Ricki Lake on Falling Hard for a Jerk She Met Online

Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake. Art Streiber

When I was single two years ago, I decided I wanted a boyfriend for my birthday. My friends thought I was crazy for online dating. For somebody famous, it’s weird anyway to meet someone, because they have a preconceived notion of who you are. There was something anonymous that I liked about being online.

I found this narcissist online and started a whirlwind relationship where I was delusional. I was with a guy who was a total user and liar. He was English and considered himself a poet. He was more charismatic than physically beautiful, but I became infatuated with him very quickly. I was out of my mind in some ways. I wanted it so badly. I lost all clarity. I met with an immigration lawyer. I was going to marry him so he could get a green card. I even went to England with him and met his mother.

He was such a bad guy. I was the only one who didn’t see the signs. I found out from my housekeeper that he would be nice to my children in front of my face but would cringe about them behind my back. When we went to dinner, he was notorious for ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. He wanted me to introduce him to my agent. I have been on my own since I was 18, but I was letting this guy tell me what to do.

After six weeks, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I had lost all sense of who I was. I realized it was not working. As soon as I saw the light, it was over. I didn’t cry a tear about this guy. I dumped him. The next day, I caught him with another woman on Facebook. This woman was a friend of a friend, and she had posted a new profile of her cheek to cheek with this guy. I was like, “Oh, my god! He left me and went to the beach with her!” I was in shock.

I was going to make a documentary called Six Weeks of Poor Judgment, but I never did. I learned my own value. It’s not about having someone. It’s about having the right someone. I reached a point where I thought, Look, I need to be my own advocate. Two years later, I’m with the most amazing man who is absolutely right for me. I’m getting married next year. He’s selfless and kind, and he’s not looking to further his career through his lover. I’m with the right person. I had to go through a couple of dirtbags to get to him.

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