Loni Love on why marriage isn’t for her: 'Women can be a lot more independent and can still have the love they want'
Unapologetically is a Yahoo Life series in which women and men from all walks of life get the chance to share how they live their best life — out loud and in living color, without fear or regret — looking back at the past with a smile and embracing the future with excited anticipation.
Comedian Loni Love has sage advice for people seeking a romantic partnership: "If you're looking for love, look for it everywhere," The Real co-host says.
Love, 50, says she met her boyfriend of four years, James Welsh, through an online dating site.
"I took my time," she explains. "I had certain steps where I would just talk to the person. Then I would start texting. Then I would listen to their voice. Then we would meet up. So, my process took six weeks before I even met the person — because if his voice sounds crazy, I'm hanging up."
The author of the 2013 advice book Love Him Or Leave Him, But Don't Get Stuck With the Tab, may have certain standards, but ultimately, she says she believes "love can happen for everybody."
"I don't care if you're a tree monster, I don't care if you don't think you look like, I don't care if you have 33 million kids — I believe anyone can find love," she says. "It doesn't matter what age, what size, what color. So, I don't give up on love. Love happens every day for people."
For Love, finding a romantic partner only happened after she spent her 30s figuring herself out — and making her Hollywood dreams happen. Marriage, she says, is not something she has ever wanted to pursue.
"We live in more modern times now, where women can be a lot more independent and they can still have the love they want," she explains. "I always looked at marriage as if, you have children, you should definitely be married. When it comes to my friends who are having children, no — it's too hard. Don't be calling me. Call your husband."
Though Love does not have children of her own, she says any parenting desires she may have been fulfilled thanks to Welsh's grandchildren.
"We take them out, we have a good time," she says. "Then I have nieces and nephews, and when school comes around, they give me a list. I can't afford children — I got too many nieces and nephews."
Love points out that a mistake some people make while dating is finding people who want different things than you do. She knew she didn't want children or get married, which is why Welsh — who already had kids of his own — was a good match.
"Back in the day, there was a term called 'old maid.' That used to be shunned. Those days are gone," she says. "Now, women are making their own money, they're taking control of their lives, and they're also doing it with love. Look at Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. They've been together for a thousand years. They’re together, they're a couple, there's nothing different from them other than the fact that they're not a married couple."
At 50, Love has also reevaluated other parts of her life as well.
"My attitude towards body image has been more about being healthier," she explains. "I think I took for granted that you could eat a cheeseburger, or go to Taco Bell. In my 50s, I'm taking my health a lot more seriously. As far as my body, I don't care about people who are judgmental about women and their body types. I accept people for who they are."
After all, she points out, "when you're in your 50s, you want to feel better — you're not dead."
"You still have a lot of life left," she says. "While you can walk, walk. While you can stretch, get up and stretch. There may come a time in your life later on when you can't do that. That'll help you get off the couch and move."
One thing that gives Love hope is how many more stories there are for people of all ages — even in the entertainment industry, which notoriously celebrates youth.
"The thing about ageism for women in Hollywood is that it's changing," she says. "Women are making their own projects. We're writing our own stories. Those projects aren't just for young women and men, they're for people that are experienced and seasoned. That's why it's so important that we get more creative people in the process to write different types of stories that don't just focus on one body type or culture, or one age or gender … A lot of people over 50, they want to see themselves."
Love, who says she is "unapologetic" about being a girl from Detroit's Brewster projects who made it big in the entertainment industry, also has a message for other people who may be in her shoes, at the beginning of their comedy careers.
"If you are a Black creative, continue to create," she says. "Don't let anything stop you. Your voice is needed, and it needs to be heard."
—Produced by Stacy Jackman
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