Death, Sex & Money

Death, Sex & Money Podcast

Death, Sex & Money is a podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you've heard of—and to regular people you haven't—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we're here. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, On the Media, Nancy, Death-Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and many others. © WNYC Studios

Financial Therapy: Why Did I Take That Risk?
Two years ago, Mathew* quit an executive job and struck out on his own to start an independent consulting firm. After months of bringing in "90% less than what [he] used to," business was finally starting to pick up earlier this year—and then the pandemic hit. With clients pulling contracts and invoices being paid late, Mathew is back to square one, wondering if the risks he took were worth it as his family deals with the consequences of his decision—and whether the need for emotional control that served hi...

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Financial Therapy: What Is Our Savings For?
Before the pandemic, Dale ran an event space in Knoxville, Tennessee. After cancelling every booking this month—which was set to be their busiest ever—she finds herself wondering how to share the burden of her financial anxiety with her husband—and how to square the fact that after years of hustling to make her business a reality, she's really enjoying having some time alone.     This episode is part of a special Financial Therapy series here on Death, Sex & Money, hosted by Amanda Clayman. If you have...

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Financial Therapy: Meet Amanda Clayman
Many of you are in financial transition right now. You've lost jobs, income, stable housing. And you're worried about what's to come. And this time of uncertainty isn't just bringing up thoughts about financial survival. It's also making us question our values, our identities...and whether the way we’ve done things in the past is still going to work. All of that can be difficult to process, especially as we're in isolation. So we're calling on an expert for help: financial therapist Amanda Clayman. For th...

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Madeleine Albright On Ambition and Obsoleteness
Madeleine Albright was in her early 20s when she wrote in an essay, "I am obsolete." She'd just become a mother to twins, and since graduating college had moved several times for her husband's jobs in journalism—a career field that she too had wanted to enter. "All of a sudden these things that I thought I was going to be able to do, I couldn't do," she told me. "Everything...was different than I had thought."  It was her eventual divorce two decades later that Secretary Albright says put her on the path t...

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Madeleine Albright On Ambition and Obsoleteness
Madeleine Albright was in her early 20s when she wrote in an essay, "I am obsolete." She'd just become a mother to twins, and since graduating college had moved several times for her husband's jobs in journalism—a career field that she too had wanted to enter. "All of a sudden these things that I thought I was going to be able to do, I couldn't do," she told me. "Everything...was different than I had thought."  It was her eventual divorce two decades later that Secretary Albright says put her on the path t...

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What Is A "Good Death" During A Pandemic?
We recently got an email from a listener named Lindsay. She's a nurse who normally works in pediatric oncology, but right now is working in an adult ICU with COVID-19 patients. And even though, as she wrote to us, she's "been surrounded by death" in her regular job, she says the way her current patients are dying from COVID-19 is far from what she would call a "good death." "You can't be in the room with them as they pass. You can't expose yourself that often," she wrote. "There is no time to know the peo...

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Samantha Irby Is Prepared To Gracefully Bow Out
Writer Samantha Irby currently lives what she calls "a pioneer woman kind of life." Most of that is due to her wife, Kirsten, who is into things like canning tomatoes and pickling vegetables. "I'm not going to eat that shit," Sam told me, "but it is very cool to, to see someone who knows how to do all of that stuff."  Sam's 40 now, and along with her wife, lives with her two stepsons in Michigan. In addition to writing bestselling books like her latest, Wow, No Thank You, she also writes for TV shows like ...

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Student Loans And The Pandemic: Your Questions, Answered
Even in pre-pandemic times, student loans were confusing. And since our lives flipped upside down a month ago, a lot has changed in the world of student loans, especially for the types of loans that are covered by the CARES Act. But how do you know what loans are covered? And what kind of relief is being offered? And what about for everyone else, whose loans aren't covered by the CARES Act?  In this special collaboration with NPR's Life Kit, we wade into the student loan weeds with student loan expert Bets...

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Student Loans And The Pandemic: Your Questions, Answered
Even in pre-pandemic times, student loans were confusing. And since our lives flipped upside down a month ago, a lot has changed in the world of student loans, especially for the types of loans that are covered by the CARES Act. But how do you know what loans are covered? And what kind of relief is being offered? And what about for everyone else, whose loans aren't covered by the CARES Act?  In this special collaboration with NPR's Life Kit, we wade into the student loan weeds with student loan expert Bets...

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They Were Managing Their OCD. Then Came The Pandemic.
When COVID-19 first hit, listener Diane Davis thought she'd be able to handle it—despite the fact that she's been managing a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder for over two decades. "I know what it is to be really afraid of contamination and I thought I was going to be okay," she told me when I called her recently. "And then it sort of came out of nowhere and just knocked me sideways again."  In my recent phone conversation with Diane, she walks me through her keeping pandemic anxieties in perspect...

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An Immunocompromised Love Story
We've been thinking about Alana Duran, whom we first met two years ago in an interview about getting a kidney from her brand-new girlfriend at the time, Lori Interlicchio. In addition to being a transplant recipient, Alana has lupus, which means her immune system is compromised. "I take medication that suppresses my immune system and people with lupus are already at a higher risk of getting viral and bacterial infections," she told me when I called her up recently. "So knowing that, if I were to get coronav...

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A Weekend Homework Assignment From Tayari Jones
When I checked in with writer Tayari Jones recently, we talked about how the past few weeks of isolation have been a time of self-discovery for her. "I feel that I'm living more for myself," she told me. "I think that is the positive thing that I'm learning about who I am." One of the central things Tayari has learned is mastering different forms of connection, from how to teach her college students over Zoom to sending money to friends in need. The simplest way she's connecting? Greeting cards! "People lo...

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Goodbye, John Prine
"I get these thoughts, and I like to make them into songs. They might sound odd at the time, but then people connect to them throughout their life," John Prine told me when we talked together in 2018. "And it turns out I’m doing something that may resemble something solid." There was no one like him. We will miss him. He leaves a legacy of incredible songs, and of loving well. "You got gold inside of you," he wrote in one of my favorite love songs of his. "Well, I got gold inside me too."...

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"Nobody Comes Here To Hide": Remembering Bill Withers
When I spoke with songwriting legend Bill Withers for the very first episode of Death, Sex & Money, we talked about what it is to be a man. He told me it might not be manly to say "I'm scared," but that being a man isn't about ignoring fear. "To me, courage is not not being afraid," he told me. "It's what you do in spite of being afraid." Bill Withers died this week, at the age of 81. At the end of our conversation, I asked him about what he was proud of, looking back at his life. He told me, "I could hav...

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"We Are The Glue": Stories From Essential Workers
A few weeks back, we created a Pandemic Tool Kit for those of us who are staying home during the COVID-19 crisis. But we also wanted to hear from those of you who can't stay home right now because your jobs have been deemed essential—about what's on your mind right now, and what's helping you cope. So we asked essential workers to record voice memos and send them in. We heard from so many of you—from postal workers to flight attendants to nurses to grocery store employees. Some of you told us that this sce...

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A Surgical Nurse On Being Essential
A few days ago we asked to hear from those of you who are essential workers—those of you who can’t stay home right now. We wanted to know what you are thinking about, and what’s helping you. And since then, so many of you have written in—thank you. We're working now on an episode that represents the range of workers we heard from that’ll come out later this week.  But today, we wanted to share just one of those voice memos that came in, from a listener named Jennifer. She's a nurse in Ohio, and the mom of ...

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If You Can't Isolate, What Do You Need?
Over the last week, we've loved watching many of you use our Pandemic Tool Kit and learning how you're coping with social distancing. But not all of us have the ability to stay home right now. A listener named Mary, who is a nurse in upstate New York, emailed us this week and told us that she's looking for whole different kind of tool kit. Like many other essential workers (healthcare workers, grocers, delivery workers, janitors, warehouse workers, trash collectors and more), Mary is at the front lines of t...

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Confessions of a Nashville Power Couple
In 2014, I talked with musicians Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires⁠ when they were a year into marriage, and two years into Jason's sobriety. But their new life didn't come without its challenges. Jason was learning how to be a feminist husband, and Amanda was figuring out where her own career fit in amid his success and their plans to raise a family.  Hear our conversation about love, liquor, trust, and staying connected when everything in your life is changing. Jason and Amanda have joined us on Death, S...

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What Rockstars And Sober People Already Know About Quarantine
As social distancing becomes the new normal for all of us, it's affecting us in different ways. For a listener we're calling Chloe—who stopped drinking a year and a half ago—it's impacting the way she maintains her sobriety. "For me personally, it's really balancing my extreme fear of isolation...with my concern about spreading a virus that can turn fatal," she told us about weighing the decision to attend in-person AA meetings versus staying home. "Which one do I prioritize? And it's really hard." Last we...

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We Made A Pandemic Tool Kit
In the past, we've created collaborative spreadsheets with your suggestions for getting through traumatic life events like breakups and pregnancy loss. So when one of our listeners suggested we make another one for the current pandemic we find ourselves living through—we got to work. This week, you've been helping us fill up our Pandemic Tool Kit with suggested things to read, listen to, watch, think about, and more. You've added suggestions about everything from watching meditation videos and making nachos...

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Ben Sinclair Is A Fan Of Endings
For fans of the HBO series High Maintenance, Ben Sinclair is practically synonymous with “The Guy,” the laid-back New York City weed dealer he plays on the show. And while a lot of the show is inspired by Ben and his co-creator and ex-wife Katja Blichfeld's personal life experiences, these days, Ben's trying to separate himself from some of his character's most well-known attributes. "I'm starting to grow out of smoking weed," he told me. "I feel joy at the anticipation of getting stoned, but once I'm stone...

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Alone Together: A COVID-19 Call-In
Over the last few weeks and days, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped many of our lives. For some of us, we're working from home, our kids aren't in school, and we're worried about our own health, or the health of our elderly and immunocompromised friends and loved ones. Right now, it's not clear if or when things will feel normal again. We wanted to know how you all are coping right now, so I took your calls along with Kai Wright, host of WNYC Studios' The United States of Anxiety. We heard fro...

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Why You're Not Having Sex
A 34-year-old listener we’ll call “Marie” emailed us back in 2015. She’d never dated anyone seriously. She'd never been kissed, and she'd never had sex. She wasn't opposed to any of those things. They just hadn't happened for her yet. And she worried that if she told a potential partner about her sexual inexperience, he'd walk away.  Many of us aren’t having sex, for all kinds of reasons. When we asked you why you're not having sex, you told us about abstaining for religious reasons, or because of lingerin...

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Sugar Babies Cost Me $8,000 And My Marriage
A few months ago, a listener we're calling Ethan sent us an email. The subject line was: "Sugar babies cost me $8,000 and my marriage."  Ethan told us that he hired sex workers from the website Seeking Arrangement for over a year, while also going to couples counseling with his wife as their marriage struggled. "My justification for it initially was, you know, I'm going to have a good time so that I can have more energy to try and fix my marriage," he told me. "'Cause I think, you know, when I first went o...

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Maria Bamford Didn't Wait For It To Be Perfect
When comedian Maria Bamford moved to LA in her early 20s, she struggled to cover her food and rent as she was breaking into the comedy world. "Although I had a college degree, I just did not know how to get and keep a full time job, much less a part time job," she told me. When an unexpected medical bill landed her in debt, she almost moved home to Minnesota—but found the support she needed from a money-oriented 12-step program. She eventually held down a job working as a secretary at an animation studio, w...

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Cancer Changed Ken Jeong's Comedy
Ken Jeong described his role as Mr. Chow in the 2009 blockbuster The Hangover as "the most obscene love letter to a spouse one could ever have.” He peppered his dialogue with bits of Vietnamese as an inside joke with his wife Tran.  Ken met his wife while they were both practicing medicine at the same hospital in Los Angeles. Ken had always done comedy on the side, even performing midnight stand-up while he was working long hours during his residency. But after he and Tran married, he quit medicine to purs...

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No Slumping With Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp's mother first put her in dance classes when she was a child living in Southern California. "I've always been highly programmed," Twyla told me. But when she got to New York and realized her ballet skills weren't "top drawer," she decided to dig into modern dance and began studying with legendary dancers like Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. "I said to myself, 'Well, okay, Merce does great what he does, and Martha does great what she does, but I don't want to do what they do,'" she said. "And...

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Carmen Maria Machado Is Using The Word 'Abusive'
When author Carmen Maria Machado was in her mid-20s, she had her first relationship with a woman. She was in graduate school at the time, and in the beginning, her ex made her feel special. "I just wanted somebody to like, look at me and be like, 'I want you,' you know? And that's exactly what she did," she told me. While Carmen says the relationship quickly became abusive, she was only able to start describing it that way once their relationship ended. Carmen went on to chronicle this relationship and how...

