What Happened to Meg Ryan? The Vanishing Rom-Com Star

By | dennis quaid, Food for thought, heartbreak, Inspiring Celebrities, marriage, meg ryan, russell crowe, stories

Meg Ryan might be the quintessential star of the rom-com. 

She burst onto the scene as effervescent, charming Sally in the rom-com classic When Harry Mets Sally. She proceeded to follow up her breakout role with a string of other hits in the genre, including iconic 90s films like Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, You’ve Got Mail. Meg led the revival of the romantic comedy genre in a striking fashion, having drawn throngs of people to the movie theatres time and time again. 

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However, like many celebrities from the 90s, Meg’s fame didn’t last. At some point, she fell off the radar, and the mainstream media didn’t bat an eye. The question remains: what happened in Meg Ryan’s career or personal life that drove her to step back from the spotlight?

As usual, the answer isn’t black or white. Meg’s exit from the industry was both a choice and an outcome of social pressure and judgment. Here is the truth behind Meg Ryan’s bittersweet exit from the industry:

Did Meg Ryan cheat on Dennis Quaid?

Meg and actor Dennis Quaid were married through the nineties. They tied the knot on Valentine’s Day, 1991, and welcomed their only son Jack on April 24, 1992. By the late nineties, their marriage was on the rocks, and they were both seeing other people. 

Meg Ryan Dennis Quaid
(Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

In 1999, Meg began a relationship with actor Russell Crowe, who co-starred with her in the film Proof of Life. They were an item until 2001, but because Meg and Dennis hadn’t announced their split until June 2000, the press accused Meg of cheating on her longtime husband. 

At the time, Meg gave an interview to W Magazine, saying that she knew what it felt like to be the ‘Scarlet Woman’ — a reference to the book The Scarlet Letter where a woman was ostracized and shamed by society for having committed adultery. As it turns out, the customs hadn’t shifted all that much since the book’s original publication in 1850. The tabloids hounded Meg for impairing the “squeaky-clean persona” she’d built over the last ten years. They accused her of humiliating her family and for breaking her husband’s heart into a thousand little pieces. 

Only, none of the publications thought to ask themselves whether they had access to the complete picture. Simply put, Meg and Dennis weren’t content in their marriage anymore and were openly pursuing romances with other parties.  Dennis himself had several extramarital affairs but didn’t face the vitriol his wife did — a demonstration of double standards. He got off scot-free, leaving Meg to cope with the widespread scrutiny herself.

It’s a real gift when you know you can’t ever really manage an image or a story and you stop caring […] Divorce is hard. Love is hard. All those things were so personal. They weren’t for mass consumption.

Meg Ryan on The New York Times

Meg also explained that the “complexity of a life or marriage” could never be condensed in a news headline or tabloid feature. Most people seem to accept these stories at face value without considering their impact on the individuals concerned. Meg lived through pain and shame in the spotlight, knowing all too well that she wasn’t in the wrong for cozying up to Crowe. 

Meg Ryan Russell Crowe
(Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images)

Meg felt “burned out” as an actress and felt “pressure” to look a certain way

Meg’s fall from grace over an ultimately false cheating allegation exhibits that misogyny and discrimination are well and alive in the entertainment industry. They extend beyond cheating scandals and public perception — they also affect how women are supposed to present themselves as they get older. 

The press’s treatment of Meg amidst the Russell Crowe romance made her feel disillusioned with movie stardom, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Meg now found herself on the ‘wrong side of forty.’ As is wont to happen, the offers landing on her doorstep were becoming less and less appealing, and she didn’t feel like these roles were worth her time or interest. She said that the “same opportunities did not present themselves in [her] 40s that did in [her] 30s and 20s,” adding that she didn’t feel like she could bring anything to the table for these purported roles. 

The mother-of-two holds a lot of respect for women who choose to undertake roles at her age, but she herself felt like she had done as much as could — and as much as she wanted to — in the realm of acting.

I was burned out … didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated.

Meg Ryan on The New York Times

In the New York Times interview, Meg detailed how being an actor is akin to “burning through life experiences.” One moment, you’re a helicopter pilot; the next a journalist, after which you go on to play an alcoholic. Meg felt like she was living these “express-lane lives,” and sooner or later, realized that she needed to take time off to reevaluate her own aspirations. 

