We first fell in love with Carnie Wilson when she sang the inspirational phrase of the 90s alongside her sister Wendy and BFF Chynna Phillips: “Hold on for one more day.” Being the daughter of 1960s pop icon Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Carnie and her weight loss struggles were thrown into the spotlight at a young age.
Now happily married to musician Rob Bonfiglio and mom to two young girls – Lola, 4 1/2, and Luci, 8 months – Carnie has a new “purpose in life.” The hilarious and down-to-earth actress and singer opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her “really funny” girls, her struggles with weight and the pressures of being “under the microscope,” how she’s learning to balance her career and motherhood, and how Lola is showing signs of carrying on the family business: “Lola is the mind-blower of the whole family.”
CBS: How is baby Luci?
CW: “Luci is stunning! She’s moving very quickly. Yesterday we were playing on the nursery floor and she picked herself up on her daddy’s legs and stood up. I don’t know about other babies, but that is faster than Lola! I was screaming ‘Yay Luci’ and she was clapping and saying ‘Yay!’ The development is just amazing. Luci is really sweet. I’m so in love, again, of course!”
CBS: How is Lola adjusting to being a big sister?
CW: “Lola adores Luci! She’s had a very good time adjusting, it’s been very smooth. We’re so blessed with both the girls. From the minute that Lola knew we were pregnant, she was thrilled. The day that Luci was born, she was thrilled. She kisses her non-stop.
I’ve heard horror stories. It’s so sad when there’s that horrible jealousy, but I really think it’s the parents’ responsibility to introduce way early on that the love is going to be shared. That’s what love is for, it’s for sharing! Lola understands that. And I really try to make a point when everyone’s doting over Luci, I say ‘And look at Lola!’ I really try.”
CBS: Tell us a funny story about Lola.
CW: “[Hugh laughter] I could talk forever about my girls! Lola is really funny. There are so many stories! She is a riot and such a ham! Just this morning I had a stylist come over to drop off clothing for The Newlywed Game which starts filming on March 4th. Lola would not let him leave the house until he approved her outfit for school! She was wearing a pink v-neck t-shirt with ruffled sleeves, a really cute jean skirt with ruffles and embroidered butterflies, with knee-high flowered and heart socks and high tops tennis shoes and pigtails. It is ridiculous how engaging and loving Lola is.
I have a quote book and I’ve been writing down her quotes. For instance, when she was only 3-years-old she looked at me and said, ‘Mama, the spirit of my life is you.’ I went ‘What did you say?’ And she said ‘It is mama! The spirit of my life is you.’ She’s somethin’ else!”
CBS: Do you think Luci also has a sense of humor?
CW: “Oh I know she does! I can already tell because you just know a happy baby and Luci is very happy. She’s a lot like Lola so far. Lola was born in April and she’s a Taurus. I love astrology. And Luci is a Gemini, born in June. Luci is more aggressive physically than Lola was.
I’m a big believer in these videos called Brainy Baby. I had Lola watch Brainy Baby for 6 months straight. From 6 months to 9 months, every single day she had about a half hour of Brainy Baby. It’s educational, it’s entertaining. They’re just the best videos!
So Luci is clapping and yelling and screaming and laughing at these videos at exactly the same parts that Lola did. She just loves to laugh!”
CBS: It sounds like you love motherhood. Has it changed you?
CW: “Oh my god, yes, more than anything ever, in many, many ways. It’s made me grow up and become more confident and secure of a purpose in life. My heart, body, mind and soul is now completely devoted to my children and my family. Preserving the family unit is really important to me.
Motherhood has opened my eyes to my marriage and how keeping that solid is very important for the children. It’s made me somewhat paranoid and fearful and insecure and guilty as well. Those are the parts that are challenging for me. Because I’m a working mom, I try to include them in my work. Lucking with Unstapled, we were taping at home and the kids were a part of it. It’s changed me because I’ve felt guilty that I have to work, but I have to work. It’s not a choice. I’m bringing in the money and that’s what I have to do. This business that I’m in – it’s so volatile – you never know what’s going to happen and I embrace everything.
