What Comes After the Eating, the Praying and the Loving?
LK: So your ex-husband, Michael Cooper, has his own memoir coming out next fall. Excited for the book party?
LG: We'll see if the invite comes. Honestly, it hasn't really affected me much. I really think that if anything, it's probably a healthy outlet for whatever complicated sorts of feelings he must be having about me right now. And I can't really blame him. Everybody has the right to tell their story. I obviously have exercised that right not once but twice. My sense is that he will tell a very different story from mine. But that's why we're not married anymore. A lot of what marriage is is the ability to agree on a central narrative, you know? And the shockingest thing about the divorce was, even after six months of therapy, it was like, "We do not agree on a single thing about what's going on here. We, the undersigned, can't even agree on where to sign on this page, so a judge is going to have to tell us." That's called irreconcilable differences. It's the reason people get divorced.
I really don't have a lot of hostility toward him. He's remarried, he's got kids, he's moved on with his life. I'm glad he's happy. I just—I don't want to live with him, you know?
LK: Now that you've been hit with this tsunami of cash, is there any threat that it might insulate you from the kind of rugged, spontaneous travel that made you famous?
LG: I've actually never traveled less than since I got hit with a tsunami of cash. When I was in Mexico when I was 20, I remember meeting this American couple who were in their 60s, and they said, "Oh, it's so great that you're traveling now, before you have kids, because you won't be able to then." I know this is a thing that people do; they go traveling for a year, and then they hitch their leash to the wall and put their face in their feed bag and that's the end of it. And I thought, "But I might want to keep doing this," you know? But it's been really interesting for me to see that everything I'm curious about right now is here.
LK: Eat, Pray, Love is being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem as you and Felipe. How surreal is that?
LG: It is exactly surreal. But there's an energy to Eat, Pray, Love that is so incomprehensible to me. Its expansiveness, and its reach—I sort of look at the book like, "You want to be a movie? Go be a movie. I didn't know you wanted to be all this other stuff, too." It's so much bigger than me, and I'm very happy to let it be that. "Go get translated into every language. Have at it!"
LK: And now, with Committed—having spent several years analyzing the institution of marriage, are you feeling hopeful about the institution?
LG: I think when I went into it, I saw it in a very narrow light: I saw it as oppressive and outdated. And stupid and useless. And possibly very, very destructive. And I came away thinking it's complex and long-lived. It must be here for a purpose, because it keeps being here. It's always evolving.
LK: Sometimes I feel like marriage is nothing more than a goofy social construct.
LG: We're goofy social humans. What other kind of construct could it be?
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