Kylie Minogue (June 13, 2010)

At the end of my last meeting with Kylie I walk away with the feeling that I know her. Not just as a result of many interviews over time but because she allowed herself to be known. Something that’s new for her. In the past she didn’t really want people to get her. These days she’s friends with vulnerability; sees its point, its strength even. Before, certainly before cancer, and even coming out of it she didn’t want to be known. That was just too invasive. She was too shy. She is a mass of contradictions she never wanted people knowing her business, yet her business is show. The cancer stripped her, forced her to let people in, in a way that she had not welcomed before, because she’s always been guarded, perfectionist, ambiguous. Comfortable being an equation in people’s heads that was something like Neighbours, I Should Be So Lucky, Michael Hutchence, hot pants, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, cancer, survivor icon = Kylie. She’s always been more comfortable hiding because she carried around longer than anyone else the image of Charlene the mechanic with the frizzy eighties hair. And she’s far too proper a person to ever want to exploit anything that happened to her; be it heartbreak or cancer. She would never do a documentary humiliating a lover like Madonna did, or an interview wearing only fishnets and a bra like Gaga.

Gradually there was a point where she thought, probably not consciously, that it was OK to be herself. I talked to Stuart Price, who was the executive producer on Aphrodite, not released yet, but already the buzz is that it’s her best album yet.

Price worked with Madonna on her Confessions On A Dancefloor album, so he knows his way around the pop diva. “Early on I said this should be 100 per cent you singing about the things that people had a feeling that went on for you in your life that you’ve never spoken about. It’s good to reveal ups and downs on record and what she brought to the studio was a combination of joy, sadness confusion and put it on a record so that you can connect to what she’s been through. Arrogance is not in her dictionary, but she stakes a claim in a way that is captivating and a way which shows that records are a truth serum.”

The record shimmers in Kylieness. When we first meet she smells of Kylieness. Her own perfume Sweet Darling, musky and slinky. Like everything she does she throws herself totally into it. She’d never wear a perfume that bears her name that she doesn’t wear. We are in Blakes Hotel. In exactly the same black lacquer room with orchids and Buddha’s that we met in a year ago. She likes it there. It’s old school stylish, covert.

She’s wearing black skinny jeans, platform suede clogs with a silver flash, a silver top and black tight leather jacket, clear nail polish and make-up made up to look natural. Her eyes a pale sparkling blue. I stare at her face which is much less mannequin shiny. There’s a couple of lines around the eyes and mouth. Her skin doesn’t look like what you’d imagine the skin of a 42-year-old who has cancer but there are not many reference points for that. She’s stopped doing botox. “It gave me a bad rap. Isn’t that the same?” It did seem very unfair that Kylie survived cancer, strove to get back to herself, to look as good as she could, to find only that people complained she didn’t look real.

“It fascinates me that I’m asked so much about it when advertising for face products is forced down our throats. There are some things you can do. Most people have done them. You can have microdermabrasions and micropeels. If these things are going to give you better skin why not.”

The tabloids ran with a line that these days all she used was Pond’s because her grandmother did. Is that your must have regime? “No. I use all different things. I’m always trying different things. I’m quite spoilt because a lot of products are sent to me. In Neighbours they used it to take your make-up off because Pond’s dissolved everything. It takes me back to the smell of your grandma. I have used it because one day recently we were in the States and I ran out of cleanser and somebody had some Pond’s, so I took my make-up off and it had a moisturizing effect. So that’s the story of what’s keeping me youthful.

“My face has gone through a lot of changes. If you look back to before I was ill there was nothing of me. I didn’t realise it at the time but in a way I looked much older than I do now. All of me is just fleshier now, but my face changed. It filled out, it puffed up with the drugs. It’s not puffed now but it was because of the chemotherapy and steroids. Nobody saw me much I was under the radar, but there are pictures of me. I could see from my peripheral vision my cheeks… I’d never noticed my cheeks before, but I could look down and I was like those are my cheeks.

” I tell her I remember the pictures of that time when she looked chic in a headscarf. “I try to keep it up just to lift my spirits if nothing else.” By keeping it up she means appearance, façade, telling the world she was OK even if she wasn’t. Do you feel that because you’ve been stripped bare you had less to lose and was less wary of people and more open? “I think I know what you’re saying… I was pretty much laid bare. I was at the mercy of all those different specialists, doctors, hospitals, other hospitals.