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Who Are Your 'Quick And Deep' Friends?
Last week, we partnered with the NPR podcast Code Switch to bring you two episodes all about race and friendship. If you haven’t heard those episodes yet, definitely go back, and take a listen to those first.  As part of that project, we also put out a survey about how race has factored into your friendships. More than 1,000 of you have taken it so far, and we’ve gotten some really interesting responses. And we’ve also heard from some of you that taking the survey felt...ill-fitting; that answering questio...

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Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?
We're thinking about race and friendship on the show this week. Yesterday, we brought you stories about the moments when race became a flashpoint in your friendships. And today, we're excited to share a partner episode from NPR's Code Switch podcast—it includes expert perspectives on why our friend groups tend to be made up of people who look like us, and advice for their listeners about the uncomfortable racial dynamics they’ve encountered in their own friendships.  If you missed our episode featuring y...

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Between Friends: Your Stories About Race and Friendship
A text message gone wrong. A bachelorette party exclusion. A racist comment during the 2016 debates. When we asked you all about moments when race became a flashpoint in your friendships, we heard about awkward, funny, and deeply painful moments. "The fact that she could drop me so easily really stung," one listener, Ashley, told us about a childhood friendship that suddenly ended because her friend's parents didn't want her "hanging out with black kids." Another listener, who we're calling Kathleen, wrote...

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Inside Planned Parenthood
The first thing that greets you when you step off the elevator at the Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn is a metal detector. "I didn’t necessarily expect it," a first-time patient told me. "But as soon as I saw it I was like, 'Oh yeah, that’s right, that makes sense.'"  Many Planned Parenthood clinics across the country rely on security measures like these. The services provided by these clinics—specifically, abortions—have long been at the center of a raging political debate in the U.S. But it's not very oft...

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Saeed Jones's New Year's Determinations
When I talked to writer Saeed Jones, he told me about his late mother, Carol Sweet-Jones, and how she always made New Year's "determinations"—not "resolutions." He recently wrote about the differences between the two in an essay called We Are A Determined Household, and about what he learned from years of watching his mom "summon her determination like clockwork." This week, Saeed reads that essay for us. And we want to hear your New Years determinations, too! Record a voice memo telling us what you want f...

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Death, Sex & Money's 2019 Year End Spectacular
We put 46 episodes of Death, Sex & Money in your podcast feeds in 2019. We talked together about everything from STIs and drinking to stillbirth and big workplace transitions. Today, the team gathers together to share our favorite on- and off-the-air moments from the year that was, from the tape that stuck with us...to getting stuck in tapings.  We're able to do the work we do because of your support! If you want to help our show grow in 2020, please consider supporting Death, Sex & Money with a donation...

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Liz Phair's Rebellious Streak Works For Her
In 1994, musician Liz Phair was 27, fresh off the runaway success of her albums Exile In Guyville and Whipsmart, and on on the cover of Rolling Stone under the headline "A Rock And Roll Star Is Born." And she was miserable. In her new book, Horror Stories, she writes about the uncertainty and the restlessness of that time in her life. And in our conversation, she tells me that her decision to then get married and "retreat into domesticity" at that point seems, in hindsight, like an overcorrection. "I was t...

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The Children Of Heart Mountain
The Heart Mountain Pilgrimage⁠ is an annual reunion for Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at Heart Mountain, a WWII incarceration camp in Wyoming, and their families. "I haven’t been back here since we used to live here," a woman named Esther Abe told me, as we got off a bus together outside the museum that now stands on the grounds. "Something happened that I didn't expect. I saw that Heart Mountain, and I kind of choked up."  The people at this gathering who once lived here are now in their 80s and ...

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Cheating Happens
People cheat. But they don't often talk about the aftermath, and how they and their partners decide what comes next. When I asked you to send in your stories about infidelity, I heard from so many of you. Listener Sasha* told us about how she suspected that her partner of five years was having an affair -- and later, after they broke up, discovered that he had been been posting online ads for casual sex throughout their relationship. Andy in Connecticut remembered being a 12-year-old trying to convince his...

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Anne Lamott: Death Sucks, And It's Holy
I recently joined writer Anne Lamott on stage in San Francisco at the Reimagine End of Life festival. Anne's written a lot over her 40-year career about death and grief, as well as about addiction, recovery, and parenthood. We talked about what it means to be sensitive, how to sit with someone in hospice, and whether Anne was thinking about death when she recently decided to marry for the first time at age 65....

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Hasan Minhaj's Honest Mistakes
Hasan Minhaj started doing stand-up sets during college, drawn to comedy by its "radical honesty." "I remember seeing Chris Rock's [special] Never Scared, and I remember him talking about George W. Bush, politics," he told me. "I worked at Safeway at the time...bagging groceries and stuff. Like, I can't talk about this at Safeway, I'll get fired. And that is what I loved about it." But as Hasan was experimenting with being radically honest on stage about everything from his family to his political beliefs,...

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Who's Driving Your Uber?
I’ve learned a lot about the Bay Area from Uber drivers since I moved here a few years ago. Some of them are relatively new arrivals, like me, but others have watched the region change dramatically over the last few years. When I'm stuck in a car with a stranger at the wheel, I've been surprised by how personal conversations can get.  So in 2017, producer Katie Bishop and I took our microphones and recording gear along on a bunch of Uber rides all around the Bay Area. The company has been in the news a lot...

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A Former Debt Collector's Unpaid Bills
When Angela first started working at a debt collection agency, she says she barely understood what her job was. "I was so completely awestruck that people didn't pay their bills," she told me. "I thought this was going to be really easy. Honestly, I don't even know how I kept the job the first couple of weeks."  It wasn't easy. But Angela finally did start getting consumers to pay, and worked her way up in the industry. And then, 15 years into her career, she and several colleagues were sued for illegal de...

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When Breast Cancer Pauses Life At 35
Kate Pickert was 35 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A longtime healthcare policy reporter, she understood a lot about medicine and the healthcare industry. But even with all that insight, Kate wasn't prepared for what the experience of being a cancer patient could be like. So, she started researching⁠—and found that the book she wanted to read, about the history of breast cancer and the way we treat it, wasn't out there. "The fact that this book didn't exist and women didn't know this s...

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Scattered: The Camp
About a year ago, we put out an episode that was actually a pilot of another show, by comedian Chris Garcia. It was his story about grieving his father's death from Alzheimer's, along with a conversation he had with fellow comedian Karen Kilgariff about her mother's death from Alzheimer's. We called that episode “Alzheimer's and the World's Saddest Comedy Club.”  At the time, we asked for your feedback about the pilot. And thanks in part to your enthusiastic response, that pilot has become a new podcast fr...

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Saeed Jones Talks About Sex. And Death. And Money.
Saeed Jones' mother, Carol Sweet-Jones, died in 2011—six years after he came out to her over the phone from his college dorm room in Kentucky. They were close, but when Saeed walked into her hospital room the day after she had the heart attack that would end her life, he says he barely recognized her. "My mom was always very - she was very beautiful. She was elegant, chic," he told me. "And that was not the woman I saw in that bed." Saeed was raised by his mother in Texas, where he recognized early that he...

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The Student Loan Nerd Helping Borrowers One Email At A Time
A few years ago, Betsy Mayotte stumbled upon the student loan subreddit—a section on Reddit where users ask each other questions about student loan debt. "I can't afford to pay. What should I do? I'm in default. What should I do? I'm trying to see if I qualify for forgiveness program, my servicer told me this, is this right?," Betsy remembers reading. "It took me aback that these borrowers⁠—and a lot of them⁠—were so desperate for help that they were willing to ask strangers on the internet that they had no...

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Our Student Loan Secrets, Part 2
Nathan realized he couldn't pay his rent and his monthly student loan payments. Beth* collapsed in tears while doing yoga because she couldn't stop worrying about money. Jordan set a calendar reminder to force herself to finally make her first payment.  In 2017, hundreds of you wrote in to tell us about how you're feeling about student loans, especially the mix of frustration and shame you feel about it. But we also heard stories of turning points—when something changed that redefined your relationship wit...

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Our Student Loan Secrets, Part 1
It's something that I think about—in some way—every single day. When we asked you back in 2017 to tell us your stories about how student loans are impacting your life, we were overwhelmed by your responses. We heard about years of incremental payments and the thrill of getting to a zero balance, but also about delayed weddings, tensions with your parents over your shared debt, and fading hopes of ever buying a home or saving for retirement. The student loan crisis has only compounded since our initial cal...

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E. Jean Carroll: More Interesting, Not Damaged
When writer E. Jean Carroll first arrived in New York City in the early 1980s, she says she was "a nobody from nowhere." Even so, she headed straight for Elaine's, the legendary restaurant on the Upper East Side where writers, celebrities and other power brokers gathered—and she says she always felt like she belonged there. Over the course of her long career, she became known first for her incisive profile interviews and investigative pieces, and then later for her particular brand of tough-love advice, wh...

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50 Years Married To A Man Named Sissy
Douglas, Wyoming, natives Vickie and Sissy Goodwin got married in 1968. It was around the time they started their lives together that Vickie learned of a secret Sissy had been harboring since childhood—a preference for feminine clothing and cross-dressing in private. When Sissy decided to start wearing skirts, dresses and frills in public a few years into their marriage, Vickie struggled to accept it. And the couple quickly learned that Sissy's self-acceptance came with an often violent public backlash, bot...

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Raphael Saadiq: Music Had To Be My Therapy
Raphael Saadiq's career took off as a member of the R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné!—a group whose music taught me, a pre-teen at the time, a thing or two about romance and sexiness. He left that group in the mid-'90s, launching a successful solo career and co-writing and producing music with everyone from Solange and Mary J. Blige to John Legend and D'Angelo.  Raphael's latest solo album is titled Jimmy Lee—named after an older brother who died of a heroin overdose years ago. I talk with him about how he's deal...

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My Stillbirth During Anna's Maternity Leave
Pregnancy loss happens a lot. Of women who know they’re pregnant, 10 to 15 percent will have a miscarriage before 20 weeks. After that point, pregnancy loss is called a stillbirth. One in 100 pregnancies ends that way. That's what happened to a listener named Krystal, who lost her son Everett this past spring at full term. A few months after her son died, Krystal sent us an email with the subject line, "My stillbirth during Anna's maternity leave." She wrote about how her son's death had left her feeling r...

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How Are You "Surfing The Urge" To Drink?
In our episode featuring your stories about drinking, our listener Rachel told us about realizing she'd slipped into a nightly drinking habit—and trying to curb some of her desire to drink. "You have to kind of surf the urge," she explained. "Recognize that it's there, breathe into it, surf it out, try to distract yourself."  We asked you all to tell us how you "surf the urge"—what gets you through those times when you're arguing with yourself about whether to drink or not? From french fries to soccer leag...

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Michael Arceneaux On Love, Liquid Courage And Letting Go
When writer Michael Arceneaux was in his early 20s, he went to a gay club for the first time—after years of being closeted and denying his sexuality. "I enter a space and I just look at everything and I just get so caught up in my head," he told me. "But once you get the liquor you're like, oh, stop thinking, just go twerk."  Michael said that night was "the first time I actually felt joy with that part of myself." But despite finding alcohol to be a helpful way to let go of his inhibitions, drinking is co...

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Bottled Up: Your Stories About Drinking
It can sometimes feel like alcohol—whether you're drinking it or not—is an intrinsic element of navigating adulthood. After all, over 70 percent of American adults drink. We take drinking so much for granted that we often fail to really engage with the role it's playing in our lives. "It’s been a piece of everything since we’ve turned 21, or 18," a listener named Cari told us. "We've always had a drink or been drinking when we’ve been at parties. And it’s so funny that I’m 34, and that is a worry: that if I...

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Rashema Melson's Weakest Yet Bravest Moments
In early May, we got an email from Rashema Melson. I'd first met her in 2015, in her dorm's common room at Georgetown University, where she was adjusting to life on campus after living in a Washington, D.C. homeless shelter in high school. Soon after we met, she got married and dropped out. I talked with her again two years later, in 2017, when she'd decided to end her marriage and go back to college. Now, Rashema was reaching out to tell us that she was graduating from Georgetown—and that she'd recently l...

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A Brother, A Sister, And Their Eating Disorders
Siblings Charlie* and Oscar* were always close growing up. But as they got older, there was one thing that they didn't talk together about: the way they eat.  Both Charlie and Oscar struggle with different types of eating disorders—Charlie has struggled with bulimia, and Oscar has anorexia. Despite their closeness and years-long suspicions about each other's eating habits, it's taken a long time to open up about their difficulties with food to each other. When they finally had their first real conversation...

