Divorce Court judge Lynn Toler has seen her fair share of love triangles and infidelities over the years — like the woman who slept with the best man on her wedding night. Awkward honeymoon, anyone? As Toler’s syndicated show marks its 10th year on the air (she’s been with it for the last three), we talked to the former Cleveland Heights Municipal Court judge about how not to end up in her courtroom.
What’s the most common relationship problem you see on your show?
People getting married too young — they decide they’re in love, but they never talk about jobs, money, who’s going to clean the toilet. They think “I’m in love” is enough. But in most cases, it’s more like, “I’m in lust.”
Does Divorce Court help you with problems in your own marriage?
I have a new appreciation for what I have. Even when it’s not going great, it’s better than what I see on the show. You need to communicate to make a relationship work and realize that you’re not going to be happy all the time. Unhappiness is a sign to change or do more work.
You had Gary Coleman on your show. Why do you think celebrities have such a tough time with marriage?
When you’re a celebrity, you’re used to getting what you want. Marriage is a compromise. It’s not all about you.
How do you become a TV judge?
I haven’t the foggiest notion. My assumption is that when The Plain Dealer and Channel 19 did segments on me, someone in California saw it. I was known for being expressive, and I had no problem with humor. ... I wasn’t boring.
How do you make it up to your wife if you forget your anniversary?
Do the one thing she wants you to do. If your wife hates to cook, cook her a meal. Don’t just send her flowers. That’s too easy. Let her know you sat down and thought about it.
Divorce Court airs weekdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Fox 8.