Jen & John: It's Been a Year! Is He the One?

updated 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

When Jennifer Aniston first met John Mayer at an '08 Oscar party, she admitted she barely knew his music. What a difference a year makes. Now Aniston, 40, sings along from the good seats at her 32-year-old boyfriend's concerts. And Mayer put on a tux and escorted her to the Academy Awards—their biggest public appearance yet. "It was a conscious decision," says one of Mayer's buddies. "It was time." Once allergic to attention, the pair openly held hands and cuddled at Vanity Fair's Oscar bash. "At some point you feel comfortable and say, 'This is the choice I want to make,'" Mayer said on Ryan Seacrest's radio show. After separating briefly in August, the pair "are in a good place right now," says Mayer's pal. "They've come a long way as far as understanding each other, getting what the other needs." Last month that included a romantic Bahamas getaway.

Now it's back to work: While Aniston films the comedy The Baster this spring, Mayer is working on a new album. "And he's got his girl, who he's having a great time with," says his friend. "Life is good."

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