Maria Bello and Dominique Crenn‘s love is standing strong despite incredible tests.
The couple, who got engaged in December while vacationing in Paris, spoke to PEOPLE while on the red carpet of An Unforgettable Evening Benefiting The Women’s Cancer Research Fund in Beverly Hills on Thursday night.
“Dom was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after we fell in love. So, it’s been quite a year,” Bello, 52, said.
Crenn, a French chef, told PEOPLE she tried to warn Bello of what her cancer would mean for their relationship.
“She’s like, ‘I’m here and I’m going to be here for all the time during the time of this’ and she’s been by my side,” Crenn said. “She’s been there for us.”
Bello said, “Listen, I just knew. I just knew and so did she. I’ve never smiled as much as I have this last year.”
The Coyote Ugly actress added, “You really learn how someone rolls when they’re sick. And I loved the way she rolls through life and dances through life even when she’s really sick.”
When asked if Crenn was doing well, Crenn said, “Yes, yes,” while Bello added, “She’s doing great.”
As for when the two would tie the knot, Bello said, “Oh God, we don’t even know. We’ve barely started.”
The couple announced their engagement on their way to Elton John’s annual Oscar party where they shared the news to several outlets.
“We’re pretty happy, considering that we just got engaged,” Bello revealed to Entertainment Tonight. “So this is sort of our fun time out in Hollywood for the first time. It was very surprising and meant to be, but about time. I’ve finally grown up enough to get married.”
Bello and Crenn said they got engaged in Paris on Dec. 29.
“We’re really excited about this new chapter,” Bello shared with E! News. “It’s cool to be out together in Hollywood doing this thing I’ve been doing for 25 years, but with somebody, I really enjoy doing it with. Dom’s a chef so we’ve been to some of her things, but not to Hollywood things.”
Crenn is a celebrated French chef and the only female chef in America to earn three Michelin stars for her restaurant in San Francisco, Atelier Crenn.
Bello shares a son with her screenwriter ex-boyfriend Dan McDermott and was previously in a relationship with film producer Clare Munn for a few years. She revealed their relationship in 2013 and later published a book titled Whatever…Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves.
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