Stephanie, Mike And Liz Tell Us All About TLC's I Love A Mama's Boy - Exclusive Interview

"I Love a Mama's Boy" is back! The hit reality series is coming back for a second season on TLC — and fans might not be ready for all the drama. The season will feature two new mamas, their sons, and not-so-happy significant others as well as three returning trios. It's going to be messy. It's going to be real. And it's going to be a lot of fun. "From outrageous family dynamics and culture clashes to jaw-dropping mother-son rituals, we know viewers will go crazy for this fresh new love and relationship series," Howard Lee, president and general manager of TLC, shared about the show.

One of the returning trios is Mike, Stephanie, and Liz. When fans saw Mike and his girlfriend Stephanie last, they were debating leaving the East Coast — and Mike's mom, Liz — for LA. Season 2 picks up right in the middle of the juicy drama, and it's sure to dish out even more. Mike, Stephanie, and Liz sat down with The List for an exclusive interview in which they told us all about TLC's "I Love a Mama's Boy."

How Stephanie and Liz from I Love a Mama's Boy really feel about each other

Stephanie, what was your first impression of Liz and her relationship with Mike and how has that impression changed over time?

Stephanie: My first impression was, I was very endeared by their relationship. I just thought it was very sweet. This was before Mike and I were ever even in a relationship. So going into the relationship, I knew Mike has a really good relationship with his mom. It melted my heart. It was never a red flag or an issue or anything for me and obviously the more I got into the relationship and got to know everybody, I still feel that way. It's nice to see that they have such a close relationship, but obviously I've gotten to know Liz now on a more personal level and I understand her more and I understand where she's coming from and why she loves her son so much. And I see a whole different side of it now.

Liz, what was your first impression of Stephanie and her relationship with Mike and then how has that changed over time?

Liz: I agree with what Stephanie said, actually. She was one of the first girlfriends that I approved of, where I really couldn't find too much where I could look. No, I was very happy with her. Always doubtful, just not anything against Stephanie, but doubtful because of my relationships, I have to say. So even a friend or any family member, "Oh, is that person right for you?" And then Michael being my son, obviously wanting to know is that person right for him? I really did like Stephanie right from the start and getting to know her, we got closer, and I totally understand her point of view in a lot of ways now that I know her so much better.

What I Love a Mama's Boy star Mike really thinks about his mom, Stephanie, and their relationship

Mike, what has been your experience of the changing dynamic between Stephanie and your mom?

Mike: Yeah, no, honestly, I think it's honestly been really fun to watch. I feel like they've gotten to know each other a lot better over time. I feel like they've grown closer over time. And I think that it's actually strengthened my relationship with both of them simultaneously. They're the two most important women in my life. And the whole thing has always been being able to get everybody on the same page and I feel like over the last couple of years, we've really gotten closer together and gotten to know each other better as a group. And it's only progressed the relationship between Stephanie and I.

Is there anything that you would change about your relationship with your mom or about your mom's relationship with Stephanie?

Mike: If there's one thing I can change about my relationship with my mom is I wish that maybe she was a little bit more spontaneous. I've always been someone who has been willing to just get a phone call and go, that's how I've always been. And even when I was in high school, my mom and I would butt heads sometimes because I didn't really have the freedom to do all the things I wanted to do and I would need to get permission. And I would have these spontaneous ideas and she would say no. So there was times back then that I wish, I guess I could say, I wish that was a little bit different, but at the same time, she's also allowed me to really thrive and it's also taught me more of a reserved side. So I guess I'm grateful for that in the long run. And then what was the second half of the question?

Anything you would change about your mom's relationship with Stephanie?

Mike: Honestly, no. I think it's honestly been good. I've been trying to just sit back and not have any influence on that and really allowed them to get to know each other themselves. And the more that's happened, I feel like they've actually become closer. So not having an influence on that in any way has actually been the best way to do it.

How Stephanie and Liz's relationship has changed over time

Speaking of watching your mom and Stephanie get closer, are there any particular moments that stand out in your memory that really make you smile about how their relationship has progressed over time?

Mike: Oh, I mean, there's been so many. Just the beautiful thing of the show is it gets to capture small moments of those special times. But even when the cameras turn off, there's so many fun things that we've done. I mean, we've gone to wineries, we've gone on vacations, and they've really gotten to know each other so well that I just feel like every time we get into a room now, we have a lot of fun and that's a little bit, not that it was ever not fun, but there's just a level of comfort there now that wasn't there two years ago.

Stephanie and Liz, would you guys agree? Are you guys having a lot more fun these days?