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When Work Changes, So Do We
Right after returning from six months of maternity leave, I sat down in the studio with Uma Kondabolu. Uma's been on the show before with her comedian son Hari, but this time I wanted to talk with her one-on-one about big transitions in our work lives. Uma recently retired from the hospital lab where she worked for almost three decades, and as I was re-entering my job, I wanted to hear from her about leaving hers....

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Tayari Jones & Carrie Mae Weems: What's It Like Up There?
Carrie Mae Weems always knew she was going to be an artist, but she didn't know she wanted to be a photographer until she got her first camera in her late teens. It was a gift from a boyfriend who turned out to be "manipulative," but it launched her into a career that's made her a MacArthur Fellow and the first black woman to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. As she tells this week's guest host, author Tayari Jones, her professional drive has always been the barometer against which she's measu...

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Sarah Smarsh & Nick Smarsh: Are You Different Than Me?
As a journalist and author, Sarah Smarsh has built her career around examining socioeconomic class. In 2018, her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth became a New York Times bestseller and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award.  Sarah grew up outside of Wichita, Kansas, and spent much of her childhood on her family's farm. The Farm Crisis during the 1980s led to her family leaving farming behind, and her dad, Nick, had to find work elsewhere⁠—fi...

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Mahershala Ali & Rafael Casal: Envy Is A Hell Of A Drug
Today, Mahershala Ali is an Oscar-winning actor who lands leading roles in TV shows like True Detective and Hollywood blockbusters like Green Book. But he got his start as a poet-turned-rapper in the Bay Area, where he grew up.  Rafael Casal is another Bay Area poet and musician who recently made his big screen debut in the movie Blindspotting, which he co-wrote and co-starred in with his creative partner, Daveed Diggs. "We put a movie out and everyone back home thinks I'm on," Rafael says. "And I'm like, ...

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Alia Shawkat & Esther Perel: Life In Our 30s, And 60s
Actor Alia Shawkat just turned 30, and she's got some questions about what's coming around the corner in this decade. So this week, she talks with Belgian-born psychotherapist Esther Perel about what that period of time was like in her life—when she had just moved to the U.S., gotten married, and was figuring out the "pleasure and the pride" of making it on her own financially. Plus, they talk about adult friendships, and why it's important to stay in touch with people from all the different decades of your...

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Tressie McMillan Cottom & Trevor Noah: Optimistic and Depressed
When Trevor Noah started hosting The Daily Show in 2016, he says he told his head writer early on that he might sometimes be late to work. "I'm suffering from depression and sometimes I do not see the purpose of getting out of my bed or living life," he says he told him. "And he was like, 'Wait, what?'"  Trevor and guest host Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom talk about why radical honesty around mental health can be liberating. Plus, they talk about Trevor's feelings of being an outsider growing up in apartheid...

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Al Letson & Nikole Hannah-Jones: Sensitive, Not Scared
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones spends time in some pretty elite spaces—she's a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, and a force to be reckoned with on Twitter. But, as she tells Al Letson (host of Reveal), she's careful not to forget her roots in Waterloo, Iowa, and the people there who raised her. "The benefit of being a working class black girl who has spent a lot of time around more affluent white people is you do quickly learn they're actually not rea...

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Jason Isbell & Will Welch: Somebody Needs Me
Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell and GQ editor-in-chief Will Welch met in 2004, at what Jason says was "the lowest point of my life." Since then, the two long-distance friends have seen each other through divorce, new marriages, career climbs, a cancer diagnosis and rehab. Jason quit drinking in 2012, and Will followed suit two years later—starting by calling Jason at a breaking point. "You getting sober was a big deal for me," Jason says during their conversation. "It was the first time in my sobriety that I...

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Damon Young & Kiese Laymon: The "Good Dude" Closet
Writers Damon Young and Kiese Laymon both are on book tour, promoting their acclaimed memoirs. And while they've been friends via social media for years, they'd never met face to face before recording a conversation for Death, Sex & Money. The two sat down together to talk about basketball and body image, money anxieties, and why being a "good dude" might be more about fear than anything else.  Damon Young is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Very Smart Brothas, and the author of "What Doesn't Kill Y...

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John Cameron Mitchell & Marilyn Maye: I Will Survive
When singer Marilyn Maye turned 90, she celebrated on stage in New York City in a performance residency she called "90 At Last." Now 91, the Kansas-based jazz and cabaret legend talks with actor and Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell about continuing to work well past retirement age, loving and leaving alcoholic partners, and about what they both envision for the end of their lives.  Special thanks to 54 Below for their help with this episode.  John Cameron Mitchell was interviewed ...

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Lisa Ling & Awkwafina: Shut Up, Let Me Shine
Awkwafina grew up Nora Lum in Queens, and was raised by her father and grandmother after her mother died when she was four years old. Guest host Lisa Ling talks with Awkwafina about how she coped with that loss by developing a sense of humor early on, and about why—despite feeling a lot of money anxiety—she isn't afraid to turn down high-paying gigs.  Guest host Lisa Ling appeared on Death, Sex & Money in 2017. Listen back to her episode, "What Lisa Ling Regrets," here....

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The 2019 Maternity Leave Lineup
Having a Death, Sex & Money-style conversation isn't easy. It's long. It's intense. And it can get very awkward. In those moments when you might gloss over a sensitive topic, break the tension, and move on to the next question...you instead have to dig a little deeper. Get a little more personal. But our lineup of guest hosts—former show guests and some new folks, too—are up for the challenge. And while host Anna Sale finishes up her maternity leave, you'll get to listen in as they have tough conversations...

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A Father and Daughter Talk About Layoffs
We asked for your stories about layoffs, and we heard from a lot of you—including a listener named Stephanie. She wrote in about her dad, Steve, who lost his job two years ago and has been looking for work ever since. She told us that they talk about work a lot together, so we asked if they'd continue that conversation and let us listen in....

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Daniel K. Isaac Is Opting For The Gray Area
Actor Daniel K. Isaac grew up as the only child of a single immigrant mother. She's a devout Christian—so the first time Daniel came out to her, it was to ask for her help to stop being gay. But in his late teens, after years spent voluntarily in conversion therapy, Daniel decided that he was done trying to fight his sexuality. And in the years since, accepting that part of himself has meant finding new ways to relate to his mom....

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José Andrés Googled ‘How To Be A Father’
When Chef José Andrés moved from Spain to the U.S. in 1991, tapas weren't yet a thing on this side of the Atlantic. José is credited with changing that. He opened his first restaurant in Washington, D.C. when he was just 23 years old, and today he has a thriving business empire with more than two dozen restaurants across the country. He's also become known in recent years for his disaster relief work, both in the U.S. and abroad. But figuring out life outside of the kitchen has been more of a challenge. Jos...

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When We Sent Our Son Away
We first met Diane Gill Morris three years ago, when her two sons, Kenny and Theo, were in their early teens. Both of them are autistic, and Diane worried about where they would end up living—and who would end up caring for them—when they became adults. "When they were little, it was all about figuring out how to help them," Diane told us. "Now it’s, okay, this is who they are. I can continue to help them grow and evolve....But the hard part is just accepting that this is quite conceivably the rest of my li...

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Autism Isn't What I Signed Up For
Diane Gill Morris was 25 when her first son, Kenny, was born. About 15 months later, she and her husband realized that he’d stopped talking. By the time Kenny was officially diagnosed with autism, Diane’s second son, Theo, was eight months old. Less than a year later, he was also showing signs of the disorder. Diane left a comment on our Facebook page in response to an article about people who are considering having kids. "I have sacrificed a huge part of who I am—given up my career, gone broke, accepted s...

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How Nikki Giovanni Finally Learned To Cry
The legendary poet talks with host Anna Sale in front of a live audience about standing up to her father, surviving breast and lung cancer, and why she now cries "over any damn thing."  Anna Sale and Nikki Giovanni, live in The Greene Space in New York City.  (Matthew Septimus)...

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Let's Talk About Porn Again
We're revisiting our most-listened to episode ever, about porn. Your stories about secret hard drives, fantasy plot lines, illegal downloads, titillating Tumblr feeds and giving porn up completely. We're sharing this episode as part of our month-long series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations. Find the entire series here....

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How Do You Bring Up Your STI?
This week, we put out an episode about sexually transmitted infections. A lot of people featured in the episode talked about what happened after they told a potential partner about their STI. But we heard from a listener who wants to hear what those disclosure conversations actually sound like. And we do too! So we need your help.  Find our entire series, Our Sex (Mis)Educations, here....

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Sexually Transmitted Secrets
One in 8 Americans has genital herpes, and rates of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are all climbing. But when we asked our listeners to tell us their stories about having an STI, what we heard about was how alone you can feel when you have one.  Want to learn more? Check out our STI reading list here. This episode is a part of our month-long series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations. Find the entire series here....

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So Many Sex Ed Fails
You have a limited number of orgasms in life. Your penis will fall off if you get an infection. Kissing will get you pregnant. We asked you to share your "sex ed fails"—and you all had a lot to say.  This episode is a part of our month-long series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations. Find the entire series here....

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I Wanted To Be A "Good Girl"
Andrea grew up attending an evangelical church in Texas, where she was taught to abstain from sex until marriage and keep herself sexually "pure." That early sex education—and her decision to have premarital sex anyway—had long-lasting impact, well into her adulthood.  This episode kicks off our month-long series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations. Find the entire series here....

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When A Banker Was Called To The Convent
Sister Josephine Garrett grew up Baptist and worked her way up the corporate ladder—eventually becoming a vice president at Bank of America, where she managed a few hundred employees. But after converting to Catholicism in her mid-20s, the idea of becoming a nun popped into her head, and she couldn't leave it behind.  Sister Josephine Garrett, on the day she took her first vows. (Sister Josephine Garrett)...

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I Married A Dreamer During The Trump Presidency
Vanessa and Freddy had been dating for just a few months when she first brought up the idea of marriage, while they were eating at their favorite taco place. "He just was silent, like he just looked at me, and then looked down at his food and kept eating," Vanessa told me. "I'm like, um are you gonna say something? And then he eventually said, I take marriage very seriously and I would never want to go down that path just because of legal status."  Freddy was born in Mexico, but has lived in the U.S. since...

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Married, Paralyzed and Moving On
Two years ago, Hiroki Takeuchi was paralyzed from the waist down in a cycling accident. It was just weeks after he and his wife, Rachel Swidenbank, got married. When we first spoke in early 2017, Hiroki was still figuring out the basics of day-to-day life in a wheelchair: how to drive an adapted car, how to get up and down stairs, how to use the bathroom on his own. Rachel stopped working to care for Hiroki in those early days. There were a lot of unknowns about the future, and what Hiroki's body would and ...

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John Green Thinks Adulthood is Underrated
Author John Green is a master of connecting with young people. His YA novels, and the popular YouTube channel he runs with his younger brother Hank, have created massive communities of teenage fans all over the world. But when he was growing up in Orlando, John himself often felt isolated from his peers. Anxiety and obsessive thoughts plagued him, starting when he was a kid. "The feeling of not being able to choose thoughts, [...] of not being able to reassure myself, and not being able to be reassured by p...

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Why Governor Jennifer Granholm Cut Her Hair
When Jennifer Granholm ran for Attorney General of Michigan in 1998, she had three young children at home — including a 10 month old baby. But that was not something she wanted voters to know about. "You didn't even really see my husband," Jennifer told me. "It was all about this disembodied creature who was going to fight for you because you don't want to remind people of the mess that is a family and all of that." Jennifer's life in politics was quite a change from how she started her career, as a former...

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Tell Us Your Sex Ed Fails
A listener named Lauren emailed the Death, Sex & Money inbox recently with a request: Could we please talk more about blue balls? She explained that when she was a young woman, she had male partners tell her it was literally unsafe for them not to orgasm after arousal — and she believed them. "It's like, oh I started to hook up with him. So now I have to have sex with him," she said. It wasn't until much later that Lauren realized blue balls are, at worst, mildly uncomfortable.  Lauren's experience of find...

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When Fire Takes Everything: Rebuilding in Northern California
In the middle of the night on October 8th, 2017, Ed and Kathy Hamilton were woken up by banging on their front door. When they opened it, their neighbor was standing there, and behind her, the sky was glowing red. "It was just a scene from hell," Ed says. "It’s indescribable." A few hours later, their home burned down in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Ed and Kathy became one of thousands of families deciding how—or if—to rebuild in a part of the country where wildfires ar...

