More: You were recently the face of Healthy Child Healthy World’s Fourth Annual Mission Mom Campaign. Tell me about this charity and why you got involved.
Ricki Lake: Healthy Child Healthy World is an organization I have worked with for years. Their message is very much the same as mine and my partner Abby Epstein’s. It is all about empowering moms with information about how to make their families healthier. That begins with providing education and showing them how to make better choices, such as buying nontoxic products.
More: How did your film The Birth of Being Born change your life?
RL: I can’t even put into words how much of an impact this film has had on me personally. This was an idea that just came to me after I had two perfect experiences [the birth of her two sons, Milo and Owen]. I decided I wanted to do a project that looked at the medical system when it comes to giving birth plus the choices we have and the ones that are being taken away. Now it has become my passion. We even cut a 28-minute educational version that is being taught in colleges and universities across the country in women’s studies classes, and even in medical school.
More: Making this film was a tad risky, wouldn’t you say?
RL: Yes, plus I had to pay for the whole thing, not to mention how it took over three years to get made. We even made a four-part follow-up and wrote a pregnancy guide book. The feedback has been amazing, and hearing from so many of the people we helped only makes me want to work harder. Yes, I also host a talk show, but this is the work that is the most special.
More: Speaking of your talk show, congratulations are in order because you recreated it.
RL: I am grateful to be back and to have a platform where I can do really meaningful things on television. Following the success of the movie, I said, How can we do this on a smaller scale yet get a bigger audience? Daytime television was the answer. It is the perfect vehicle for getting the information out there.
More: How's it going?
RL: I forgot how hard it was [laughs].
More: You are also a newlywed. How is married life treating you?
RL: I am madly in love. We [husband Christian Evans and she] have been married for seven months and make such a good team. I have more fun with this guy than with anyone I have ever met. It is so nice to finally meet my soul mate at this time in my life. I am in my forties and I feel I have really come into my own. Things just begin to click at this time and you find out who you are, you are more comfortable in your own skin. And doing the film helped me get there.
More: How did age work to your benefit when you decided to start testing the waters and date again?
RL: There was a shift. I definitely enjoyed dating in my late thirties. I was only 35 when I decided to end my marriage. I definitely played the field for a few years because I wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Some might say I was dating inappropriate people, and some might even say they weren’t age appropriate either [laughs]. When I turned 42 I met this person and it was then I realized I was ready to have a partnership with someone. Hitting that milestone at 40 was like, Wow. You come to this new understanding of self-respect. I knew then that I wanted more and that I was ready to take the risk, by allowing myself to be vulnerable. It was such a love story, and I love to share it because it gives people hope, especially if they have been burned in relationships. Some people might be scared to start over, but I am living proof of why you should take the risk.
More: How did your boys react to you getting remarried?
RL: They really love him. It is amazing. I have a 15-year-old and an 11-year-old. They are doing such amazing work as artists and musicians and everyone gets along great. Plus, we added a new addition to the family. I met this seven-year-old girl, Tori, and her mom, who adopted her from foster care, on Twitter (www.torigaga.com). She has a disease called NF1 [neurofibromatosis type 1], which is a genetic disease in which tumors grow on your nerve endings. She has 15 months on chemotherapy ahead of her. I basically adopted them, and not only have the family stay with us but took her to see a round of doctors. This is a time of transition for me and my priorities have really shifted. I have this beautiful family and now another family to blend with mine. It makes me appreciate things so much more. The complaints I had before I met Tori and her mom have become fewer.
More: You recently lost a lot of weight. How did you do it?
RL: I had no choice. I was doing Dancing with the Stars and was working out seven days a week. I wanted to feel and look my best while I was on the program. When I turned 40, my priorities shifted. It is not necessarily fitting into a specific size—you just want to feel great. I do Soul Cycle. I confess, I am addicted and I love how I feel afterward.
More: In 2007 you went public with a very personal story: you were sexually abused.
RL: I have always been outspoken and candid about my own hardships and triumphs. It is not something that is calculated. If it helps other people and helps me come to terms with what I was going through in life, then I am happy to talk about it. After I started talking about it I didn’t feel as alone, which is very healing.
More: Was it hard to admit something like this?
RL: Talking about my weight is so personal, too, but I do it. Once you decide to become a public figure you have a responsibility, even if you are heavily flawed. I am someone whom people have seen at 260 pounds, married, divorced and then madly in love. There are high and lows in life, and I feel some sense of responsibility to be forthcoming. When it comes to the hardships I have faced, I talk about them not only as a way to help others but because it is cathartic for me as well.
Click here to read Allergies Are No Laughing Matter for Julie Bowen.
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