Meg Ryan
(Manuel Romano/NurPhoto/Getty)

There are very few dynamic roles for older women, and there’s an unimaginable pressure to look a certain way. This isn’t necessarily communicated to the actresses outright, but it’s evident nonetheless. That’s why a considerable number of women possibly turn to plastic surgery or unhealthy diet plans. They’re coerced into fitting into a mold that don’t want them in the first place. 

The pressure [to look a certain way] was implicit. How you look — there’s so much judgment. You can’t win or lose. That’s an annoying thing, and you deal with it.

Meg Ryan on The New York Times

Ultimately, Meg Ryan’s gotten “truer as a person” and is cherishing being in “first gear”

Though the blown-out-of-proportion adultery accusations and the ageism did have implications on Meg’s career, the talented entertainer used these difficult obstacles to find her true passion. Meg left behind her acting career to achieve peace, fulfillment, and growth. 

The horrifying media frenzy Meg experienced led her to reexamine her situation and carve out a new path. She wanted to slip out from under the overwhelming gaze of the paparazzi, so she turned down film roles of her own volition and began to consider a career as a writer or a producer. 

I didn’t have to care what people thought. I have gotten to do what I guess I secretly wanted to do. Be totally under the radar and live my life.

Meg Ryan via People

Meg’s directorial debut Ithaca was released in 2015, and she has a romantic comedy in the works. She’s busy raising her adopted daughter Daisy True and spending time with her adult son, Jack Quaid, an established actor. She’s adding more skills to her repertoire and is relishing being in the driver’s seat as a director and producer; she said in one interview, “When you’re an actor, you’re a cog. When you produce, you understand the other gears. I’m in first gear now.”

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She also said that she “got tired of waiting to be chosen,” so if the ideal roles weren’t going to come knocking, she would develop them herself. Meg was not taking orders any longer from an industry set on objectifying and discarding her. The scandals and the frustrations pushed her to take charge of her own life.

I felt like I got truer as a person. I’m more myself

Meg Ryan via Closer Weekly

Let life guide you where you want to go

Despite the hardships, Meg Ryan realized her true ambitions and acquired the tools she needed to make them a reality. Despite the media’s cruelty, no one forced Meg to leave acting — she made the conscious choice of following her heart. 

We all must examine what makes us happy. Are we doing everything we can to achieve our dreams? Sometimes, the unpleasant experiences will do their part in forcing us to wake up and face the music. Let life teach you where you’re meant to be. Don’t be afraid to make those tough decisions when the time comes.

Single Dad Abruptly Abandoned By Mother Of Baby Discovers Power Of Vulnerability

By | children, dad, fathers, Food for thought, heartwarming, Motivation, single, stories, support, uplifting news, vulnerability

Just a month after baby Persephone was born, her mother left her with the baby’s dad. But through hard work and willingness to ask for help, the single dad managed to take care of his daughter just fine.

Thrust into being a single dad

Back in 2015, Richard Johnson was blessed with a baby daughter, Persephone. But just a month after she was born, the baby’s mother abandoned her family.

Unprepared and unsure of what to do, Johnson gobbled up every book and YouTube video he could find. He also turned to a Facebook group called Life of Dad that was a “major confidence booster” and helped him get through this challenging period.

One day, Johnson wrote a Facebook post about his situation and to thank the group for helping him get through. Then, the post went viral.

In the caption, Johnson explained that he doesn’t know why Persephone’s mother left — he expects postpartum depression played a role. But either way, he needed help, and the support from the Facebook group helped him get through.

It takes a village

Johnson received so much support (the post has 95,000 reactions) that he decided to start his own page chronicling life as a single dad.

Johnson documented how Persephone had holes in her heart and needed surgery. Again, he turned to his community on Facebook for support.

Incredibly, Persephone’s surgery was successful, even baffling the surgeon. “The doctor was amazed and had said, ‘I’m amazed but I don’t understand how this is quite possible. I had a few colleagues take a look and they agree had they not known the previous issue, you’d never be able to tell there was anything wrong from the start,’” Johnson wrote on the post.

Johnson’s love life worked itself out too, as he revealed on the page that he was seeing a woman named Jennifer who cared for Persephone like a mother.

In a touching birthday post a month after her surgery, Johnson told Persephone how much his life changed now that she’s in it.

“They say the child learns for the parent, however I feel I am learning more from you than you ever could from me. I look at you and can’t just help feel like everything will work out the way it should,” he wrote. “I’m going to give you the world one day Miss Lilith. I’ll work myself to death to do it. Everything you can ever want will be yours or I’m going to die trying.”

