Melissa McCarthy has dealt with her share of online trolls, but she has nothing but love for them back.
The Life of the Party actress, 47, gets real about how she deals with criticism in PEOPLE’s new cover story.
McCarthy was on the bitter end of some especially vicious hate when she starred in the 2016 all-female Ghostbusters reboot alongside Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. But she doesn’t let the trolls get to her.
“Weirdly, instead of getting mad at them, I always feel like, ‘Oh, I hope you meet someone soon that you can talk to, someone that really makes you laugh,’ ” she says in the new issue. “I just root for that person to find a little joy.”
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“I’m never going to change things by sitting in my living room bawling. That’s not going to fix or help anything,” McCarthy says. “This has been a tough chunk of history for women. But at one point I just said, ‘I’m not going to wallow in this anymore.’ It’s not my reality—the men I know wouldn’t act like this. So I look to the men I know, who have made my life better, and I just keep remembering that they’re the norm.”
McCarthy — who plays a mom who follows her teenage daughter (Molly Gordon) to college in her new movie, Life of the Party (in theaters May 11)—is hoping to pass this positive message on to her daughters Vivian, 11, and Georgette, 8, with husband Ben Falcone and encourage them to think about why the other person is lashing out.
“It’s the same thing I tell my girls, ‘If somebody is being mean, they’re probably really not happy,” she says. “If you’re having a great day, you don’t walk past someone and yell, ‘Freak!’ If you’re happy, you say, ‘I love your skirt!’ “