Giada De Laurentiis has used this time at home to connect even deeper with the most important people in her life — especially her boyfriend, Shane Farley.
The Food Network star and the TV producer, who have been dating over five years now, reached a new level both in their personal and professional relationship while quarantining at home in California. "We've been spending every second of every day together, and well, that's never happened for me because I've always been traveling and working," De Laurentiis, 50, tells PEOPLE. "I think it's made us stronger. Truly. I think that's what happens sometimes in these things. You either become stronger or you start to say like, 'Ah, I can't do this.' So it's been fun."
De Laurentiis — who recently partnered with Marshalls to launch their new “Share WOW, Get WOW” social media campaign focused on turning customers' in-store finds into real-life "wow" moments — even shot her latest cooking show, Giada At Home 2.0, with Farley behind the camera. Working together was a first for the pair, though they had attempted it once before when Farley was set to produce a talk show with De Laurentiis in 2013.
"That's how we met, but nothing ever came to fruition on it," she explains. "And so I realized, 'Oh wow, this is really good. We can do this.' And we can do it in a time where we can't get away from each other. So it's even better."
Also at home with the couple is De Laurentiis's daughter Jade, whom she shares with ex Todd Thompson. She calls this extra time together with Jade "a gift."
"I got to learn so much about her. I thought I knew a lot about my daughter and who she is, but I felt like I learned a lot more about who she was and what was going on in her world," says the cookbook author. "She's 12, so I find that for 12-year-olds, there's a lot going on. She had a lot of friends stuff going on. It changes daily. It's a very emotional time."
"It was a bonding experience and a time that, although it was nerve-wracking for a lot of us, was actually a gift in disguise," she continues.
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I had so much fun partnering with @marshalls to turn something one shopper found in the store (#ad) into the ultimate WOW cooking experience. I helped Liz put her kitchen find to good use during a virtual cooking class where we made homemade pasta! Marshalls is turning awesome finds fans share on social into big WOWs IRL. @e_batch5 @sweetnizcakeshop Share your favorite finds with #MarshallsWOW and #contest, and Marshalls could WOW you next! No purchase because. 50 U.S. DC, Par, 18+. Rules & entry deadlines: Marshallswow.dja.com
Through her partnership with Marshalls, De Laurentiis got to gift the experience of a lifetime to a stranger. After a baker Liz Cumberbatch took to Instagram to shared her love for a sifter she found at Marshalls, the company set up a virtual cooking session with De Laurentiis. (Watch the touching moment on De Laurentiis's Instagram above.)
Now, the department store chain will be setting up similar experiences tailored to all kinds of finds for those who share on social media.
"Thank goodness for the ability to sort of connect like this over Zoom and have these moments," says De Laurentiis. "I think the moments of connection, the moments of inspiration and these bigger wow moments, that's what we remember in our lifetime."
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