A happy ending

Thrust into the unknown of parenthood all on his own, Johnson did the right thing — he looked for help wherever he could get it. He did his own research and was vulnerable enough to tell those that helped him how much he appreciated them. In return, the community continued to support him and undoubtedly played a role in raising Persephone — they say it takes a village to raise a child.

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Heroic Husband Hurls Himself At Rabid Bobcat That Attacked His Wife

By | brave, bravery, Food for thought, husband, marriage, stories, uplifting news

A North Caroline woman escaped with her life thanks to her husband after a bobcat with rabies attacked to her.

An unprovoked attack

It was just a regular day in the North Carolina suburb where Happy and Kristi Wade live. Happy was taking a coffee and brownies into the car while his wife got in the passenger side with their cat, Caroline Faith.

But then Kristi heard a loud growl and felt a bite on her hand. It was a bobcat — a very angry one — and it wouldn’t let go.

“As I came out of our garage, I heard a growl behind or beside one of our cars and I knew it was a cat because I know what a cat sounds like,” Kristi said in a video interview with local TV station WECT. “But it sounded like a very angry cat, so in the video I back up to see if I can see what it is and when I do the face of this bobcat came around the corner of the car.”

Husband to the rescue

As can be seen in security camera footage, Kristi tried to run, but the bobcat held on tight.

Instead of running the other way, Happy sprung into action. He grabbed the bobcat, and as it bit his knuckles he took across the lawn and hurled it as far as he could.

“I just remember seeing this face and it was trying to bite her right there in the side of the neck,” Happy told WECT. “And so I shoved my arm in and that’s how I ended up with it like this [above his head].”

“I thought: ‘I’ll throw it this way,’” Happy added. “Two options: one, it’ll see an escape route and it’ll take off or it’ll stop just a moment where I can get a good shot at it.”

Happy, who has an open carry permit, reached for his gun, but the bobcat ran under the car. Moments later, it charged and Happy shot the bobcat.

“I’m not happy that this happened, we don’t take any pleasure that I shot the cat” Happy told WECT. “In my head, I knew it had already attacked two people. If it had attacked somebody else and I didn’t do something, morally it would have bothered me for a long time.”

“It was hurting my wife and I didn’t want it to,” he added.

Healthy bobcats wouldn’t do this

As the Wades went to the emergency room to receive medical attention and get a rabies shot, the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health confirmed that the animal was in fact rabid.

Ted Stankowich, a behavioral ecologist who specializes in mammals at California State University, Long Beach, told The New York Times that this type of behavior would be extremely rare for bobcats without rabies.

“Any rabid animal is going to be far more aggressive around humans,” he said. “But a normal bobcat would typically not come into a neighborhood like that, into suburbia, let alone attack a person like that.”

Happy days

Kristi says she’s extremely thankful her husband was there to save the day. “He saved my life,” she told The Times. “If he had not been there, I do not know where I’d be, or in what shape I’d have been in. I do not know how I would have fended it off myself.”

But she’s not surprised her husband would do something this heroic.

“That’s just the kind of person he is,” she said. “We’ve been married for 30 years. I met him when I was 15, and there was never a doubt in my life how much he loves me and how much he would do for me.”

Bravery is rare

There are plenty of partners out there who would have simply run the other way when they saw a bobcat attacking their wife — but not this guy. Good for him for doing the right thing. It’s probably not something that’ll soon be forgotten in that household.

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Billie Eillish’s Parents Are Not The Reason Why She Is Successful

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, stories

No artist has taken the world by storm with such swiftness over the last few years as Billie Eilish

The 19-year-old California native doesn’t just stand as one of the industry’s most beloved, intriguing, and critically acclaimed musicians; she has practically come to represent the entirety of Gen-Z, whether it’s through her oversized clothing, her striking hairstyles, her macabre visuals, her dark goth-pop sound, or her remarkable ability to be brutally honest about mental health. 

While Billie’s fashion style and unique musical stylings capture the lion’s share of attention, it must be noted that her personal life is just as fascinating in more than a few ways. We were able to get a glimpse into her private sphere through her 2021 documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, but there’s undoubtedly more to be explored in terms of her dynamics with brother Finneas and parents Maggie and Patrick O’Connell. 

So let’s take a few moments and chronicle the early life of Billie Eilish. As it turns out, her success becomes all the sweeter once you take her upbringing and family history into account:

Billie Eilish was born to “unemployed actors” who “knew no one” in the industry

Billie Eilish was born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell on December 18, 2001, to Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell. 