” I Imagine what it must be like if you’ve always been a person who liked to keep a certain control in your life to have nothing. To go to a doctor when you were feeling terribly ill and be told there was nothing wrong with you. To misdiagnose your cancer. To go back and insist that they were wrong and then have other doctors tell you what to do. After that making a documentary where you allow people to see what goes on in your kitchen must seem a whole lot easier. “I didn’t really want to do White Diamond, but Willy (William Baker) kind of got the better of me. But yes, I feel I can deal with that sort of thing now. But that whole getting back on stage and doing the Showgirl homecoming tour?” She wonders now not why she did it, but how she did it. “I can’t afford to be stressed and the more I let go of the better. So you’ve just got to find cruising speed… but I was trying too hard and being way too hard on myself and carry along old baggage.

I still had those layers from where they were in the beginning. Those nagging thoughts; she can’t do this, she can’t do that. I was like I can do it. I’m so stressed by it, but just do it. The point is I’m easier on myself.” I wonder though just how easy she is. Old habits she’s always been a connoisseur of the perfect leopard print, and I haven’t seen those spots changing too much. The album is euphoric. I’ve only listened to it on a computer stream which makes most things sound tinny and awful, but it still sounds great. She smiles when I tell her. Not a trace of smugness in that smile.

“I think the euphoria came when we brought Stuart Price on board. He’s so delightful and I was so relaxed recording with him because we got on like a house on fire. We just did it on the studio mic (not a recording booth). I wasn’t separated in another room. I felt confident with him. He allowed me to shine.” This is something that Kylie always does; compliment other people, express gratitude. It’s more than just politeness, it’s who she is. Price told me he wanted to get “something new that you haven’t heard from her before but at the same time it’s so unmistakably her. “Kylie must have visited the majority of vocal booths in the world and we wanted to break that mould. We recorded it in the control room, speakers up, designated dancing zone.

Kylie is one of the most accomplished singers in pop music. She rarely sings a bum note.” Was she confident working in that pared down way? “I love having the challenge and I loved having Stuart.” While Britain was gripped in the post-election standoff, only one thing could knock politics off the front pages, and that was Kylie’s bum. Wearing hotpants taken at a video shoot for the single All The Lovers She laughs, “I was not expecting to be wearing that kind of outfit ever again. In fact the brief for the video, pardon the pun, was long flowing dresses. But when I got there the director said ‘I think of you and I think hotpants.’ I was thinking everyone’s gone to so much trouble to call in white flowing dresses and I had to wrestle with my feelings about it and then I thought that the long dresses wouldn’t work for this video, so I would go with it, but some paparazzi were outside and that’s how those shots happened. But I survived.” More than survived. It was a celebration.

She looks falteringly and says, “Now it gets written about because I’m in that age group ‘she’s in her forties and she’s still got it.’ I’m suddenly in that age range where you’re spoken about like that, and I’m like shut up because at some point it won’t be.” I recognise this Kylie. The Kylie that’s super hard on herself. That doesn’t think she looks as great as everybody else thinks she does. As gorgeous as she really does. I remember when we met just after she was in remission. She was really hard on herself, coming to terms with her fuller face and noticing changes in her body, feeling grateful to be alive but finding her new body hard to confront because she lost a lot of weight then put on a lot of weight, and for someone who has been pretty much tiny all her life it came as a shock. She’s still tiny, but she notices more that she’s not as tiny as she was. “It has changed a lot and I still have to deal with it.” In what way do you feel it’s changed?

“Well, I’m here and that’s what I have to remember when I start to get down about it. I still take medication, and there’s a lot of women who stop taking the medication because they just can’t stand the side effects. You definitely put on weight.” I tell her again she doesn’t look like she’s gained weight. “But I notice it. Weight was never an issue for me. Before I could just eat anything.” But everyone feels that. Metabolism slows down after a certain age. “Well it does but it’s hard for me to tell what exactly it is because it’s over five years that I’ve been on medication. I have just under a year until I get my five year clear.” And after that you stop taking medication? “After that yeh. When I think back now going on that Homecoming tour I just can’t believe I did that. I get upset thinking about it.” I wonder exactly what she gets upset about.

