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Singer Carnie Wilson Shares Her Secret For Shaking Off Weight Worries: Kindness

Plus, she opens up about her 23-year marriage to Rob Bonfiglio and her very musical family

Working moms are among the busiest people on the planet, and as a mom of two who’s been juggling a number of different roles in the entertainment industry for years, Carnie Wilson knows all about trying to achieve work/life balance. Between performing concerts, hosting an upcoming TV show on AXS, a regular Sirius XM Radio gig and spending quality time with her husband, Robert, and daughters, Lola and Luciana, the 55-year-old star has a very packed schedule. Through all the busyness, her family keeps her grounded. “They are my everything,” Carnie tells Woman’s World in a recent interview for an upcoming cover story that went on sale October 12. “I can’t explain the joy. We’re a very, very close family and to hear their laughter brings me such happiness.”

Carnie Wilson side by side with the Woman's World cover she appears on
Alison Buck/Getty

Carnie has always centered around family. Thanks to her father, Beach Boy Brian Wilson, Carnie was surrounded by music growing up. As a member of the trio Wilson Phillips, along with her sister, Wendy Wilson, and their friend Chynna Phillips (daughter of Michelle and John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas), the younger Wilsons made their own musical mark with classic ’90s pop hits like “Hold On,” “Release Me,” “Impulsive” and “You’re in Love.” The trio still performs select concert dates together and Carnie continues to keep things in the family by touring with her daughter, sister and original Beach Boy/family friend Al Jardine.

American singers Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips of the vocal group Wilson Phillips, circa 1990
Wilson Phillips (from left: Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson) in 1990Tim Roney/Getty

Read on to learn more about Carnie’s powerful family bonds and beautifully positive spirit.

Secrets to an enduring marriage

When she’s not working, Carnie loves spending time with her family. She and her husband, Rob Bonfiglio, a singer/songwriter/guitarist, have been married 23 years. “I can’t believe we’ve been married that long,” she says with a smile. “The key is to tell each other everything and be yourself around that person. Make them your ultimate confidant, your ultimate partner. It’s not always about the sex or money. It’s just about having that partner knowing that you’re not going to leave. You have to trust each other and have patience.”

Carnie Wilson and her husband Rob Bonfiglio in 2000
Carnie Wilson and Rob Bonfiglio in 2000, the year they marriedEvan Agostini/Getty

Carnie also sees humor as key to a strong marriage. “It’s important to laugh together and have that sense of humor. Rob is really funny,” she says, adding that even though they are different in many ways, it works. “I’m a handful and he’s quiet. I’m loud and he’s methodical. I’m scattered, though I focus when I need to, but I’m impressed with the way that he’s able to focus.”

Carnie continues: “When we first got together, he said, ‘Listen, if we get married, there are two things I need for you to do: One is you’re going to have to be okay with me playing guitar every single day,’ and I said, ‘Fabulous!’ ‘The second thing is please don’t yell at me,’ and so I always say the first one worked,” she laughs. “It’s so funny because the way we are, we just bicker, and then we go, ‘Why are we doing this? What were we fighting about again?’ And really, the truth is, ‘I’m sorry. I love you. Yes, I screwed up.’ We can’t hold on to [the argument]. We’ve got to say I’m sorry and be accountable and know that the bottom line is that we love each other so much and the little things just don’t matter.”

Rob Bonfiglio and Carnie Wilson, 2006
Rob Bonfiglio and Carnie Wilson in 2006Rick Diamond/WireImage/Getty

Music is vital to the couple’s strong bond. “We have a very big connection with music,” she says. “Rob is very talented. I admire the things that are in him, and he admires the qualities in me, and we are always learning from each other.”

A mother-daughter tour

Music is also a major connecting point for Carnie and her 18-year-old daughter, Lola, who often tours with her mom. “Lola and I started writing a song and hopefully we’ll finish that. Something is calling me to record with my daughter and I’m going to listen to that voice because I think that she’s a terrific singer,” she says proudly. “I think studio-wise, it might be the next move. She loves performing. It doesn’t matter if she’s on TV or on stage, she loves it and she’s definitely born to sing. She could sing anybody in the family under the table. She was graced with a beautiful voice, and I encourage her all the time.”

Carnie Wilson with daughter Lola Sofia Bonfiglio, 2022
Carnie Wilson with her daughter, Lola Sofia Bonfiglio, in 2022David Livingston/Getty

Though Lola has been the one performing with her mom, Carnie is quick to point out that both of her daughters have wonderful voices and she’s equally proud of 14-year-old Luciana. “I taught both my girls harmony,” she says, noting that bath times when they were younger were always ideal for sing-alongs. “Both my daughters sing, but my younger one is shy, so she only wants to sing in front of me. We’ve been singing harmony together for a long time, so harmony is the nucleus of my family, and it was for my family when I was growing up and for Wilson Phillips that was the baseline.”

Carnie Wilson performing with daughter, 2023
Carnie Wilson performing with Lola in 2023Scott Dudelson/Getty

Staying positive

Whether it’s family, friends or fans, Carnie loves human interaction and goes out of her way to try to help others and brighten their days. “When I was young, I was teased a lot for being overweight and my feelings would get hurt,” Carnie confides. “My mom would always say to me, ‘What’s important is what’s inside of you.’ So I get confident when I’m kind to other people, that makes me feel good about myself. I make that a daily thing. You have the power to make someone’s day better.” [Carnie underwent gastric bypass surgery in 1999 when the 5’3″ singer was 300 pounds, and lost 150 pounds in the wake of it. By 2012, she had gained much of the weight back and underwent a Lap-Band procedure, which produced good results. “It was the right decision for me and I’m doing really well so far,” Carnie told People in 2012. “It’s all about taking good care of myself.”]

Singer Carnie Wilson attends a ceremony for "Mama" Cass Elliott's posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 3, 2022
Carnie Wilson is all smiles in 2022VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty

Carnie’s positive spirit is infectious, and she loves spreading sunshine to those around her. “I’m always thankful that God graced me with another day. I say, ‘Thank You, Lord [and I’m ready to] go attack the day. It’s an attitude,” she says. “When I go to the store, I’ll look behind and whoever is behind me, I’ll just buy their groceries for them. I’ve done that a lot and it just makes me feel good. Some days people are so shocked by it. I know it means a lot to them and it’s everything for me. I’ve had some people say, ‘You are my angel today,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, that’s what I wanted to be.’”


Read on for more Woman’s World exclusive celebrity interviews:

Dolly Parton Asked Natalie Grant To Do a Surprise Duet — You Won’t Believe Natalie’s Response … And What Came Next!

‘Y&R’ Star Eileen Davidson Opens Up About Relationships, Self-Care and Thwarting Cancer: “Life Is Not an Easy Journey”

Hollywood Icon Ann-Margret Opens Up About Motorcycles, Dean Martin, Elvis and Her Secret Souvenir From ‘Viva Las Vegas’

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