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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  December 29, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST

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"piers morgan's interview begins in just a minute.
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there was a big meeting at the white house today between the president and the leaders, two republicans and two democrats. harry reid said the next 24 hours would be very important as he and mitch mcconnell put together something that would pass both of their caucuses. and then of course it would have to go to the house. the majority leader harry reid said he's readying a bill for a vote on monday to prevent a tax hike on incomes up to $250,000. senator reid said his bill will include all the additional elements the president outlined, including long-term unemployment benefits, the continuation of those. that would be a plan b that would be a plan b for democrats. what they would rather do is get a bill with senator reid working in conjunction with senator mcconnell. senator reid says he is awaiting
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good faith proposals from the republicans. president obama said after the meeting he is modestly optimistic a deal can be reached. and an extension of long-term unemployment benefits. and that's of course for the long-term unemployed as well as what's known as a dock fix which has to do with medicare payments to doctors. that's where we are. we don't expect anything big in the next 24 hours, but this is after all washington. right now, it's time for piers morgan tonight. >> tonight, tyler perry is a successful writer, director, actor. >> she told me you're the best interviewer in the world, so i'm worried.
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>> his movies have grossed over $600 million. >> it means i get to reinvest in what i do and i'm able to hire a lot more people. >> and he knows how to wear a dress. have you ever thought you were going to be world famous for cross dressing. >> never in a million years. even the first time i did it, i didn't think it would last as long as it did. >> the greatest gift in my life is what my audience has given me. >> and she's a fine girl. brandy back to the spotlight and speaking from the heart about her mentor, whitney houston. >> i felt like i wasn't there for her enough at the end of her life. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." now to the man of the hour, tyler perry. welcome, tyler. >> thank you, thank you. >> are you nervous? >> a little bit. a little bit. >> had a word with my friend. >> she told me you were the best interviewer in the world so i'm very, very worried.
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>> high praise from the queen herself. you weren't called tyler perry as a boy, you were born emmett perry jr. you changed your name, you said, to distance yourself from your father, who let's be honest, sounds brutal. he used to beat you relentlessly as a young man. it must have had an effect on you? >> of course, but i was able to forgive him in my mid-20s, and that changed my life. what i did was, what a lot of people don't realize or understand is their parents have a story, too. whatever happened in your life because of them -- you really need to find out the story so you can understand it. what i found is he and his sister and brother, they were all found by a white man in rural louisiana in a ditch, he was 2 years old at the time, brought to a 14-year-old woman named may to raise. her father was bedridden, very old man. was a slave. and everything that she knew to do to get these children to behave was to beat them.
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she would tie them in a potato sack, hang them in a tree, and beat them. so that's what he knew. that's what he came from. >> he had been abused. >> abused his entire life. third grade education. >> how did you find this out? >> i found it out by asking questions. finally, of him. >> he told you? >> he told me a lot about it. my aunt told me about and it other people in the town, small town in louisiana where he grew up, told me about the story. so it helped me to understand a lot of who he is, which made it easier for me to let go and forgive him. >> hard to forgive, though. >> it is, it is, but it's very necessary. what i found is this, and this is so true. if you do not forgive, you hold on to this thing inside of you that can change your life and take you in the wrong direction. 9 times out of 10, the people who have done things to you are asleep and at peace and you're holding on to it, it can literally become sickness in your body and make your physically ill. i think that forgiveness is beyond important. >> is he still alive, your father? >> he is. >> what kind of relationship do you have with him?