Stephanie: Yeah. I sometimes actually joke that I get along better with Liz now than I do with Mike, just because Mike and I have been together for so long and living together through the pandemic. And it's like, when I talk to Liz, we always get so excited to chat and catch up. So that's my little joke is that I always say that these days.

Mike: It's ironic because it's like, as the time has gone on, Steph and I now fight like an old married couple strictly out of love, but we have those little stupid fights. We've been together for so long. And I talk to her mom and she talks to my mom, so it's actually ... tables have turned a little bit.

Liz, what has been your experience of that?

Liz: No, I agree. I totally agree. I'm laughing on this side or smiling, I should say because I totally agree. Because there's times when they do have a little spat here and there and where I'm like, "Oh geez, I wish they didn't have that spat because I really want to call Stephanie and tell her about a date I had." And I just don't want to upset her or whatever. But yeah, no, I feel that when we're together, there is more comfort now that we got to know each other over time and I think that's what it takes, it takes time. And just getting to get the feel of the other person, to know the other person and sometimes with me, it takes a little more time. And just because that's just how I am, I'm just more on the careful side. And then regarding the spontaneity thing, I go back on that, I'm getting better with that. And I totally understand what Michael's saying, but that's my reserved planning side where it's like, okay, I'm like always like, oh, let's check everything out. Let's be careful. Let's figure it out. Then we go. 

But I have been spontaneous here and there. I'm getting better. So I agree with what he said too, but I am going to stick out for myself and say I am getting better.

Being a mom, someone's got to steer the ship!

Liz: Exactly, right?

The real reason Stephanie and Mike didn't move to LA

Stephanie and Mike, you guys didn't move to LA. Can you tell me a little bit more about what happened and why you chose to stay?

Stephanie: Yes. So pretty much, well, Michael, well, Mike, whatever we're calling you today, Michael decided that he, well, I guess this is going to play out on the show, but there were a lot of things that ... My family's here, Mike's family's here on the East Coast and it's really hard to leave them. And in that moment it was like the pandemic was just starting and just breaking through and it just didn't make sense for us to up our life. And I'll just leave it at that. A lot of things are going to play out this season on that.

Mike: Also, like I had just literally right around the time that this all was happening, we had just gotten a property. I just bought a condo in Connecticut, there was a lot of stuff that was going around, and it just felt like we are such travelers that maybe in this moment it's not best to uproot our entire lives. But if work or something takes us elsewhere, we can always go and make it a quick temporary trip, but still call the East Coast home.

Stephanie: Yeah. That's what I was going to say. Yeah. So Mike ends up buying a condo, which we're going to talk about, what you're going to see coming up on the season. And that was a big reason for us to stay. Mike wanted to be closer to his mom. It's nice to be close to family. And also the way it worked out with that job was like, they wanted me to make a decision really fast, they needed a decision I just didn't have, it was too hard to put all of that. We had our plates together, we had our families. Even though Liz did come around to the idea of it, it's still, we saw the way it broke her heart. I mean, America saw the way that Liz got emotional and it broke her heart to let us go, even let us go. And there were so many reasons, but our family was really the No. 1 reason and just the timing wasn't right.

Sounds like you guys made the right choice.

Stephanie: Yeah, definitely.

And I'm sure Liz, you agree.

Liz: Oh, definitely. But you know what, whatever ends up happening future-wise, job-wise, whatever, I'm always going to follow, so no matter what, I'm there.

These I Love a Mama's Boy stars reveal what to expect on Season 2

What other big changes have happened for you guys since Season 1 ended?

Stephanie: Well, a lot has happened since Season 2 has ended.

Mike: Yeah, there's a lot going on honestly. Season 1, I feel like you guys got to get a real quick dip into who we are.

Stephanie: What really happened after Season 1 ended was that I didn't take that job and we moved into a bigger apartment. So we wanted more space. We were quarantined so we each wanted to have our own office. And it was still in the same building that we had been in, everybody saw us [in], and it was just a bigger apartment with more space. And we moved out and we kept working. We got some minor promotions at work and just stuff like that. And we picked up on Season 2, and that's when things started happening.

Mike: Yeah. Season 2 is going to be interesting. You guys got a quick look into who we were as a family on Season 1, but honestly it got cut short because the COVID and there was a lot of stuff that wasn't able to be covered. So Season 2, you're going to get a much closer look. And then honestly, after Season 2 concludes, I'm pretty sure you guys are going to need to get a spin-off because there's a lot going on right now.

Liz: You guys will be begging for a Season 3 or the public will, for sure.

What can viewers expect to see on Season 2?

Mike: A lot more drama.