That she forced herself to do it when she still was feeling unwell, that she wanted to prove that she could do it and it was harder for her than she thought, or because she did it because being on stage makes her feel alive and she wanted to know that she was alive. “That was it. I wanted to know that I could do what I do. Admittedly it was in a different way. We had to put an interval into the show.” She says this as if putting an interval in a show meant she was letting the audience down, making them suffer and a sign of terrible weakness. Lots of artists have intervals in their shows. “Mm,” says Kylie, unconvinced that she wants to be that kind of performer. “I fought against the interval and two nights before opening I realised if the show were to work an interval would be a good idea.” I remind her doing any show at all was an enormous undertaking for someone so recently after treatment. “It was,” she concedes. Will there be a tour for this album? “Next year, yes. At least I’m being positive and thinking at the start of next year I’ll be celebrating. That’s the first big mark.” It’s almost as if her cancer has been talked about so much it’s been sanitised, tabloidised. It’s been triumph over tragedy. But there’s very much a sense it shadows her. She tries in that very Kylie way not to make it a haunting shadow, but a let’s be in the moment sort of shadow. Despite the euphoric mood of the album and the euphoric reactions to it, she seems a little tired. Perhaps it’s the jet lag. Perhaps every time she gets tired she gets worried that it’s more than tiredness. Perhaps it’s the effect of the meds. What exactly are the other side effects of the medication you’re on now? “Not stuff I’d like to share,” she says, although she confirms tiredness is one of them. She doesn’t trade on sympathy, she trades on dance tunes, happy things. She really doesn’t want people to worry about her.

She doesn’t like a fuss. She’s very contained. The opposite of confessional. The opposite of Madonna. Price, who has worked with them both, says they are almost opposite personalities. “Madonna has a lot more of an aggressive and determined approach. Kylie is much more instinctive.” Madonna likes to show off and quote from the Kabbalah. Kylie’s intelligence is much less self-conscious. Kylie says she’s porous, by which she means she takes in other people’s moods and absorbs them. A record company insider who has worked with her for over a decade says, “There’s a lot of humility about the way Kylie operates. She operates with a concern for the people around her. Tours which are always such a difficult thing she manages to create an incredible atmosphere. She is very concerned with making other people feel good.” Has she changed over the years?

“I think she’s the same. She never kicks up a fuss. If she commits to doing something she’ll do it. She manages to be one of the most famous women in the country and very private.” Weirdly in all the time I’ve met Kylie I’ve never heard her moan. Even when all her hair fell out and I suggested she might have been depressed she said, “When you put it in perspective it’s a sign your treatment is doing what it’s supposed to do.” When she broke up from French actor Olivier Martinez she never bitched about him or was bitter. “I’m a fatalist. I always feel that a relationship runs for the duration it’s meant to.” There are some things that Kylie is sensationally chilled about, and others that stress her completely. “I do moan,” she pipes in. “I moan with my PA. We’ve been together over ten years. We have a good old moan together.”

She doesn’t moan with or about her current inamorato, Spanish model Andres Velencoso. They met about 18 months ago at a party for the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and she says she’s still blessed out with him. “He just left this morning actually. We had take away Spanish last night because I’m very good friend with the Spanish restaurant. I liked it before I met him.” Do you speak Spanish? “No, but I’ve started to understand it a little and I recorded a version of All The Lovers in Spanish. Andres and I were in Spain driving in the car, listening to mixes, and I can’t remember if it was him or myself who said I wonder what this would sound like in Spanish.

So I thought let’s try it and he did a translation for me.” Interesting that she doesn’t remember who it was. It shows that she’s close. “Yes,” she smiles. Is there a lot of separation involved? “We try not to leave it too long between seeing each other. But he’s used to travelling. I’m used to travelling. That’s how the relationship started. It works for me and I think it works for him.” Do you prefer it? “In a way, to have time to do your own thing, to be compartmentalised like that, yes, I think you’re right. When I try to do everything at once, it’s when I have a meltdown.” We discuss the gemininess of the extremes of her personality. Some people call he Kylie, and her close friends call her Min, Min for Minogue or Min for miniature. “Not sure,” says one friend, “but she’s the maxiest min you’re ever going to meet.” “I think there are more than two of me. There’s a committee. The voices in my head have all been so loud I think I’ve said something and discusses for instance when we’re going on tour, but I’ll realise I’ve only discussed it with myself.” I imagine the committee all have different views about her future with Velencoso. Sometimes I imagine it seems relaxed and easy going. I remember one time I met her when she was launching a linen range she seemed intensely in love. She was doing a lot of golf and said she’d taken up cooking. At the time I asked her if she was a piece of her own bed linen what would she be? “The finest linen top sheet. One that goes over you in summer, that just skims you so you are not cold.”

