It’s never too late to find your “soul mate” — at least that’s what Richard Norris believes. Norris is famous for receiving a complete face transplant after a shotgun accident left him disfigured and unable to talk, chew, or lead a normal life. Now, he’s sporting a brand new look after more than 100 doctors worked on a complicated reconstructive surgery. And he’s found a new girlfriend to boot.

The 39-year-old was featured on the cover of GQ this summer, after receiving his full face transplant. “I feel like I’ve proved a whole lot in the past two years,” Norris told The Sun. “I’ve proved the impossible. It’s hard to know how much I’ve changed because I see myself every day, but I notice little things, like the way I pronounce words.”

At age 22, Norris accidentally shot himself in the face with a shotgun. Despite surviving the brutal accident, he lived in seclusion for 15 years because his face was so disfigured, only seeing his parents, with whom he lived in Hillsville, Va. But Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, a plastic surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center, changed all that when he completed a 36-hour face transplant surgery on Norris. During the operation, the surgical team transplanted the face of a 21-year-old who had died onto Norris's, and completely reconstructed his chin, lips, and nose.

During the lengthy and complicated process of facial reconstruction, Norris became somewhat of a celebrity, appearing on the cover of GQ and television shows. Despite the constant prodding and scrutinizing that is the bane of press attention, however, it all led to something positive. After seeing him on TV, Melanie Solis, 43, who lives in New Orleans, reached out to him through e-mail.

They’ve been seeing each other about once a month ever since, maintaining a long-distance relationship: “Those eyes and that smile just had me at first sight,” Solis told The Sun. “Kissing is something we have been asked to ‘practice’ because Richard hasn’t redeveloped the ability to ‘pucker.’” She continued: “I see Richard as having a beautiful, kind heart on the inside — and he’s a hottie on the outside!”

"My friends have moved on with their lives, starting families and careers," Norris told the Daily Mail. "I can now start working on the life given back to me."