Alyssa Milano Reflects on Marriage to David Bugliari, Says Love 'Is a Constant State of Apology'
Tara Ziemba/Getty David Bugliari and Alyssa Milano
In her new book, Alyssa Milano is candid about what makes her marriage to husband David Bugliari strong — and the difficulties they've faced.
"People often break out the old cliché. 'Love means never having to say you're sorry.' Boy, do I call bulls--- on that," the actress and activist writes in a chapter simply titled "David" in her collection of personal essays, Sorry Not Sorry, which was published by Dutton on Tuesday.
"Love, in many ways, is a constant state of apology. It means recognizing the things that you fail at, knowing that the person you love sees them too, and trying so hard to be better at them," continues Milano, 48.
"But most important, it means being loved in return even with those shortcomings. It means that the apology is usually accepted, and it's usually sincere. Love is not a casual 'sorry.' Love is making amends. Love is forgiveness. Love is success and failure. Love is perpetual apology."
Being apologetic may be part of Milano's blueprint for love and marriage, but she isn't contrite about the other issues she champions in Sorry Not Sorry. The collection of essays is "part memoir, part manifesto," ranging from Milano's views on the #MeToo movement to navigating political division and her own white privilege. Milano also gets personal, sharing her struggle with the long periods of time she's away from Bugliari, as well as her devastation over her miscarriage 10 years ago.
In Sorry Not Sorry, Milano writes about her desire to have children with Bugliari, and how he helped her grieve the loss of their baby.
"The first time I met David's father, I knew what a great dad he would be," Milano writes. "We got married in 2009 on the property he grew up on and started trying for a baby right after. The very first time we had sex after 'pulling the goalie,' I got pregnant."
Milano miscarried when she was 38 years old, which she says felt like divine punishment for the abortions she'd had in the past.
"I was completely crushed. Devastated," Milano writes in Sorry Not Sorry. "I remember going to the doctor and trying unsuccessfully to find a heartbeat. It felt like God was punishing me for the abortions I'd had in my twenties."
In 2019, on her Alyssa Milano: Sorry Not Sorry podcast, Milano revealed that she had two abortions in 1993.
"I knew at that time, I was not equipped to be a mother, and so I chose to have an abortion," she said at the time. "I chose. It was my choice. And it was absolutely the right choice for me."
"It was not an easy choice," continued Milano, who shares daughter Elizabella, 7, and son Milo, 10, with Bugliari, 40. "It was not something I wanted, but it was something that I needed, like most health care is."
Jamie McCarthy/Getty David Bugliari and Alyssa Milano with their son Milo
Following the miscarriage, Bugliari was right by her side, Milano writes in her new book.
"As we sat in the parking lot of the medical building after that appointment sobbing and holding each other, he grabbed my face, looked into my eyes, and said, 'It's okay. We're going to have another baby. A better baby. That baby was a Red Sox fan.' And in that moment of some of the most desperate pain I have ever felt, I laughed."
She writes that she got pregnant with Milo three months later. These days, Milano says she's away from Bugliari, who is a talent agent in Los Angeles, more than she'd like because she has to travel for work.
"I mean, there are benefits to it — there's something to the adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the distance forced us to communicate more and be creative in that communication," she writes. "Each time one of us leaves, it's almost like dating again, scheduling talks and having long-distance dinner dates. But the added pressures and complications of managing a household on top of managing our relationship while thousands of miles apart is not easy. But we did it."
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Bugliari also didn't "run away screaming" when Milano suggested a national sex strike, she writes. (In 2019, Milano reiterated her controversial call for women to go on a sex strike to protest Georgia's extremely restrictive abortion law.)
"Let me tell you, if you're ever looking to test your relationship, just suggest women withhold sex until political change is achieved," she writes in Sorry Not Sorry. "If you don't see a cartoonish cutout in the front door with a trail of footprints disappearing into the horizon, you've maybe got yourself the real thing."
At the end of the day, Bugliari is Milano's "magnet."
"David's and my lives are full of positive. Our lives are full of negative," she writes. "It would not have taken much, so often and so early on, for those poles to face the wrong way and send us shooting away from each other."
She continues: "But somehow, with work and faith and love and forgiveness and patience, we lined each other up just the right way. We are bound together, a bond that is going to take something stronger and harder than anything we've faced to sever."
Sorry Not Sorry is on sale now.