For more than a decade, fans have watched Theresa Caputo captivate audiences and single-handedly drive up Kleenex sales with her emotional series Long Island Medium. Even today, the reruns feel cozy and nostalgic, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket on a rainy day or — for those of us actually located in Long Island — the first bite of a fresh morning bagel purchased with love while you were still sleeping. We can only speak from experience, but it’s comfort food for the soul (of both those who are living and those who have passed).
When we sat down for a Zoom call with Caputo to discuss her brand new Discovery+ series Long Island Medium: There in Spirit, we made sure to have our tissues nearby — especially as the interview was briefly derailed with a message from our writer’s grandmother. "My dog will derail the interview right now, so don’t worry," Caputo said. "We’ve got a lot of derailing going on right now, between spirit and the dogs."
After more than a decade on TV, Caputo has learned to take things as they come, from the online criticism of skeptics to the fact that you never know when a spirit will pop in for lunch. Even the on-going coronavirus pandemic didn’t seem to phase her. In fact, it inspired her new series.
In this exclusive interview, Caputo dishes on everything from her beginnings as a medium to her discovery+ series to her daughter’s delayed wedding. As she told The List, "No pandemic was stopping spirits," and it hasn’t stopped her either.
In the age of coronavirus, spirits do Zoom meetings too
I’m so excited about your new season on discovery+. Can you tell me a little bit about what you have going on in the new season?
Sure. So this season was really special with Long Island Medium because with the pandemic, [the] majority of the readings were done through Zoom. So it still amazes me that, through Zoom, the emotion that you feel through all of the readings, that no pandemic was stopping spirit from delivering messages. It was a little different because you don’t have that physical connection. I think that’s something that all of us are missing for the past year, but watching Long Island Medium and watching these readings, you don’t miss a beat on the emotion and the feeling. And that’s the thing that I love the most about this season.
I actually wanted to ask you about that because the coronavirus obviously has changed a lot with how you do your readings. I read that you’re doing them online now, and it’s working great?
Yeah. That was the one silver lining that I feel that I found through the pandemic, is that we discovered that Zoom was like the new phone reading. And not only was I able to read people in the tri-state area, but people all over the country, and you’ll see like on Long Island Medium, down to the celebrities that we were able to read. Because here I was still in New York, they’re in wherever they are, and we’d still be able to have the experience.
Theresa Caputo on her process as a medium
That’s so amazing. I actually want to ask you about that because I recently lost my grandmother like two months ago, and I found a lot of comfort in what you do, and the idea of spirits being around. What is your process with finding those spirits to communicate with and how you get that energy?
Well, especially when someone comes for a reading, the souls of the departed know what is going to happen, and more importantly, what we need to hear. And first of all, I’d like to say, I’m very sorry for the loss of your grandmother, especially during this pandemic, because it’s also a new way of how we heal, how we grieve, how we’re not able to lay them to rest the way that we would have wanted to, or we normally would have. And the thing that I love about spirit is that they’re always still here to remind us that they’re not part of that physical body anymore.
So what we do is really for us, that from the moment the soul leaves the physical body, their soul is safe and at peace and, more importantly, that they are healed. So that had to be something where your grandmother was restricted, because I feel that I’m saying certain things, whether if they’re spirit driven, but I just saw a mother energy jump up and down, which is my symbol for that she can move freely. So if she had a disability or ailment with her legs, she did not take it with her on the other side. Do you understand that?
From medium to mother of the bride
I actually wanted to talk to you more about the pandemic because I read that your daughter is one of the COVID brides who had her wedding postponed. What was that like? Tell me everything about how she felt, how you felt as a mother of the bride. That’s a huge moment, and it’s terrible that it got postponed.
Yeah. I think, I’m so proud of the way Victoria has handled it and is handling it still to this day. So Victoria and Michael were supposed to get married in September of 2020. So when the pandemic first happened, we were like, "Okay, we’re going to postpone it." We postponed it to May. And she was really okay with it. She was like, "It’s okay, I’m fine."
And then just last week, they decided that they’re going to go ahead with the wedding in May. So she just said, "You know what, Mom, I’m not going to have the large wedding that I wanted, but I don’t want to stop… I don’t want to put my life on hold anymore." She says, "I’m going to move forward with whatever the restrictions are, and the guidelines, we’re going to follow the guidelines." And she says, "The important thing is that we’re going to get married." And she says, "I want to start a family."
Oh, that’s so nice.
So, that’s really exciting. I mean, the fact that I could be a grandmother by next year is crazy.
How Theresa Caputo discovered her gift
So I want to ask you more about your work as a medium. How did you discover that this is your gift? How did you realize?