Kylie has a lightness and a non-invasiveness. I wonder about the permanence of her relationship with the Spanish one. I get the impression it’s one of these things that she likes to love in the moment. For his birthday last year she got a blue topaz stone from India where she did a cameo in a Bollywood movie. “I wanted him to have something jewelleryish but not ostentatious. I had some string and I plaited it into a sort of web into which we put the stone. The stone was tiny and I knew it would be lost in the string, but that was the beauty of it. He wore it for a while and then the stone got lost. OK, gone to the universe. Then he kept wearing the string until that finally wore away. So that’s the jewellery I got him. Something precious and something from the kitchen cupboard. Knowing he would lose it and it wasn’t secure was the most beautiful part.” It seems like a metaphor for the relationship. Does she think she will have babies? “I don’t know. I would love to, but…” Her sister Dannii is pregnant. The irony is not lost on her that Dannii is the last person who you’d ever expected to get broody. “She’d say the same thing. Life’s funny isn’t it. She’s blossomed.” Kylie doesn’t know if she can get pregnant, but she’s always wanted to have kids.

“It’s very hard.” I tell her a lot of people who concentrated on their careers feel terrible that they put it off for too long. “Perhaps if you are resolutely sure that that’s not the path you want to go down that’s OK. But if there’s an element of doubt you can’t help but question it. It’s not fun.” I agree. It’s not fun. And what brings you out of that? “Pineapple Dance Studio does it for me,” she laughs. There’s also her ongoing lifelong relationship with busy. “Busy and I are getting on quite well at the moment. We are negotiating how fraught I will become. The committee meeting in my head has looked at the next week and is trying to be relaxed. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I slip into old habits. But I’m not as bad as I used to be.’ Do you find you throw yourself into busy to get away from other things that are not very pleasant and not easy to deal with? “Partly yes, and partly it’s a challenge.

I love what I do and the more I learn the better I am at it. It’s like discovering a certain freedom. “If I didn’t tour again I’d think oh no, I’ve finally just found my stride.” Do you mean that when you’re performing you know who you are? “In the broader sense, yes. I’ll be in the old peoples home trying to do a high kick down the corridor. I felt it at the end of that video shoot. I felt about 1,000. Dancing on those heels. I ached.” Yet she makes everything look effortless. “Yes, I try.” Why is that so important? “I like to make a happy environment. At the end of this video shoot I said thanks to the extras because they’d all been shivering for so long and the second unit director said in 20 years of doing video shoots he’d never seen anyone get on the mic and thank people. And that just astounds me because thanking people is just being a normal, thoughtful person. There are enough difficulties in life.” Don’t you think if you make things look too effortless people aren’t aware of your pain? People take you for granted? “There is that. But that’s a whole other… that’s not a barrier reef, that’s a big deep sea.”

I leave Kylie thinking about the deep sea of unsaid things and the unspoken burdens that she must carry around with her. We meet a week later. She is dressed in gold. Everything seems brighter and more flippant, but she says that’s because my mood has changed and she’s picked up on it. We talk about the importance of having a gay husband and how much she loves Will Baker. “I think the 2.4 family is down the drain these days. Every girl has to have her GBF. In my life it has to work.” Does Baker have to approve of her boyfriend? “Yes, they like each other. We all met on the same day and that helped. Before that I remember when I dated some guy for a little bit and he absolutely bristled and still goes on about it. It’s sweet, I guess.”

