The Celebreality Interview – VH1 Tough Love‘s Steven Ward

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The man behind the toughness, Steven Ward, is the sort of character that reality TV loves — he’s blunt, quick on his feet and most importantly, divisive. The professional matchmaker, self-proclaimed “dating pathologist” and center of VH1 Tough Love is a walking water-cooler conversation, with one camp subscribing to his methods, another writing him off as a sadistic misogynist and yet another falling somewhere in between. No matter which camp you belong to, the introductory interview below should be enough to challenge and support your views on the man. In it Steven talks about his background, the game of romance and the first episode of VH1 Tough Love.

As a professional matchmaker with your own business, Master Matchmakers, did you ever think that you would end up on reality TV?

No, not at all. I just figured that I was going to continue to do what I do in Philly, New York, DC, and eventually try to grow the company and expand it nationwide, but I never really thought that a television show was in the cards.

Was it just a matter of the idea being presented to you? How did it come about?

I was contacted by a development manager from High Noon Entertainment. She told me that they were looking to produce a dating show from the male point of view. And so they put my name on a very short list of candidates and after careful consideration and speaking with my mom and learning more about what we do. They decided to take a chance and to build a show around us and our business.

It’s interesting that they came to you as this idea from the male perspective thing. I was watching some news clips you have on the Master Matchmakers site and it was clear that you have plenty of opinions on what men do wrong in their quest for love.

Oh, absolutely. I would of loved to have had an opportunity to do this with men as well. Even the guys that we use on the show, they have their own issues that I would love an opportunity to work through with them. But, unfortunately there is only so much time in the day and we decided to make this particular boot camp with the women.

I know you went to Drexel, but what did you study there? Did you have a background in any kind of psychology?

No. I look at relationships like modern economics. I think all relationships are partnerships. I was finance and economics student at Drexel. I did extremely well there; I got an incredible, top notch education. After graduating college I had an opportunity to go to Wall Street and do entry level investment banking. But instead, I started working with mom and never really looked back.

So is it just a matter of this sort of thing being in your blood?

Yeah. It’s inherited. It’s instinct. It’s intuition. There is no science to matchmaking. You have to have the quality, you have to have the know how in order to communicate to people effectively and be able to point out what it is that they can be doing differently in order to have more success. That’s kind of the biggest obstacle with matchmaking is learning how to communicate to people what their issues are.

Is there sort of a cosmic level to that too when you say that it’s inherited?

Absolutely there is. I’m deeply spiritual individual, and I believe that everything does happen for a reason but I think most people out there stop short of trying to understand what that reason may be. What I do everyday of my life is try to understand out why I cross paths with certain people and what their message is for me.

It seems a lot of the time a lot of what you’re on this show is really is slapping people with common sense.

Exactly. And I think most of the things that I say are things that a lot of people will realize but won’t ever actually say themselves.

Yeah. So it is just a matter of that outside voice?

Absolutely. It’s that example from the show: I’m the person that will tell you, “You look like s***. Change your dress.”

It must be a difficult thing for you to do though, to be an ambassador of the male sex and put forth this unified opinion. She looks like s*** in that dress to you. But maybe I like her in that dress, you know?

I believe that I, for the most part, can do a pretty good job of speaking for the majority of men out there. And of course there is an exception to every rule and there are a lot of men out there that would disagree with some of the things that I say, but there is far greater majority of men that would agree with me.

That’s just the sense you get?

No. It’s just a matter of fact. I mean I’ve been doing this for almost seven years now. And after spending enough time, working with enough men, you can generalize. I’m not really that out of line in what I say to this women. I think a lot of the men who see this show are going to agree with me.

If you had to generalize men in a few sentences versus women, what would the fundamental differences be?

Men are simple creatures. We need food, shelter and sex. That’s pretty much it. Whereas women are far more complicated and far more emotional. And they require a lot more than just that.

I also saw that you refer to yourself as a dating pathologist. What does that mean?

Basically, my job is to diagnose any disease or disorder that is affecting someone’s love life. By observing them and trying to identify a pattern in their behavior, I can usually prescribe a solution either in the form of insight or a potential match that may ultimately remedy whatever this malady may be.

