Amanda Kloots is dipping her toe in the dating pool again, but not without unwanted public feedback.
The TV co-host and fitness instructor has been open about losing her husband, Broadway star Nick Cordero, more than a year ago to COVID-19 complications. During a Friday episode of “The Talk,” Kloots revealed she’s looking for a mate again – a new experience she described as both “crazy” and “terrifying.”
“I never had to date,” Kloots said. “It is so crazy to be dating for the first time at 39 years old. And it’s quite terrifying, and (it’s) really out of your element and it’s hard.”
Kloots’ co-host Elaine Welteroth asked her for more details on her dating life. To which Kloots responded she’s meeting “wonderful people” but didn’t want to get into “too many details.” Later Friday Kloots posted a negative comment she received under her latest Instagram post where a viewer called her decision to date again “fast.”
“How dare you judge anyone, especially someone going through this process,” Kloots wrote on her Instagram story.
She further addressed the criticism during an Instagram Live Sunday, where she shared her personal testimony to “help educate people.” Despite acknowledging that her love life is “nobody’s business,” Kloots said she hopes to de-stigmatize widows dating again.
“Dating after loss is such a taboo topic and it’s because of the judgement that comes with it,” Kloots said. “And I get why because we don’t talk about it.”
Kloots started the candid conversation by saying, like most widows, she “will never, ever not love” Cordero or “go a day without missing” him.
“Even if I found amazing love again and I am beyond happy, I think every day I will miss Nick,” she said. “Every day I will look at Elvis and wish Nick could see what he’s doing. That will never change.” (Kloots and Cordero welcomed son Elvis, now 2, in 2019.)
Kloots admitted that it’s been “really hard finding the courage to go” on dates because of all the “emotions” and thoughts it can conjure up, like whether or not she should remove her wedding ring.
“I’ve had like three dates,” she said “I don’t know if you call them dates because it’s been super duper casual because that’s all that I’m comfortable with right now.”
She added, “I still wear my wedding ring. I haven’t taken it off… To be honest, me taking my wedding ring off before the date makes me feel like I’m cheating on my husband in a weird way, which doesn’t make any sense because I’m totally not.”
Kloots equated dating to “trying to be brave enough to rip a Band-Aid off” a new layer of grief, adding that she’s not sure “if I’m still ready.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m not in love again. I’m not secretly engaged or secretly pregnant. None of those things are true,” she said. “People start assuming, yet here you are struggling every single day.”
Although the dating process is still “fairly new and still very raw to me,” Kloots said she “would like to get married one day.”
“This isn’t a boat we wished to be in, but here we are,” she said, while speaking to fellow widow Brandon Janous. “We either can take this boat alone for the rest of our lives or we can try to find someone to row with us. And yet we get criticism and judgement… Is that fair?”
Kloots called the dating backlash “offensive” to not only herself, but also Cordero because it’s “insinuating” that he wouldn’t want her to be happy. “When you’re truly in love with somebody and truly love someone, you only wish for their happiness,” she said.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband Dave Goldberg died in 2015, offered support to the fellow widow and defended Kloots’ dating decisions Sunday.
“One of the things that I think is part of it for all of us (who have lost spouses), is that we feel like we’re going to be alone forever,” Sandberg said duringher appearanceon the “People Every Day” podcast.
“When you get married, when you make a commitment to a partner, you look out into the future and you think you’re going to be with that person. And then when that person is taken from you, whether it’s long and slow or suddenly, that fear goes on.”
Sandberg said that rather than judgment, Kloots deserves encouragement, “and it won’t shock you to know that we judge women more harshly for dating after death than we judge men.”
Earlier this month Kloots celebrated the one-year mark of Cordero’s death with a touching video she posted on Instagram.
“One year ago, you left us and became our angel in heaven” Kloots wrote. “What happened was unthinkable, losing you was my biggest fear. I used to tell you all the time, ‘Don’t you dare go anywhere. If I lost you, I don’t know what I’d do’. “
Kloots recently published her book “Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero” which she wrote alongside her sister Anna Kloots.