Does she think she wants to have a non-gay husband? “Mm. what I might have said before is marriage might not be for me.” I don’t think Kylie sees things that black and white or conclusively. Not living in the moment stresses her out. And she seems flustered by the question. We are in her management offices, which have an assortment of her lilac satin and feather cushions. Everything is very bright and I can see her skin even more clearly, and she seems extremely happy in it. “I think I’m at the point in my life where I’m feeling good within myself.” She agrees she is less guarded, more open, less afraid. “But I think that’s because the perception of me has changed. Not least because I was shown to be susceptible as everyone to a terrible disease and to be human, and perhaps because a certain amount of time has passed and I’m still here.”

It takes a long time to process going through cancer and come out the other end to actually admit it happened to you. I remember talking to her soon after it was announced she was in remission in 2006. She didn’t know how she felt about it. She needed to make an album because she needed to know that she could still sound like her. She needed to make a perfume to know that she could still smell and make a happy smell. But it’s been a long process and many decisions of what to keep in your life because it reinforces who you are and what to let go of.

“I’m prone to anxiety, that’s for sure. But my current motivation is to try and enjoy the moments that are good and address the moments that aren’t good because they colour each other. If you can get a number of moments in a row that are good, that’s a reason to be joyful.” Does she have plans of what she wants for the future? “I’d like to do some more acting. When I did Dr Who I felt taken back to my acting beginnings and in my spiritual home. I like that people feel the spirit in this album and I’d like it to be joyful.”

Pamela Anderson (June 2010)