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I Served 27 Years In Prison. Now, I'm Out On Parole.
"Sometimes I wake up, and I say, what if I wake up, and I'm in my bedroom? And I wake up and I always see the bars there. And I wonder [about] the day when I’m going to wake up and I’m not going to see the bars there." That's what Lawrence Bartley told me the first time I spoke to him in 2014. I was interviewing him at Sing Sing prison in New York, where he was serving a sentence of 27 years to life for second degree murder. That day came this past May, when Lawrence was paroled, and walked out of Sing Si...

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Jane Fonda After Death and Divorce, Revisted
What do you think of when you think of Jane Fonda? The sexy space traveller from Barbarella? Vietnam War activist? Fitness goddess? Fonda has had quite the career. She’s also had three marriages — to a French director, an anti-war activist, and the billionaire Ted Turner — and each ended in divorce. When she found herself newly single at 62, she felt whole for the first time. Now, she says she’d disappear into a monastery before getting married again. When I spoke with her in 2014, she told me about her mo...

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Hot Dates: Last Summer Nights
A lot has changed over the course of the summer for the group of eight listeners whose dating lives we've been following in real-time—they've been through breakups, hookups, move-ins, friends that might become more than friends and awkward dates. For many of them, those experiences have prompted reflection about what it is they want out of dating, and in this final episode of our series, they fill me on why that isn't always what they thought they wanted.    Loading... We know that sometimes, being s...

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Nick Offerman Can Take Directions
Nick Offerman is famous for playing the unsentimental, bacon-loving, alpha-male Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. But for a long time after moving to Los Angeles in his mid-20s, he was a struggling actor, best known for being married to Megan Mullally, who played Karen on Will & Grace. He told me about meeting Megan while he was living in a friend's unfinished basement, and about building a life with her in Los Angeles, far from his hometown in Illinois. "I spent a lot of time sort of shedding my middle ...

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Alzheimer's and the World's Saddest Comedy Club
Comedian Chris Garcia has always incorporated stories about his Cuban-American family into his sets. But after his father died from Alzheimer's, Chris started using his comedy to process his own grief, and to memorialize his dad. He also found solace talking to other comedians who had lost their own parents. Now, Chris is bringing some of those conversations about death, family and comedy to a new audio project with WNYC Studios. This week, we're bringing you an early listen of what he's been working on. Y...

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Hot Dates: From One Hot Dater to Another
Ceci is 36 and lives in a city in California, Miracle is 25 and lives in a small town in Alabama. But when they got together to talk, they discovered there's a lot of overlap between their dating experiences. They talked about the family and social pressures they feel as young, single women, what happened when Ceci changed her race from "mixed" to "Hispanic" on her dating apps and the big changes in their dating lives since we last checked in with them.      All summer, we're following a group of liste...

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Tig Notaro Isn't a Blob Anymore
Tig Notaro had big plans for the year she turned 41—after spending her 20s and 30s on the road building her comedy career, she was finally going to fulfill her dream of becoming a parent. Instead, Tig's life fell apart. In the span of six months, she contracted a life-threatening infection, her mother died in an accident and Tig was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. She talked about all of it on stage at Largo, the comedy club in Los Angeles, and the set went viral. That terrible year changed a lot o...

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Hot Dates: Open to Open Relationships
The first time I talked with Jessie, a 36 year old programmer in Montana, she told me that she couldn't find single guys on her dating apps that felt like good matches. That's still true...technically. But since that first conversation, she emailed to tell me about another part of her dating life she didn't mention before. Plus, June's enjoying her summer break from college with three different partners.    All summer, we're following a group of listeners as they date in real time around the country. We...

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Manhood, Now: Live
As we've been talking about Manhood, Now over the last month, we've heard from a lot of you that conversations about masculinity can be hard to start. So, we decided to try and have one together—on live radio. CNN's W. Kamau Bell joined me, and together, we took calls from all over the country about how expectations are shifting for men right now, what you learned about being men from the role models you grew up with (and what you're relearning now), and how we can all get better at having these kinds of co...

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A Wife Interviews Her Husband About Manhood, Now
After we put out our episode Manhood, Now, we heard from a lot of you that you're hungry for more conversations about what's changing for men right now. We've been talking about all of this in public, but we're particularly curious about how these conversations are happening in private right now—at work, with friends, and in romantic relationships. And today, two of our listeners are giving us all a peek into how they're talking about this together. Ryan and Alex are a husband and wife who live in D.C. Ear...

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Hot Dates: "I'm Supposed to Be Certain"
When I first talked with Dan, a 41-year-old widower who recently reentered the dating pool, he told me that he had been reflecting on some past behavior with regret in the wake of #MeToo. Now, he says he won't initiate physical contact without verbal consent, and he's trying to be especially aware of whether he's making the women he's dating feel safe and comfortable with him. But he says he's confused about how to navigate consent when women tell him they want to be "submissive" in a relationship. Since we...

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How to Be a Man With Bill Withers, Revisited
When I spoke with songwriting legend Bill Withers, for the very first episode of Death, Sex & Money, we talked about what it is to be a man. Withers told me it might not be manly to say "I'm scared," but that being a man isn't about ignoring fear. It's about getting things done in spite of it, and knowing when to ask for help.  This week, in honor of his 80th birthday, and our ongoing conversation about manhood today, we decided to revisit the episode, which is still one of my favorites.  Before Withers w...

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Hot Dates: A Middle School Teacher Walks Into A Bar...
When we first met Miracle, she wasn't on any dating apps—because she still lives in the small city she grew up in, she was afraid she'd come across people she went to high school with. Since we first talked, she decided to try Bumble, and her fears were realized...sort of. Plus, Ceci finds out who her mystery texts are coming from, and Vicki discovers that doctors make good dates.  All summer, we're following a group of listeners as they date in real time around the country. We're calling this series Hot D...

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Manhood, Now
"Don’t be weak. Don’t be small. Don’t be poor. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be feminine. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be unapproachable. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be patronizing. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be unemotional. Don’t be big. Don’t be loud. You might notice a lot of contradictions here." We're in a moment where what it means to be a man is shifting—and to some men, it feels like there are a lot of mixed messages floating around. As one man put it to us, "there’s a very unclear set of expectations as far a...

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Hot Dates: Help from an OKCupid Guru
In the third installment of our series Hot Dates, we check in with Louis, who's trying to date in D.C. and frustrated by how it's going. It's still hard—so we asked Tobin Low, cohost of the WNYC Studios podcast Nancy, to weigh in with some advice from his own time on OKCupid. Plus, Ceci tells us about some anonymous texts she's been getting. All summer, we're following a group of listeners as they date in real time around the country. We're calling this series Hot Dates—if you missed the introductory episo...

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Hot Dates: Do As I Say, Not As I Do
When we met Thomas in our first episode of Hot Dates, he was trying to avoid jumping into anything too quickly. It's June, and he's got an update on his love life. All summer, we're following a group of listeners as they date in real time around the country. We're calling this series Hot Dates—if you missed the introductory episode, go back and listen to it first....

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John Prine Wanted to Be Normal
I've loved John Prine's music a long time—I grew up singing his songs around campfires in West Virginia. But before he was a regular in my music collection, John was performing at open mics in Chicago, and paying his bills by delivering mail. So when he hit it big with his first album in 1971, he says that getting use to fame was a shock. "I was writing about things private to me and dear to me," he told me. "And to have people know me before they shook my hand was odd to me." And John says that in his life...

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Hot Dates: Romance Right Now
A lot is changing about how we date right now, from how we meet people, to who pays, and how we talk about sex. It's complicated, but for many people, summer is the time to try. So as we head into the warmer months, we've asked a group of listeners to let us check in with them as they date. In this first episode, you'll meet: • Louis, a guy in Washington D.C., who's constantly ghosted by the men he matches with on dating apps. • Miracle, a woman in Alabama who's not using dating apps at all...but isn't ha...

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Tayari Jones on Frills and Freedom
Tayari Jones’ first step towards becoming a bestselling author was quitting. When she left a PhD program in literature at the University of Iowa in her early 20s, she worried about getting in trouble and disappointing her parents, who were both academics. Instead, two decades later, she says that decision ushered in the best times of her life. “I wanted a kind of life I had never seen before,” she told me. “I was always really attracted to women who seemed to be eccentric and kind of uncontrollable. I want...

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Your Student Loan Updates
"Being an adult and taking on adult things has definitely made me grow up a little bit," Jordan Gibbs told me when we talked recently. "It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster."  Last spring, Jordan was just one of the many listeners who told us about their student loan debt. When we first talked, she wasn't paying hers at all. It was a secret from everyone in her life, including her parents. But as we were putting together our original batch of episodes, she made one hefty payment—and, as she told me r...

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When 'Daddy Dates' Pay The Bills
When Lizzie* joined the website Seeking Arrangement as a college undergraduate, she thought it would be a short-term thing. The “sugar daddy” website mostly connects wealthy older men with attractive young women—“sugar babies”—who they pay for sex and dates. Two years after joining, Lizzie calls herself a professional sugar baby, although she keeps her work secret from everyone except a small circle of friends. She says she brings in $4,000 to $5,000 a month from various arrangements—far more than she makes...

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A Son, A Mother, and Two Gun Crimes
We first heard Dwayne Betts' story in Caught, the new podcast series about juvenile justice from WNYC. Today, Dwayne is 37, a poet, father of two and a Yale Law School graduate. He's getting his PhD in law there now. But as a 16-year-old, Dwayne carjacked someone at a mall, and was sent to prison for almost a decade. "The fact that I was a child, I should have been treated differently," Dwayne told us. "And that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been punished, that that just means I should have been treated dif...

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15 Years Later, An Iraq Veteran Looks Back
Ten days after the start of the war in Iraq, Staff Sergeant Thom Tran crossed the border from Kuwait with his unit. Four days later, he went out on a recon mission, and came millimeters from death when an enemy bullet grazed the back of his head in a firefight. He got relatively lucky; but still, he's spent the last 15 years thinking about how that moment—and his service—have defined his life after the military. Because for Thom, coming home after his deployment ended was not easy. "I had a real shit attit...

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From Indie Rockers to Full-Time Caregivers
In 2010, Johnny Solomon's band, Communist Daughter, was on the rise. But behind the scenes, Johnny was struggling—he was drinking heavily, and abusing meth to the tune of $600 a week. "People see it from the outside, but it's impossible to explain from the inside of what it does to your soul," he told me about his addiction. "I did really terrible things to the people I loved." When Johnny realized it was time to get help, he called one of the people he loved most—his mom, Nancy. She paid for him to go to r...

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Sharing DNA, and Nothing Else
The consumer genomics industry has exploded in recent years. Websites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have customer databases in the millions. But for some people, like a woman we met named Amy, the at-home DNA testing craze can bring some unexpected revelations. In 2016, Amy spit into a tube and mailed it to Ancestry.com's DNA testing service. She'd always been interested in genealogy, so the test seemed like the perfect way to learn more about her heritage—but what she found out was that the man who raised...

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Lena Waithe Says Have a Dream... and a Sponsor
Writer and actor Lena Waithe moved to Los Angeles in 2006 from Chicago, right out of college. "I transferred my Blockbuster job from Chicago to LA," she told me. "It was definitely dues-paying time. I wasn’t even paying dues yet. I was just out there figuring it out." Lena's goal in Hollywood was to land a screenwriting gig. Growing up, she'd always loved to write—her fifth grade teacher told her she "writes the way she speaks." And she also knew that she wanted a career far outside of the corporate world ...

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After Suicides, a Texas Veterinary Community Opens Up
"Stress is in the environment. It's that fast pace. [Veterinarians] will do a euthanasia and not stop, and they'll go right to the next case. There's no processing of it." Suicide statistics in the veterinary profession are sobering: a 2014 CDC study found that one in six veterinarians has considered suicide, and a British study found that the suicide rate in the veterinary profession might be up to four times higher than that of the general population. But reading the statistics and experiencing the re...

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Opportunity Costs: I Never Felt Inferior
I first talked to Ernie Major a few years ago, for our episode about living alone. When we put out our call for class stories, Ernie got in touch again. "I’m retired now, by myself in a single wide trailer," he wrote us, "but I still don’t feel inferior to other people of higher class. In fact, sometimes I feel kind of sorry for them, trapped their web of expectations." Ernie is 73, and over the course of his life he's been in a lot of different class brackets. He grew up "dirt poor" as a homesteader, but...

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Opportunity Costs: More Is Not More
Nishant is a junior at Berkeley. Like a lot of college students, he’s trying to figure out how he thinks about class and money as he moves towards graduation and financial independence from his parents. But Nishant’s dealing with a special set of privileges, and complications: his family is in the one percent. His dad, Vik, immigrated from India with his family as a teenager and then went to medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, Vik founded a software company instead. It was a gamble that paid o...