Maggie worked as an actor, vocal artist, and screenwriter through the nineties and early aughts. She’d been a background artist in popular television series like Friends, The X-Files, Curb Your Enthusiasm and was even involved with The Groundlings as a member and teacher. While at The Groundlings, a sketch comedy troupe, Maggie worked with up-and-coming comedians like Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, and Kristen Wiig. 

Billie’s dad Patrick played bit parts in a handful of shows and movies, including The West Wing, Baskets, Iron Man. Patrick and Maggie met while filming a project in Alaska and married in 1995. They welcomed their first child, son Finneas, in 1997. 

It’s true that both of Billie’s parents were in the industry, and therefore she didn’t necessarily struggle with finding support, both emotional and financial, from her folks. Yet, it’s key to remember that Billie shouldn’t outright be accused of nepotism. Her parents weren’t huge A-listers who had assistants, agents, and PR professionals lined up at their door, catering to each and every one of their desires and ego trips. They were working actors who lived paycheck to paycheck and were highly dependent on their next role to get them through the month and pay their bills. This is the case for the majority of actors in the entertainment industry; you go through roles one after the other in the hopes of catching a lucky break one day and landing a consistent gig.

During my lifetime, our parents were never able to fully financially support us off of their work as actors. Our dad worked 12 hour days 7 days a week as a construction worker for Mattel and our mom was a teacher. Our parents gave us love but knew no one in the record industry. 

Finneas via Insider

As per Rolling Stone and confirmed by Billie’s dad himself, they were “unemployed actors” who decided to press pause on their careers to homeschool their children and nurture their creative abilities. Maggie and Patrick ensured that their children were fully encouraged to pursue and excel in their passions — despite the family’s unstable financial situation. 

Billie and her brother Finneas were homeschooled so that they could focus on “creating” music

Maggie shared in an interview that Finneas was only able to attend a singing lesson because she’d arranged to cook for the teacher during the lesson. Similarly, Patrick exchanged handyman services for Billie’s gymnastic classes. These sorts of sacrifices extended to their household as well — Maggie and Patrick chose to “sleep on the futon in the living room” so that Billie and Finneas could be spared from sharing a room. 

Both Maggie and Patrick were amateur musicians and kept three pianos in their modest two-bedroom house, with music residing in every “nook and cranny” of their home. Maggie taught her children the basics of songwriting so that they could develop a passion for creating and writing music. In fact, nothing gave the parents more joy than seeing their children becoming budding, thriving artists before their very eyes. 

We had a rule growing up that was kind of a household respected thing of just no matter what time it was, no matter how old we were, if we were creating, writing music, playing piano, playing guitar, or any instrument at all, we could stay up as long as we were doing that. 

Billie Eilish to Vanity Fair

The family faced their share of financial difficulties, but they worked together to treat their children to whichever tools and structures they needed to succeed as ambitious young artists. Billie also added that “being creative” was the most critical consideration in their household — not the technical “esoterica you’ll never use” from high school. 

Billie pays her parents a salary to join her on the road and says she wants to “make a movie” with them

Maggie and Patrick sacrificed several luxuries and privileges when raising Billie and Finneas, so it’s only fitting that they’re able to reap the rewards of Billie’s outstanding career. 

Finneas revealed in a tweet last year that he paid off his parents’ mortgage and that “Billie pays them each salaries to tour with [them] full time,” even though Maggie and Patrick had allegedly told them that they would do it at no cost. Billie broke out early — her debut song ‘Ocean Eyes,’ produced by Finneas in their bedroom, blew up on SoundCloud when Billie was just 13. By the time she had launched her debut studio album, she had accumulated north of a billion streams on Spotify and other music streaming platforms. 

Therefore, her mom and dad had to adapt to the onslaught of fame rapidly. When Patrick realized that Billie’s career was taking off, he decided to quit his construction job and become her “one-man crew,” undertaking everything from driving the van to doing the lights, as per Rolling Stone. His handyman skills are as helpful as ever when he joins his daughter on tour — he takes it upon himself to “fix whatever needs fixing,” whether it’s carpentry or cleaning up the floors. 

As for Maggie, she works around the clock as Billie’s “psychological gatekeeper.” She’s the first and frequently the only point of contact between Billie and the rest of the world. She’ll ensure that her daughter’s mental health is prioritized, that the 37-person crew is content and getting along, and that the siblings remain focused on the big picture. 

You also know that someone has to be completely your child’s advocate. That’s fallen to us. She can speak up for herself, and she does. But sensing that she needs a break or she’s tired, that’s mom.

