Edward Opinaldo / Splash News 1 / 7
Edward Opinaldo / Splash News 1 / 7

By Kat Giantis

We never would have guessed that Meg Ryan's turn-ons include secondhand smoke and songs about the heartland. Seems the New York Post was right about the actress, 49, spending quality time with John Mellencamp, who last week confirmed his 18-year marriage to Elaine Irwin was over.

A Ryan confidant tells People magazine that the oddball pair began dating seven weeks ago, adding that the cigarette-dependent rocker and his missus had been "separated for some time before that."

But "some time before that" is open to interpretation, especially when you consider that Mellencamp, 59, and Irwin, 41, were together in New York on Oct. 21, when they posed together at an event for Paul Newman's charitable Hole in the Wall Gang camps.

That was also right around the time Meg and John were photographed walking arm in arm around Manhattan.

According to the mag, the former Mrs. Dennis Quaid has already rendezvoused with Mellencamp on Martha's Vineyard, taking him to her favorite coffee spot, Espresso Love, and gone grocery shopping with him in New York (TMZ has video of them together in NYC, with Mellencamp, who suffered a heart attack in 1994, sucking on a cancer stick).

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"She usually comes in by herself or with her daughter [6-year-old Daisy]," a grocery store spy tells the mag. "I thought that was her husband because they seemed for comfortable and familiar with each other, just like an old married couple."

In an interview with the December issue of Q magazine to promote his well-received folk-blues album "No Better Than This," Mellencamp observed that Irwin, his third wife and mother to two of his five children, should consider trading up.

"Elaine's still beautiful," he said. "She could do better than a cranky old man."

Meg, whose decade-long marriage to Quaid ended in 2001, not long after she began cozying up to her "Proof of Life" co-star Russell Crowe, has known Mellencamp and Irwin for several years, and the trio were photographed out to dinner in New York back in 2008.

What do you think of Meg and John as a couple? Do they make a strange sort of sense? Tell us in the comments.

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