Katharine McPhee Gushes About Fiancé David Foster: 'We're So Happy and Proud of Each Other'

Katharine McPhee couldn’t be more pleased about her connection with husband-to-be, David Foster.

“We’re so happy and proud of each other,” she told PEOPLE exclusively at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Hot Pink Party at the Park Avenue Armory in New York on Wednesday night.

The pair first met in 2006 when the music producer mentored McPhee and other contestants on Season 5 of American Idol. Though they’ve been friends for years, the 35-year-old singer admits it feels a little different now that they made the leap to lovers. “It’s a different thing when you’re a team for sure,” she says.

McPhee also has some advice for those seeking love: Don’t force it! “It’s going to happen when you’re not looking for it. It’s going to be the person that’s right under your nose, or it’s going to be somebody you’ve known for a long time, or it’s going to happen when you least expect it. It really is cliché but it’s cliché for a reason — because it’s true! It certainly happened for me that way.”

McPhee added, “I believe in love.”

The Waitress star also revealed she used “some personal days” so she could sing “She Used to Be Mine” — from the musical that she’s performing in London — at the BCRF gala while Foster accompanied her on piano.

How does McPhee feel being onstage with the Canadian songwriter-producer? “It’s amazing,” she says. “This is how we met and how we started, so it kind of feels like old hat to be honest.”

Despite her own immense talent, she says she lets him take the reigns when they perform. “I would say the guy with 16 Grammys is definitely the leader with the music. It’s an equal balance, but I definitely would let his words carry more weight than mine.”

McPhee and Foster, 69, got engaged last July while they vacationed in Anacaptri, Italy. This will be the second marriage for the American Idol alum, who was previously wed to Nick Cokas, and the fifth for Foster, who was most recently married to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid.

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