Jenna Dewan knows firsthand that life can change for the better when you’re least expecting it.
After going through a divorce and recalibrating her life, the actress and dancer is happier than she ever expected.
Dewan, 38, has found new love with actor Steve Kazee, 38, and the happy couple are expecting their first child together. Plus she’s busier than ever with work, including starring in the new Netflix dance series Soundtrack and hosting Fox’s new dance-themed dating show, Flirty Dancing.
“It was a hard journey of growth and change,” Dewan tells PEOPLE in the latest issue. “Ultimately now I can honestly say that I’m living in a very joyful new place in my life, and I’m happy about it.”
Dewan discusses her strength, and shares her tips on how to be open and mindful in her new wellness book, Gracefully You: How to Live Your Best Life Every Day.
“I always say no one gets married to hopefully get divorced,” she says of deciding to end her nearly nine-year marriage to Channing Tatum. They share daughter 6-year-old Everly together.
“People grow and they change and sometimes they don’t grow and change together. So it wasn’t a overnight thing that happened,” she says. “There was no one event. I think it was just a slow realization that we wanted different things.”
Their initial separation was hard for everyone involved.
“I was just gutted. It was so difficult for me,” she says. “It was the loss of an idealistic future for myself and my life. What does that now look like for me? Where do I begin? I met him when I was 24, I didn’t know life without Chan.”
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Dewan says she leaned on her closest friends and family for support, but ultimately had to put in the work herself.
“You would never expect your life to take a turn the way it does,” she says. “But embracing it and starting fresh and figuring out what you want in life and what means a lot to you and what’s meaningful, what is going to make you happy,” she says. “I’m grateful that I now am at a place where I understand myself and what I want and I’m happy about this new chapter. I’m in a place of joy.”
For much more about Jenna Dewan and her new book, Gracefully You, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
She and Tatum are adjusting to their new normal, but their daughter Everly remains their number one priority.
“We’re all aware that it’s a new normal, we’re all getting used to it,” she says. “You can still have a relationship and just because the forms change as to who you are to each other, it doesn’t take away from the love that we had or that we shared all those years.”
Dewan hopes that sharing her journey might help others in similar situations.
“It wasn’t easy necessarily, to get here, which nothing is easy in life, right?” she says. “I had to put in the work. This doesn’t just happen overnight. But just to know that it’s possible, and your perspective on life can change. It can change for the better, and you’ll be fine.”
Dewan’s book, Gracefully You: How to Live Your Best Life Every Day, hits bookshelves on Oct. 22.