Being a mom has made me learn how to set priorities in my life. I have new boundaries that I didn’t have before. Essentially it’s very trying because if you’re a good mom, then your children come first. Sometimes that’s hard because you want certain things for your children, but it can’t always go the way that you want it. And you have to live life on life’s terms. That can be hard because I want to live life on my children’s terms.”
CBS: Do you think that good moms should also put themselves first?
CW: “Yes and that’s what I learned, I would say, after Luci was born. With Lola, I was just getting used to it. I was just getting into the groove and actually starting to pay more attention to myself and my health and lose that baby weight with Lola and start eating healthy again. I did that so that I could be healthy, but also so I could be pregnant again. I wanted another child and a sibling for Lola. It’s been such a struggle with the weight. Right now, I’m in a place where it’s dawning on me that my health has to come first. If I don’t have my health, then I’m not there for them!
I think the key word for a mother is balance. I think it’s the most important thing ever: Balance!”
CBS: How do you balance it all? Motherhood, career, marriage, etc.?
CW: “It’s day to day and it will change every day. The balance is working on your priorities and making sure that your priorities are taken care of. And it’s about eating healthy. The thing for me about the eating and the food….it’s a tricky thing for me because I am a cook. Before I had children I used to cook 5 nights a week for my husband. After Lola it became 3 nights a week. Now with Luci I’m lucky if it’s 1 night a week.
Also on my days off, I make sure that I’ve got time with my family. Then on the weekends we plan family time. It’s all about spending that time together and doing fun things. With Luci at 8 months, it’s getting easier. With newborns, you’re constantly changing diapers! You’ve got to be home. It’s nice now because we get to go out to the farmers market on the weekend, and we go to the mall. We’re trying to plan a trip to Disneyland or the aquarium. Just to do things as a family means a lot.
And that’s how I balance it. I just make sure that when it’s time to turn off the phone, I do! I just think the time that I spend with my children has to be quality.”
CBS: We hear you’ve started with Fresh Diet, a fresh food delivery program.
CW: “Yes! They’re delivering food to our home every single day. My husband is doing it also. They call it Fresh Diet because it really is fresh food! I’ve done other food delivery services and they were dreadful.
It’s like somebody came into my home and made me dinner right in front of my eyes the way I would make it. I’m just in love with it! I’m getting all my vegetables, protein and calories. I don’t have to worry about a thing and it’s so damn good!
I’m also working with Dr. Oz who is overseeing my food. I’m sending them emails of all my Fresh Diet meals and how many steps I take per day – they want me to take ten thousand steps. So working with Fresh Diet and Dr. Oz is what’s going to get me to my goal. I needed that help and now that I’ve got it, it feels great!
I’ve already appeared once on the Dr. Oz show. It was pretty intense and it whipped me back into shape. And then when Fresh Diet offered to deliver fresh food to me I was honored. It’s just a no-brainer, I can’t think about cooking right now. I just can’t!”
CBS: It sounds like Fresh Diet is actually good food!
CW: “I’m telling you, it’s like somebody was in my home making food in front of my face and with my eye over their shoulder because I’m a stickler when it comes to what goes in my food. I’ve written a cookbook, I’m a baker and I’m launching a baking business. I’ve lost weight, almost 10 pounds. My goal is to lose another 50.
It’s really important for me to get the word out about Fresh Diet. I want people to know about this. It’s affordable too. When you look at all the money you spend on dining out, it’s definitely affordable. It’s just the ultimate of pure, organic and healthy.
Today I took my lunch with me. I had tuna salad sandwich on very healthy whole wheat bread. I’ve got my broccoli with cilantro snack. It’s all really good. Delicious!”
CBS: Why do you think you have struggled with your weight throughout your life?