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>> we don't speak very much, but i am taking care of him. i make sure he has everything he needs. >> you support him? >> absolutely. 100%. as a child, he wasn't a great father, but he was a great provider and he had an incredible work ethic. he gave me my work ethic. >> do you think despite the way he man handled you, did you feel he loved you? >> never felt that. i felt strongly there was something there, and i didn't know what it was. when i was about 30, my mother told me he never thought i was his child. that wads another thing that i didn't know that caused issues as well. >> did you have that out with him? >> i did. about four years ago i asked why. all he could tell me through his tears, this is what he said, you don't know what happened to me, which clearly made me stop and say, you know what, i don't, but that doesn't justify what you did, but i will take that and try and consider it and understand it and make it work for the better of both of us and this relationship as father and
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son. >> is he proud of you for what you have achieved? >> i think so because in any situation he's in tears, everything that happens, he cries. every -- >> guilt, you think? >> that's exactly what i thought. early on, every award, every situation, every time you see an ad for one of my films or come to a show, there would be tears. i always thought it was tremendous guilt. >> has he ever said sorry? >> no, he hasn't. he hasn't. >> would you like him to? >> at this point, i don't know if it matters. i really don't know if it matters because i really have, i really am done with it. i don't know if it matters if he said he was sorry. >> by contrast, you have this amazing relationship with your mother, a fabulous woman, and sadly died a few years ago, but tell me about her. >> she was, again, born in the same little small town. her mother died when she was 13. she met my father when she was 17. he would visit her every week
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and show up in these new cadillacs and buicks and she thought he was rich, and he was going to take her to live on his cattle ranch in texas. they get married, they end up in a juke joint for 12 hours looking for a place to live. she had no idea. she left my grandfather, moved in with him, and her sole support was my father. that's all she knew. she would go to my aunt's and say we're having trouble. he's hitting me. what should i do? they said, stay with that man. he's good, he's got a job. that was a different time back then. she was a great woman, wonderful story. she worked in a jewish community center for many years taking care of little kids there. and was just a beautiful, beautiful soul, who only knew how to love. there were so many people, and i remember as a boy, waking up and there being people in the house all the time who needed a place to stay, who needed food, who needed anything. she was just a wonderful, wonderful woman.
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>> what did she make of what happened to you? she must have been stunned, or did she quietly think all the time, tyler is going to make something big of himself? >> you mean of all the success? >> yeah. >> it was remarkable to her because she would always say to me, she always wanted to live like ms. chancellor on the young and the restless, and she never thought she would. the greatest gift in my life is what my audience has given me. that is the opportunity to take care of her and have her live the best life that she could. >> i read a story that she pass ed something, a car on the road, a red jaguar, and she said i would love to have one. did you get a chance -- >> i did. >> i was a little boy at the time. she was driving, and she said, man, i really like that car. i said, when i get big, i'm going to buy you that car. i was in new orleans onstage before katrina, and i called her up on stage close to mother's day and gave her the keys to the car.
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so many tears in the audience and so many tears from her. a great moment. >> what did she say to you? >> she was speechless, the thank you and love. here is a woman who never asked me for a dime. but as a little boy, watching all she had gone through, i wanted to do everything i could to take care of her, to make sure she had the best life she could. and because of my audience, god bless them, i was able to do them. >> we'll take a break. then let's talk about money, fame, love, and oprah. >> okay. >> maybe they're all linked in some way. >> how you doing? >> you come before me more than you go to the for for a checkup. >> i done changed my life. i'm living for the lord. i am living for the lord. i am living for the lord. hallelujah, i feel him down in my spirit. you know, as i think about the goodness and all that he has done for me, my soul cries out hallelujah, thank god for saving me. >> you finished?
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you are a cute little thing. >> get your hands off me. >> young man, who do you think you're talking to, old lady? >> you don't know me. i'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. get up from the table. >> i told you, i run this president. i'm big sal. what big sal wants, big sal wants. >> i'm madea. ma to the damn d-e-a, you understand that? >> tyler perry grimacing there. a mixture of joy and horror at the character he created and made a huge franchise, amazing franchise. >> joy and horror. that's just about right there. yeah, yeah. >> did you ever think when you were young that one day you would be world famous for cross
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dressing? >> never. never in a million years, even the first time i did it i never thought it would last as long as it did. i thought, i saw eddie murphy do it, the brilliant eddie murphy, and i thought i'll try my hand as a female character, i did it and the audience won't let it go. >> i read a great line that i thought was probably true. i think tyler grew up being raised by strong black women. so much of what he does is a celebration of that. that's what madea is, a compilation of these women. that's why it works, because people see themselves. >> sure, as i traveled the country, i have found that madea isn't just a black woman. there are lots of other madeas. i met a jewish madea, an italian madea. >> a strong woman. >> the strength of women. my mother was one, my aunt was one, this woman carried a razor all the time. you wouldn't want to run into them in a dark alley.