Maggie Baird on Your Teen Mag

Billie, on the other hand, has nothing but immense love and respect for her parents’ sacrifices. She said Maggie is the “best mama in the world” and that she and her dad are “very similar.” She also expressed admiration for Maggie and Patrick’s respective skillsets in the arts and said that she wishes they’d had more recognition early on. Her ultimate goal is to make a movie featuring the two of them, said Billie. 

My dad is the best actor I’ve ever seen. And my mom can do all these voices and characters — she’s incredible. So I wish they’d had more recognition. I actually want to make a movie and put them in it — I’ve never told anyone that. 

Billie Eilish on Rolling Stone

You’ll never be able to measure your parents’ sacrifices

The love for a child is immeasurable. Some parents will sail the seven seas to put a smile on their child’s face or die trying. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t enough toxic or abusive families around to disprove this theory, but we should also acknowledge the vast majority of mothers and fathers only want the best for their children. Some will have their own way of expressing their goodwill, but most will make their sacrifices in their little way. 

Maggie and Patrick were thought to have spoiled Billie and Finneas with their industry perks, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The media and the public overestimated their fame, not knowing that they’ve fought tooth and nail to cultivate creativity in their children and lead them towards the arts. They could have just taken the easy way out and only remain focused on their basic necessities. Yet, they made it a mission to foster their talent and empower them to create beautiful, fulfilling art. We’ll never truly measure how much parents have given up for us, but we can at least show appreciation every step of the way.

Teen Gets Bullied For Being Gay, Fights Back And Gets Outpouring Of Support

By | fighting, Food for thought, gay, stories, student, uplifting news

After years of abuse, a gay teenager lost his cool and finally fought back. But while violence is rarely the answer, standing up for himself was the right thing to do.

Kids can be so mean

Ever since he came out as gay in seventh grade, Jordan Steffy, a student at LaPorte High School in Indiana, was bullied relentlessly. His classmates spewed hateful slurs and even threw food at him in the cafeteria.

But when a fellow student posted a homophobic message on Snapchat, Steffy had finally had enough.

“He made an anti-gay post with a picture of me on it saying how he hated gays and a bunch of throwing up emojis all over it,” Steffy told Insider in 2019. “I walked up to him and said ‘Why did you post this?’ He said ‘It was just a post.’ And I said ‘Well, it’s not just a post. It’s a post about me, saying how you dislike who I am, and I don’t appreciate that.’”

The other boy went on to say: “‘Okay, but what are you going to do about it?’”

To which Steffy retorted: “‘I’m not going to deal with this, this is the last time I’m called anything.’ And then he said ‘What are you going to do about it, faggot?’ And that’s when I was like ‘No, I’m not doing this.’”

The last straw

A video posted to Twitter (that has since been deleted), reportedly showed the two students yelling at each other before Steffy shoved the other boy.

“I just got sick of it,” he said. “It’s crazy the amount of hatred I received just for liking who I like and being me.”

The fight was quickly broken up and Steffy was taken to the principal’s office where he was told he’d be suspended.

Meanwhile, the Twitter post went viral with more than 2 million views — and the comments largely praised Steffy for standing up for himself.

The school failed him

But it didn’t have to get to the point of violence. Steffy said he consistently reported the abuse he was facing to the school, yet he was ignored.

“It seemed like I was getting in more trouble for reporting it than I was if I didn’t say anything at all,” he told Insider. “It was doing me more harm than it was good.” 

So even though he was suspended and had to miss the school dance, Steffy felt he did the right thing.

“If I could take it back, personally, I would,” he told Insider. “But I’m glad I stood up for myself. If you were in my shoes, you’d probably get sick of it and you’d want to stand up for yourself.”

Bravery comes in many forms

Of course, violence is a last resort. But when you’ve been verbally abused and humiliated for so long, you can’t blame Steffy for standing up for himself. Hopefully, the boy who posted the hateful messages — and the school that ignored the student — have learned a valuable lesson in right and wrong.

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When Shaq Overheard A Man Struggling To Purchase An Engagement Ring, He Did This

By | Food for thought, generosity, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Inspiring Stories, sports, stories, uplifting news

Shaquille O’Neal is a very famous, accomplished, and wealthy man – but he recently showed yet again that what he’s truly rich in is generosity.

A true gem

Recently, the NBA superstar was at an Atlanta-area Zales store, where he actually has his own jewelry collection. That’s when he saw a man about to purchase an engagement ring – and took out his own credit card to pay for it. He told the story to NBA on TNT.

