Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her long-distance boyfriend Shaman Durek Verrett have opened up about how their interracial relationship has sparked death threats.
The couple, who have been dating since 2019, reflected on their instant spiritual connection and the backlash surrounding their romance on Friday’s episode of the Tamron Hall Show, which marked their first joint interview on American television.
‘When I met Shaman Durek, it was like finding an old friend,’ Martha Louise said of the Los Angeles-based spiritual guide and healer, whose celebrity following includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Nina Dobrev, and James Van Der Beek.
Candid: Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her boyfriend Shaman Durek Verrett opened up about their interracial relationship on the Tamron Hall Show on Friday
True love: Martha Louise reflected on their instant spiritual connection, saying meeting Durek was ‘like finding an old friend’
The royal told the host that their bond is what helped them get through their months-long separation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘As soon as we met, we spent lots of time on the phone because we are across the Atlantic Ocean and also when I was back in LA, we spent time together, here in New York, England and it was never enough time,’ she explained.
‘It always felt like we were catching up, you know, like old friends catching up and we could never get to the point where we’re updated until now. So we had so much to tell each other, so much to go through.
‘And I think that also helped us through the COVID situation where we weren’t allowed to fly to each other and see each other,’ she added.
The couple confirmed that they’ve received harsh criticism and even death threats because of their interracial relationship.
Major milestone: It was the couple’s first joint American television appearance since they started dating in 2019
‘You know, going into her life being a person of dark skin, a person who represents the melanated skin tone, being a shaman, a lot of people don’t like the idea and a lot of the messages I would get from people around the world would be, they didn’t want us together and it came from both sides,’ said Durek, who is of Norwegian, Indian, and Haitian descent.
The shaman admitted the public outcry was so difficult that Martha Louise told him he should leave her if it was too much for him.
‘She said to me, “If you don’t want to be in this, we can leave. I’m okay. This is the life of a royal. Anyone who comes into my life and my family, this is what they go through,” and I looked in her eyes and she was crying and I said, “I will go through the fire with you. I will go through the ice with you. I will go through anything that’s thrown at us because our love can withstand anything,”‘ he recalled.
The two are using their heartwarming love story to educate others and combat racism around the world.
Hard to handle: Martha Louise and Durek confirmed that they’ve received harsh criticism and even death threats because of their interracial relationship
Faith: Durek admitted the public outcry was so difficult that Martha Louise told him he should leave her if it was too much. However, he insisted that their love ‘can withstand anything’
‘It’s about educating people and helping people understand interracial relationships and how we are bringing an understanding that fear is the big issue of why racism and all these things continue and we have to move past those things so we can evolve as a species,’ Durek said.
Earlier this year, Martha Louise revealed she was moving to California to be closer to her boyfriend of two years. However, she said they are still living apart for now.
‘We built our love on the dissident, on the friendship,’ she said.
Martha Louise, the only daughter and eldest child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, told the Norwegian newspaper VG in April that she was planning on bringing her children — Maud Angelica, 18, Leah Isadora, 16, and Emma Tallulah, 13 — with her to the U.S.
Long-distance love: Martha Louise and Durek were separated for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Claims to fame: Martha Louise is the only daughter and eldest child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, while Durek is a Los Angeles-based spiritual guide and healer, whose celebrity following includes Gwyneth Paltrow (right)
Separated: Earlier this year, Martha Louise revealed her plans to move to California with her three children to be closer to him, but she said they are still living apart for now
‘Right now there is COVID and it is difficult to plan, but we plan to move with time,’ she said. ‘The children will, of course, join me.
‘We will keep the home in Lommedalen anyway,’ she added. ‘We must have a home in Norway. We’ll still be here a lot. We can not leave beautiful Norway completely.’
Durek had planned on proposing to Martha Louise in Hawaii last year, but due to the pandemic, she went months without seeing him and their engagement plans were put on hold.
‘He was supposed to come over, but he hasn’t been able to travel here, which totally crushed me. I went more into a depression, where I just couldn’t cope,’ she said.
In a candid interview with Vanity Fair last year, Martha Louise revealed her turmoil over the death of her ex-husband Ari Behn, who died by suicide on Christmas Day in 2019 at age 47.
Loss: Martha Louise’s ex-husband Ari Behn (pictured in 2015) died by suicide on Christmas Day in 2019 at age 47
Difficult: ‘I was so lucky to have the support of Durek and my family and my friends all around us, but it’s a void,’ she said of the loss in an interview with Vanity Fair last year
Discussing the traumatic day, Martha Louise revealed they returned home from the Christmas morning church service to the news.
‘They were saying that it was my fault and Durek’s fault — that if it hadn’t been for Durek, this wouldn’t have happened,’ she said, noting that she and her ex had been divorced for three years at that point.
Ari, a well-known writer, had a new girlfriend at the time and had approved of Durek when they met, according to the royal.
‘I was so lucky to have the support of Durek and my family and my friends all around us, but it’s a void,’ she said. ‘Suddenly I was a single parent, which is a very different horse, and of course the grief, the anger, the self-pity, the sadness over never seeing him again…it’s devastating.’
Martha Louise also added that her relationship with Derek has made her realize how racist Norwegian people can be.
‘Before I met him, I never thought that there was racism in Norway, because we’re all an open, happy family,’ she explained. ‘But basically, there are not that many people of color in Norway, so it was all a surprise to me.’