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>> last year, forbes listed you as the highest paid male entertainer, earning $130 million. wow. >> uh. >> any comment? >> no, next question. >> uncomfortable talking about money? >> it drives me insane. it's great. i'm grateful for it. i really, really truly am. but i don't necessarily want it printed. you know, i don't think people want their income printed. >> if i earned that kind offend money, i would want it printed. what is the point of working that hard? >> no, it's certainly not about showing off. you know what that means to me is honestly this, to make that type of money means that i get to reinvest it in what i do because i invest in myself, and i'm able to hire a lot more people down there at the studio and do more films. >> your own studio, tyler perry studio. that's pretty cool. where even dreams believe. i love that. >> i read the story of david in the bible. there was a moment in his life
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where he was a dreamer but he was in prison, and the dream kept reminding him to keep going. so he stopped believing but the dream itself kept believing. that's where the mantra came from. sometimes things get so rough and so bad in your life that your dream has to dream for you. and remind you to keep going. >> what is the best thing about money, though, for you? >> again, the best thing, which changed my entire life, was being able to support my mother. that's where all of the drive came from. >> you're ridiculously generous. you can't watch the television without getting the checkbook out. >> that's why i can't watch the news. i am always trying to find a way to reach out. >> it's a nice side to you, thou. >> okay, thank you. >> why do you feel awkward talking about it? >> i just feel that to whom much is given much is required. and everybody doesn't have to know all of the other sides of it.
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whatever you do for people and the kindness that you show, it's not necessarily for everybody to know. >> unlike most celebrities i have interviewed in your position who have been so successful, there doesn't seem to be any terrible drug, alcohol related period, where you had to go in the betty ford clinic for a year. how have you avoided the pitfalls that go with superstar fame, big money, and the rest of it? >> my faith. it's completely 100% been my faith in god and believing and praying all the time because this entire life, when i look at all these people and what they go through and how they go through it, and whitney, who was a friend of mine, and michael jackson, and the struggle, i feel i understand what brings you to a point of i need some relief. i completely understand it because the pressure of the situation can be really difficult and demanding. and it affects -- it doesn't affect you as much as it affects everybody around you, which in turn will affect you. so i understand that. >> see, that's a very good point.
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that's a point that people don't say often enough. how can superstars have pressure? i mean, they're not coal miners. but it's a very particular pressure. because their fame causes all sorts of ripple effects. >> with everything. >> they can't trust anybody. their family members betray them. it's a different pressure. it can get overwhelming for people. >> absolutely. i am telling you, if i didn't have my faith in god, i don't know where i would be. and you add to that your income has been presented for millions of people to read. it changes everything. you're still the same person going, what's the matter? what is happening? >> i quite like it when i read that. >> exactly. i got a lot of that. >> oprah has been a great role model. you just joined her network to work with her. which is great for her and great for you, i think. tell me about oprah. i love oprah. she did my first show. she couldn't have been more gracious to me. >> great interview. there's not much i can say about
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her that isn't known. what you see is what you get. she is who she is. and where think that why the oprah winfrey show and her legacy and everything she's done has been so profound because it's all authentic and real to the millionth of an inch. it's all very, very real. it comes from her soul and heart and what she does and wants to do is inspire, uplift, and encourage, which is in my wheelhouse as well. >> what advice has she given you now that you're joining her network, working for her, basically, she's your boss. >> yeah, i think the best advice that she's given me is come here and do what you do. do what you do and be comfortable doing what you do. and i'm very honored to even have an opportunity to work with her because the woman has inspired me my entire life. to be able to join forces and go in and -- because i'm moving toward having my own network, and we get an opportunity to help each other. i have programming that can produce content, and she needs
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programming content, and she has the experience of starting her own network. it's a great tradeoff. >> when we come back, i'm going to talk to you about love, romance, marriage, children, and morgan freeman. >> okay, cool. in that order? >> in that order. >> in that order. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em!
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let me see your hands. put down the gun. put down the weapon now. do it now. is this what you want to die doing? drop the gun.