With everyone being different, it seems in some cases that may be a difficult thing to diagnose?

See that’s the thing is that I’m not dating these people. So I have to introduce them to others in order to just verify my own conclusions. And it’s the veracity of the multiple attempts that ultimately allows me to draw pretty concrete conclusions. There is an old Jewish proverb, it says, “If someone calls you a horse, you turn and walk away. If someone else calls you a horse, you call them a horse back. If a third person calls you a horse, maybe it’s time to get yourself a saddle.”

Is it fun?

Yeah, its fun. This show been very…it’s a lot of work and it’s very demanding emotionally. But it’s been very fun because I have been able to pull all the strings. And have been like a master puppeteer. And what I mean by that is by being able to put these women into position to be successful and then to also to be able to set them up for failure, it gives me an incredible amount of power over their lives, which ultimately will force them to look at things the way I want them to look at them. When you’re just matchmaking and you’re dealing with clients, you have to walk a very fine line because they are customer. They have invested in you and your services, and as much as you want to really set them straight, you also need to be respectful of the fact that there is a monetary relationship here. And I have a responsibility to keep the relationship very amicable and if that breaks down its next to impossible to represent somebody in good conscious. With this project that was a non-concern.

So does TV actually help your process?

Absolutely it does. Having producers and having the ability to create situations for these women put them in an opportunity to be successful. Basically the network and the producers and everything, picked up my costs, the caring costs of working with eight different women. And that cost is usually time and money: going out, recruiting the right people for them, spending the money to background check them and verify them, get character references. By having a budget and having a lot of resources from the network and the producers to be able to do that very efficiently and very effectively, it made my job exponentially easier.

And there was no compromise at any point to your ideology just for the sake of TV-making?

You know there was a few times where I really questioned the objective of some of the things that we were doing. But once I had a chance to really get into it, and put my spin on things, and make sure that I had an opportunity to explain things to the women and help them see things in a certain light, then it was easy for me to create situations that would result in a positive change.

Are there any philosophical differences between you and your mother/Master Matchmakers partner, being that you’re opposite genders?

Yeah, absolutely. I think my mom is much more image conscious than I am insofar as the opinion of others really matters to her. In terms of how she is seen, how her approach is critiqued, because my Mom feels like she…that the proof is in the pudding. That the ends justifies the means. Whereas in my mind, in my attitude, I don’t believe there is any reason to sugarcoat or make excuses. I’m a very blunt, very matter of fact individual. I learned that from her because my mom is that way ninety-eight percent of the time, but in business you have to learn to be more professional. And so I think my mom conducts her business somewhat more professionally and I think I conduct it more personally.

It could probably be said that your bluntness is your gift, or a gift. Is also a curse ever?

Yeah, it can be. I’m not comfortable lying or misleading anybody. I don’t like to sugar coat. I don’t like to tell white lies. Former speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “If you tell the truth the first time. You won’t have to remember what you said.” So that always been my attitude and you know what? There was an expression about me in college, one of my fraternity brothers said, “You’re loved or hated. But never ignored.” And I appreciated that.

As soon as we posted the supertrailer for VH1 Tough Love, there was a lot of criticism of it and you around the Internet. What do you say to those who think you’re sexist?

I respect and honor and cherish women. I put women on a pedestal. And I teach men to wield their power, and wield their strength, and use it to take command and control over their love lives. I believe that women are much more powerful in relationships than men, because of their sexuality, because men really do have to rely on the woman in order to have an opportunity to have sex. Whereas women can have it whenever they want. I believe quite the opposite. I believe that will come out on the show when people see how I enable women, rather than subjugate them like some of these other shows.

