Daphne Zuniga: ‘When I turned 40, I kind of felt like a guy for the first time’

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Daphne Zuniga, 56, just got married this summer for the first time. She came on my radar after she did a 25 Things interview with US Magazine and revealed that she eats popcorn or ice cream for dinner, which I do too as those are my favorite foods along with jelly beans. I eat like a preschooler. Daphne did a first person essay for Glamour Magazine about her marriage and her relationship with her new husband, whom she dated for almost ten years before they got married. It’s a fun read about her journey to marriage, and how it came naturally out of an appreciation for how her partner let her be herself.

On feeling more confident at 40
When I turned 40, I felt confident and physically and emotionally strong. Insecurities from my 20s and 30s disappeared. And I still wasn’t looking to get hitched at all, but the funny thing is, I observed that having that attitude made me more attractive to men. I kind of felt like a guy for the first time, having fun but not wanting to commit to anyone.

Guys asked me, “Do you want to have a family? Do you want to have kids?” And my answer was always, “Well, when? When is that going to fit into my schedule if I’m auditioning, or if I’m filming?” And if that’s what you want, that’s fantastic. But I didn’t. This one life is not cookie-cutter for anybody.

I never wanted kids. But I also love children. I love their energy, and I’m pretty sure they love me. But I knew that I didn’t want them. Growing up with a single mother who worked a lot, I knew that if I were to have children, I would have to shift things about myself. And I wasn’t ready to do that…

On getting married now
I knew I was going to be with David forever, but I also wasn’t exactly sold on marriage. I thought we’d be like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It already felt like we were married anyway. But then I started thinking, Why not go for the adventure? Why not see? You love him, and he is the one you’re going to be with forever. And here’s the other thing: There’s nothing wrong with letting go of something that was true for me for all these years. It’s okay to say, “I want to do this now. I want to see if I can get closer to this man I love so much.”

It’s been two and a half years since we got engaged, and at 56, I’m so happy to finally be married to him. It was perfect timing. I don’t think we needed to do it sooner, but I’m glad we didn’t wait any later. There was only something to gain by tying the knot, which was this new shape of us, and this new adventure of love and commitment.

So here’s my advice now: Take action on your own confidence and your own beauty and inner love, because men have a certain confidence just because they’re men. It’s so odd to me! Women tend to think we have to work on that confidence. I just work on trusting the timing of things. Embrace that.

[From Glamour]

I’ve heard that before, that we should try to be more like men and not care too much what people think about us, particularly men we’re dating. It tricky because we’re socialized to make sure everyone is ok before we are, and to put other people first. The older I get the easier it is to do what I want and not be so worried about how everyone else is doing. I think that comes from being a mom too, not that it’s universally true for moms, just that caregiving is a hard habit to shake.

Also many people get married in their 50s for practical reasons too, like saving money on taxes and making sure that a partner can make medical decisions.

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24 Responses to “Daphne Zuniga: ‘When I turned 40, I kind of felt like a guy for the first time’”

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  1. ME says:

    I guess your 40’s and 50’s can be a great time IF you aren’t dealing with horrible peri-menopause!

    • Jen says:

      THIS. I’m 48 and not loving the peri-menopause. I mean, I love the not having a period thing and the not giving a crap what people think thing, but I could do without the hot flashes.

    • StarGreek says:

      Yep I agree.
      I was fine until I started entering perimenopause a few months ago and it is giving me hèll!

      For the rest, I agree with her. Once I hit 40 I started behaving like men and wow I really feel free.
      I don’t give a flying chuck about what anybody thinks of me, no matter what I wear or how I look.
      If it wasn’t for my not-so-good health, I would feel better than I ever felt.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Oh I’m with you. I’m in my late 30s and currently perimenopausal and it SUCKS.

      • ME says:

        Yeah really. What I hate is no one tells you the horrors of peri-menopause and how it can last up to 10 years ! It’s not just hot flashes, but joint pain, anxiety for no reason, depression, dry eyes, dry skin, bloating, digestive problems, the list goes on and on !

      • Meeee says:

        I was peri-menopausal in my late 30s and am now in menopause at 44. I second everything “Me” said…it’s nice not to have periods, but sometimes I wish I still did, when comparing to those other symptoms.

      • ME says:

        @ Meeee

        Do the symptoms ever go away? I mean I thought once your period actually ends for good your hormones level off instead of being sporadically high and low during peri? It sucks as women we aren’t taught any of this. You have to do so much of your own research. Every woman is different so it’s hard to understand anything. So frustrating !

      • Lightbulb says:

        Omg – I’m 44 and I have joint pain, weird emotional issues, dry eyes and dry skin. I thought it was just general aging. My periods are still normal-ish. This peri-menopause is news to me. Granted I haven’t seen an ObGYN in a few years. Sigh, guess it’s time.

        Her attitude and confidence is refreshing!!

      • ME says:


        Your period getting lighter/shorter/heavier/longer usually happens towards the end of peri. The first 1 to 10 years you can have all sorts of symptoms while your periods are still fairly normal. I have done so much research on this it’s insane. I too thought that it was general aging at first.

      • rottenflower says:

        wow, this is enlightening. I’m 39 and some change, and I have many of these symptoms which I now know could be perimenopausal. I have no idea what my familial history of menopause onset is, either; I think my mum had a hysterectomy right after my brother was born

  2. Eleonor says:

    This woman is my animal spirit.
    That’s all I have .

  3. Faithmobile says:

    It’s a strange thing to admit but Spaceballs was one of my favorite movies when I was young. So it’s nice to find out that Daphne is super cool and dishes great advice. I met my husband when I was 32 after I had told everyone in my circle that I was never getting married and definitely never having kids. I was actually too embarrassed to have a big wedding because I felt like a fraud. Ten years later we have two kids and I finally feel comfortable with where I am in the world-like a pirate, making my own rules.

  4. Erin says:

    Wow, good for her. Agree with everything she said and I’m so happy for her.

  5. Helen says:

    33 here – is there any way to avoid peri-menopause, menopause and any/all symptoms? i told my mom and aunt that i was sick of periods and couldn’t wait until menopause and they just laughed at me.

  6. TheMummy says:

    My best friend is 52 and is transitioning from peri menopause to menopause and she’s one of those women for whom it has been a seamless transition. She always had terrible pmdd, but now that has completely disappeared. Her only symptom is random hot flashes, but those even mostly went away after the first couple years.

    I know some women who have a horrible time with menopause, but contrary to popular belief it definitely is not all women. That gives me some hope!

    • Christin says:

      About three years ago, I found a message board devoted to peri. Women discussed symptoms such as heavy flooding, hot flashes, etc. Many of the usernames would post over the course of a year or so, then never again. Some were trying natural approaches, while others were being advised to consider surgical routes (which most were reluctant to do).

      My assumption (or hope) is that their worrisome symptoms eventually subsided. This timeframe also supports the observation that the final two or three years of peri are the most erratic, and then transition occurs. I know a couple of women who gave up and sought a hysterectomy within a year or so of increased symptoms.

  7. Brittney says:

    I just turned 32 and am already learning how to channel this energy… it’s astonishing to look back and remember how much I *cared* about pleasing people, even a year ago.

    Getting wiser can only be a good thing.

  8. jules says:

    Nice to see a celebrity who appears to have kept her own face & aged gracefully.

  9. clairej says:

    She has always been so gorgeous. Her and Grant Show in Melrose Place were so awesome together!