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put your hands behind your back now, sir. >> action hero tyler perry in the new film, alex cross. big departure for you. never seen you in this role. did you enjoy playing the action hero? >> i did. i didn't think of it as an action hero. i looked at his entire arc, and it was interesting to me. one thing that made me say no was morgan freeman. >> replacing morgan freeman. >> the man played god, okay. >> he's my movie god. >> he played god in a movie, so i'm like, but as i looked at james patterson's description of the physicality and the age and family, i thought, he's talking about me. so i gave it a second look, and i loved the arc that i get to play in this role. i get to go from the family man to the brilliant psychologist
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who figures things out to chasing a bad guy to this lion unleashed at the end of the movie. >> you're also superslim. and we have here "men's health." you lost 30 pounds? >> i dropped 30 pounds. >> a gut-busting cover. how tyler perry dropped 30 pounds and you can too. how did you do it? >> i worked with anthony gholston. and prayer and working out. >> don't eat as much? >> you don't eat as much and move a lot more. i was running five miles. and i'm telling you, i'm dropping names, but this guy eric in atlanta worked with me and was amazing. i did it for five minutes and could not get off the floor. it's amazing to get you to really shed the pounds. >> let's talk about love, tyler. >> no. >> let me ask that again. let's talk about love, tyler.
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>> okay, let's talk about love. >> how many times have you been properly in love in your life? >> what does that mean? what does that mean? >> that's what oprah said to me. >> the type that makes your heartache or break. that's what it means. that kind of love. >> if i told you the truth, i would get in trouble. so -- >> why? >> because there are -- ah! so alex cross is an amazing movie. >> tyler, tyler, i'm not letting you off the hook. >> okay, okay. all right, all right. once. >> really? >> once, yeah. yeah. >> and what went wrong? >> i think we were both very young. we were mid-30s, which was -- it was a very scary time in my life. i was just coming into success. i had spent 28 years of my life being very unhappy. and i was very afraid of it. i was very afraid of the feeling
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of not being able to know if she loved me the way i loved her. and the control, i think, scared me. >> was it in the end your decision to walk away? >> yes, it was. >> do you regret that? >> no, i don't. >> you thought it was the right thing? >> yeah, because we both were in a place where -- and i just realized i should not have said this because i should not have said this. >> why? why shouldn't you have said that? >> uh, because i said too much. now she'll figure it out and, yeah. >> what will she figure out? >> why don't you ask another question? why don't you ask another question? >> because you're being so nice about and it so honest. >> all right, so what do you want to talk about now? >> the obvious question after that, do you hope to have that again in your life? you're so busy, so successful. >> that's part of the reason i'm so busy. there's a woman i'm seeing now
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that i love very, very much. it's a different kind of love, but i love her very, very much. >> now i'm beginning to work out why you got yourself into a hole. >> now you're seeing me trying to dig myself out of the hole. >> get a shovel, start digging. >> so what i'm -- what i'm trying to do at this point is just enjoy it all. i'm not ready to settle down. i'm not ready to get married. i'm not ready to be in a situation where i have a commitment. i'm not ready for that. especially after that situation. >> i see. you went through a very deep experience. you just want to be sure next time that it's right. >> and what's the rush? i'm a guy. 43. i have -- >> want little tylers running around? >> yeah, but i have to find a way where i'm okay with that happening. >> what was she like? there's no hurry. you have a line probably the length of manhattan of potential suitors, i would imagine.
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>> i appreciate that. moving on? >> move along. >> yes, thank you so much. >> you want to have a glass of water? >> i need a shot of vodka, my friend. that's what i need now, at this point. >> i want to ask you one thing. you cast kim kardashian about a film about marriage counseling -- >> then it gets worse! you went from bad to worse. >> what were you thinking? kim kardashian is to marriage counseling what bernie madoff is to financial management. >> let me make this perfectly clear about kim kardashian and my choice of casting her in this film. i wrote a film that is coming out in march. it's called "the marriage counselor" and it's a cautionary tale about making decisions in relationships. i had no idea she was married, going through what she was going throw, i had no idea she was getting divorced. >> did you know who she was? >> no.