People think you’re mean, too. I know there’s “tough” in the title of the show, but…

Well look, I’m not mean. You’re only mean if you spite someone. You’re only mean if you say something that is half true or untrue. That’s mean. It’s different than brutally honest. You know brutal and mean have a sort of common thread to them, but the fact is I believe in blunt, shock therapy. I believe in intense psychotherapy. I believe in being very matter-of-fact with people, because if they’re not emotionally secure enough to handle it, then, what will happen is over time it will continue to resonate, and resonate, and resonate. And if they are growing and if they are evolving as a person, then eventually it will make sense. If they aren’t growing and they aren’t evolving, then obviously they’ll carry a grudge and they’ll be jaded about it the rest of their lives. I see a lot of people like that. I have the ability to say things to people that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. And I’m very, very accurate in my assessments of other people and so, although some people may consider it mean, I consider it a necessity. Because there are people who go about their entire lives living in these delusions and there is nobody to just smack them in the face and bring them back down to reality. That’s me. I’m here to smack that person in the face and bring them back to reality. And a smack in the face hurts.

After watching the first episode, sometimes I felt like some of the feed back basically amounted to, “Don’t be yourself.”

Listen, the fact of the matter is that dating, like it or not, is a game. It’s a prelude to a relationship. It’s a seduction. It’s a dance. It’s not a matter of not being yourself. It’s a matter of projecting yourself in a very amiable light. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive to what I’m telling you, which is that I don’t care if I’m not well-liked by the women on the show or the people that I work with. But I’m not the one dating them. When you’re trying to interest somebody in you romantically, you need to play to their fantasy. You need to make them believe that you’re what they’re looking for. It isn’t about you. It’s about what they want.

If everyone stopped playing the game, everyone could be as honest as Steve Ward, though, right?

Well, yeah, but then nobody would end up in relationships. I don’t think that people in general are emotionally secure enough to handle the truth all the time. I also don’t think that there are a lot of people out there that are capable of being brutally honest and doing it in a constructive way that makes sense. That’s what I think my gift is. That’s my talent.

When you pursue a relationship, do you play the game or take the brutally honest route?

I play the game. I play it better than anyone. Casanova once said, “Knowing that I was personally calculated to please the fair sex, I always strove to make myself agreeable to it.” That’s what romance is. In the words of William Shakespeare, the world is a stage and we’re all merely actors.

Related content
VH1 Tough Love show page
VH1 Tough Love videos and extras

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  1. wow says:

    loved the show!!!! i was able to see things that i do wrong on dates. im that girl who whines when people compliment me cos i’m scared that they’ll think i’m arrogant. i never realized how annoying that trait can be.

  2. John W.Grant says:

    Steve Ward seems like he has a lot of great things to say and I think he is hot except for the over-the-top manscaping. Whoever is doing your eyebrows should be serving time. Those eyebrows say, “I am obsessed with myself” or “I must learn to ignore my image consultant”. Otherwise, I think I detect a little lisp and that is ultra-hot.

  3. LOL says:

    i LOVE this show! i love that you are straight to the point and u dont bs around it :)

  4. Simonn says:

    Great post, but its a bit long and most people like short and sweet posts!

  5. xtinaa says:

    i LOVE this show! i am fairly young but am struggling to meet a partner. i have so much to offer but i do not know what i am doing wrong. this show is allowing myself to analyze my habits and alter my approachability. i think steve is an amazing, attractive man. i think he is so gorgeous. i would like to meet a man as wonderful and handsome as he is. i love him…

  6. Marie says:

    Steven is sexy! If the show was crap, i’d still watch it.

  7. Sandyrican says:

    I’m not into the so-called reality shows, but “Tough Love” is the coolest show. It’s so refreshing for a guy to tell women what they are doing wrong and what guys really think about them. I think most of the women can change their ways on the show, but there are a couple of them that I have to question (like Stasha and Taylor). These women need to learn the hardcore truth about what they are doing wrong and why guys don’t want long term relationships with them. I’ve only seen 2 episodes and I can’t wait for season 2.

  8. Kristin Erekson says:

    I am the mother of a twentyfive year old daughter. She has not had much luck in the dating department. She is a college graduate in Journalism. She is very attractive, but just does not find the right men. How does one apply to get on to this show? My daughter and I both love the show. The host is great. I would appreciate a e-mail back. Thank you Debra Erekson (mother).

