Meet Katie Couric's Young New Boyfriend
04/20/2007 AT 08:45 AM EDT
"The age difference scared her off at first," says a friend of the CBS Evening News anchor, who agreed to have dinner with Perlin a few weeks after chatting with him at a Manhattan cancer fund-raiser in September.
Since that first date, the pair have shared nights out at Manhattan's Gramercy Hotel's Rose Bar and the "21" Club, attended the Super Bowl in Miami and gone skiing in Sun Valley, where they stayed at the home of casino mogul Steve Wynn.
"Perlin is a nice guy," says Couric's friend. "He's extremely smart. He's honest. He doesn't play games. He's sweet. Normal. Really grounded. It's a drama-free relationship."
Adds the pal: "They do the same things any new couple would do. They sometimes stay in and watch movies. They go on trips. ... They spend a lot of time together, considering how busy they both are."
So who is Brooks Perlin? The prep school-educated son of a rich Connecticut family, he attended Williams College, where he played on the tennis team and was known for "laserlike volleys," says one schoolmate, "and lots of shirtlessness. He seemed to enjoy displaying the bod."
These days, he competes in triathlons, keeping to a grueling training schedule while starting up a business to market green construction materials (he previously worked for several New York City hedge funds).
"They seem comfortable with each other," says her friend. "She's a very young 50. She's playful. She's cute. She's down-to-earth. And he's mature. They seem happy."
For more on Katie's new romance, pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.