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i know she's a sweet girl, she came in, did a great job. she was very professional. i'm very happy with what she did and i'm also happy of this. hear me cleary. there are millions of people who look up to the kardashians. it's very responsible to have someone like kim kardashian in a film that is a cautionary tale about making bad decisions and choices so that if people or children or fans of hers are watching and coming in and they see this story, if it speaks to them, then she's done a great job and i have done a great job in putting her in the movie. >> she has about 18 million followers on twitter. >> so you understand. >> i get it. she didn't claim to be fabulously talented. what she is it very hard working, very beautiful, and knows how to work her brand. >> very much, very much. >> whether she's the right person for marriage counseling, i'm not sure. >> she's not the marriage counselor. >> i wouldn't advise you to take her on your arm and say, help me out.
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>> no, no, but she does a great job in the film. she does a great job. she's in a smaller role. her purpose and point in anything that i do is to uplift and inspire and encourage, as i have said before. and i think that when people see the movie, they'll get it. they'll understand. >> she's a smart cookie. let's take another break, come back and talk about another smart cookie, a fabulously talented one, whitney houston. a tragic loss. i want to know your thoughts. you were a friend of hers. tried to help her, and clearly, like many other people, weren't successful.
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tonight, my special guest, tyler perry. it's been a fascinating experience. you're a very honest, open book. even if you don't want to be. >> i don't want to be honest about everything. i don't want to share everything. i don't mind being honest. i don't want to share everything.
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>> we talked about whitney houston, a friend of yours. you have been quite candid about trying to help her. you rang her or felt compelled to ring her on the night michael jackson died. they were the same age, similar problems. you recognized she might be going through turmoil about that. tell me about that. >> i haven't talked about it publicly. i'm surprised you know that. how do you know that? >> i know everything, tyler. >> i called her that night, i had been trying to get her all day, and i called her that night. and she had donny hathaway in the background, and we talked a while, and she was really broken up about his death, and i was trying desperately to get her to let me to come over to the house and sit with her and know she's okay, and whitney in true fashion, after me trying five, ten different times, she said listen, i'm a mother and a woman and i'm single and you're not coming over to my house in the
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middle of the night. and the way that only she could. but it's beyond tragic. and i was so disgusted, i must tell you, i was so disgusted at the media and the way they handled her death. it was -- it was so blatantly disrespectful. the paparazzi. this is what i mean about fame, and even in death, trying to get her, just her body from the morgue to the plane. >> you supplied the plane, didn't you? >> i did. i did. and there was -- it was beyond awful. i tell you, we tried to sent a hearse as a decoy. they fount out we had the body in a van, and there were paparazzi 50 deep following the van. we move the plane into the hangar and close the door, bring the van in. and one person, one of the hired drivers is trying to take pictures of them putting her body on the plane. it was just beyond disrespectful for her family and everyone else.
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and i understand she was a superstar, but she didn't deserve to be treated that way in the media toward the end, you know? and they asked me to come down to the beverly hilton, and walking into that hotel room and seeing -- it was so bizarre. i'm thinking, these people cannot know she has died. there's a party going on. this cant be true. so surreal. i go upstairs to the floor. her family is there. they're all in tears. and i'm in the room with them, and the coroner and the police are three doors down from where we are. and i'm looking at the water on the table as the family is breaking down. it's vibrating from the bass below. i think, what is this? what is this? that this woman's life is not worth a moment of silence to so many people who she's meant so much. so it was beyond hurtful in many ways. >> very sad indeed. you're a fascinating guy. you went through hell, i look at you now, you seem a man of peace, but you may just be a good actor.
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i know you're a good actor because your new movie is out, "alex cross." here is a clip. >> you're taking this personally. >> about as personal as you took running out of the building with your tail tucked between your legs. >> very good movie. i really enjoyed it. you could be the next james bond. >> you won't see me as james bond. >> why not? the first black bond. >> will smith should be the first black bond. >> why should it be him? if you lose weight at the way you're going, you'll be skinnier than him. >> this is it. i'll stick with alex cross. >> final question, it's one i ask a lot of people. if you could relive one moment in your life before you died, and i had that power to give you, what would you choose? >> there's one moment and i'll probably regret it for my entire life. my mother was on her death bed. and she told me, she said, i just want it all to be over.
