Despite having achieved fame for her roles on series such as “21 Jump Street,” “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” and “For Your Love,” Holly Robinson Peete may be best known for her charitable work and activism on behalf of autism and Parkinson’s disease, including the founding of the HollyRod Foundation with husband/former National Football League star Rodney Peete.
Inspired by Robinson Peete’s father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease, the HollyRod Foundation was created in 1997 with the mission to help improve the quality of life of people with the disease. Then in 2005, when her oldest son Rodney Jackson was diagnosed with autism at age 3, the HollyRod Foundation expanded its mission to provide access to treatment, support and other resources to disenfranchised families affected by autism.
In 2010, the mother of four — twins Ryan Elizabeth and the aforementioned Rodney Jackson, Robinson James and Roman — had a bonanza fundraising year for her foundation. She set a record for monies raised with an outstanding performance on “Celebrity Apprentice” — finishing in second place. That same year, her autism advocacy extended to co-authoring a book — she had previously written Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game — with then 12-year-old daughter Elizabeth Peete. Released by Scholastic, My Brother Charlie talks about autism from a sibling’s point of view.
But as busy as she is with her acting career, her writing — she is working on a third book — and her philanthropy, Robinson Peete’s first priority is her family. And that may be why, where other Hollywood marriages fail, she and Peete will have been married for 17 years this June. Not a bad someone to turn to for advice about love. Here is what she has to say:
eH: What do you love most about your life now?
HRP: I LOVE the safety I feel within my family.
eH: Is it more important to be loved or to love?
HRP: It’s is more important to love…that begets love…
eH: What is the hardest thing about love?
HRP: That it can leave and trying to fill that void makes one do all sorts of nutty things!
eH: When would you say was the first time you really found love?
HRP: In my early 20s. A man showed me what true love was. We are still friends to this day.
eH: What does love mean to you now versus 10 years ago?
HRP: Love means security and freedom now. Ten years ago I was always trying to quantify love. Measure it. Now I relax into it.
eH: How do you know if someone is THE ONE?
HRP: You feel an overwhelming wash of freedom to be you — the best you ever. The “one” makes you feel bliss.
eH: What do you think one needs in a in a partner to make the relationship successful?
HRP: Empathy, patience, kindness, honesty and carnal desire.
eH: Did becoming a mother deepen your ability to love?
HRP: Becoming a mother upped my loving capacity from a small creek to the Grand Canyon!
eH: What advice would you give to those struggling with self-love — and those who are still looking for love?
HRP: Relax and take care of YOU. Nurture YOU. Love YOU. Self-love begets love. Single folks HATE this clichéd advice but it really is the honest truth.
eH: How do you think being a public figure has affected your ability to find love and be loved?
HRP: I found it helpful in that it has afforded me the chance to meet so many amazing people — the pool is bigger. But it was more about the preparation of myself to be ready to receive love. That made the difference.
Learn more about the HollyRod Foundation.