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Opportunity Costs: The Class Slide After Divorce
A decade ago, Jaimie Seaton and her family were living overseas in Asia while her husband worked as a high-ranking executive at Citibank. "We lived in a huge house with a pool and staff and a driver," Jaimie told me. "We always traveled business class. We always stayed in 5-star hotels. We always had a lot of parties." "From where I sit now and how I have to economize, I just kind of shake my head at the amount of money I wasted."  Jaimie's financial picture looks quite different today. A year after movin...

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Opportunity Costs: An Education or Nothing
When Ramal Johnson imagined his life as a PhD student at Howard University, he didn't picture waking up at 4 A.M. to work double retail shifts in addition to his coursework. But last semester, when he was struggling to keep up with rent and student loan payments, that's what his days looked like. Even with his jobs at Best Buy and Express, he wasn't always making enough to cover the cost of living in the D.C. area. "I kind of felt like a failure," he says. "I was just depressed, I was sad, and I was angry, ...

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Opportunity Costs: Friendship and Fertility
We heard from more than 400 of you when we asked you for your stories about when you've felt your class status the most. Our listener Cat in Chicago told us it's a question she's been waiting "literally 20 years for someone to ask." Cat wrote to us about her best friend, Christine. They met in college, and have stayed really close in the years since. But when they both struggled to get pregnant, Cat had a lot more options. She describes herself as upper-middle class—she and her husband own their own home, ...

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Preview: Opportunity Costs
For the past few months, we've been asking you for stories about class. We heard from more than 400 of you about moving up, moving down, and struggling to define where you stand in the first place. One thing that was clear for everyone, though, is that class is something we talk around, but rarely address head on. So next week (January 22-26), in partnership with BuzzFeed News, we're bringing you five in-depth conversations about class—and the ways it manifests in your day-to-day lives and in your relation...

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All Your Workplace Rage
"Phew, that felt good." "Wow, 30 seconds goes by real fast." "I actually really needed this."                A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us 30-second voice memos with your anger about harassment and bullying you've experienced at work—and the advice you'd give your younger self about what you don't have to put up with. And you all were ready to vent! You sent us stories about sexism and racism, physical harassment and psychological abuse, from bosses and co-workers male and female alike. Some o...

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Pull Quote: Plunging In
Happy new year! We've got a special treat for you today. You may have heard that we've been working on an experiment, a new mini-podcast series called Pull Quote. The episodes are short audio gems that we've dug up from our archives and from elsewhere. This week, we're sending our first batch of episodes to those of you who've donated to support the show. But as we start the this new year together, we thought we'd share the first Pull Quote with all of you: some words of wisdom about beginnings from write...

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I Felt Like The Story Had To Change: Life After Heroin
When my friend Danielle was in high school, she was hanging out in her hometown of Merrick, Long Island, going to punk shows and fighting with her mom—like a lot of teenagers. But when she was 19, her mom died, and Danielle's experimentation with drugs and alcohol really accelerated. By the time she was 25, she was using heroin daily. She says that in some ways, her mom's death gave her a justification for using. "It sounds horrible to say, but I remember when my mom passed me kind of feeling a sense of rel...

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I Can't Fix It: A First Responder and Heroin
Mark Strickland knew he wanted to be a first responder when he was five years old. "It was a way to help people," he told me. "You're giving everything you've got to help people in distress, no matter what it may be."  When he first started working as an EMT in my hometown of Charleston, West Virginia back in the 1990s, Mark says that his job rarely involved reviving people after drug overdoses. But in recent years, as heroin and other opioids have ravaged the Charleston community, he says that's changed. ...

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Your Workplace Rage, And Mine
This past weekend, New York Magazine published a story detailing a pattern of alleged sexual misconduct and bullying by John Hockenberry, the former host of WNYC's show The Takeaway. The story includes allegations of forcible kissing, excerpts of inappropriate online messages Hockenberry sent to staff and guests, and descriptions of a pervasive culture of intimidation on the show that was most publicly directed against three of Hockenberry's cohosts—all women of color—who left The Takeaway one after the oth...

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Gabrielle Union Is Fed Up
When she was a teenager, all Gabrielle Union wanted was to be chosen. Growing up, she felt conspicuous as one of the only black girls in the mostly-white California city of Pleasanton, and she distinctly remembers how badly she wanted to fit in—but more often than not, she says, she felt like an outsider. "My parents thought moving us to Pleasanton was giving us all of the opportunity. You have great schools, safe neighborhoods, you're going to be around the right kind of people," she told me when I spoke t...

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Finding Love, And A Kidney, On Tinder
In 2015, Lori Interlicchio and Alana Duran swiped right on each other's Tinder profiles. They were both in their early 20s, and not looking for anything too serious. But on their first date, Alana told Lori that she has lupus—an autoimmune disease that, in Alana's case, has taken a major toll on her body. At that point, Alana had been on dialysis for four years. Her kidneys were failing. And after just three dates, Lori was thinking about offering to see if she could be a potential kidney donor match. "I c...

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What Lisa Ling Regrets
In her late 20s, Lisa Ling was co-hosting The View and enjoying single life in New York. "When I think back on it I see myself, you know, dancing on tables sometimes," she laughs. But her decision to leave her previous life in Los Angeles behind had long-lasting consequences. "As soon as I got to New York, this whole world opened up to me and I was invited to every party. And given where I grew up in this kind of middle, lower-middle class home and community, it was it was exciting for me," she recalled. Bu...

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A Bitcoin Mogul Goes Broke
When Charlie Shrem was growing up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, he learned a lesson about money the hard way. "I got a credit card in the mail [...] the day I turned 18. I had a $6000 credit limit. And I was taking people to Vegas," he told me. It was a lifestyle that got him in ten thousand dollars worth of debt. He repaid that debt in full, and then started looking for a way towards financial independence.  He landed on Bitcoin. Charlie was an early adopter of the cryptocurrency, and his gamb...

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Why She Steals: Your Reactions
Last month, we spoke to a woman named Alice* about her shoplifting habit, how she justifies it, and her reluctance to go on food stamps. And a lot of you responded to her story. Here's just a sample of some of the comments we got: I grew up poor, but stealing was never the answer for my family. And I don't think it's the answer here either. My moral core was grossed out. This episode made me enraged. That's all. It seemed like there was more to talk about here. So this week, we dug into your reacti...

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Life in Our 20s: Advice from Niecy Nash, Alia Shawkat & Terri Coleman
Your 20s can be hard—but getting advice from people who've been there can make things a little easier. And that's exactly what we're doing this week, in a live show we recently recorded at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  With the help of guests Alia Shawkat (Search Party, Arrested Development, Transparent), Niecy Nash (Claws, Reno 911, Getting On), and Terri Coleman (from our series "In New Orleans"), we take on life advice questions from listeners in their 20s, and talk about the most challenging ...

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Ellen Burstyn's Lessons on Survival
I talked with Ellen Burstyn three years ago, sitting on wicker furniture in her New York apartment. She told me about getting on a Greyhound bus to Dallas at 18 with 50 cents in her pocket, and about surviving an illegal abortion. And she described adopting her son, leaving an abusive marriage, and starring as a newly single mom in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The role was based in part on her own life, and it won her an Oscar. "I know I’m a successful actress," she told me. "But I don’t feel I’m necess...

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Why I Steal
Alice* lives in a small town, where the work dries up in the winter. She and her husband have jobs at a seasonal restaurant, where she says they each make about $500 a week. When it gets cold, they go on unemployment to support themselves and their young daughter. Alice supplements that income by shoplifting. "I do have rules that I follow," she explained. "I don't ever lift from small mom-and-pop kinds of stores. When you lift from somewhere like Walmart they already have it built into their insurance...I ...

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Our Student Loan Questions Live: Part Two
"Is it totally crazy to go to grad school before paying off my undergrad loans?" "Is it best to pay the smallest [loan] first and reduce your number of loans? Or is it best to reduce your highest interest loans first?" "Lately I've been thinking about refinancing my student loans, but I worry about moving from fed loans to a private company [...] does it make sense to do this?" "Do you think it's likely that in this lifetime, student loan victims unionize and agree to collectively default?" You've sen...

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Our Student Loan Questions Live: Part One
After we released our two-part series on student loan debt earlier this summer, we got a lot of emails from you. In addition to your stories, you also had questions about your loans: about what concrete steps you can take to pay them off smartly, and if you're not in school yet, about whether it's worth it to go into debt for college in the first place. One listener wrote in about his shared debt with his wife: "We are continually putting off having children because we realize we really can't afford it. We ...

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Tracy Clayton's 2017 So Far: Therapy, Forts and Auto Bill Pay
Back in January, I interviewed Tracy Clayton, who writes for Buzzfeed and is the co-host of the podcast Another Round. We talked about the long thread of New Year's resolutions she’d tweeted out for everyone to see—everything from getting her taxes done by a professional to meeting a chicken.  "You know at the top of the year you’ve got, like, hope and energy," Tracy told me when we recently caught up. "It’s like the slate’s being wiped clean, and now you can do anything. New year, new you." More than half...

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As Harvey Hits, Looking Back at New Orleans
We changed our plans for Death, Sex & Money this week as we watched the storm known as Harvey pummel the Gulf Coast. It's made us think about the conversations we had in New Orleans two years ago, for a series about life there around the tenth anniversary of Katrina. In those episodes, we profiled five people and heard in detail about how their lives were forever changed by a few days of rain, wind, and catastrophic floods. We also heard about their collective trauma of having the home they knew suddenly u...

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Katie Couric on Death and Dishonesty
Katie Couric has lived in the public eye since 1991, when she began co-hosting the Today Show on NBC. While she's built a career on her unflappable on-screen presence, she says that same journalistic rationality served her poorly when crisis hit closer to home. In 1998, her husband, John Paul "Jay" Monahan, died of colon cancer at 42. Katie says her reluctance to accept the inevitable conclusion of his diagnosis is something she regrets. "I really tried to not fall apart in front of Jay, and looking back on...

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When Grief Looks Like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In 2013, podcast producer Rachel Ward's husband, Steve, died unexpectedly. She was 32, and he was 35. Being widowed is painful under any circumstances, but Rachel says that she went through an unusual kind of grief and confusion after losing her husband at such a young age. "I felt like I re-experienced adolescence after Steve died," she says. "But I also feel old because I am an aging person. I'm 36 years old. And that's older than a lot of my peers who on paper have an equivalent life position. You know, ...

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The Cookie That Ended Jeff Garlin's Sobriety
For over thirty years, Jeff Garlin has been a film and TV mainstay—writing, producing and starring in comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm (coming back for its ninth season this fall) and The Goldbergs. He's also had a long career in standup comedy. He's so comfortable on stage that he says he often doesn't prepare at all for his sets. But that doesn't mean that Jeff takes his job lightly. "It's a real important thing, comedy, to make us human and help deal with pain," he says. "Life throws a lot of pain at ...

Bonus! Anna Talks Interviewing with Jesse Thorn
"One of the really important traits of an interviewer is to communicate to the person you’re asking questions of that you are sincerely curious," Death, Sex & Money host Anna Sale recently told Jesse Thorn on his new show, The Turnaround. "Because your interview is only going to be as good as the person’s willingness to participate." This summer, Jesse (who also hosts the radio show/podcast Bullseye) is turning the tables on interviewers and interviewing them about their craft. He's talked with people like...

My Husband Killed Someone. Now He Might Get Out.
Ronnine Bartley dated her now-husband Lawrence when they were in middle school. "Even when we were like together at 13 and 14 years old when we had no business being together, we always talked about being married," Ronnine told me. But when Lawrence was 17, he was arrested and convicted of murder. They weren't dating at the time, but they stayed in touch and eventually got back together while he was in prison. And in 2006, they got married.  But married life hasn't exactly been how Ronnine once imagined it...


I Killed Someone. Now I Have Three Kids: Updated
I first met Lawrence Bartley three years ago, inside Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He'd been behind bars for 24 years, after shooting his gun inside a crowded movie theater on Christmas night in 1990 and killing a 15-year-old bystander named Tremain Hall. Lawrence was 17 at the time.  Lawrence was sentenced to 27 to 30 years to life in prison for his crime, with the possibility of parole. This August, Lawrence will face the parole board for the first time. So we're sharing his story again and a few upda...