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and i got so upset, i couldn't hear it. i wish i had listened to what she had to say because i felt that in that moment, there was so much she wanted to share with me. and had i been able to hold myself still and listen, i probably would have had a lot more of my life's questions answered. >> very poignant thing. >> yeah. >> tyler, it's been a real pleasure. please come back again sooner rather than 20 months or whatever it took me to get you. it's been a real pleasure. best of luck with the movie. "alex cross" great film. good luck with all of your projects in 2013, particularly your work on "o" with my friend oprah. best of luck. tyler perry. coming up next, singing sensation brandy on her return to music and whitney houston, her friend and mentor who inspired her.
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you are my favorite contestant in this competition. >> thank you. >> i'm done. >> change your hair, change your dress, change your shoes. and you will win this tournament. >> and indeed she did. fun times from "america's got talent" with brandy, david hasselhoff and myself. having a blast doing the first season of that show in 2006. i'm back with brandy for the first time. haven't seen you since 2006. >> it's good to see you. >> you haven't changed a bit. >> you haven't either. you're just a lot more successful. i love that. >> one thing about the clip is i was right. she did win that year. a voice of an angel. >> you were right about her shoes and dress.
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it was a little mean. you were 99% right. i used to always tell you that. >> how have you been? >> i have been great. i have been great. life has been amazing the last couple years. i'm back with new music, acting again. it's a fresh new start and i'm loving it all. >> you had this sad thing. we were doing the show together, number one show on television that summer. everyone was going crazy on "america's got talent kwaelts and you were involved in this horrible car accident here in los angeles, and somebody died and you decided you couldn't continue on the show, which i was really upset about because we had huge chemistry, and that was a huge blow to you. tell me about it. >> it was the most difficult experience i have ever been through. you don't wake up thinking that something like that would happen to you. it's like what you read about or hear about on the news but never would you think it would be your experience. and you know, it was one of the hardest times of my life, and i
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just -- >> the worst thing, from my point of view, somebody who really liked you and got to know you, is that there was a terrible sort of blame game going on. >> oh, yeah. >> in all of the headlines, that you had been on your blackberry, doing this. and it turns out all of that was complete nonsense. you weren't found culpable of anything. it was one of those terrible accidents in life. >> it was very hurtful, what people were saying, what the media was saying. but you know, i felt spiritually, it was a test of my strength, and it revealed my strength to me. it took a while because i went through -- it was really tough, mentally, physically, spiritually, but i got through it. >> were there times when you thought, i'm going to have to pack this in, this celebrity game? because if you had just been a regular person involved in that accident, nothing would have happened as a result of it. because you were so famous in this big show, and a huge singing star, it was just excellent fodder. >> i know.
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>> for years, and it really dragged you down, didn't it? >> it really did. and being a celebrity or being in the limelight, it comes with all of that, but you know, what i have to remember as i go forward in my life is that the gift that i was given by god, i have to share that with the people that truly love me and the people that truly can see me. that's what it's about. and all the rest is whatever. >> you write these sleeve notes in your album two eleven, but you pay tribute to your mom and dad. i imagine they were terrific to you through that. that's when family is most important. ray jay, your brother. >> my mom, especially. my brother and my dad. my mom, she's like my rock. she's my backbone. she really holds me down with everything. >> what did she say to you? when times were really tough, when you were going through that hellish period, maybe doubting if you would ever come back from it, what did you mother say to you? >> she told me to remember who i
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am. remember what i think about myself, and remember just what she's taught me. and not worry about what the other people think. and i stayed away from what everybody else thought. i could feel that things were happening and things were being said and things were going on, but i stuck by my mom, i stuck by my family. >> what's incredible about you, you're 33 years old. you have been in the business 18 years. >> yes. >> you don't even look 18. >> good. >> you have weathered like a fine wine. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> you know, i'm just trying to keep it -- >> do you ever stop and think, wow, i'm only 33? i have had this 18-year career. television, music, everything. >> it's pretty unbelievable because i started at 15 years old. and everything just started happening at that age. and it continued. and you know, now i'm coming back with all of this new stuff. and it feels new again, but i
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definitely know that i have been around for a while. and it's amazing. i'm very grateful and thankful for it. >> you have a baby girl. >> i do. she's 10 years old. >> what's being a mother like? >> it keeps you on your toe, that's for sure. on everything is led by example. you have to teach by what you do. so i definitely have to stay on it or she'll be looking at me like, mom, but you did it so why are you telling me? she definitely my star for sure. >> welcome back on take a break on we'll talk about the album. it's your birthday but it's also the day that whitney, your great friend died. answered want to talk to you about that. >> all right. ♪
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restore revive rejuvenate rebuild rebuild rebuild
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♪ but never could imagine it, no, no, no ♪ didn't think one could care about me ♪ >> the new single, "wildest dreams." you got a pair of pipes on you, don't you? wow, i'd forgotten. i'm going to listen to this on the way home tonight. let's talk about 2/11. it's a very special title. it is your birthday but it's also whitney houston's death. i was in los angeles on we came here on co-anchored all night long with a really heavy heart. it was one of those desperately sad things to have happened in the business. i remember. you were 9 years old when you sneaked in to see your first ever concert, a whitney concert. >> yes.
