The Truth About Judge Lynn Toler

Now in its 18th season, WE tv's "Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition" puts celebrity relationship drama front and center, something Judge Lynn Toler is all too familiar with. A former attorney turned judge, Toler presided over the reality series "Divorce Court" for 13 years until she decided to hang up her gavel in March 2020 (via BET). The 61-year-old, who has also authored three books and appeared on numerous reality shows, has served as one of the hosts of "Marriage Boot Camp" since 2017, handing out advice and tough love to hip hop legends facing marital problems. In a promo video for the show, Toler explained the producers wanted a change and reached out to her to join its cast of relationship experts. "They thought, 'Hey, let's have the judge from 'Divorce Court' come and tell them what it would be like at the end of the marriage,'" she said. 

Toler has brought a wealth of experience to the show, and not only from her years in law. She was raised in a household with a bipolar and alcoholic father and has been married to Eric Mumford for 33 years, having experienced plenty of ups and downs in her own marriage (HuffPost).

Her own marriage hasn't always been happy

In an Op-Ed for HuffPost, Lynn Toler revealed troubles in her own marriage. Her husband, Eric Mumford — who she often refers to as Big E — had one failed marriage behind him when he met the future "Divorce Court" judge. Already a father of four, he agreed to have more children with Toler, but he became resentful anytime he didn't get his way. Toler said she was drawn to Mumford because he was stable and secure, unlike her own father who'd been a bipolar alcoholic. "I ... was raised in a house that rocked and rolled on the rhythm of whatever was wrong with Dad," she said.

After 19 years of marriage, she and Mumford "were off the road and deep in the weeds," she wrote. They were both unhappy and it wasn't until Toler took her experiences from "Divorce Court" and applied it to her own situation that she realized they were in serious trouble. She realized Mumford was angry all the time and she had lost all confidence in herself. "I didn't know all this was what we were doing until I stepped back from where we were and looked at it as if I were on the bench," she said. "That's when I saw all of the small stupid things that landed us where we were." The key to getting her marriage back on track, she revealed, was effective communication and a willingness by both to "fight the problem instead of fighting one another." 

Her split from Divorce Court was amicable

When Judge Lynn Toler announced she was leaving "Divorce Court," longtime viewers feared history was repeating itself. According to Distractify, Judge Mablean Deloris Ephriam accused the show of racism when her contract negotiations stalled in 2006, and Toler replaced her as the presiding judge. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Toler clarified that her contract was up and she chose not to renew it, although she did cite recent changes to the courtroom show as reasons. In particular, she wasn't a fan of the glass desk and non-courtroom-like set after the show moved production to Atlanta in 2018. 

"It was too non-traditional for me," Toler told the publication. "I couldn't even cross my legs. Plus, the direction of the show was louder, crazier, goofier. They were pushing one thing. I was pushing another." Still, she said there were no hard feelings between either party. "I had 13 years of making more money than I ever thought I would make," she added.