Rita Moreno on if she’ll marry again: ‘I would rather eat glass’

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I love Rita Moreno and enjoy her interviews so much. There are several older famous women killing it and telling it like it is. Rita was a guest on People Live when she brought up the topic of marrying again. She was very clear on that point. You can see the video on People.com and here’s what she said:

Someone asked me recently if I would countenance getting married again. My answer was simple. I would rather eat glass. I don’t want to get married. I come from an era where you were supposed to obey the man in the family and they’re the ones who knew. I didn’t know how to write a check for the longest time. People who are in love very often collude. It’s a silent pact. In my case it was ‘I’ll be the little girl and you be the daddy.’ That stopped working after a while. The little girl wanted to grow up and that’s when the trouble started. I was not happily married for a very long time.

How would you describe the last eight years since your husband [passed]?
I’m so happy. I really am.

Rita, 87, was married to cardiologist Dr. Leonard Gordon from 1965 up until he passed in 2010. (Here’s a link to photos of them together.) After he died, she opened up about the fact that Leonard was possessive and jealous and that she felt trapped in the marriage. Can you imagine being miserable in a marriage your entire adult life up until the age of 79? So many people do that. My mom has friends who feel similarly, but who won’t leave their husbands because they don’t want to be alone either. They also don’t want to date again at all or go through any of that with a different man. (Which I don’t blame them for, it’s hard enough in your 40s.) I guess it’s a devil you know situation and that things are different for the older generation.

Rita with Norman Lear, the creator of the original One Day at a Time. He’s 96!
Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

photos credit: Getty

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26 Responses to “Rita Moreno on if she’ll marry again: ‘I would rather eat glass’”

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  1. Swack says:

    My dad died when my mom was in her mid 50′s. Someone asked her if she would marry again and her answer was: “I don’t want to take care of an old man”.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      Right? If it were my husband, I’d gladly take care of him. But why start all over with some other old guy?

    • LWT00 says:

      That’s exactly what an older, divorced lady I know said. She’s lonely (though very close to her daughters and grandchildren) but it’s not worth the trouble to find a new romantic partner.

  2. bella says:

    I love her so much

  3. Steff says:

    The legend has spoken.

  4. Deana says:

    I would hazard a guess that many, many older women who’ve been married most of their adult lives would want to stay single after the marriage ends. If healthy and financially secure (two big ifs) it can be a wonderful, independent stage of life.

    • LT says:

      Oh absolutely – I forgot the stats, but I believe I’ve read that most divorved/widowed women after a certain age do NOT want to remarry.

      I support a women’s right to choose how she wants to spend her life and she wants and has the means to be a stay at home wife and mother, that’s fine.

      That being said, I will definitely encourage my daughters to have enough a career so that they can support themselves in case of divorce or widowhood. My career enabled me to survive financially after my divorce and I’m so grateful I didn’t have to stay in an unhappy marriage because of money.

      • Debby says:

        @ LT I completely agree with you and good on you for raising your daughters to be able to take care of themselves. I’ve seen the effects of divorce or losing a partner when the wife stayed at home for years and it was not pretty financially. I understand the need to be the one to raise the children instead of strangers but I would also think you owe it to yourself and your children to be prepared for the future. If a mom wants to have the time to take care of her children she can also work parttime. That way if something happens later down the line her knowledge and experience in whatever field she’s in is still up to date so she can just choose to work more hours. Staying home for years gives you quite a disadvantage when you need to start working again after all those years at home. In my own generation I see both partners taking a step back after having children. Instead of the mom staying home fulltime both partners work but work 1-2 days less so they both get time with their kids. If I had any need for children that’s the route I would take.

  5. lucy2 says:

    Most of the older women I know say the same thing, including those who are currently married!

    I feel badly for Rita, that she spent so long unhappy and oppressed by her husband. I’m glad she’s happy now.

  6. Zapp Brannigan says:

    There is a gender gap in remarriage, men are much more likely to remarry when widowed that women. The thinking is that women are more socially adept at dealing with grieving and also men have fewer support networks. I think many women experience a renewed sense of independence too, they are usually the ones to do the emotional and physical labour of maintaining a relationship, the work in the home and the social relationships running. Suddenly they are just responsible for doing that only for themselves and it can be freeing. Having seen that in action I can understand her “rather eat glass” perfectly.

  7. Goldengirlslover34 says:

    My grandma was married to my grandfather for over 50 years before he died. She admitted to me that she felt trapped. She had no education, no voice in decision making. She was an orphan who’s aunt took her out of school yo make her the family maid. In many ways my grandfather saved her because he gave her a life she never thought she would have: mother, wife, nice home and friends. However, she grew up in an era and country that men made all decisions. She didn’t have her own bank account. My grandfather was a great provider but cheated on her with her best friend. She had to ask for money to get her hair done. She sat me down as a teen and said “always have your own money so no one can tell you no if you want your nails done or if you want to leave you can.”

    People tend to glamorize long marriages as if people who get divorced are failures. But seeing what she went through, I admire people who are able to end something that isn’t working. It’s hard and her generation not something women could do easily.

