Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Rita Moreno makes heartbreaking confession about aging ahead of 92nd birthday

The beloved EGOT winner, star of upcoming comedy Netflix Family Switch, opened up about battling loneliness

Rita Moreno attends the 74th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton on March 12, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
Share this:

Rita Moreno has been a force in the entertainment industry for a whopping seven decades, and while she's not stopping any time soon, with her 92nd birthday approaching, the legendary Puerto Rican actress has been coming to terms with some difficult realities of aging.

It's a bittersweet time for the EGOT winner – who was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico in 1931 – having recently left behind her Berkeley Hills home she shared with her late husband Leonard Gordon in favor of a new apartment, and as she prepares to celebrate her birthday on December 11.

The change brought about unexpected emotions for the star, who opened up candidly about grappling with loneliness and the bold move she made to overcome it.

TRAILER: Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake

Speaking with People ahead of the release of her new Netflix comedy, Family Switch starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms, Rita recalled how unusually "sad" her recent move initially made her feel, and confessed: "It was affecting my appetite."

She noted her daughter Fernanda Luisa Gordon could tell something was wrong, and further said: "I didn't know what was wrong," adding: "I really didn't understand what was happening."

Rita continued: "I remember thinking, 'I can't go on like this.' I'm in the most beautiful apartment in the world as far as I'm concerned, and this is happening. Why is this happening?"

Rita Moreno and daughter Fernanda Luisa Gordon attend the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California© Getty
Rita is a doting mom of one and grandmother to two boys

After taking "all my experience in therapy, psychotherapy," the West Side Story actress came to the realization that not living as close to her family – she also has two grandsons – was affecting her in a way she had yet to experience before.

She explained: "When we make plans to see each other, we have to make plans, they can't just kind of drop by," and noted: "I've never had to seek people's company… You know why? Because people have always come to me."

Rita Moreno, 33, who won an "Oscar" for her role in the film musical "West Side Story," kisses her new husband Dr. Leonard Gordon, 45, after their marriage; 6/18/1965-New York, New York© Getty
The actress and her husband, who passed away in 2010, were married for 45 years

"I was really lonely," she confessed, though mused: "It's the most fascinating thing to learn about yourself."

Rita subsequently challenged herself to make new friends in her neighborhood, and revealed: "That particular day when I made that decision, I went to the supermarket to do some shopping, and I ran into a lady who I kept running into, who's lovely."

Rita Moreno is shown here smiling as she holds her Academy Award in 1962© Getty
She became the third person, and first Hispanic, to earn EGOT status in 1977

Despite the woman's initial surprise that the Rita Moreno was asking her out for lunch, the two have become friends. Recalling their first outing together, Rita said: "She sat down and she said, 'Do you always pick people up like this in the market?'"

Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, wearing a short-sleeved lilac dress, dancing in a publicity image issued for the film adaptation of 'West Side Story', 1961© Getty
Rita, pictured above in West Side Story, is certified Hollywood royalty

"I told her the truth," she went on, and remembered telling her: "No, but you always have struck me as such a lovely person. Since I'm new here and I don't know anybody, I thought I'd take a dip."

The successful befriending of her supermarket friend propelled her to add more new people to her network, and she said: "I also met people from the apartment, the building, who are marvelous," ultimately declaring: "I'm so lucky."

Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features and profiles coming out of the U.S.  Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox. 

More Celebrity News

See more