So I didn’t like wake up one day and say, "You know what? I think I’m going to talk to dead people for a living." It was a very, very long process. For years, I suffered from anxieties. And at the time of when I discovered my gift, I couldn’t even leave my house, because I feel. That’s my main way of communicating with the souls of the departed is through feeling. So I could feel the way someone has died. Like your grandmother just showed us. So imagine being out shopping in a store and you feeling that, and sensing these things, and not knowing what to do with it. So I had gone to a spiritual awareness class, where through that class, I learned that not only was I communicating with my own departed loved ones, but everyone else’s. So I struggled with my gift probably for about five years of "this is crazy."
Because I am a practicing Catholic, and I share that with people because people wonder. And I was like, "Okay, well, why would someone… Why would I be blessed with this gift? And why would someone want to come and see a medium and speak to their relatives that have died?" And what I learned is that, unfortunately, we here in the physical world are left with burdens and guilts. Maybe a should’ve, a could’ve, a would’ve, an only if. And at the end of the day, all of these negative emotions and burdens do not give us the ability to heal.
So I kind of put my gift in [the] spirit’s hands, and said, "If this is my soul’s journey, open the doors for me, and I will walk through them." And I feel, here I am, being with the Discovery family for 10 years and still being able to share my gift of, and deliver messages of, healing and hope and peace. I’m actually getting emotional from saying that to you, because it really is amazing. And I’m very blessed to be able to continue to do this work.
Theresa Caputo doesn’t mind the skeptics
It’s really such a gift. What would you say to the haters who are like, that’s not real?
First of all, I don’t refer to them as haters. I refer to them more as like, it’s hard to understand it. Listen, I’m the first one to say that what I do is absolutely crazy. There’s no way that someone can communicate with someone that has died, but there are certain things that spirit has me talk about that there’s no way that I would know about. Because there are common things and ways people pass, right? But there are little things that nobody else would know about. And that’s what I need spirit to validate.
Listen, I’m not asking anyone to believe in me. And I don’t mean to be rude when I say I don’t care if people… What they say about me or if they don’t believe in me. I want them to believe in themselves, and to know that the things that they sense and feel, hear, sense, or smell, to know that that is their departed loved ones. That they’re not crazy. That the only thing that we lose when we lose a loved one is that physical connection. That soul bond can never and will never be broken.
Always a blessing, never a curse
I think that’s definitely something people need to be reminded of now, especially in the pandemic. So this gift, it seems like it could be a blessing and a curse. What are the best and worst parts of being a medium?
So I never looked at my gift as a curse. I always considered it an honor and a privilege to do this work. I think anything… Life is hard. Let’s face it. And I think that the hardest thing for me is people really understanding how this works. I don’t know how this works. It just happens. I always say I was born this way. So to be able to deliver these messages and to help someone to live their life with happiness and joy after the loss of a loved one, I’m so proud and so honored to do this.
I know this is weird, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. But it just validates that I know that… I always grew up feeling like something was missing. I didn’t feel right. I felt different than everyone else. And my mom was always very encouraging to me. And no one ever made a big deal about the things that I would say or do. And I think the moment that I embraced and accepted my gift is when my soul felt complete. I know this is what I was meant to do here in the physical world.
The truth behind Theresa Caputo’s celebrity readings
That’s really amazing. I know you’re dealing with a lot of celebrities on the new season, too. What is it like hanging out with all those celebs?
Well, I don’t think of it that way. I don’t know. I think I’m kind of different. Celebrities, they deserve and, more importantly, need the gift of healing as well. So it’s actually… Celebrities, I think they come in also a little bit guarded, because they think that everyone knows about them. And it’s so interesting, because I’ll say, oh, you know what? There’s a lot people this season, like we have Rosario Dawson, Carmen Electra, Meghan Trainor, Garcelle Beauvais on the show this season. And, of course, we all know their names, but I don’t really know anything about them. I don’t know anything about their personal life, what they’ve lost, how they feel, what they’re going through. And I think that’s what people don’t understand as well. Anyone that’s willing to, or wanting me to share my gift with them, I feel honored.
That’s amazing. That’s what I was wondering about, if celebrities were more guarded because of all the news and paparazzi.
I think they do. They definitely come in a little bit more guarded. And I think people come in with a little bit of guardedness also. And I try to also tell people, when you come for an experience, for a reading, come with no expectations because it’s almost like that’s the people that I find that have the best experience. Because they’re just open.
The higher the hair, the closer to God
So I want to talk to you about your hair because your hair is iconic. It’s like part of your brand. It’s amazing. How did you land on that style? When did you get it?
I don’t know. I think I’ve always had big hair. I just recently posted a picture, Victoria had her hair braided and she took her hair out and it was all curly. And I found a picture from like 30-something years ago. My hair literally looked like a lion’s mane. It’s curly, and I would get my hair permed like that. I’ve always just loved big hair. It’s just me. I’ve always had long nails and big hair.