CW: “I had a blood expert tell me that I’ve been f*cked from the start. She said my pancreas is small and I’ve never been able to digest sugar, and my digestion is all screwed up. I think she’s right. It has nothing to do with my daily choices. I think it’s been my struggle forever. My own personal demons. I’m not an exercise lover and I’m a food lover, and my body doesn’t have a great metabolism. You put all that together and there’s my challenge.
Right now I’m focusing on the delivered food that tastes so delicious. I’m obsessed with food, so I’m just trying to be healthy. Going from 300 pounds to 150 pounds was the biggest change of my whole life. It was scary, and wonderful, and inspiring. But it was also uncomfortable because I felt responsible for everybody that is overweight. There’s a huge emotional component to weight loss.
I’m trying to teach my daughter about healthy eating. That’s the whole point! I can’t deal with deprivation. F*ck that! I want to make the best choices 8 times out of 10.”
CBS: Are you feeling good about your daughter’s food choices?
CW: “I worry about it. I probably worry more than a parent who doesn’t struggle with their own weight. When I see Lola asking for sugar, it’s like pushing a panic button. I go, ‘Oh no, oh no, she’s going to be fat!” I have to calm down and say, there’s a way to do this. There’s a way to show her that she can have some sugar, but it has to be limited. And it has to be as a dessert, at least most of the time. I want to let her enjoy being a child and have her ice cream and lollipops, but to make sure that she gets that El Pollo Loco frickin’ chicken too. You know?! [big laugh]”
CBS: Do you feel that the public is too critical about your weight issues?
CW: “There’s going to be people that are critical and usually those are the type of people that criticize people all day long or feel like sh*t inside themselves. I’m trying not to pay attention to it anymore. I’m 41 and I’ve been in this business for 23 years and I know better now. I know not to give it my own waste of space in my head.
Here’s what’s important to me: The beautiful friends and family that I have, the blessings that I have and just trying to stay truthful and follow my heart with what makes me happy. It can be hard sometimes because I hate being under the microscope. Yet at the same time, I invited that in. So if I am a messenger, I better be delivering some healthy messages for Christ’s sake [big laugh]!
I just keep it real. I am where I am when I’m there. I’m not going to hide!”
CBS: How do you encourage positive self-image and self esteem with your girls?
CW: “That’s probably my favorite question that you’ve asked today. I believe that you can’t compliment and love and express enough with your children. Lola has heard from the start how wonderful, special and what a great person she is inside. I think a lot of the time people focus so much on the outside: “Oh you’re so cute; You look so pretty.’ And of course I do that, because, she is! But every single day I say to Lola, ‘What an amazing person you are, look at that heart you have, it’s so important to be nice to people and you are such a nice person.’ I tell her, ‘You’ll have so many happy moments in your life because you are a nice girl, Lola.’
She feels proud of herself because it’s not just that she’s able to write her name, or she’s able to climb the monkey bars or that she looks so pretty on Christmas Day. It’s that she’s engaging and connecting with people and that’s what’s really important. I think that builds self esteem. It’s saying, ‘You’re a good enough person to be open and communicate with people and show people who you really are.’ It’s not just what you see is what you get, it’s what you say is what you get. That’s what I try to tell Lola and she’s lovin’ it. She embraces it.”
CW: “Unstapled is running right now and doing very well. It’s not easy doing a reality show at home but the kids have enjoyed it. I’ve made sure about that because if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it. The show is about me juggling all the things in my life: Motherhood, career, weight loss, launching a baking business.
The Newlywed Show is in the third season. We will record a minimum of about 65 shows in about 4 weeks. It’s GSN’s Number 1 rated show. It’s just a total blast!”
CBS: How do you feel about the paparazzi? Do they scare your children?
CW: “They don’t scare my kids. But they were rather annoying last time because I was trying to talk to Larry Birkhead and his pretty little girl Dannielynn. They were right in our faces, it was obnoxious.
