Nielsen, who turns 43 on July 15, and Dessi, 28, held a wedding ceremony in the Dominican Republic on Feb. 21, 2005 – but the nuptials were not legal because Nielsen had not finished divorcing her fourth husband, former race car driver Raoul Meyer.
Last year's ceremony "was more like an official engagement," Nielsen's longtime friend and manager, Luigi Balduini, tells PEOPLE. "They put it on the news that it was a marriage, but it was an engagement, because she was still legally married."
This time though, it's the real deal. Nielsen "is pretty excited," Balduini tells PEOPLE. "She is like a little child. She is pretty happy."
The show ended with Nielsen apparently choosing Dessi over Flav, but Balduini downplayed Nielsen's involvement with the hip-hop star, telling PEOPLE last year that it was "more of a strong friendship – but it's very heavy."
Nielsen was previously married to Sylvester Stallone (husband No. 2) and involved with former NFL star Mark Gastineau, with whom she has a teenage son, Killian. She has three other sons with ex-husbands Meyer and photographer Sebastian Copeland.
Nielsen began her career as a model for such designers as Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace. In the mid-1980s, she made the transition to acting, starring in such action pictures as Red Sonja, Cobra, Rocky IV, and Beverly Hills Cop II.