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>> you started with her in the 1997 movie "cinderella," she played your fairy goodmother. >> your brother, ray, was dating her. >> they were really close friends. >> i realize that's how you want to characterize it. so an incredible journey you went on with whitney houston. tell me about it. >> wow. from the very first time i saw her, i was completely blown away. her music, her voice, just everything about her just touched my spirit in ways that no other singer could. you know, working with her on just sharing moments with her were just unforgettable. last things that we talked about was me going forward on what i had to do in terms of my connection with my fans on music on she just told me, you know, you just have to be yourself because when you're yourself, that's who people will fall in love with. >> was she herself towards the end do you think or had she just
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got lost in fame on abuse on all the rest of it? >> one of the things that i can't put my mind around is where she really was because, you know, at the end of her life i wasn't there. i wanted around. i didn't talk to her as much, which was one of the reasons it was so hard for me to get through her passing was because i felt like i wasn't there for her enough at the end of her life. have i no clue where she was mentally or spiritually. i don't know. >> what many of her friends told me was that you couldn't underestimate how big a blow it was for her to lose the voice, the power that she had, the inability in stage shows to hit the big notes anymore for "i will always love you" on so on. as somebody who still can, do you understand what that feeling must be like? >> i understand what that feels
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like. i don't understand to that degree but i understand, you know, because i feel like when i i don't have my instrument, i don't really have me. >> it is what you're about. >> yes. it's almost who you are. of course there's more to you than your voice but that's what you use to share, that's what you use to give. it's your purpose. it's what you were born to do. >> on to lose that must be the worst thing. >> yeah. it probably drove her insane. it probably drove her insane. >> where were you when you heard the news? how did you hear it? >> i was actually in the same hotel that she passed in. >> beverly hills? >> yes. we were all getting ready for the clive grammy party. i was in my room getting ready. but the strange thing is right before i started to get ready, there was this guy on a paramedics guy in the elevator on they were like hurry up, hurry up, she's not breathing,
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she's not breathing on later on to find out they were talking about whitney, i was like, whoa, this is, this is crazy. on my mom calls me on tells me that she passed on i couldn't believe it. i was like, no way, you know. on i just -- i fell to the floor in tears on had been crying for weeks on months after that. >> really? >> yeah. >> it hit that you bad? >> it hit me. it just hit me in ways i can't even explain. >> how is ray doing? because he was very close to her. >> ray has been going through it. he really has been going through it. you know, but every time we go through something, we always stick to who we are as family on, you know, so we've been there for him. but he's been silent about everything, just taking his time with it. >> very tough thing to deal with. >> very tough thing to deal
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with. >> she'd have been very proud of you i think, especially the way you've rebuilt your life on your career now. i mean, things couldn't be going better for you. are you excited about having a new album out now, with everything you've been through in the last ten years? >> i am. i'm very excited because this new album is music that i truly believe in, i truly love the mousse that i can i'm singing on loved the producers on the write that's i've worked with on this album on i'm so happy to go forward on share it on talk about it on sing about it. it's a great, great time for me. >> when you sing, what do you have feel? >> i feel everything, i feel all the emotions that's inside of me, i feel especially when i'm singing in front of people, i feel their emotions, you know, when they're giving me that love that i need to kind of give them back the love. so it's just a lot. it's a lot. it's the best way i can express myself. it's therapeutic music.