Natalie Morales Talks ‘The Marriage Ref,’ Toilet Paper And Shopping

Natalie Morales on The Marriage Ref. (NBC)

Natalie Morales on The Marriage Ref. (NBC)

Natalie Morales, the ‘Today‘ show co-anchor and national correspondent, is midway through a new gig. She’s the alluring, ever-resourceful fact lady on NBC’s top 20 series, ‘The Marriage Ref’ (Thursdays at 10 PM/9C). A few factoids about Morales: Born in Taipei, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cume Laude graduate of Rutgers University. At 38, she is married, the mother of two boys, and an enthusiastic runner of marathons. She sounds perfect, right? Well, Morales has at least one bad habit that irritates her husband, Joe Rhodes, and she spoke about that and more with

How’d a nice, respectable newswoman like you get involved with ‘The Marriage Ref’?
They came calling for me. We did a couple of run-thrus. They wanted somebody who had the newsy background, a name that people knew and trusted and who was good at giving information - and doing it live, because it's live before a studio audience. I was a good fit.

Did you like the premise?
We've all had arguments with our spouses about silly things. Then we talk to our friends, hoping they'll tell us we were right and our spouse was wrong. In reality, you have to meet somewhere in the middle, and that's the fun thing with this show. It also makes you thankful that you're not arguing about these things.

Speaking of that, what are the silliest arguments you have had with your husband?
A lot of it has to do with him not doing his fair share around the house, if you know what I mean. Lately, the biggest issue concerns his sweaty gym clothes. He just throws them around the master bathroom until they sit there and start to grow mold. Unless I throw them in the wash, he'll just let it sit there for days. So that's one of the issues.

There are more?
Ha, yes. There's the toilet paper roll. Whenever it's done, he refuses to go downstairs to the basement and refill the rolls.

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That’s terrible!
So one day I decided to put him to the test. I left notes everywhere saying things like, "Can you please change the toilet paper." I was getting so frustrated. When that failed, I decided to boycott the toilet paper roll changing job for about 24 hours and see if he would actually go down and change it for himself.

It ended up that both of us were using my son's bathroom instead. It got to the point where I realized it was doing us more harm than good in the end because it was such a pain in the butt waking up in the middle of the night having to go down to my son's bathroom. I finally said, "All right, I lose on this one. I'll change the roll." But that's it.

What would he say about you?
He would say my shopping habits are a problem.. He claims there's a box that comes from Fedex or Shop Bop every day, and, well, he's right. I shop a lot.

I’d be mad at you, too.
But I have a job that requires me to wear a lot of nice stuff.

OK, you win.

That’s not as bad as not changing the toilet paper.
I know, right?

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On the show, you sit at a computer. Is the computer hooked up? Is it live?
It's a little temperamental. Half the time it hasn't worked. But I've already done research on these couples and have the information ready to go.

I asked because on the set of ‘The Office’.
I interviewed one of the actors a while ago and he said their computers actually work and he was shopping online when the camera wasn’t on him.
If that were true on our show, I’d probably be ordering stuff instead of checking the facts.

And your husband would be mad at you.

You’re right.

Have you had a favorite show or panel?
I was covering the Olympics when they taped the show with Larry David, Madonna, and Ricky Gervias, but I heard it was a riot - and needed quite a bit of editing. Everyone was swearing.

Why am I not surprised?
The panels have been so great. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by people who’ve been funnier than I thought. Like Martha Stewart. She was really funny. She was on fire. But my favorites are Alec Baldwin, Kelly Rippa and Jerry Seinfeld. They have great chemistry. We also did a show with Jimmy Fallon, Sheryl Crowe and Kirstie Alley, and again, they were incredible.

On the very first show, there was a question about how many calories pole dancing burned – and you knew.

It was something like 300 calories per hour, so not bad. Jogging will do you better, but, you know, in terms of like a core workout, I think pole dancing is pretty good for the lower half.

I bet it was more interesting to go home and talk about pole dancing with your husband than, oh, say the health care bill.
Exactly. Hey honey, did you know what I learned today? Oh yeah, he loved that one.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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