Our Student Loan Secrets, Part 2
Nathan realized he couldn't pay his rent and his monthly student loan payments. Beth* collapsed in tears while doing yoga because she couldn't stop worrying about money. Jordan set a calendar reminder to force herself to finally make her first payment.  Hundreds of you have shared your stories about student debt with us, especially the mix of frustration and shame you feel about it. But we also heard stories of turning points—when something changed that redefined your relationship with your student loans. ...

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Our Student Loan Secrets, Part 1
I have blatantly lied to my friends about student loans. I feel fooled and bamboozled about the American dream. It’s a stupid system. No one talked about this. When we asked you to tell us your stories about how student loans are affecting other parts of your life, we were overwhelmed by your responses. You've shared more than a thousand stories in all, and they keep coming. We heard about years of incremental payments and the thrill of getting to a zero balance, but also about delayed weddings, tensions...

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Coming Soon: Our Student Loan Secrets
More Americans are taking on more debt than ever before to pay for higher education: 44 million Americans have $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. But when we asked you to tell us how you feel about your debt, hundreds and hundreds of you told us about the guilt, shame and isolation that surrounds your loans.  Next week, we'll share your stories about how student loan debt has affected your relationships, careers, families and more. For now, visit deathsexmoney.org/studentloans to join the community there:...

Who's Driving Your Uber?
I’ve learned a lot about the Bay Area from Uber drivers since I moved here last fall. Some of them are new arrivals, like me, but others have watched the region change dramatically over the last few years. When I'm stuck in a car with a stranger at the wheel, I've been surprised by how personal conversations can get.  So last month, producer Katie Bishop and I took our microphones and recording gear along on a bunch of Uber rides all around the Bay Area. The company has been in the news a lot lately, but w...

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Hari Kondabolu and His Mom Answer Your Life Questions
When we first met comedian Hari Kondabolu and his mom, Uma, a year ago, we found out that comedy runs in their family. We had such a good time with them that we invited Hari and his hilarious mom to join us on stage again—this time, for a live advice show in The Greene Space. Uma, who immigrated from India to the U.S. as a young woman, and Hari, who was raised in Queens and is now a stand-up comic, sat down with me to answer your questions about everything from money woes to relationship hurdles to pursuing...

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'Precious' Paid Off Gabourey Sidibe's Crunch Gym Debt
Gabourey Sidibe was 24 and working as a phone sex operator when she was cast as the lead in the 2009 film Precious. It was her first acting role. "It had better change my life for the better," she remembers thinking to herself. "That’s what I prayed for." And it did: she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, and has since landed roles in big-budget movies like Tower Heist and television series like American Horror Story, The Big C, and Empire.   But financial success didn't come right awa...

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Kevin Bacon Shows Us His Cash
"We all have a different relationship with money," Kevin Bacon told me on stage when I recently interviewed him at The Greene Space in New York. "It's just as complex as death and sex." One thing I learned about Kevin Bacon's relationship with money in our recent conversation: he likes to carry around a lot of cash. No wallet. A wad—folded up in his pocket. "It's just a weird thing," he said. "I don't leave the house without it." I asked the actor about how he thinks about money differently after he and h...

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Two Wheelchairs and A Baby
When Nikki Villavicencio and Darrell Paulsen found out they were going to have a baby, their first question was: What now? "It was a scared feeling. It’s not that this was not the right thing or the right feeling, but it was, 'What do we do next?'" Darrell told me. That’s how a lot of people feel when they first become parents. But for Nikki and Darrell, there were complicating factors. For one, neither Darrell nor Nikki has use of their legs. Darrell has cerebral palsy, and Nikki has a rare joint conditio...

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Newlywed and Paralyzed
"I want to understand if this isolated feeling is normal." That’s what Rachel Swidenbank wrote to me just six weeks after a cycling accident left her husband, Hiroki Takeuchi, paralyzed from the waist down. The accident happened last summer, less than a month after Rachel and Hiroki got married. They'd also recently bought their first home. Quickly, almost everything in their lives changed. After major surgery and five weeks in the hospital, Hiroki had to learn to navigate the world in a wheelchair. He cou...

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Alec Baldwin Talks Money, Family, Fame and Cocaine
"I completely forgot that this is an episode of Death, Sex & Money. We're taping this for your show!" That's how Alec Baldwin responded after I started our on-stage conversation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by asking him about money, and how he thinks about accumulating it. It's a topic he addresses head-on in his new memoir, Nevertheless, explaining that the reason he wrote the book was because he got paid for it. While Alec told me he believes "a lot in providence, financially," he says he's often ma...

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Pleased to Meet You, Nancy
I first met Kathy Tu and Tobin Low two years ago, when they had an idea for a new podcast. The two friends wanted to make a show that would feature fun, honest and edgy stories and conversations about all things gay. And today, I'm so excited to finally introduce Nancy, their podcast, to all of you! The story we're sharing with you is from one of their very first episodes. It's about Kathy and her mom, and coming out with the help of Google Translate.  You can find out more about Nancy at nancypodcast.org...

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Why Rashema Melson Left Georgetown
I met Rashema Melson in the middle of her sophomore year at Georgetown University. She'd made national headlines the year before when she graduated as valedictorian of her D.C. high school class after spending several years living in a homeless shelter. It was a feat that landed her a scholarship at Georgetown—and saddled her with a lot of pressure. "I can't fail, I mean what would I do?" Rashema said as we talked in her dorm's common room, weeks before finals. "Do I want to believe that I didn't work hard ...

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A Prison Guard In Transition
Mandi Hauwert was 32 and a few years into her career as a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison when she started to wear eyeliner to work. "Just a little bit," she tells me. "Just to have some sense of feeling when I went to work that I was being secretly feminine." At the time, Mandi hadn't come out being transgender. She'd struggled with her secret for years—becoming depressed and suicidal as a teenager, joining the Navy to feel "a little more manly," and finally gathering the courage to open ...

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I Was Your Father, Until I Wasn't
Tony* wasn't sure what to say when the woman he'd slept with told him she was pregnant. First, he says, there was a long pause. They weren't a couple, and he didn't want to say the wrong thing. "I told her that it was her choice and if she chose to keep it, then I would be a good dad," he remembers. "I was freaking out."  At the time, Tony was in his mid-20s, working as a bartender and photographer in a college town out west. Tony started paying child support for his daughter near the end of the pregnancy,...

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Live from the Internet: Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires & You
We met Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires three years ago to hear about their love story. They met when Jason was still struggling with sobriety, and got married about a year before we first sat down. Since then, they've continued to create new music, moved into a new house together, and had their first child—Mercy. After our recent episode on breakups, we couldn't think of a better duo to take your questions about heartache, relationships, creativity and loss.  A caller named Rebecca in Alaska wants to know h...

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Cristela Alonzo's Lower Classy Comedy
Comedian Cristela Alonzo says she didn't grow up with much. Her mom raised four kids on her own in an abandoned diner with no running power or water in South Texas. Things are different for Cristela these days. "I have the kind of money where I can go into a Target and go on my own Pretty Woman shopping spree," she tells me. Cristela became the first Latina to develop, write, produce and star in her own network TV show. The self-titled sitcom, Cristela, premiered in 2014, but only lasted one season due to ...

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Cut Loose: Your Breakup Stories
When Nan Bauer-Maglin was 60 years old, her husband left her for his 25-year-old student. "I thought about suicide. You know, there’s a great feeling of rejection especially if you’re older," she told me. "You just feel ugly and invisible and sad and quite gray."  Nan wrote a book inspired by their breakup and called it Cut Loose. "First I was gonna call it 'Dumped.' But that’s so negative," she told me. "Cut Loose is also about freedom."  Nan is one of hundreds of listeners who shared their breakup stori...

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The NFL Made Me Rich. Now I Watch It... Sometimes.
When Domonique Foxworth and I first talked, the former NFL player was attending Harvard Business School and looking forward to a career as a high-powered executive. "I want to get to the point where I feel comfortable saying the things I’ve achieved financially are partially because of football, but even more because of what I’ve done afterwards," Domonique told me.  That's saying a lot. Shortly before an injury permanently sidelined his career, Domonique signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens worth $...

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Mahershala Ali on Faith, Love and Success
We met actor Mahershala Ali and his wife, the artist Amatus, last year in Brooklyn, a few months after he filmed his scenes for Barry Jenkins' film "Moonlight." Now, ten months later, Mahershala has earned his first Academy Award nomination for his role as Juan, a Miami drug dealer who takes the movie's main character, a young boy whose mother struggles with addiction, under his wing. Just last month, Mahershala also announced some exciting personal news: He and Amatus are expecting their first child.  To...

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I Had Babies To Pay For My Baby
Sarah Short remembers being 19 years old, staring at the bill from the hospital where she gave birth to her daughter. It added up to about $10,000. "There's the anesthesia, the hospital stay, and the doctor—and I just laughed," she tells me. "I was like, 'I can't pay this.'" Sarah had health insurance, but it didn't cover obstetrics. And she'd waited too long into her pregnancy to apply for Medicaid. She felt guilty about bringing so much debt into her new marriage—she married her boyfriend right before he...

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Tracy Clayton Is Speaking Things Into Existence
Right before the new year, Another Round podcast host and writer Tracy Clayton tweeted: there are so many things i want for 2017 and i believe in speaking things into existence so im gonna use this thread to do that — Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) December 28, 2016 What followed were 30 tweets about the things Tracy wants when it comes to family, relationships, work and finances. Some were funny ("I want some real fucking grown up furniture!") and others were serious ("I want to do the hard work o...

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A Son and His Mom Laugh Through Darkness
In 2014, after Bex Montz dropped out college, transitioned and got sober, he tried to kill himself. Before losing consciousness, he called 911. When he woke up, the first thing he saw was his mom, Katie Ryan, sitting in the corner of his hospital room.  Bex told me his story earlier this year in our episode about near-death experiences. He's living with his mom in San Francisco, and soon after I moved to California, I asked Bex if I could catch up with him in person—and meet his mom.  In our follow-up con...

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My Awkward Money Talk With Sallie Krawcheck
Before she was a Wall Street executive or the CEO of an investment company for women, Sallie Krawcheck was a little kid, listening to her parents fight about money.  "You just knew, once a month, they were gonna have a big fight and somebody was gonna storm out of the house," she told me. "It was a really stressful and tense topic for us, because we didn't have any."  That taught Sallie that she never wanted to be in that position. She says she started working in the third grade, filing papers at her dad'...

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Let's Talk About Porn
Porn. It’s something that people use in their most intimate, private moments. It’s a way to acknowledge desire—without any of the attachments of intimacy. For some of you, that's incredibly freeing. For others, it's caused some real problems. This spring, we heard from a listener named James* who described himself as a recovering porn addict. He was struggling to stay away from porn while his wife was out of town. His story made us wonder about your own relationship with porn, so we asked you about it. Mor...

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Other Americans
Since the election, Americans on both sides of the political divide have been feeling deeply alienated and profoundly misunderstood. So we've been asking our listeners one central question: What's the thing that you wish other Americans understood about you, that they don't?  In this live call-in special, Anna speaks with listeners about their answers to this question. Among the Americans we hear from are Kelly, a black woman in Portland, Oregon, who feels frustrated by the "smugness" of the white liberals...

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What Money Can't Solve
On November 2, 1983, Darrell Cannon was woken up by the Chicago police banging on his door. He knew the drill. As a longtime gang member, run-ins with the cops were common. He'd already served more than a decade behind bars for a murder conviction. But that day, something unexpected happened: Darrell says the cops tortured him while they were questioning him. During the torture, Darrell confessed to a crime that landed him back behind bars for 24 years.  This didn't just happen to Darrell. Between the 197...

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If You're Not ____, Then Never Mind
Actor Amy Landecker got divorced in 2011. "It was the worst time of my whole life," Amy says. "People told me it was going to get better and I didn't believe them." Amy and her ex-husband share custody of their daughter, and Amy struggled with being away from her for days at a time. "I would watch Louie, there was this one episode in particular where, when his kids would leave he would eat doughnuts, get high and want to kill himself," Amy remembers. "I was just so comforted. Because I was like, 'That's how...

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I Was More Angry At God
Two years ago, Jane Chung was living in New York, working at a startup and having the time of her life. The business she co-founded, called Klooff—a sort of "Instagram for pets"—was growing by leaps and bounds. "Everything seemed to align," Jane says. "And I would call my dad every day and I will tell him all the news." Jane, who was 30 at the time, hoped that after her startup got big, she could sell it and help her dad leave behind the dollar store business he owned in California.  And then, on October 3...

