Linda Marigliano on love, work and sharing her life with the world.

Linda Marigliano is sitting on the floor in front of her sofa as she joins me on the Zoom call. 

Sunlight is pouring through the windows of her LA apartment and stacked behind her, occupying the space where a person would normally sit, are some massive novelty soft toys that she introduces me to, one after another: a cactus, a big sushi roll and a frog. 

It's a funny and warm introduction, which doesn't surprise me, considering all the insights that we've gleaned about who Linda is and her life over the past couple of years.

Between launching her podcast, Tough Love, as well as penning her first book, Love Language – a memoir about family and relationships – Linda has been garnering a huge amount of attention and establishing herself as a thoughtful figure who doesn't shy away from a bit of emotional vulnerability in the public eye.

Of course, she's been in the spotlight for many years before this, too. She joined ABC's youth radio station, Triple J, back in 2007 and has remained a staple of Australian pop culture coverage, including co-presenting The Set with Dylan Alcott and The Dream Club podcast alongside Brooke Boney.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud discuss family breakups below. Article continues after podcast. 

We're speaking shortly after the release of the second season of her podcast, Tough Love. The first season was recorded during the first year of the pandemic, through successive lockdowns, and focused on Linda's journey of self-reflection and the way she was forced into a prolonged separation from her partner, Magnus.

It's a unique podcast, particularly in the Australian landscape, for the way it wanders through deeply personal topics, as told by the host, and incorporates expert interviews as well as chats with Linda's friends and family. She describes it to me as an "audio journal where life is unfolding in real time". 


As for what Linda will be covering in the second season of Tough Love, Linda says that it will be a natural continuation of the questions she was exploring in the first.

"I think the tone is definitely that same sort of reflective tone and checking in," she tells me – but she also says that a lot more just 'naturally happens' than she captured for the previous season.

"It feels like there's a lot more drama and progress in this season... which I suppose makes sense because the first episode, we were essentially stuck in the middle of a pandemic – we were able to explore certain things but physically, there wasn't as much movement that could happen. Whereas with this [season] there's travelling, there's family stuff that happens, there's other kinds of tensions that unfold. There's just a lot."

Linda reflected on the fact that she is divulging so much about her personal life to the public now, both in Tough Love and her book, which explored a lot of difficult and formative moments, including one distinct memory that she has of hearing her mother say that she was not her favourite child. 

Because she spent so much of her life working at the ABC, where presenters do not typically share a lot of personal views or details of their personal lives, Linda says that it has been a "strange shift" to exposing personal parts of her life to audiences. 

"I did spend so many years at a place where I felt employed to be a good presenter and I was overly cautious with my personal life and never talked about any of that on air. And I really liked and still hold onto that version of me – because I really don't like giving away things that are private.


Linda Marigliano. Supplied. 

"There's a real generosity in sharing a personal story with the intention of learning something and giving something to the person watching or listening, but I think there is still a foundation in me that's like, 'You need to know where the line is to not just be sharing for the sake of sharing – and sharing your private life to the detriment of the people in it." 


Linda says that it has been a learning curve coming to terms with her own boundaries in this sense but for the most part, the people in her life have been comfortable and she's careful not to cross the line with any of them. When it came to her book, which includes multiple stories about family, Linda says she sat down with her mum – whose second language is English – and talked her through every detail that was included in the 300-page manuscript. She describes it as a cathartic and healing experience to undertake with a parent.

"It was very tender and almost strengthening because, as I say in the book, we're often speaking from this kind of pragmatic, disciplinary version of our relationship. So, it almost cracked open a deeper layer of a mother-daughter relationship that we might never have gotten to because it forced us to talk about things that were hard and how we felt over the years." 

Watch: Linda Marigliano's Quickfire Questions below. Article continues after video. 

Video via ABC.

When it comes to Linda's partner, Magnus, who she describes as naturally private and apprehensive to speak publicly, she ensures he doesn't feel uncomfortable with anything on the podcast and she doesn't broadcast their private conversations – even though the first season largely focuses on the story of their relationship.

"I never want to compromise the relationships in my life that actually mean so much to me," she says. 


But when it comes to the details that she does share, Linda tells me that it's hugely rewarding to see the reaction of an audience that has engaged with her personal life and is finding parts of its own stories in hers.

"I've been doing radio or TV or podcasts for a long time and I really feel like you get what you give. So, the stories and connections and the people that say, come to the book launch, or they send you a DM about their life, or they send me an email or something... It's so interesting to feel it reflected back in a way that's so real.

"I just feel really honoured to be able to do work that's creative, that I can be in control of the way that it looks and feels and sounds, and what I get out of it from anyone that listens is just so much more real – it feels so much more meaningful." 

Now that Linda has been able to move to LA to finally live with her partner, after years of forced separation during the height of the pandemic, she says that she's focused on her personal life while she rides the wave of her book's release. 

"I feel like, every time we sleep in (which is very often now), we turn to each other and we're like, 'We're making up for lost time.' We've constantly got this running joke that we're just making up for so much lost quality time... We're lining up a million work things and we're focusing on these bits, but the most important thing that we're getting up to is just being together. So that's felt so good."

Image: Supplied. 

Elfy Scott is an executive editor at Mamamia. 

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