“I seen a guy come in — he was just so shy and he was saying, ‘Hey, how much do I owe to pay off my ring?’”


“And I was like, ‘How much is the ring?’ ” he said, and then stepped in to pay instead of the man at the counter.

Shaq then gave his card to the cashier, and shook the hand of the customer, who seemed kind of shocked at what was happening.

“I always get off 30 minutes before you come in here,” the cashier told Shaq, also excited at what they were witnessing.

An elite philanthropist

Shaq is known for his charitable actions and kindness to others. During the pandemic he bought a fan a computer at Best Buy. He also donated all the proceeds generated from his Super Bowl party in Miami to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation as well as the families of the helicopter crash victims.

He be a legendary athlete, but he also seems to be a legendary kind of good guy.

Copy the play

Most of us aren’t as wealthy as Shaq, but there are other ways to follow his lead in the generosity department. Resources other than money, like time, expertise, love, and support could all greatly help someone in need. Just stay alert and willing, and you could be reaching Shaq levels of charity in no time.

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How Mariska Hargitay Fell For Her Co-Star—Not The One You Expect

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, stories

Over 21 years after the first episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premiered, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are still close friends. The actors co-starred for 12 years as the dynamic detective duo Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, before Meloni left in 2011 over a contract disagreement. Through it all, however, they’ve remained close, and fans got a long-awaited chance to see them reunite onscreen in a special episode of SVU, airing April 1, 2021, right before the premiere of the brand new spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, in which Meloni came back to play Stabler again after a full decade. How’s all that for full circle?

The reunion, of course has breathed new life into some old burning questions that many fans had (nay, have) about the pair’s undeniable chemistry. It should be noted that as much as fans may have wanted the two to get together, Meloni has been happily married to his wife, artist Doris Sherman Williams since 1995, and that Hargitay fell for actor Peter Hermann (who she met when he guest starred on SVU), and the couple have been happily married since 2004. Meloni and Hargitay are both content and have their own families (hell, Hargitay is even godmother to Meloni’s daughter), so what’s with the enduring fascination, pray tell? Is it their friendship that’s misunderstood? Perhaps it’s the unspoken belief that men and women can’t have strong chemistry and be friends rather than romantic partners? 

Mariska and Christopher talk openly about their relationship

Today, Meloni, 59, and Hargitay, 57, still spirited as ever, decided to tickle fans’ expectations in advance of their on-screen reunion. To this day, the pair contend that they felt an instant bond upon meeting, with Meloni describing how they “walked into the screen test…and we get up onstage in front of all the suits, and we’re just so engaged,” and Hargitay recalled:

I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy.’ It went deep, very fast…I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early.

When the pair got back together to film their reunion episode after a whole decade, it’s hardly surprising that everything clicked right back into place—almost as though no time had passed at all. “It was this thing that I had really dreamed about,” says Hargitay. “It was Pavlovian,” says Meloni. “Ring that bell, and you get right into Stabler and Benson.” 

“We know each other and mess around socially and all that,” he says, “but when we got down and cameras were rolling … it was such a seamless, effortless endeavor. It was great.”

“There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have,” Hargitay says. “He’s always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship.”

Meloni and Hargitay have shared their most important milestones

Mariska Hargitay and her husband Peter Hermann Credit:
Patrick McMullan / Contributor

The pair have seen each other through many a life milestone and are still going strong.

Meloni, of course, was already married to his wife when SVU began, and Hargitay remembers “The birth of his first child and being privy to his amazing, solid relationship with his wife, before I had that for myself — I think that Chris and Sherman played a really big role for me, to see this really stable couple that loved each other.” 

A few years later, Meloni watched Hargitay fall for her future husband Peter Hermann, who she now has three kids with. Meloni recently described watching them meet, and knowing beyond a doubt that they’d end up together, despite obstacles: 

“He’s on the show as a guest actor, and I’m looking at her, looking at him, and I’m seeing how she’s acting, right? I know her, and I’m like, ‘Oh boy. Here we go.’ And she’s just, ‘Tee-hee, tee-hee, I don’t even care about him or anything like that.’…Sure enough, they start dating…After they’d been dating a long time, she came in one day and she was crushed. She goes, ‘Peter and I had a really deep, long conversation. We cried, and I just don’t think it’s going to work.’”

And she’s sobbing, and the whole time, the [thought] bubble in my head was just: ‘You’ll be married within five months.’ That’s all I was thinking. I knew. I knew.

