Carnie Wilson, best known for her music career as a member of Wilson Phillips, is adding a new job to her resume: host of GSN’s modernized version of “The Newlywed Game,” premiering April 6 at 6 p.m. ET on GSN. Now Wilson, who has been married to musician Rob Bonfiglio since June 2000, talks to eHarmony about what she’s learned about love and her new job for which she says she is a natural.
What are the most important qualities to look for in a partner?
Carnie Wilson: Trust and loyalty are number one. Are they trustworthy? Are they capable of being loyal to you? That is a big one for me because I have had challenges with other boyfriends, or relationships, where I just didn’t feel that I could trust them. The second thing would be a sense of humor. I am very optimistic and positive. My angle is always through humor, but I tend to get serious or just overly sensitive and analytical. I think if you have a sense of humor, it breaks down walls.
What do you think the most important tools are for maintaining a relationship?
Carnie Wilson: Communication — not just being able to talk, but knowing how to talk to each other. You can communicate by yelling, and it can be really damaging and nothing will get accomplished. Communicating means it has to go both ways. You have to learn to listen to your partner. You are going to communicate how you feel, and, then, you are going to listen to how he feels. It has to balance each other. It is easy when you get along. There are no challenges there. The challenge is learning how to argue. [Rob and I] have had a lot of counseling. I think personality types have a lot to do with it. My husband is not a talker and I have had to train him that it is okay to tell me how he feels. He is Italian, but he is not that brazen Italian. He is really shy and soft.
What will you teach your children about love?
Carnie Wilson: I have started at such an early age to teach my daughter Lola about love. The first part of love is about loving people in general. That love is the strongest force in the world. It is the most positive and powerful. It is so important to love people and show them that you love them and to love yourself. Lola is going to be four and she blows my mind because the things that I am teaching her — that I was taught — that I know it is such a beautiful thing to be able to express your love to someone and for someone. All day long, she will say, “Mama, I love everyone. Mama, I love you so much. And mama, I love myself because it is important to love yourself.” She is just amazing. I have mentioned to her that sometimes a man and a woman love each other and want to be together forever, but that is as far as I have taken that because she is so young.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Oh, yeah. I think it should be called past lives. For me it has to do with past lives, but that is a whole other conversation. I am not psycho into that, but I really believe in it. I think it was definitely love at first sight for me for me with my husband, but I am not sure it was for him.
Is there one universal rule about love that you would like to share with our readers?
Carnie Wilson: That is a hard question. True love is something that is meant to be and it will be on both ends. If it is true love, it will happen with both people. It is so sad when you are crazy about a guy but he doesn’t love you back. Maybe it is not love. Love is like a circle and it has to go around. I have been there with somebody that I really loved, but he didn’t love me back. He used me. It can be such a sad thing, but it can be so relieving when you go, “It isn’t love.”
Tell us about your new job as host of “The Newlywed Game.”
Carnie Wilson: Six months ago, right when I found out I was pregnant, I joined the GSN family to do some fill-in work with Fred Roggin on “GSN Live.” I love game shows, I love people winning, I love happiness, I love the whole vibe of it. Even if you lose, it is just fun. It was a perfect match. I grew up watching every game show. As I was packing to leave for a Wilson Phillips concert — it was going to be a four-day trip — I am, “What am I going to pack for four days? — pregnancy brain completely frazzled. Then my manager calls and says, “GSN called and they want you to host ‘The Newlywed Game.’ It starts on Monday.” This was Wednesday night. I said, “I am coming home from Indiana on Sunday night. Is it in L.A.?” “No, it is in New York and you will be there for three weeks.” It was literally dropped into my lap like that. I didn’t think twice. I just threw everything into two suitcases and I was gone for a month. My daughter came out after 10 days, and then she was there for 10 days, so it worked out fine. That is always my main concern, my daughter Lola.
It was dropped into my lap like a blessing. I was nervous in a way, but at the same time, I didn’t think twice. I was just, “How fun. Go for it.” There is a makeup artist at GSN that told me they were looking for a host for “The Newlywed Game.” I thought, “That would be fun. But they are going to hire a man.” It didn’t even occur to me that they would consider me. So when it happened, I was screaming. It is the most amazing thing ever. We shot 40 shows in 11 days.
We talked to Patrick Duffy when he was starting “Bingo America” and he told us it is much harder than he thought because you have to keep it going all the time. How was it for you?
Carnie Wilson: Physically, I was 5-1/2 months pregnant. It was just at the right time. If I had been any further along, it would have been more of a challenge. It was eight solid hours of standing, and those hours were pretty much clumped together. It was 11-hour days. We would shoot for three straight days, 15 shows and then we would have four days off. All I could do was get on my knees and pray to get through. I got on the set and they said, “You are the leader of this. You set the pace.” It is totally in my nature to say, “Come on, everybody let’s go,” but I didn’t really know the format.
Once I got out there, every bit of anxiety was lifted in 20 minutes. It was made for me. It was the best. It would have been harder if it was a puzzle game show, but this was all about relationships and marriage and stuff I love to talk about and hear about and I got to completely interject my own life in there and I had no filter. I got to really let loose and be myself.
“The Newlywed Game” premieres on April 6 at 6 p.m. ET on GSN.