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Ellen Burstyn & Gloria Steinem
Before the women's movement came around in the 1960s, Gloria Steinem thought her options for the future were limited. "I was being a freelance writer and not having any money to save, and assuming that I would be a bag lady," she tells guest host Ellen Burstyn. "I was supposed to get married and have a man to support me. But that seemed to be a kind of hard bargain." Gloria was raised by a father who traveled across the country selling jewelry and antiques, and a writer mother who suffered from severe depr...

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Diane Gill Morris & Officer Robert Zink
Diane Gill Morris first joined us last year to talk about raising her two boys, Kenny and Theo. Both of her children are autistic, and Diane told us about the challenges that have come with their diagnoses and the overwhelming responsibility she feels to protect and nurture them, particularly as they become adults.  Diane said she was particularly worried about her older son, Kenny, who was then 16. "I am still trying to figure out how I make sure that he is safe in the world," Diane said, "when I can’t ex...

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Chris Gethard & Tim Dillon
Comedian Tim Dillon has lived a lot of life in his 31 years. "I was a child actor," he tells guest host Chris Gethard. "I started doing coke at 12. My mother's a schizophrenic. I was a closeted homosexual. I'm politically all over the map, though I lean conservative. I was in the mortgage industry. I idolize hucksters, thieves, cons and cheats. My dream is to be a traveling salesman through America. And if comedy works, that's nice too." Around the time that Tim says he began experimenting with drugs, he a...

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Sonia Manzano & Justice Sonia Sotomayor
"Through and through I'm a lawyer and a judge," says U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "But my life experiences do permit me to see things that others may not." Before the Justice became a lawyer and a judge, she was a young woman growing up in the Nuyorican community in the South Bronx—just a few years behind Death, Sex & Money guest host Sonia Manzano, who also grew up there. The two didn't meet until a few years ago, but their childhoods had some similarities: Money was tight, their parents' r...

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The Great Guest Takeover
A few months ago, we mentioned that we were working on a couple of special episodes during Anna's maternity leave.  What we didn’t mention was that we were working on these special episodes with some familiar voices. We invited four of our favorite former guests to switch seats...and become the interviewer. Over the next several weeks, you'll hear from longtime Sesame Street actor Sonia Manzano, comedian Chris Gethard, and actor (and "shouldless day" enthusiast) Ellen Burstyn. You'll also hear from Diane ...

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Life Is a Mystery
There are some interviews that just stay with you. My conversation with Elizabeth Caplice is one of those. I spoke with Elizabeth back in March for our episode about near death experiences called "When I Almost Died." A listener had suggested that we reach out to Elizabeth, who lived in Australia and had chronicled her almost two years of colorectal cancer treatment on her blog, Sky Between Branches. But hours before we talked, Elizabeth had been told by her doctors that her time was running out. They tho...

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Your Death, Sex & Money Short Stories – Live!
Last year, we asked listeners to share their favorite short stories about death, sex and money. After receiving more than 140 suggestions (you can find them all here), we picked five of our favorites—and partnered with the public radio show Selected Shorts to present them during a live show here in New York. Actors Becky Ann Baker (Girls), Sam Underwood (The Following), Kathleen Chalfant (Wit, The Affair) David Costabile (Breaking Bad) and Amir Arison (The Blacklist) joined us on stage to bring these storie...

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Anna Chlumsky Catches the Worm
At 10 years old, Anna Chlumsky delivered an iconic performance alongside Macaulay Culkin in the classic '90s movie My Girl. She became a child star, but the attention and job offers were fleeting. By the time she was a teenager, she'd stopped getting acting roles. "It just makes you feel like shit as an adolescent," she says. "Most rejections as an adolescent for anybody in any walk of life...make you feel like shit over and over." Even so, Anna couldn’t escape the public memory of her famous role—even in ...

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Dating Was So Hard, Until It Wasn't
"When I want it badly enough, I can...really steel myself and just be like, 'Don't freak out, just stay still, kiss them. Just do it!'"  This is how Katie Heaney talked about her dating life when we first spoke back in 2014. She'd just published her confessional first book, Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date—a chronicling of her lifelong singledom until age 25. And she'd recently moved to New York City from Minnesota to take a job at BuzzFeed as an editor. When we talked, the 27-year-old wa...

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We're Not Going To Have Karl Again
Karl Ives Scorah Towndrow was born last spring to parents Amber Scorah and Lee Towndrow. Neither of them were prepared for how deeply they would fall in love with their first child. "I remember having this feeling where I wanted to almost...absorb him into my body," Lee remembered. "As Karl got a little bit older," Amber told me, "There were these moments where sometimes he would catch my eye and stare at me...so long and with so much love in his eyes, that I’d almost start to blush." Amber and Lee's time ...

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Tituss Burgess Airs His Laundry
Tituss Burgess says there isn't much that he won't talk about. "I'm comfortable airing my laundry," he says. "I don't think one thing's dirty or clean. It's just what I wear." It's taken him years to get to that place. Raised by his mom in Georgia, the actor and singer says he knew that he was gay from a very young age. But it wasn't until his freshman year in college that he mustered the courage to come out to her. "She handled it very well," he said. But as his career has taken off, first on Broadway and...

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Inside Planned Parenthood
The first thing that greets you when you step off the elevator at the Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn is a metal detector. "I didn’t necessarily expect it," a first-time patient told me. "But as soon as I saw it I was like, 'Oh yeah, that’s right, that makes sense.'"  Many Planned Parenthood clinics across the country rely on security measures like these. The services provided by these clinics—specifically, abortions—have long been at the center of a raging political debate in the U.S. But it's not very oft...

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Danielle Brooks Is Ready to Talk About Sex
Danielle Brooks started out her life in a very religious household. Her mother and father are a minister and a deacon, respectively, and she grew up singing in her church choir and participating in oratorical contests run by her congregation. And the church also shaped her early thoughts about sex. "I had this Bible study teacher, who scared the bejesus out of us about having sex," Danielle tells me. "She was like, 'Anyone that enters you, they become a part of you!' And I was like, 'I’m just not ready for ...

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An Update from Susanne
We met Susanne* and Mike* earlier this year, when they shared how they overcame heroin addiction together. They started dating when they were teenagers, and began doing heroin together only a few weeks into their relationship. What followed were years of overdoses, jail time and three unplanned pregnancies. But after several false starts, Mike and Susanne were able to wean themselves off of heroin with methadone. They got clean, they moved away from their home state of Texas, and Mike found well-paying wor...

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How Jeff Daniels Got Sober, Again
Jeff Daniels dropped out of college and moved to New York City to become an actor. He left his family behind in Chelsea, Michigan, where his dad ran the local lumber yard. But a few years after moving to the city, Jeff says he got a letter from a young woman from his hometown. She moved to New York, they married, and had their first child. And then, they decided together to raise him back home in Michigan. "'I will sustain the career from the Midwest for as long as I can,'" Jeff told me. "That became the b...

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From Conversion Therapy to a Rainbow Yarmulke
When Chaim Levin first met Benjy Unger almost 10 years ago, Chaim immediately wanted to be friends. "He was like one of those bros from high school that was just so regular and nobody would guess that he’s gay," Chaim tells me. Chaim and Benjy grew up in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, but they didn't meet until they signed up for a therapy program then called JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality. Chaim was 18, and Benjy was 20. Both were attracted to men, and they sought out ...

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Diane Guerrero on Debt and Deportation
Diane Guerrero was just 14 years old when she came home to an empty apartment. Her parents had been taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and would soon be deported to their native Colombia. "My family unit essentially died that day," she says.  Now 29, Diane has recurring roles two successful television shows. She plays inmate Maritza Ramos on Orange is the New Black and smart aleck Lina on Jane the Virgin. But this success is new to Diane. Most of her teens and twenties were spent working any job...

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When I Almost Died
A few months ago, I asked you to share your near-death experiences. In all, we received more than 100 stories from you: through your emails, voice memos and—for the first time—our Medium page, where you can read the submissions. You told us about car accidents...plane crashes...illness...suicide. And, you told us what happened after...when you didn't die. Ellen's near-death experience ended her marriage. Kelsey's forced her into sobriety. And Paul's left him feeling impatient: "Every moment has to matter, ...

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Dead People Don't Have Any Secrets
When Amanda* met Sam* in her mid-20s, she thought he was the most interesting person she had ever met. "It was almost like he had tried to live his life a different way," she told me. "I was just enchanted by that."  Three years into their marriage, the couple found out that they were unexpectedly pregnant...with twins. Amanda says she took on the lion's share of the work at home while also juggling a full-time job that was paying most of their bills. "I was angry with him for not knowing how to help me," ...

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Rosie, Sixto, Hari, Uma, Mahershala, Amatus, Lisa & Dan
For Rosie Perez, it's her cousin, Sixto Ramos. For Mahershala Ali, it's his wife, Amatus. And for Hari Kondabolu, it's been his mom, Uma Kondabolu.  Our recent live show in Brooklyn was all about times of big change in life and the family who keeps us grounded during those periods of transition. I've been thinking about this a lot as I prepare to move across the country and become a parent for the first time.  (Julieta Cervantes) Rosie Perez and Sixto Ramos, Live at BAMRosie Perez didn't connect ...

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After My Brother Avonte Disappeared
Danny Oquendo was in the spotlight long before his 14-year-old autistic brother, Avonte, disappeared from his New York City school. Growing up, Danny was a football star — “sort of a golden child,” he sheepishly told me — eventually playing for the University of Maryland. But several years after leaving his NFL dreams behind, Danny was thrust back into the public eye again — this time, as one of the people leading the search for his missing brother. Many New Yorkers remember Avonte’s story. His face was p...

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Falling in Love... With Heroin
Susanne* met Mike* when she was 16. He was 18, and her supervisor at the call center where they worked. They flirted and started dating. "Average teenager stuff," Susanne recalls. Soon after they got together, Mike offered Susanne heroin. She says she had never even smoked pot before. "I don’t want to be mean, but I felt pressured into doing it. So, I did," she adds. "And then I fell in love." Heroin took over Susanne and Mike's lives for the next five years. Mike admits that their story, though increasin...

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Michael Ian Black's Middle-Aged Angst
Being a rebellious smart-ass helped comedian Michael Ian Black launch his career. And it occasionally got him into trouble. “Once I called the head of MTV a drunk,” he told me. “She was very offended.” It didn’t help that he was working for MTV at the time, as a co-creator and star of the ‘90s sketch show The State. At 44 years old, Michael’s comedy still has an acerbic bite. But in his personal life, he’s embraced all the trappings of Rockwellian stability: a new house in the Connecticut suburbs, a wife o...

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DANCE BREAK!
We've been asking you to tell us about the songs that have meant a lot to you during times of big change in your life. You've sent in more than 500 suggestions so far—along with a lot of great stories. Our listener Kevin Chung from Seattle sent us his anthem: "Miracle Mile" by the Cold War Kids. You can hear his story about why that song means a lot to him in our short podcast this week—and you can hear about the video he recorded of himself dancing along to the song too.   That's what we want you to do n...

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Lucinda Williams Says Whatever the Hell She Wants
When Lucinda Williams was in elementary school, all the other kids brought rock collections and other standard fare to show-and-tell. But she brought a folder. "I put this notebook together of seven poems and a short story by Cindy Williams," she remembers. Decades later, she's still documenting her impressions of the world, now in raw, often mournful songs that explore death, heartbreak, abandonment, and love. Many of her them are based in the American south, where Lucinda grew up—including those on her la...

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Why Jeb Corliss Jumps Off Cliffs
Jeb Corliss says he's "impossible to be in a relationship with." He's a professional BASE jumper and wingsuit flier—who's learned to very carefully analyze and control his emotions, including fear. "People don't realize that feelings get you in big trouble," he told me during our conversation at his condo near the beach in Marina del Rey, CA. For the past two decades, Jeb has made a living doing things that, to most of us, seem crazy. Like jumping out of planes or off of cliffs and flying through the air, ...

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Brooke Shields, Recovering Daughter
Brooke Shields became famous as a sex symbol long before she was actually having sex. At 12, she played a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby. Soon after, she starred in the sexy teen romance Blue Lagoon. And at 15, she became the controversial face of Calvin Klein jeans. But then, in college, Brooke publicly revealed her virginity—which she says turned her into "the most famous virgin in the world." "There was a juxtaposition of those two things," Brooke says. "I was not aware. I was not sexually awar...

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Living Alone, One Year Later
Today, more than a quarter of American households are home to just one person. And living alone has its perks. You can eat what you want, crank up the stereo and let your dishes pile up for days. But there's also no one to help foot the bill, and no one to turn to for reassurance when things go bump in the night.  Last year, I asked you to send in your stories about living solo. Listener Ashley Ward decided it was time to get her own place after dealing with a less-than-ideal roommate. But living alone can...