It’s kind of a weird, creepy part of this business. But it is what it is. I just say whoever they are, they’re really creepy, but they’re paying my rent and I’m paying there’s! [Big laugh]”
CBS: We notice that you are usually happy and smiling around the paps.
CW: “I just try to stay nice. I’m generally a nice person and I like people. If I’m down the street, if I’m at the market – wherever I am – I say ‘hi’ to someone that passes by me. It’s like a small town type of mentality rather than hide my face. Also, it’s not like I’m Madonna where I’d be hounded.
They will wait on my street a few times a month to follow me and that’s kind of hard. You just don’t have control over the photos and even if you look good, depending on what kind of story they want to plant, it can be unflattering.”
CBS: What do you think about popular websites like ours that feed the paparazzi?
CW: “Here’s the deal, I enjoy the pictures because it’s fun. You’re going to see the person in their daily clothes which is kind of exciting. I get it that that’s what people really like to see. I just don’t like the negativity.”
CBS: Are you a musical family? Are you always singing and dancing?
CW: “Oh my god, I would say that we are [singing and dancing] at least 50 percent of our time! Every single day! My god, last night Lola made my weep. She’s always making me cry happy tears. She has this CD by Raffi. Let me tell you, he’s got a song something like [she breaks into song] ‘I don’t know if I’m growing, I wonder if I’m growing, my mama says I’m growing, but it’s hard for me to see.’ And Lola’s singing this an octave higher, on key, with soprano. I was weeping!”
CBS: Does she like popular music too?
CW: “She does. I don’t really listen to popular music with Lola. She likes songs with really good beats. I listen to 70s disco on the radio. She loves when it’s Earth, Wind & Fire.”
CBS: How about the Beach Boys?
CW: “Yes, she likes the Beach Boys and she’ll say, ‘It’s grandpa, it’s grandpa, mama!’ She loves the fact that my dad’s voice is the high one. When they go [she breaks into song] ‘Everybody’s goin’ surfin’ she’ll recognize my dad’s voice.
Lola is extremely musical. I told her yesterday, ‘Lola, you are an amazing singer!’ When I tell you that this child is gifted musically, it’s sick. I never in my wildest dreams, ever, could imagine that this girl could sing like she does. She can mimic anything.”
CBS: It’s third generation!
CW: “It’s third generation! I tell her ‘Now you just have to sing out.’ We practice and she imitates me. She’s got it!”
CBS: What happens if she wants to be a rockstar? Will you be supportive? Pull your hair out?
CW: “Oy vey! Probably a little bit of everything. I will support anything that she wants to do. Lola will probably wind up being a doctor or a scientist because she’s very curious about the way the body works and how things feel. She loves pouring things into cups and seeing things turn colors. She’s very aware and perceptive.
But she’s extremely musical too. She’s also a little bit shy. Once she gets out of her shell, we’ll see how she develops in the next couple of years. This is when I really started coming out my shell, at her age.
CBS: Did you have the musical gift at a young age too?
CW: “I did but I think that Lola is the mind-blower of the whole family. I really do!”
CBS: Will there ever be a Wilson Phillips reunion for us die hard fans?
CW: “Yes. I’m trying to get us in the studio in the next few months for a Christmas album. We’ve never done one. I love Christmas music. My sister and I did an album called Hey Santa and I did my own album. I have so many ideas for Wilson Phillips. We could do Oh Holy Night, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Jingle Bells. I just want to do it with the girls, I think it would be magical. We do have some concerts booked for this year, but we have nine children between us and it’s really hard.”
CBS: Have you had a chance to send your love to Chynna?
CW: “Yes I have. I’m sending my love and I’m hoping that she’s feeling better soon. I’m really emotional about it and I love her with all my heart.”
CBS: Do you work with any charities?
CW: “I’m doing some voice-over work for Haiti relief. Tide has started Loads for Hope. They will donate one quarter million dollars through sales of their t-shirts. Check out their website here.”