  9. Karen Micheli says:

    Is Steve Ward single??? Why has no one asked that? I know he does not wear a ring. If he is single please make a show about finding him love and I am volunteering to be on the show. If you need a picture look me up on facebook…I’m 30, have been single for awhile (I’m picky).

    Thanks,
    Karen Micheli

  10. Lisa says:

    I want to know if Steve is single!
    Why isn’t anyone asking that?
    That’s my biggest question!

  11. kayla says:

    i love love love this show and really want be on it. please tell me how!!??

  12. HotRusGirl says:

    Thanks for the information. Any other posts or blogs you can recommend?

  13. elaine says:

    I think this show is very informative and educational on how Men think. It is a great show! Im glad Erin is off the show. She had no respect for the host or the good men they tried to find her. I hope she gets the help she needs.

  14. Sarah says:

    Does Steve or his mother have a book out on dating tips?hint..hint….

  15. Becca says:

    I love the show. I think its way for people to see there bad habits. And also that its ok to put yourself out there but dont be over sexual.

  16. nora says:

    I think Steve just delves out common sense to these women, dating is a game… he is spot on when is says, dating isn’t about you, its about what they want. Thats how you get someone, you put your best foot forward and fulfill what they are looking for… if dating was a selfish act, then every man for himself and this wouldn’t be so hard. But you can’t get the best, unless you ARE the best. We all want someone great, but everyone has flaws, nobody is perfect… but as long as you are matched with someone that is willing to listen, and to work at building a strong relationship then you have the tools to be a great couple. I think alot of relationships break down, not because you are dating someone with problems… but you are dating someone that is not willing to learn and work problems out. Its not always that its just incompatibility that is the problem, because nobody is 100% the same… its a breakdown of the ability to listen, to learn and to have the want to be a better person for the sake of your relationship. If you are with someone that doesn’t want to be a better person to you, then you will eventually lose interest and the relationship will go sour. So really, relationship are all about ourselves… its about finding that person that actually makes us and makes us want to be a better person.

  17. dee says:

    the show was great! and steve is hott as hell!

  18. JR says:

    heck yea..is steve single?

  19. ERICKA says:

    HEY STEVEN I HAVE WATCH YOUR SHOW SINCE IT CAME ON THE AIR.. I KNOW THAT YOU HELP PEOPLE GET TOGETHER. YOUR SO GOOD AT THAT. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU HELP COUPLES THAT ARE TOGETHER ALREADY. ME AND MY BOYFRIEND HAS BEEN TOGETHER FOR 2 YEARS AND WE ARE ENGAGED. THINGS ARE ROCKY RIGHT NOW BUT I DONT WANT US TO BREAK UP. IF THERE IS ANY ADVISE YOU CAN GIVE ME I AM WILLING TO TAKE IT.

  20. ashley says:

    GIR!!!
    Did the show get canceled or something!?!?!
    i can’t find it on VH1 anymore! Dx

  21. lisa says:

    I love you steve ward!! I think you are extremely intelligent and i wish every friend of mine that have relationship problems can listen to your advise. Im happily engaged. But all my single friends always call me for advise. I have a lot of male friends and they express the same thoughts you said on your show. You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink it. I love your mother shes so beautiful and caring.

  22. Diana Heisinger says:

    Steve,

    OK , here goes, I’m 56 years old and it makes me mad that your show does not have women my age. It’s hard to find a man and in my age group, it’s much harder, because the men are looking for younger and not interested. I don’t like to date men younger then me so…what do I do?

    Please help and have a show with 50+ women it’s just not fair for us. I’d love to do your show in a heart beat.
    Di

    Di
    P.S. do your show in a heart beat if I could find out what I’m doing wrong and be able to find Mr. Right.

  23. polina says:

    I love this show, I love the fact that he is honest and blunt with people, because i beleive that people never want to hear the truth and it gets really enoying when u tell them the truth and they give u an attitude, ur in the show to learn and change things about yourself/relationships so take the #@@@*$*!!%((%@)~ that is coming to u, and stop talking back, if u don’t like to hear the truth then go do it ur own way, but obviously that didn’t work for u, so just listen to steve and take the advice he’s given u, because he’s the perfessional and he knows what he’s doing, thank u for the show its really insightful for me as well!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Steven Ward is Brilliant!!!! He takes counseling/therapy to whole other level. His pseudo reality therapy is a fresh post-modern approach in psychology.(even though he is not a psychologist) What he is doing works. So women listen up! Listen to is advice. I cannot wait for Tough Love Couples. I hope he writes another book.

