he sexually harassed 11 women, claiming it omits facts and is a political attack on him. James released her long-awaited report into the allegations against embattled Cuomo on Tuesday morning. 

It says he sexually harassed 11 women including some whose allegations were not previously known, like two state troopers and an executive assistant who said he groped her breast at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany in November 2020.

James said all of the allegations are corroborated but she has not recommended any criminal charges against him, saying the scope of her work didn’t include prosecution.

Family: Sandra is reportedly very concerned about the impact that Andrew's sexual harassment scandal will have on his three daughters, Michaela, 23, Cara and Mariah, both 26, whom Lee considers as her own

Family: Sandra is reportedly very concerned about the impact that Andrew’s sexual harassment scandal will have on his three daughters, Michaela, 23, Cara and Mariah, both 26, whom Lee considers as her own

There has since been an onslaught of calls for him to resign afterwards on both sides of the aisle, including from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who went as far as to call for him to be impeached.

President Biden said Tuesday that he stood by remarks he made in March that Cuomo should resign if the report substantiates the women’s allegations.

Before Biden’s remarks and shortly after the report was released, Cuomo addressed the accusations in a recorded statement, saying he is a ‘warm’ person who sometimes ‘slips’ and calls women who work for him ‘sweetheart and darling’, but insisting he has never been predatory or physical in his interactions with staffers.

His attorney has also released an 85-page rebuttal to the report which she says she will continue to update. 

In his televised address, Cuomo used a slideshow of images of him hugging and kissing people throughout his life to demonstrate what he described as an affectionate and tactile personality, that he says the women have confused for a sexual predator. 

‘This has been a long and painful period for me and my family as others feed stories to the press. I never touched anyone inappropriately. The facts are much different to what has been portrayed.

‘I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public service. That is just not who I am or who I ever have been,’ he said.

He went on: ‘Trial by newspaper and biased reviews are not the way to find the facts. I welcome the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and jury because this just did not happen.’ 

Denials: Cuomo addressed the accusations in a recorded statement, saying he is a 'warm' person who sometimes 'slips' and calls women who work for him 'sweetheart and darling', but insisting he has never been predatory or physical in his interactions with staffers

Denials: Cuomo addressed the accusations in a recorded statement, saying he is a ‘warm’ person who sometimes ‘slips’ and calls women who work for him ‘sweetheart and darling’, but insisting he has never been predatory or physical in his interactions with staffers



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