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Why Paula Patton Says 'for the First Time in My Life, I'm Really Happy'

Karen Mizoguchi

With a new movie soon to be released, Paula Patton has lots to be smiling about.

But the Traffik actress, 42, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that she is currently the happiest when she is offscreen — and a new boyfriend may have to do with that.

“For the first time in my life, I’m really happy when I’m not working. I love to work but I really do love my life when I’m not working,” Patton says. “That’s a good improvement for me.”

For more on Patton, check out this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

The mother of one, who shares 8-year-old son Julian with ex-husband Robin Thicke, recently revealed that for the last month she’s been dating a new man.

RELATED: Paula Patton Is All Smiles as She Steps Out With Her New Boyfriend in N.Y.C.

On Wednesday, Patton and Zach Quittman were spotted out in New York City holding hands and smiling.

That same day, Quittman clarified to PEOPLE that he and his estranged wife are no longer together. “We were totally separated before I moved on,” he explained.

Patton gushed about her new man while promoting her film Traffik on Extra TV Monday.

“I have a boyfriend now. I haven’t called anybody a boyfriend. He’s my boyfriend!” she told the outlet. “When you know, you know. I love him.”

RELATED: Inside Paula Patton’s Life as a Mom

And on how they met, Patton revealed, “If you have a kid and you have a basketball game, look at the daddies. It’s kind of a suburban romance. He’s got kids, I got a kid. It’s one of those!”

Quittman is Patton’s first boyfriend since her bitter custody battle with Thicke and finalizing their divorce in March 2015.

Traffik hits theaters April 20.