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Stop Calling Me 'The Homeless Valedictorian'
A year and a half ago, Rashema Melson’s story made national news. She attracted attention after she graduated at the top of her high school class in Washington, D.C., and earned a full scholarship to Georgetown, all while living in a homeless shelter. Now halfway through her sophomore year, she says she still gets recognized as “the homeless valedictorian.” She says people stop her for pictures, and strangers even send her donations. But Melson’s life didn’t change overnight. She visits her mom and her bro...

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Autism Isn’t What I Signed Up For
Diane Gill Morris was 25 when her first son, Kenny, was born. About 15 months later, she and her husband realized that he’d stopped talking. By the time Kenny was officially diagnosed with autism, Diane’s second son, Theo, was eight months old. Less than a year later, he was also showing signs of the disorder. Diane left a comment on our Facebook page in response to an article about people who are considering having kids. "I have sacrificed a huge part of who I am—given up my career, gone broke, accepted s...

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Holland Taylor Steps Off Her Island
Actress Holland Taylor has played roles like Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice, an ad executive in Bosom Buddies, and the emotionally distant mother Evelyn Harper on Two and a Half Men. She's built a reputation for playing patrician, self-assured women who don’t need anyone else. Which, in many ways, has also been a pretty accurate reflection of her personal life. "I was always at a certain safe remove I think," Holland says. "No matter how much I might have loved a person, I was at some sort of a saf...

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Why You're Not Having Sex
A 34-year-old listener we’ll call “Marie” emailed us not long ago. She’s never dated anyone seriously. She's never been kissed, and she's never had sex. She's not opposed to any of those things. They just haven't happened for her yet. And she’s worried that if she tells a potential partner about her sexual inexperience, he'll walk away.  Many of us aren’t having sex, for all kinds of reasons. When we asked you why you're not having sex, you told us about abstaining for religious reasons, or because of ling...

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Kevin Powell Doesn't Fight Anymore
Born in Jersey City to a poor, hard-working single mother from the South, Kevin Powell was a gifted young writer who earned a scholarship to Rutgers. Then things fell apart. He got expelled after a series of violent outbursts, two of which were directed at women. He’s not proud of what happened, but in some sense, he feels misunderstood. “Just because someone is in a college environment that’s supposed to be a positive space,” he told me, “doesn’t mean that they’ve healed from where they came from.” After ...

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All in the Family of Norman Lear
I spoke with Norman Lear, the veteran writer and producer behind such hit TV shows as All in the Family and The Jeffersons, at his luxury apartment in Manhattan. He told me he wanted to make sure his kids would never be "desperate for a dollar" -- but what "desperate" meant has fluctuated along the way. "I guess now it’s 60 billion," he deadpanned, adding, "That’s a joke."  Lear's own childhood had a degree of desperation: When Lear was nine, his father, Herman, was sent to jail for selling fake bonds. Lea...

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The Power of Yesi Ortiz
On weekdays between 10 and 3, Yesi Ortiz is the warm, flirty host for the popular Los Angeles hip-hop station Power 106. But off the air, she’s a dedicated single mother of six adopted kids. Her kids' biological mom is Yesi’s older sister, who had her first child as a teenager. "She had baby after baby after baby," Yesi told me. "She didn't really know how to go out and find a job." When Yesi was in her early 20s and her nieces and nephews landed in foster care, Yesi stepped up, taking parenting classes an...

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An Astronaut’s Husband, Left Behind
Dr. Jonathan Clark and his eight year-old son Iain watched the space shuttle Columbia launch from Kennedy Space Center on January 16, 2003. Sixteen days later, Columbia exploded upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Jon's wife, Dr. Laurel Clark, was one of seven astronauts killed in the disaster.  Jon and Laurel met because they were both doctors in the Navy, so they weren't strangers to risk. They shared a passion for scuba diving, and just months before the Columbia launch, their small plane crashed...

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The Sex Worker Next Door
I first heard from Emma—that's not her real name—after our cheating episode. She emailed me about all of the married men that she encounters through her job. "Am I facilitating cheating? I guess so," she wrote. "Can I sleep at night? Mostly."  She wanted to share her story about what it's like to be a sex worker. So we set up an interview. She told me that for her, sex work is a job. It’s something she does to pay her bills and support her kids. She has a boyfriend, but his income can’t support her househo...

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From Chaos to Sesame Street
Sonia Manzano, who spent more than 40 years playing Maria on Sesame Street, often gets asked by kids if she’s rich. It all depends on where you came from, she told me. Compared to Jennifer Lopez, she’s “poor as a church mouse.” But compared to where her parents started, she said she's well off. Born into a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, Manzano grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who bore the brunt of his abuse but refused to leave him. "I was always standing between them," Sonia told me. "Whe...

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In New Orleans: How to Get Elected Coroner
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse is New Orleans' coroner—a job he describes as the “interface between law and medicine.” But ten years ago, he was working in a lab studying the brains of people with PTSD, getting ready for a life in academia. When the storm hit, Dr. Rouse and his family evacuated to Houston. A moment he caught on TV brought him back to the city. “I...remember being glued to the television and seeing a police officer that I knew on camera, crying,” he recalls. “And that was not this guy's temperament.” Ar...

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In New Orleans: A Doctor's Adopted Home
Ten years ago when Katrina hit, Dr. Kiersta Kurtz-Burke didn’t evacuate. Instead she stayed inside New Orleans’ Charity Hospital, where she worked for six days, caring for 18 patients on the 5th floor. There was no power, and it seemed like no one was coming to rescue them. Before they were finally evacuated, Kiersta—who was part of the last group of people to leave—helped clean up the space for when her staff returned. "We didn't want it to look messy," she remembers. "We were naive."  Charity never opene...

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In New Orleans: Big Freedia Bounces Back
Even before becoming Big Freedia, Freddie Ross was known around New Orleans. Her "signature call"—an operatic bellow that she lets out when I ask to hear it—was legendary in the city. "They'd be like, 'Oh that's Freddie in the club'.... The signature call comes very loud. And proud." Freedia came out to her mom as gay when she was 13, and soon came out to her classmates as well. She tells me she "had to do what every other gay kid had to do: fight for their life, and fight to be strong and stand up and let...

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In New Orleans: Becoming the Demo Diva
Simone Bruni never imagined she would someday run a demolition company. "I grew up in a very traditional Latin home," she says. "My mom did not work. I wanted her life. I wanted to be a stay at home mom." But when Hurricane Katrina hit, Simone was 32 and single, working in the hospitality industry. After the storm, she found herself unemployed. "No one knew what to do. I did nothing," she recalls. Jobs were scarce. "It was...a situation of blaze your own trail or leave. I wasn’t going to leave." When wav...

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In New Orleans: From Raising Hell to Raising Kids
A decade after Hurricane Katrina, Terri Coleman is teaching a summer class to incoming students at Dillard University—a historically black college in New Orleans. But 10 years ago, when she was about the same age as her students, she was not the kind of kid to get a jump on freshman year with a summer class. “I did a lot of drinking. I did a lot of drugs. I did a lot of watching reruns of Family Guy all day long while super stoned,” Terri says.  When the storm hit, Terri was staying with her parents in New...

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Life as a Wife
Cindy Chupack got married for the first time when she was 25. Two years later, the man she married realized he was gay. They got a divorce. Chupack went on to have a successful career as an author and screenwriter, working on shows like Sex and the City. She won her first Emmy, and bought a house on the beach in California. Which made her second marriage, at 40, feel a little tricky. For one, her husband, Ian, came into their relationship with a lot of debt — and was heading toward a not-so-lucrative caree...

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Joy Williams' Public Breakup and Private Grief
Before singer-songwriter Joy Williams became one half of the Grammy-winning duo The Civil Wars, she was a fledgling Christian artist in Nashville without much romantic experience. “Pure as the driven snow would have been the moniker at that point,” Williams jokes. She met her husband, Nate, when he waited on her table at an Italian restaurant, and they got married soon afterward -- she was 21, and he was 23. When Williams met John Paul White a few years later, "It was like meeting somebody that I had known...

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A Funeral Director's Life After Burnout
When I first spoke with Caleb Wilde last year, he joked that he's damned to be a funeral director for the rest of his life. But there's some truth there. He's a sixth-generation funeral director in the small town of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. It's a community with an aging population, which means the funeral business is a stable means of supporting his family.  When we talked in Parkesburg, he told me about his struggle with depression, and about how the exposure to so much death has shaken his religious be...

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Siblinghood
For all the things we share with our brothers and sisters -- parents, genes, a childhood -- most of us have also wondered at one point or another how we could possibly be related to our siblings. As we grow up, it can be hard to update those relationships that were forged so long ago. You were children together; it can be hard to act like adults together. More than 200 of you reached out to tell me your sibling stories. I heard from Alix, whose twin sister, Katie, has cerebral palsy. “Every time I reach an...

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A Dirty Cop Comes Clean
Retired NYPD officer Ken Eurell says the first time he stole money on the job, he was responding to a burglary call. When he got back in the squad car, he says his partner Michael Dowd pulled out a wad of cash he'd taken from the scene and handed over a $100 bill. Eurell took it, though he doesn't remember how he spent it. "I bought bad karma with it," he told me. A new documentary, The Seven Five, tells the story of Eurell and Dowd, two corrupt cops working out of the 75th precinct in East New York, Brook...

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2 Couples, 1 Poet, a Rock Band and a Dog
In celebration of Death, Sex & Money's one year anniversary, we brought two married couples, one Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, a rock band, a dog and a turquoise couch onto the stage at BAM for a special live show during WNYC's RadioLoveFest. First, I sat down with the author, Slate columnist and Barneys ambassador Simon Doonan, and his "impossibly younger" husband, the pottery mogul and designer Jonathan Adler. We talked about their first date (Adler wore rollerblades) and all that's happened since. Then,...

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Robert Earl Keen Quit Nashville and Stayed Married
When Robert Earl Keen moved from Texas to Nashville in 1985, things were looking up: He’d just gotten married and put out his first album, No Kinda Dancer. Nashville was the place to be for an aspiring country musician...but that ended up being part of the problem. All around him, the careers of his fellow musicians were taking off. Keen didn’t see that kind of success. "I was hitting the streets and knocking on doors and trying to get some attention and it just wasn't happening," he told me. One night, he ...

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Brooklyn Left Me Broke, But I Came Back
For more than a decade, Heidi Reinberg, a 54-year-old freelance documentary producer, lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn -- just a few doors down from Mayor Bill de Blasio. Then, her landlord decided to sell. Heidi got priced out of her apartment as work dried up and credit card debt mounted. In one of the first episodes of this show, Heidi and I had a frank discussion about how she got to that point, and what would come next. Her plan then was to move to Los Angeles to live with her s...

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W. Kamau Bell Wonders How Much Is Enough
For a long time, W. Kamau Bell’s fear was that he would complete his career in comedy and remain anonymous. Then, Chris Rock took notice of his one-man show, and they teamed up to create the television series Totally Biased. Bell moved across the country to New York with his wife and baby for his new job. But the show was cancelled after a year and a half. Bell realized staying in New York with his family would be a struggle. “We were living in an apartment that was rented by a guy who had a TV show, and s...

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Hedwig, Older and a Little Less Angry
The day I went to meet John Cameron Mitchell in his apartment, he had glitter stuck to his face and two ice packs in his freezer for the knee he injured on-stage during a performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  "I was doing Neil Patrick Harris’s superhuman choreography," said the 51-year-old actor, who took over the lead role after Harris's Tony-winning run in the Broadway revival. His leg has recovered, but Mitchell still performs in a knee brace. "I actually like the show much better with it," he told...

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In Sickness and In Mental Health
Giulia and Mark Lukach got married when they were 24. Three years later, Giulia began experiencing paralyzing anxiety and paranoid delusions. She started talking about committing suicide. Mark and her father drove Giulia to the emergency room while she kicked and screamed in the back seat. Mark told me, "I still was under this impression that a doctor was going to walk in the door and say, 'Okay, here’s exactly what’s going on, and here’s this pill, and as soon as she takes it, she’ll be totally fine within...

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Cancer Changed Ken Jeong's Comedy
Ken Jeong describes his role in the 2009 blockbuster The Hangover as "the most obscene love letter to a spouse one could ever have.” He peppered his dialogue with bits of Vietnamese as an inside joke with his wife Tran.  Ken met his wife while they were both practicing medicine at the same hospital in Los Angeles. Ken had always done comedy on the side. He even performed midnight improv while he was working up to 100 hours a week during his medical residency. But after he and Tran married, he quit medicine...

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