How do you do it in the morning?
How do I do it in the morning?
Blow dryer. A lot of tease and hairspray. Product is very important. So I don’t think people realize that a good root booster and a good hairspray can go a long way.
Theresa Caputo dishes on friendship after divorce and moving forward
So I wanted to talk to you about your ex-husband. Nothing bad. I was just wondering how your relationship is now, because it seemed like you guys were good friends while [your divorce] was happening. So how are you guys doing now?
We still are. Larry is in California, and we’re both moving forward with our lives and more importantly, still supporting our children. So that’s the important thing. And we’re both so excited about the wedding. I was just talking to him the other day, because you got to cut the list from like 450 people down to 150 people.
Is she having it in Long Island?
No, no. She picked this brand new venue. She had picked it out all on her own.
I’m just asking because I’m from Long Island too. I relate to you. I’m a Long Island Catholic.
Where are you now?
I’m in Brooklyn.
Okay. She’s — I don’t know if you’ve heard of the — I think that there’s a place called The Lighthouse or something in Brooklyn.
I have heard of that.
Yeah. It’s a sister venue to them, but they’re in Jersey.
I heard that’s very nice.
Yeah. So we’re excited. It’s in May, and there is this kind of relief to it, of like, oh, you know what? They can finally move forward with their life. And it’s almost like, that’s kind of like how death is. When you lose someone, I think there’s this moment where you receive whether a message from a departed loved one you feel like, you know what, I can move on. I’m not going to forget, but I can let go of all the negative emotions attached and I can move on with my life.
The coronavirus helped inspire Theresa Caputo’s new podcast
So you have a podcast [Hey Spirit! with Theresa Caputo] that’s kind of new. Can you tell me about it?
Sure. So during the pandemic, we were unable to, of course, film Long Island Medium, and people were reaching out to me more than ever. And what I discovered, like how we’re doing now, Zoom is the new phone reading. And I discovered that not only was I able to reach people here, even in the United States, but from other countries and all over the world. And it really is amazing. And it’s very different from Long Island Medium. Are there readings? Yes. But there’s a little bit more interviews and just a little different look into my life than Long Island Medium. There’s no shopping involved.
As you’d expect, Long Island Medium: There in Spirit get’s very emotional
So before I go, I wanted to ask you if there’s any sort of reading you’ve had that was particularly touching or interesting that you could tell me about?
Sure. I’m going to talk about this past season because all of the readings — and I don’t want to sound cliché — but all of the readings that I do, I feel are emotional and they’re healing. But this season, especially with COVID, I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate and find comfort in especially a couple of the episodes.
There was one episode that I recall where someone had lost a loved one during COVID and they were unable to, of course, be with them. They didn’t know what was happening. And the departed loved one came through and was saying all of these things, how the nurse would come in, hold her hand and tell her all the things that her daughter was telling the nurses to tell her mom, and the songs that you would play, or talk to her and sit with her.
And the soul was coming through, validating all of that. And I think that was the most moving moment for me this season, because it really showed on how nurses and doctors, healthcare providers, they really went above and beyond in a situation where no one had control and nobody really knew. And to get that validation for that woman was really touching. For her to say, "Oh my God, I wondered if they did get the message. That’s what the nurses and the doctors were telling me, but I didn’t know. I wanted to believe it, but now I know I can, because there’s no way that I would know those things."
What’s next for Theresa Caputo
That’s absolutely amazing. I feel like your season is going to make me definitely cry when I watch it. So I need to be alone.
Well, listen, I cried when I watched it. I just want everyone to know, while you’re streaming Long Island Medium on discovery+ this season, know that I’m watching it, crying along with you, because in the moment, I’m reading, I’m working. I don’t see the episodes before they air. So I’m watching them for the first time like you are. So I’m bawling my eyes out right beside you.
So is there anything else that you wanted to discuss? Any projects you’ve got going on besides that?
What I do is always delivering peace and hope, and I think this is a huge sign of hope right now. I have not done live events since March of 2020. And the end of February and beginning of March, I’m going to be doing some live events. They’re at resorts outdoors. I’m going to be in Scottsdale, Woodland, Texas, and Kissimmee, Florida, where we’re following all COVID guidelines, where you purchase a pod and you’re only in the pod with your guests that you come to the show with. Everyone wears a face covering and temperatures are taken at the door, and it’s limited capacity. And I share that with you because I feel it’s a huge sign of hope of things getting back to a real new normal. Because we haven’t had any live entertainment or events in a year. So for me, it’s huge to be able — a huge sign of hope for everyone.
Catch Theresa Caputo on Long Island Medium: There in Spirit, now streaming on discovery+.