Nick Holmes and Virgina Madsen
09/15/2011 AT 01:15 PM EDT
Virgina Madsen sat front row the Elie Tahari show in N.Y.C. Wednesday with a debut of her own: her "lover" (Madsen's word, not ours), actor Nick Holmes.
The actress, who turned 50 on Sunday, and Holmes, 30, have been dating "for a while," Madsen tells PEOPLE. "I'm not counting on purpose. I just want to concentrate on right now."
That meant hitting up Mercendes-Benz fashion week while the L.A. couple visited Manhattan. "It's glamorous to arrive in New York and go to a fashion show," says the Sideways
star, who said she'd
"given up dating entirely" a few years back. "He's never been. And I just wanted to show this side of my life – good thing he likes it."
Holmes has appeared on Parks and Recreation
and Gilmore Girls
and is "an extraordinary poet," according to Madsen. The pair started out as friends before their relationship became a romantic one.
"She's an exquisite talent and a timeless beauty," he raved. "And an extraordinary amount of fun."
"I would say the same," added Madsen. "He's so much fun."