Stephanie: Yeah. Well, we definitely are going to be moving around a lot and making some big decisions and there's a lot more emotions this season, I would say. I feel like I let my guards down and had a lot more emotions than I did last season.

Mike: Yeah. Season 1 it's like, especially with our background of working in television and stuff and we obviously we're a little bit not skeptical, but maybe a little bit nervous about the way we would come off on camera and the folks at TLC and the whole production company do a fantastic job of really telling a true story. So Season 2, I think we were able to let our guard down and really be ourselves even to a new degree. So I'm excited to open up to the viewers and let them get to see what we really are like behind the camera. And also with that more time to be able to not get cut short because of the pandemic.

Liz, do you have anything to add?

Liz: Nope. Like Stephanie said, there's going to be more. More drama, definitely more emotions from everybody, emotions, being more emotional about different things. And the viewer will just have to see. When we're being filmed and things are happening in our lives and it just comes out, it just comes out and they see what they see. And it's not something that you can sometimes hold back or control. I tend to get emotional a lot, if I think of Michael moving away or doing anything or not being close to me, I could start crying right now. So yeah, so there's a little bit more and people got to know us from Season 1, but they'll definitely really see a lot more and understand us a lot more in Season 2, I think.

How being on I Love a Mama's Boy has changed these stars' lives

How has being on the show changed your life or impacted the choices you've made, or even changed your relationship between the three of you?

Mike: Well, mom, you take it.

Liz: I was going to say, I feel it has maybe opened up, for me anyway, my eyes to Michael growing up, becoming, obviously, he's 27. He'll be 28. He'll always, to me, be my baby for however old, but he's a man now. And so I guess just seeing him growing up and having his own life now, which I'm always going to be a part of. But I guess the show made me see that more, his relationships or his just growing up. Where I want to be there at all times, and I will be as long as he needs me, but again, with his life and work and everything, I can't be, so it's hard to see that. Or him making the choices that he makes and I support him 100%, always have and always will. I trust in what he does and always believe that he's going to do the right thing.

Mike: I mean, in terms of me, the reason that the show has changed my life, honestly, has been because of ... it's just, like the way my mom said, opening up your eyes to so many more things. And I feel like, honestly, it's almost been an outlet to be able to have these kinds of tough conversations and work through these things. When you are filming what a lot of people don't realize is you put yourself fully out there and you're vulnerable. And by being able to really let your guard down and have these true deep conversations, that right there just shows the way that, how powerful that can really be. So by opening up together and going through all of this together, I feel like it's taking our relationships to the next level. It's made me more confident in other aspects of my life. I mean, it's opened up opportunities for other career paths and it's been amazing all around for so many different reasons.

Stephanie: Yep. I was going to agree with Mike, like he said, just all of us becoming closer and building that relationship and getting to do this altogether. It is a life-changing experience. My whole life people used to always say to me, you need to be on TV. You need to be on TV. You need to be on TV. And it's just like, for it to actually happen to you and it just, it is a life-changing experience and it's fun and it's different. Mike and I work in that environment, so we've always been drawn to that. So it was just a fun experience for us.

Why Stephanie, Mike, and Liz came back for Season 2

Why did you choose to come back for a second season?

Mike: Because we felt like we still had a lot of story to tell. We got significantly cut down because of the pandemic. And there was a lot of new stuff developing with our relationship and we felt like we still had a lot more to talk about and we were excited to continue to share that and do that journey with TLC.

Liz: Definitely.

Stephanie: Yeah. Like where we left off the season before, we were in the middle of a taping season, we had weeks still scheduled to still keep, we had like trips planned. We had a lot going on and then we were just told we can't do it anymore. But like Mike said, we still felt like there was a story to tell and there was and there is, and you guys will see it. And that's why that's pretty much why we kept it going.

How fans really reacted to Stephanie, Mike, and Liz after Season 1

What's been your experience since Season 1 has come out? Has it been positive, negative?

Mike: So much love. I mean, I know Stephanie can speak for this as well. My mom has gotten a ton of love, but she doesn't see as much because she doesn't have social media. She's the only odd one out, but now you know. I mean, there's been so much love. I mean, for every hundred comments of love, there's one bad comment. So it's like, honestly, the fans have been so supportive and a lot of people, you can't judge off the title of a show either, a lot of people get to know people's relationships, they get to understand why people are so close and they get to really see the whole true meaning and the heart behind what the show is about. So I think that the more people view it, just the more positive the responses have been. And luckily that's translated over to social and all the other aspects.

