Melissa Rivers has every right not to be smiling. A sex scandal made the 45-year-old headline news, and her father’s suicide is “absolutely” the toughest event she’s been through, but she is still postively bursting with energy, as the Weekly catches up with her at her home in Los Angeles.
She breaks into laughter while talking about living with her mother, comedienne and Fashion Police host Joan Rivers (80), whom she credits with helping turn her tears into laughter. The duo have returned to our screens for season three of their E! channel reality show, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? Melissa is also a producer on Fashion Police.
Life is never dull with Joan. This season, there’s a lesbianism experiment, but also a terrifying cancer scare. And although Melissa finds her mum’s unpredictability frustrating at times, she has learned a lot.
“Very little surprises me about my mother, I’ll tell you that. I’m pretty much bomb-proof,” laughs Melissa. “But she’s taught me to never give up, even when things are thrown in your way.
“Even getting through my father’s death or a bad break-up – the best parenting advice she gave me is, ‘this too shall pass’.
Melissa’s father, Edgar Rosenberg, took his own life in 1987 when Melissa was 18. Edgar was separated from Joan at the time and had been suffering from depression, but the death meant that mother and daughter didn’t talk for a year. Melissa went into therapy, and returned to it again this year, to deal with the devastating break-up from her partner of four years, Jason Zimmerman.
In 2011, she found out Jason had been soliciting sex with swingers online. The scandal was big news in the US, but Melissa is now taking ownership of her problems.
“Everyone knew that in my relationship, s* had hit the fan. I had to go back to work and it was awful,” says Melissa, who is mother to Cooper (12).
“But at one point in your life you have to think, ‘It can’t always be everybody else’s fault. I need to look at myself and figure out what is going on. I can’t hide behind my son any more.”
Melissa is dating again, but says that juggling relationships while raising her son is difficult, particularly when Joan interferes.
“She says that I’m much stricter with Cooper than she was raising me,” says Melissa, who accompanied her mother on her stand-up comedy tours while growing up.
“What’s hard now is that she is continually undermining my decisions. Cooper and I have a different dialogue, but all parents in this day and age do, because we’re dealing with Twitter and this and that.
“Cooper is 12, turning 13 – it is quite the challenge,” she adds, with a laugh.
The star tries to be open and honest with her mum. She once staged a plastic surgery “intervention” with Joan, who has reportedly had nearly 700 procedures. Melissa herself has had breast implants, a nose job and uses Botox.
But sometimes their “share everything relationship” crosses the line, particularly when Joan walked in on her having sex.
“Oh the fun of having mother living in your house, especially one who thinks that if a door is closed, it doesn’t mean you should knock before entering!”