    • Debby says:

      That’s heartbreaking that your grandmother felt like she had no alternatives. I think Rita described that kind of situation well by saying you become the little girl in the relationship. Your grandmother had to ask for money to do things like a little girl would ask her parents for money for sweets. In the case of your grandmother however I don’t see she had very much choice in the matter because she was orphaned at a young age and her aunt took away her chance at independence when she took her out of school. I however see women with options still entering into relationships where they are completely dependent on their partners. That’s their choice of course but definitely not something I could do. Maybe I’m a pessimist and distrustful but I need to have my own life and know that everything will be fine if my relationship ends or I lose my partner.

  8. elimaeby says:

    I’m 31 and divorced. I have been living with my current partner for three years now and people are starting to hint at when we’re going to get married. I love him dearly, but this is kind of my feeling on the issue, as well.

  9. mk says:

    My grandmother in her eighties, told me after I asked her if she missed grandpa who had recently passed, “I hated him, good riddance!” I was shocked, had no idea, they were married over 50 years.

  10. Elisa says:

    I have no clue who she is but I love her! Great quotes!

  11. Lightpurple says:

    Every time I see a picture of this fabulous woman, I start singing a bizarre medley of her big number in West Side Story and the theme song from The Electric Company.

  12. Amy Tennant says:

    I’m a recent widow. My husband passed in December. We were both 45. At this point, I’m still not 100% sure I’m going to date again (it’s only been two months, but those two months have felt like two years), but I can’t imagine getting married again. I think I’m probably going to want to date at some point, maybe (not yet, not anytime soon). But even when my husband was alive, and I loved and love him dearly, I chafed at the loss of my independence and autonomy. He never kept me from doing anything I wanted to do, ever, and he was super supportive, but there was always that person to check in with, etc. If I could have him back, I’d never complain about having to check in. I’d do anything to have him back. But since I can’t, I’m starting to envision what my future might look like if I could always call my own shots without having to confer with my partner. I might have decades on my own.
    Never say never. If Tom Hiddleston swooped in with a ring and begged me, I might sacrifice my independence. I’ve learned that happiness is fleeting and life is short, so who knows?
    And then again. I haven’t dated since my 20s, so that’s scary in and of itself.

    • pamspam says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Amy.

      I agree with never saying never…but you can do better than Hiddleston when the time comes haha! :)

  13. Dee Kay says:

    I’m in my mid-40s now and have close relations and girlfriends up to their mid-50s, and I know sooooooo many women who are unhappy in their marriages. It really seems to me like a good, happy marriage is a unicorn: yes they exist but they are RARE af. I thank the goddess I have a happy loving marriage filled with joy and laughter but even so, my H and I have to work at it to keep it that way. And if he dies first, I just know that I won’t find another unicorn and won’t try finding one. I will be content as an independent woman who does what I want. Just looking around me, the odds of actually finding someone you want to live with for decades on end is like less than 5%. Dating/friendship compatibility? Sure. Physical compatibility? Sure, you can find that. But marriage compatibility? RARE.

  14. Anna says:

    I’ve never been (officially) married or had a long enough relationship to really feel betrothed or beholden to someone. I always wanted that and a part of me still does, even though I’m 46 now. At the same time, I’m queer, fiercely independent and always have been, and a survivor and a Black woman in the U.S. which means that I have to work that much harder for everything i.e. jobs. I’ve had to put everything else on hold except career to make what feels like small strides, trying to secure some kind of future for myself. Sure, I wish I had someone to share the load, someone who would notice if I fell out (versus now where I doubt anyone would notice until the smell, for real lol), sex would be really cool, too (it’s been a long, long time). People can’t believe I’m not married (though less so as the years go by) but I’m healing from so much that I know I need to just focus on that and if love happens, it’ll happen. I’m not even sure how to date anymore and in this time of revelations and MeToo and every day someone you thought was hot being outed as a racist/misogynist/other horrible things, it’s hard to trust anyone at all. But I do worry that by the time I find love, we’ll have no time. If it’s a dude, we’ll barely have any time to enjoy each other because men die so much quicker than women (or spend a decade where his junk doesn’t work). I’ve dated people many years older and as I get older, that is less and less appealing not because of lack of attraction but because of taking care of someone ailing. That happened to an “aunt” of mine who finally got married to a widower who was in his 70s, she was late-60s and they were so in love and so happy, then within two years he had a stroke and there was this amazing independent woman caring for an invalid. I’m not trying to be rude or say that one can’t have a healthy and active sex life even in a compromised health situation or well into one’s older age at all–and I have always been more attracted to folks much, much older than younger as my friends suggest I should try–but it was just…sad (especially because she was a virgin (religious) before that…hardly had time to enjoy the nooky before things went south). So many thoughts about this…

  15. Alex Schuster says:

    I am 44 hot, divorced and single, and just like Rita, I will rather eat glass. She was in an apisode of the Goden Girls, who knew as a neighbor who was married to a doctor and felt her marriage lost its luster since it became an empty nester and they hadnt much in common anymore.

  16. Alyse says:

    One Day At A Time is great, the whole cast fantastic – but Rita really steals every scene she’s in!! No wonder she’s a legend.

  17. harlowish says:

    My late grandmother always said that if my grandfather died first, she wouldn’t remarry because “then she might have to cook breakfast or have sex.”