Stephanie: Yeah. It seems like people like us overall, root for us as a couple. And obviously that would include all of us as a family. So yeah, for the most part, people root for us and are happy. But obviously, every once in a while I'll see a comment like, "You were smiling while Liz was crying." And I was like, "Wait, no, I wasn't, I was happy because of what was going on." People can misinterpret your emotions and I don't want to have to defend myself. But sometimes, you feel, I don't, but there's times where you see it and I feel like, wow was I smiling while Liz was crying? It makes you almost more conscious of how you emote around other people. Like I see myself rolling my eyes on TV. I'm like, oh gosh, do I really roll my eyes that much? I need to make sure I don't do that in front of my bosses.

Liz: But in the end, as a whole, we're strong with each other and for each other. And so we don't let any negativity affect us because we do have so much more positive than negative. And that's going to happen no matter what, job-wise or TV-wise, anything that's just the way life is. But in the long run, that doesn't let it affect us at all as a family.

Is there a ring in Stephanie and Mike's future?

Do you guys have a favorite moment from Season 2? Whether one that's going to make it on air or one that was off camera that you can share with me?

Stephanie: Let's see. What are we allowed to share?

Mike: I mean, I will say this. You guys are definitely going to want to bookmark the episode when we go furniture shopping. I'll give you that hint. That was eventful.

Stephanie: I want to say they're going to meet family. You're going to want to bookmark the episode Mike and my dad have a conversation.

Mike: But this leads me into my next point, which is what I was talking about with the spin-off. Because honestly, I think you need to bookmark every episode.

Liz: Exactly. I think so.

Mike: There was a lot of good stuff this season. It's like, if you enjoyed Season 1, you are going to love Season 2, I promise.

Stephanie: I agree with that. And Liz is going to meet my family. So I'm pretty sure I could at least spoil that. So yeah, my family had never met Liz, and we were able to capture that. So I'll be interested to see how that plays out.

Mike, I'm sure you get this all the time, but I have to ask, it's literally my job. The families have met, you've been together for a long time. Can we expect a ring in the near future?

Mike: I think we're going to have to wait to see how Season 2 plays out. I would love to give you the answer that the fans want to hear and I'm not saying it's not in the back of my mind, but I think that's a little too jumping ahead before we let this premiere. I'm just, listen, I'm a very, like I said, I'm a very spontaneous guy. I might wake up one morning and just decide it's the right day.

As long as the cameras are rolling, please do.

Liz: And Mom knows first.

Mike: Yeah. Stephanie, I think it would have to be without telling mom, so she gets the most genuine reaction. And so that we could see how Stephanie put stuff on the spot a little bit too.

What the future looks like for Stephanie, Mike, and Liz

What's your ideal future in regards to your relationships with one another? How do you see your future, your ideal future, for all three of you?

Mike: I'll let Steph answer this one first.

Stephanie: Okay. My ideal future would obviously look like us all getting along perfectly happy because that's obviously very important. Family's the most important thing in our lives. But for me on a personal level, I'm on a really important career journey right now, trying to figure out what my next steps are going to be. And obviously building my relationship and having Mike be there and being supportive of me throughout that, that is my ideal future. And us getting closer throughout that obviously being on this experience has brought us closer together and just seeing what the next steps are going to do. We've been through a lot, through a pandemic, through working together, living together, all of it, this show. And my ideal future is that we would all just ... hopefully this ends in a happy family with kids and grandkids for Liz. And both Mike and I are in the best place in our careers, where we want to be, not just doing jobs that get us through, that pay well, but jobs that both make us happy. And there are things that we both want to be doing. And that as a 27-year-old is really what my big thing is right now is just making sure that I'm doing something that makes me happy and that will set us up for a lifetime of happiness.

Mike: I couldn't agree more with what Steph said. It's like, we're very fortunate that, even though we're both 27, we're both like 40 mentally. And we're very ahead of time in terms of where we want to be. We're very career-driven and we've both been lucky to have success at an early age. So I think at this point, it's really just about building the foundation. And luckily there's no competition. We're each other's biggest fans. So the more that we do to just live day by day and just have each other's backs, it seems like things continue to unfold beautifully. And then everything else that Steph said about the future plans, that all sounds good to me too.

Liz: And as the mom, [I want] the best for both of them. And they are very, both are very career-driven. And as long as, and, of course, at the end, everybody wants the happy ending, the kids will always be happy and just as close as a family because we are very close as a family. And it's just, whatever the future holds, I just want us to all get closer in time as it goes on and always be involved as much as I can be and biting my tongue once in a while, if I have to, sometimes —

Mike: Amen to that.

"I Love a Mama's Boy" returns to TLC on Sunday, August 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.