  25. Ally says:

    Who typed up this interview? There are a lot of mistakes.

  26. Latesha says:

    I love the fact that you are so BLUNT and straight to the point! I was thrilled to here that you’ll be having a “Tough Love” for couples. You are the key to my relationship. When are you having a local casting (FLORIDA)?????

  27. Sara says:

    is there a way i can ask steve advice via…blog? haha i need help too!

  28. Jihan langston-Davis says:

    Hey steve i love your show now i have my husband watching it. I just would like to know are you dating anyone and if not why.

  29. Sara says:

    Ok, I will be sheep and say it too…I love Steve Ward…is he single??? If so sign me up for the show to date him! He may be different in real life than his TV personality (who isn’t?) but if there are any single men with personalities like Steve’s on Tough Love, who are that honest and that hot, please let me know where to find them!! :) I really get a lot out of the dating advice. He really gets people!

  30. Joan says:

    I wanna know why Steve is single and when is he coming to Louisville, KY?

  31. Ali says:

    I was in a complicate relationship. It’s over now… :(
    Relationship is not easy at all, but I’m learning a lot with ”Tough Love.”

    I love the show and I love to watch Steven Ward.
    I would love to meet him. I need your HELP Steven Ward.
    When are you going to come in San Francisco, CA??

    Beijinhos para voce Steven.

  32. Ali says:

    I was in a complicate relationship. It’s over now… :(
    Relationship is not easy at all, but I’m learning a lot with ”Tough Love.”
    I love the show and I love to watch Steven Ward.
    I would love to meet him. I need your HELP Steven Ward.
    When are you going to come in San Francisco, CA??Beijinhos para voce Steven.

  33. jensar says:

    We are addicted to your show. We really wish we could participate in this process of finding love. We are troubled 21 year old’s trying to find men. We seem young, and that our future is ahead of us, but we lack hope in the situation. We find many complications in our recent almost-relationships. We are prestigious music students and have always abided by the rules. We feel now that we intimidate men because of our crudentials. Most encounters with men are meaningless, and if they are worth anything, they are contrived. We hope you see that we only want pure comfortable honest funny enjoyable relationships.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jenny and Sarah

  34. Reality FAN says:

    Steven should hook up with reality tv star Julia Velotas. Shes like the female version of him when it comes to common sense dating. Ironic how hes single and is a matchmaker and she is single and just plain normal, unlike most girls now a days that are idiots and suck at life like Taylor.

  35. carol says:

    I love your show… unfornuately you focus on the younger generation only … I’ve been single 8yr, cant afford the high priced services, and really think that after 3 marriages I could use some professional help finding the right one, it would be interesting to see a show like this for the 40-50 something women( I’m 47) and to see what advice you have for us! Is it possible to find toe-tingling, heart-racing, long lasting-love at our age? we are probably more set in our bad habits and out- of-date views than some young thing looking for a payday. We can be as if not more exciting than them if given the chance. Wish I could afford or be tv worthy enough to meet my love!

  36. Sue Buch says:

    I have been married for 31 years and my daughter and I have watched the program and are very intrigued by it. I am very curious about Steven’s and Joanne’s personal lives and if they practice what they preach? Are either married? How do they incorporate these things into their private lives? Are they successful in their relationships? As a pastoral counselor, I find that I need to have my life in order, to be successful in helping others. Have they found the same to be true in their own private lives? Thanks, Sue

  37. Adriene says:

    Okay how do I make a guy like me ?I am a big girl and picky

  38. Iowa Girl says:

    Love the show! Steve is so sexy!!!!

