Originally posted Thursday, August 2, 2018 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Despite some truly sad moments on TLC’s “90 Day Fiance,” Molly Hopkins is a preternaturally optimistic, ebullient human being.
She married a much younger man from the Dominican Republic Luis Mendez but the relationship quickly crumbled. He found Woodstock, GA stultifying and the responsibility of helping raise her two daughters overwhelming. He grew to resent Molly, became morose and nasty and then left her home.
Crushed, Molly chose to divorce him. He disappeared, not even bothering to show up for the just-aired reunion shows.
In an interview this week, Molly said she isn’t even sure where he’s living though he might be with family members in New Jersey. She figures he isn’t back in the Dominican Republic because he would need to be approved or denied a green card by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That would involve an interview where the two of them would have to vouch that the marriage was legit. At this point, she has made it clear it’s over. His ability therefore to get a green card, she said, is severely hampered, especially in the current political environment.
Her only issue is if he stays stateside, she is technically financially responsible for him for 10 years if he pursues any government-backed services. Then again, without a green card, he probably wouldn’t be able to do that anyway.
“I wish him the best,” she said. “If he could be a forthright citizen and works and pays his taxes. so be it. I don’t know if that would be the case.”
Now she’s back focusing on her business LiviRae Lingerie and recovering from the self-described roller coaster ride of the past two years.
“I’m just trying to get back in the groove of work,” she said, “ and do what I do best. My confidence is fine as far as my business is concerned. This store has been the love of my life and I got sidetracked.” (Lifetime aired two seasons of “Double Divas” about five years ago where she and her business partner Cynthia Decker helped women gain confidence in themselves with better-fitting bras.)
Going into the show, Molly naturally had no clue she and Luis would have so many problems, that her oldest daughter Olivia would raise such a fuss.
“I don’t think I thought it was going to be quite as drama filled as it was,” she said. “I was fully invested in this relationship.”
Olivia, she acknowledged, sometimes came across as spoiled but she is also strong willed and smart as a whip. “A lot of people said my daughter was my relationship therapist,” Molly said. “I’m glad I’m able to talk with her like that.”
She said she was well aware that the age difference between her and Luis would engender criticism from the social media peanut gallery. She also couldn’t have predicted how he would behave once he came stateside.
Despite the fact millions watched the dissolution of her relationship, she had no regrets doing “90 Day Fiance.” She got to meet plenty of other couples in the same boat as her. She noted most of those couples featured are still together, despite no shortage of rocky moments.
“It made great TV,” she admitted, about her relationship. “People watch because it makes their lives seem normal or they see the same type of dynamics in their own relationships, whether it’s with an immigrant or not.”
She also harbors no anger toward her business partner Cynthia, who convinced her to do the show. “She’s my do or die,” Molly said. “She knows my true heart. She felt like she also had the wool pulled over her eyes. She pushed this relationship when I was initially against it.”
Cynthia said in a separate interview that she was hoping the show would help their store and their business. But in the end, she said that wasn’t the case, that they shot very little in the store or of her because she was wholly supportive of Molly. “It was frustrating,” she said, because the producers focused more on conflict and skeptics of her relationship than her supporters.
Molly is nothing if not self deprecating. “I’d prefer to be considered a great entrepreneur, not a dumba** on reality TV!” she said.
She also engaged with a lot of her social media critics, often digging into why they were so angry with her. Often, she uncovered that person’s own pain. “I felt like a counselor,” she said. ‘They didn’t expect me to correspond with them that way.”
It helps, she said, that she has a strong network of friends and family who helped her get through the toughest times. “I just roll with my emotions,” she said.
And Molly hasn’t given up on finding a companion to spend the rest of her life with.
“I still have a lot to offer,” she said. “I want to share this crazy bra journey with someone. I’m a little crazy, sure. That comes with the territory. Women are emotional creatures. We love hard. We love fast. I got caught up in that.”
She also doesn’t convey hatred toward Luis, just disappointment. “I don’t believe you need to harbor ill will or negativity toward people,” she said. “I don’t want to be known as a man basher.”
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