Christopher Meloni

Ever have a friend know you better than you know yourself? If that’s not intimate friendship, I don’t know what is. 

Friendship, a many splendored thing

To anyone out there who still wishes Hargitay had fallen for Meloni, and that they had shrugged off their respective romances for one another, think again. Hargitay did not fall for the wrong co-star. On the contrary, she’s lucky enough to have both a great love and an infallible friendship with a man. If you’re among those who limit friendship to same-sex relationships (or judge others for not doing so), it may be time to reexamine your reasons for that, your fears—and maybe even those of your spouse/partner. It never hurts to reevaluate those inner settings of ours.

Bottom line: it’s time we all celebrate Hargitay and Meloni for what they do have: a truly incredible friendship. As a society, we have endless reference points for what romantic love should look like, but not so many for what friendship should look like—particularly ones between opposite genders. But we should. In the interest of healthy, well-rounded relationships, I say it’s time to create new reference points for friendship. Reference 1: Hargitay and Meloni. 

Hargitay talks about how before she met her husband, Meloni being in a very strong relationship with his wife made her “feel even safer with him, as opposed to: ‘Great guy — but single.’ Or ‘Great guy — except for his romantic life.’ Instead, he’s this man who is as solid as a rock, and who is that rock in his relationship. And I got to lean on it when I needed to. It was like family.”

Meloni credits their long-lasting friendship to one thing. “It’s simple,” he says. “We have each other’s back.”

Woman Unceremoniously Dumps Toxic Boyfriend After Constant Body Shaming

By | body positivity, dating, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, relationships, stories, uplifting news

One body-shaming boyfriend learned a hard lesson about respect when he crossed the wrong girl.


23-year-old Shelby Johnson has spent years struggling with her weight. 

Things got so serious that as a teen, she had to be hospitalized after dropping down to a brittle 80 lbs. After that scare she managed to put on weight, along with self-esteem, she tells People.

“I haven’t been self-conscious in years. I was when I was underweight, but when I started getting to my goal weight my entire mindset changed”

– Shelby Johnson

“I felt more confident, more whole even. I knew that I was getting where I wanted to be and strived to be”

A devastating DM

Things were going so well that Johnson would even find a boyfriend who she thought loved and accepted her for who she was. 

That was until one day, when he DM’ed her with a particular complaint.

“It’s not like I haven’t told you you’ve been gaining and needed to lose anyway. You’re definitely getting a beer gut babe.”

– Shelby Johnson’s boyfriend, per her Tweet

In that moment, all of her insecurities returned, she shared.

“His comments did make me self-conscious. I started trying to work out 24/7. A couple friends noticed and expressed concern in my sudden desire to be so fit. ”

As she began to question her own response to her boyfriend’s message, Johnson took to Twitter to ask her friends if she was overreacting for feeling hurt.

Dumping dead weight 

She received more than just a second opinion.

Her tweet went viral, gaining nearly 39,500 likes and 5,200 from people telling her to dump her boyfriend, and that she’s beautiful already.

“He doesn’t deserve you. No need to keep that negativity around. You look great,” said one.

“Girl, dump him and find you someone who loves everything about you,” urged another.

Another commenter recommended an upgrade from her boyfriend.

“Dump him and buy a dog:)”

– @ktmlowe_ on Twitter

Johnson says that the overwhelming reaction “made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being hurt.” In another tweet, she announced that she dumped her boyfriend, joking that in doing so she was “dropping a hefty 180 lbs.”

Know your worth

Johnson says that although her now-ex-boyfriend was “really unhappy” about being dumped so publicly, he’ll use it as “a learning experience to be a better person.”

She just hopes that her painful experience serves as an eye-opener for women with similar experiences.

“Be careful, notice red flags and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave something that is no longer making you feel happy”

– Shelby Johnson

When it comes to relationships, compromises are important. It’s part of understanding, accepting and ultimately embracing one another.

However, one thing that’s non-negotiable is mutual respect. As Johnson’s story showed, anyone who disrespects or demeans you doesn’t deserve your time of day, let alone your love.

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Restaurant Owner Catches Robber Red-Handed And Offers Him A Job

By | compassion, Food for thought, humility, inspiring, kindness, stories, uplifting news

The owner of a restaurant in Georgia decided to practice humility rather than fury at a suspected burglar.

He offered the burglar a job

Security camera footage at a Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Georgia caught a man bursting into the restaurant and stealing what he could gather. But in a surprising twist, the owner wasn’t upset.

