Robert Kennedy pictured with Cheryl Hines

Although it's been less than a year since the tragic suicide of his second wife Mary Richardson, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is reportedly ready to propose to his actress girlfriend Cheryl Hines.

According to Radar Online, Kennedy, 58, who works as environmental lawyer, is planning to propose to Hines, 47, famous for playing Larry David's wife in the hit TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Kennedy and Richardson had been living apart before she was found hanging in the family barn in Bedford, New York, in May of this year. Kennedy had filed for divorce from her in 2010.

'Robert has already bought an absolutely stunning engagement ring and is now in the stages of planning the perfect scenario in which to propose to Cheryl,' a source told The Daily Mail.

'He knows she is the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with and he wants to seal the deal as soon as possible and prove to her how serious he is.'

'Robert is aware that it hasn't even been a year yet since Mary killed herself and he doesn't want Cheryl to be subjected to any negative backlash, she's an innocent party in this whole mess and he wants to shield her from any criticism as much as humanly possible,' the source reportedly added.

Radar magazine wrote that Robert and Mary's divorce was close to being finalized at the time of her death, and that Kennedy would almost certainly have already married Cheryl by now if he didn't have to deal with Richardson's suicide and its aftermath.

'Although he accepts that publicly he has to maintain an appearance of mourning, he points out that their marriage had been over for a long time at the time of Mary's death and he is more than ready to move on now and marry again,' Radar wrote.

The Kennedy family erupted in acrimony following Mary's suicide. During the recriminations, Kennedy reportedly sent his 16-year-old daughter Kyra, one of couple's four children, to live with Hines in Los Angeles.

Then controversy followed his decision to have Richardson's body exhumed and moved to another plot in the St Francis Xavier Cemetery near Hyannisport, Massachusetts. He had the body moved after he had noticed how crowded the original plot had been during her funeral, he told relatives.

Radar Online wrote: 'Robert doesn't want to appear to be insensitive, but he believes he has the right to get on with his life, and his relationship with Cheryl is an integral part of that.

'He has discussed his intention to marry again with his family but hasn't broached the issue with his kids yet.

'Robert is confident though that they will accept it and be happy for him, and if that's not the case he maintains that they will eventually learn to accept it.'