The past two months, we've been watching and recapping Tough Love Miami for you. And after seven weeks, we might be officially hooked. We see ourselves wondering where the ladies and their relationships will go and no, we aren't proud of it.
But this week, we saw Miami girl Claudia Lopez not only have a very public breakdown, but make the decision to leave the show. If you live in Miami, there is a very good chance you or your abuela
knows who Lopez is. She has been in the Spanish TV and telenovela game
for years, but made her first English-speaking debut on Vh1. And she
definitely made her mark on the cable network last week on the "Mommy Issues"
episode as she wept then walked away all in a one hour episode. Want to
know what made her leave it all behind? Well, we found out.
Miami New Times: Before we get to why you left, how has the last month or so been watching yourself on Tough Love Miami?
Claudia Lopez: Well, it's like you know something is coming and as much as you try to put it behind you, its going to be on TV for everyone to see. I can't say it was all hard to watch. Like when our dates "didn't speak English" and I ended up flapping my arms like a bird and making a fool of myself. That was fun. They didn't show a lot of my dates because I am social and I like meeting people. I always acted like a lady; it wasn't much to see, I guess.
How did you get on the show?
Someone approached me and I immediately said no. I wasn't thrilled or interested in being in a reality show. I have been in movies, TV, soap -- any kind of set you can imagine for years. Acting had been my strength, and I wasn't really looking to do reality. But then they approached me a few times and I realized it would be a good thing to try. I do have trouble finding a good relationship and I knew at least I knew I would break into American TV. I killed two birds with one stone: I figured out what the hell was wrong with me and had some fun.
Had you ever watched Tough Love before?
I never had. I hate saying that, because if I had, I probably would have learned a lot years ago. I had no idea who Steve even was! That was why I was a little bit skeptical. But I did some research and figured out it was definitely something I could learn from.
I know you have a 12-year-old daughter. What does she think of all of this?
She is used to seeing me on TV. It was something new because it was American television and a lot of her friends watch Vh1. My daughter trusted that I wouldn't embarrass her. I would have never let my daughter see me get drunk or hook up with a random. She was definitely excited for me.
The "fishnet situation." I can imagine she maybe skipped that episode.
Oh, lord. Because of what I do, when I heard it was a sexy photo shoot, I thought it would be fine. I actually shot a music video where the stylist put me in a very similar outfit. Outside of work, I dress more on the conservative side. But when it comes to TV, I get into the sexy character because I have always been typecast for that. Even at events, they will style me in a sexier look. It's a character I portray. It's definitely not who I am. And its strange, but I learned from a reality show that if I am not playing a character that I should just be myself.
So, we have to get to Sunday night's "Mommy Issues" episode. Was it hard to watch?
I was so scared to watch. I was even more scared to relive that moment. But most of all, I was so scared to hurt my mother. At the end of the day, she is mother and was able to do the best she was able to do. I didn't want my daughter to be hurt just seeing me in that condition. But just in 24 hours, I have had emails from strangers thanking me, making sure I was OK and telling me their stories. A lot of good came from that experience.
Why did you leave the show?
JoAnn Ward is and was so sweet, so supportive and was so sympathetic to me. Steve (Ward) and everyone involved with Tough Love cared. They were very worried about me. I just started to analyze that the whole process of the show was to find yourself and then a relationship. I realized I was ready to work on me, but I was nowhere close to finding a relationship. I knew I needed to focus on Claudia.
So haven't been able to find love because of your issues with your mom?
I guess it was always the elephant in the room with me. Anything to do with my mom was a very touchy subject. I would reach out to my mom, but she was raised to look the other way whenever there were problems. Seeing that, specifically with my own issues, I always just ignored them. When I would go on dates, and they never worked out, a part of me knew why. I just kind of ignored it. But this show brought all my issues to the surface and made me conquer them.
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Are you happy you decided to go on Tough Love Miami?
Absolutely. I'm very glad that I did it. I'm sorry that it took so long. I wish Steve would have been around when I was 19 or 20. My life would have probably taken a different course. I am very, very glad that I did it.