“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix,” wrote owner Carl Wallace in a Facebook post. “So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.”

Wallace continued, offering compassion to the suspect. “To the would-be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen.”

Wallace then offered his personal cell phone number and assured the burglar that police wouldn’t be called.

“Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.”

Customers loved it

The post has received more than 4,500 reactions and an outpouring support from the public as well as customers.

“I saw a Facebook page on Connect Augusta, and I thought it was probably one of the best things that I had ever read,” customer Cher Best told WRDW. “So as a result of what I read and the compassion, that was part of that Facebook post, I wanted to support the business.”

A Facebook comment from Liz Bellmer read: “I know what I’m having for lunch….as a small business owner who recently had to close my doors because of loss of revenue due to COVID, I appreciate your civility and your way of seeing this. We need more people like you who try to put a positive spin on crappy situations. Positivity should always win.”

Turning the other cheek

Wallace said the burglar didn’t steal much — just some cash from the register. But the risk he took was extremely high.

“They’re risking so much every time they do this: to the business owner, to themselves, or what could happen if the police show up during the process of the break-in,” he told WRDW.

The break-in was on Easter weekend, and Wallace added that was one of the reasons that he and his team decided to be compassionate.

“Instead of having the normal response of being angry, we decided to reach out, and say this is a bad career path that you’re on, and we’re willing to offer you a job if you’re willing to change what you’re doing in life.”

Carl Wallace

Doing the right thing

Is one man’s compassion going to fix the systemic problems that led this burglar to want to rob a burrito restaurant — no. But it does have the capability to change the trajectory of a life, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can really hope for.

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Dad Gets Shamed For Video Of Daughter With Down Syndrome – Then, An Amazing Thing Happens

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Stories, stories, uplifting news

One father in England defended his daughter against online trolls and found some famous allies in the process.

Video bombed

Neil Markham of Banbury, Oxfordshire, took his 16-year-old daughter Ella, who has Down Syndrome, to watch a soccer match between Tottenham Spurs and West Ham United one weekend.

Markham tweeted highlights of their fun-filled outing to share with his family.

“My social media life is really about my kids, it’s not really about anything else. My brother lives away and it was a way of keeping him in the loop,” he told the Daily Mail.

The proud pop posted a video of Ella decked out in Spurs gear at the stadium doing what he tells the Mirror she loves most, dancing. 

“She lives for music and dancing, whether it’s at home or in the house or a disco.”

– Neil Markham

“After the game, they had live music and I made sure we went there because she would love it — she was entertaining everybody around.”

Trolls attack

To Markham’s shock and disgust, Twitter trolls emerged and posted abusive and derogatory terms aimed at his daughter.

Markham immediately called them out.

“This girl would wish you nothing but happiness. Why do you need to be like this? Contact me directly rather than hiding”

– Neil Markham

A backlash

Markham’s post was retweeted over 1,600 times and quickly gained over 1.7 million views, with many posters coming to Ella’s defense and calling out her bullies.

“Your daughter is so beautiful! How anyone could ridicule her… let me at ’em!👊🏻 ,” tweeted someone.

Actress Patsy Kensit took notice and took aim at the bullies.

“I support this beautiful girl, this HUMAN BEING, and her brave fabulous father…come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough and then crawl back into your dark and disgusting hole.”

– Patsy Kensit

“Ella you are incredible. Sending love and light to you and your family. love @patsykensit❤❤❤.”

Spurs favorite Micky Hazard had warm words for Ella, and harsh ones for her abusers.

“Hey Neil your daughter is a beautiful young lady and that is such a beautiful photo of you both. Sometimes people are cruel because they don’t see the beauty but the vast majority do.”

Hazard then invited Markham and Ella to an exclusive gala dinner with Spurs favorites, which they accepted.

Positivity always prevails

After what he calls “the worst day of his life,” Markham told the Daily Mail that he has newfound confidence in human kindness.

“I was rock bottom on Saturday night and I feel so much better now and it can only be a positive thing.”

In the end, all Markham wants is something we all do.

“All I really want after tonight is to treat her as a normal person who would smile at you and doesn’t deserve to have fun poked at her.”

– Neil Markham

Finding positivity in your newsfeed or social media can often feel hopeless. There’s so much cruelty and conflict that it’s easy to lose hope — just ask Neil Markham.

However, he’ll also tell you that if you give people a chance, they’ll show you the kind of love and inclusivity that makes us all special, just like Ella.

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