Who is Sandra Lee's boyfriend? Andrew Cuomo's ex's partner Ben Youcef is 13 years her junior

The considerable age difference between the two was reportedly a cause of concern for Lee


                            Who is Sandra Lee's boyfriend? Andrew Cuomo's ex's partner Ben Youcef is 13 years her junior
Ben Youcef, Sandra Lee and Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Shortly before Andrew Cuomo resigned as New York Governor amid accusations of sexual harassment, his ex Sandra Lee stopped by a French church with her new beau Ben Youcef.

The 55-year-old was spotted on Sunday, August 8, 2021, in the French Riviera village of Ramatuelle with her boyfriend Youcef. The couple was walking hand-in-hand enjoying the scenes together before heading to dinner at  L’Écurie du Castellas. In pictures from the day, Lee is seen wearing a casual black jumper and sandals while Youcef wore blue jeans, white t-shirt and black sneakers. And as Lee and Youcef strolled around the town, they also gave fans and followers more reasons to root for their relationship. This was shortly before Cuomo quit for good.

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PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 21: Sandra Lee attends The DiscOasis VIP Night at South Coast Botanic Garden on July 21, 2021 in Palos Verdes Estates, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Who is Ben Youcef?

42-year-old Ben Youcef is reportedly a nonprofit interfaith leader, as well as a father of two. He separated from his wife, California-based realtor Apryl Stephenson, in 2019, before filing for divorce in January 2020.

Born in Algiers, Youcef is an actor who has, since moving to Los Angeles, reportedly starred in television shows including 'Law & Order', 'CSI: New York',  'NCIS: Los Angeles', 'Chicago PD', and 'Hawaii Five-0' among others. He also co-starred in 'From The Rough' opposite Taraji Henson and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. According to his IMDb, Youcef is said to have been discovered by Steven Spielberg in Munich, Germany. 

As an actor, Youcef says he also has a bigger vision. "My objective as an actor is to bring a new understanding of the Middle Eastern culture to the rest of the world. My life integrates the Islamic spirit with modern energy. I still retain an almost naive way of seeing the world that comes from a truthful place of a kid that was me," he says in his IMDb profile

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Sandra Lee attend the RX: Early Detection A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee At Sundance Film Festival 2018 on January 22, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

Relationship with Sandra Lee

Earlier, Lee sparked engagement rumors after sporting a diamond ring on her left hand. 

A source revealed how they met and fell for each other. "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," the source was reported saying. "But both are taking things slowly and enjoying getting to know each other."

"Meeting each other during COVID was challenging," the source said, adding, "He's become her friend and loving confidante quickly."

"He seems to be a good match as he has a deep understanding of all of Sandra's worlds from her professional life to her dedicated focus on family and commitment to philanthropy," the source revealed. Additionally, the source also noted that Youcef was raised in a political family, as his father was a longtime Algerian diplomat. 

There is also a considerable age difference between the two, which was reportedly a cause of concern for Lee. However, the source added that it was Youcef who helped her overcome it. "Ben is 13 years her junior, and Sandra struggled with the age difference refusing to date him at first. Ben was patient and reassured her that age is just a number."

Coming to moving on from Cuomo, a close friend of the chef said, "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"

Lee entered into a relationship with Andrew Cuomo in 2005. On September 25, 2019, the couple announced that they had ended their relationship.

On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, Cuomo resigned from his position as Governor of New York from his Manhattan office. "I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside," he said. "This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation. Government really needs to function today, government needs to perform. It is a matter of life and death. Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing [the] state government should be doing."

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