  39. Sherrelle says:

    I love this show. i have the utmost respect for Steve and His Mom. I do think that they baby Taylor too much. I thick Taylor is such a peace of trash, that i don’t understand why they are trying to push this brotha on her, when there are so many sistahs that would appreciate this black man. they are basically trying to shove taylor down his throat, and I hope he does the right thing and realize that this woman is trash.

  40. hmmm says:

    is there a way you could post all of your tips. because you always say “tip # (something) dont (something)”

  41. alexa says:

    a couple years ago, before steve was anybody, he contacted me on jdate. i thought he was cute but i got back together with my boyfriend and i never messaged him back. i think its so funny that he now has his own show..i guess i should have messaged him back :-(

  42. Alyssa says:

    If anyone disagrees with Steve – you’re an idiot!!

    He is by far the most intelligent when it comes to the whole ‘relationship’ advice! He knows exactly how women think & honestly by me watching that show, alone. . I have moved on and found someone that I truly care for now. He’s shown me that if a guy treats you badly, he doesn’t care for you. . so move the hell on.

    Thanks steve!!!
    you have opened my eyes.

  43. kristi says:

    steve is sexy

  44. Carol says:

    Sooo… Smart pants, I was just curious about your expertise behind closed doors?

  45. Michelle says:

    I love the show and Steve is right on with all of the girls. Actually, my favorite chracter is Steve. I’m happily married; but my husband knows I think Steve is incredibly sexy. He’s witty and has just the right amount of arrogance. Whoever ends up with him better have that same subtle cockiness because he is most definately a catch. He’s the only man on TV right now that gives me butterflies from time to time. Keep up the great work and the sexiness Steve.

    Michelle from South FL

  46. amanda25 says:

    Steve, your brilliant, sexy, and charming. Are you single? and if so I am officially asking you out on a date!

  47. Emily says:

    I love the show..made me realize that I need tough love too..lol been single for years and I need your help!!

  48. Kensey says:

    so when does Steven Ward date? I would def. Take him on a date! :)

  49. Judilee says:

    Yesterday the 2004 version of Love or Money (Rachel) was running and guess who was one of the contestants! Yup, dear old Steve and he cried like a little girl when the potential love interest he had backed (and therefore all of her followers) lost to Rachel. So how does he go from being that to the know everything ab out love guy?????

  50. Richelle M. says:

    My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. Our relationship isn’t that easy because he is in the Army, so we do have tons of things that get in the middle of our relationship. He is getting deployed in July and I am absolutely terrified.. We have a lot of frustrations and fear that are coming out now that the deployment is getting closer and closer. I was wondering if anyone had some tips that would help us get through the deployment and still stay strong. If you have any advise at all please do email me; richfifteen@hotmail.com Thanks =)

  51. Frances Patterson says:

    I would love to meet Steve Ward..He’s a very attractive, decent kind of i guy that i would love to get a chance to meet and know..can you please contact me so that i may send him a picture and email him..who knows what may happen

  52. Stacy Shine says:

    I myself find him very attractive, but finding myself always wondering “why is this guy single” does he analize his relationships to the point that they do not work??? What is the scoop I would very much like to know?? I love his shows, what I like most is that he is honest and also very blunt and to the point like myself! I believe that if everyone was just honest with each other in their relationships then it should work however we have people who on the other hand can’t handle the truth and those are the relationships that end up falling apart! I so wanna meet Steve someone needs to make this happen for me so he can tell me why I end up in 10 year relationships and then it goes to hell LOL

  53. Dahlia says:

    I enjoyed reading your interview about the show, but I wish there were more questions about you(Steve). Questions about your life growing up, love interest/interests, past relationships, etc.

  54. Aya Hudson says:

    @France Patterson — if you’re from the Chicago area or could come here this weekend (01/08/11), he’s gonna be here for the VH1 Tough Love Casting Call! Me and a few friends are gonna go and hopefully meet him and who knows — make it to the show! You can find more information here http://bit.ly/fdv5im

  55. 1198492 says:

    What a lovely day for a 1198492! SCK was here

  56. 3122125 says:

    What a lovely day for a 3122125! SCK was here

  57. rosie says:

    I’m sorry… he’s so hot.