I am waiting to meet Pammi Anderson in the lobby of her London hotel. She is about to jump in her limo to Heathrow as she is on her way back to Los Angeles. She appears looking fresh from the shower, no make-up, but skin golden and glowing. 
She is wearing a pink and white striped suit with a skirt that’s teeny weeny. Long gorgeous legs and an all over Malibu tan – the hosiery equivalent that is one shade darker than American tan. The jacket is a bit nurse-like, so the look is caring and super sexy. That’s always been her twin appeal.
I’m shocked though: there is no entourage, no multi suitcases descending like Russian dolls. There is one carry-on and a pink carrier bag from Vivienne Westwood. 
“There are two things that people are always shocked about me. That is I am always on time and I travel light. And I can take 40 outfits in one bag.” A feat of packing mastery, or is that perhaps because all the skirts are minimal.
I’m also shocked at how her skin looks so golden, sunkissed, natural. She has laughter lines that manage to make her look more pretty, more real. Her smile is soft, not plastic. She says, “I haven’t done botox. I don’t like all that facial stuff. It scares me. You see all these people who have had it and they all look the same.”
We talk about that specific LA look; the 50 30. You can’t tell if someone has partied too hard for 30 or are 50 with one of those no age but bad work faces. “I just don’t think I should go that way, especially at this age (43 on July 1). I think I should just age. I’ve never been the prettiest person, and I don’t feel I need to chase youth. 
She says this genuinely. No false modesty looking for compliments. But I tell her it’s because she’s so pretty she doesn’t need surgical help. She bows her eyes; a genuine blush. 
She’s been in London for two days, Sweden for one. Is about to be in Malibu for one day, and then Australia where she’s opening Dancing With The Stars for a week or so. She reclaimed her position as America’s Canadian sweetheart when she did seven weeks on the American show. She put her heart into her footwork and loved it. Would she ever do Strictly?
“I’d love a chance to do that. I love Bruno.” The dancing, the training, the performing, is her main workout. She’s never been a gym girl. “I just love to do things outside.” Do you ever lie out to get a tan? “I do sometimes. I haven’t this year. I love the sun. If I feel awful it energises me. I am not an indoor girl.” You don’t worry about getting too much sun and your skin being damaged? “No.” She looks at me in amazement. “It feels great.”
She doesn’t have a particular skin care regime, says she uses different products all the time, including ones her sister-in-law gives her. “I don’t put a lot of effort into myself with beauty products and haircare except when other people do it for appearances. I haven’t had a facial for a while. I like to be natural.”
That’s just one of the paradoxes about Pammi. You think she’s going to be all fake and she’s all real, vulnerable and honest. 
She doesn’t want to change her face, but she has been made famous by her enhanced breasts. They launched her Playboy then Baywatch career. IS she going to have any more work done there? “I have done that route. That’s not something on my checklist right now. That’s where I did my experimentation I guess.” 
I remember when I met her before she gave me a brief breast history. Naturally she was a 34D. She had implants and when she broke up with Tommy Lee 12 years ago, instead of having a drastic haircut, like some people do, she had a drastic breast reduction. She laughs her head off so much that the airport limo starts to shake. “I cut my hair as well. So it was a double whammy.”
She grew her hair back and put the implants back. The hair though was natural. “I’ve had extensions for photo shoots and I’ve had eyelashes on, but I have that thing where you pull out your hair and your eyelashes. If ever they are in for a photo shoot I am like, I don’t want to be taking these things home with me.”
Does she have a favourite body part? “I am really lucky I stayed in shape all these years without a lot of working out. I think it’s genetic. My mother, my brother, are the same way. And now that I’m dancing it gets you firmed up a bit without much effort. I’m pretty happy about the body stuff. But as you can see, I haven’t looked in a mirror this morning. But I’m getting on a plane, and that’s what sunglasses are for.”
To demonstrate she takes them off so I can see her face has absolutely no make-up. She smells only of the shower. Her eyes are a very pale blue green grey. It’s not a fitness regime as such, but she’s an extremely active person/single mother looking after two “wild boys”, Brandon, 14, Dylan, 12. She also lives temporarily in a big wide trailer by the beach while her house is being fixed up. Perfect for surfing.
“My golden retriever JoJo follows me. I didn’t realise the first time I was out there on a paddle board just learning to surf. So I am getting smashed and falling over and I turn to my side, ‘JoJo, what are you doing here?’ And then we got hit by a wave and I am under and I’m looking for JoJo and then he pops up. It’s very frightening, but he will not leave my side. So now that I’m aware he’s there we go out, come back to the shore, and try and get him used to it. The other day JoJo wasn’t there, but a sea lion popped up. It was like a Rottweiler next to me. They are not vicious, but intimidating. I felt like I was trespassing on someone’s back yard.”
She’s always super respectful of animal life. Has been a lifelong devotee to Peta; no fur, no cruelty, no meat. She works regularly in the California Wildlife Center. “Last time we were there we folded all the surgical towels and did laundry. I love laundry. It was the first time they ever had colour-coded and folded towels. 
“I clean out all the poop in the birdcages and feed all the little owls, the baby ones, with frozen mice parts. Sometimes a frozen paw or ear will fall out. We have to clean their feathers and I thought, how hard is it to clean oil off when you can’t even clean mice guts. There are so many feathers it goes behind. 
“Sometimes animals have to be released back into the wild. I am the worst driver and have no sense of direction. They gave me this box with a crow in it and we got so lost. You feel responsible for her. I went to three different places to try and find the place where they actually found her. Finally I got there and she went to a beautiful tree. She had great taste. 
“It’s nice because I do a lot of work to bring awareness of animal rights around the country and I feel it’s good to do the one on one work where I started. When I was little I was always bringing home three-legged cats. But it’s good to remember the effect that you can have on an animal, to remember what it’s like to tube feed a raven or a hawk. It’s a good balance.
“I’m a vegetarian. I go a long period without eating cheese. Then I eat a whole plate.” She’s prone to extremes like that. She’s either barefoot or Westwood extreme heels. She looks super sexy but at the moment she’s super chaste. She likes tea and champagne and not much in between. 
“That’s right because I promised my son I only have one coffee a day. But we laugh about it because I have this huge mug at home.”
She might have liked coffee today because she’s jet lagged. She’s the same kind of extreme with the travelling. A spurt of short trips all over the world and then barely leaving Malibu. It usually ties in with the boys’ school holidays.
“I didn’t travel for a long time when I was doing Dancing With The Stars and I can’t believe I’ve done all these trips in a short period. I am so jet lagged and I do have champagne when I’m jet lagged.”
So how are the boys? “Genetically loaded. Perfect gentlemen considering.” Do they have the rock genes? “They do. They both play music, take guitar lessons, trumpet, drums, cello. It’s one of the things they fight me on. They think I’m a horrible person for making them play electric guitar. I think Dylan is going to be a pro surfer and Brandon a scientist. My complete focus is on them – getting them a good education, difficult in California right now. I thought public school (state school) was the way to go because you want some kind of normalcy in their lives because their parents maybe weren’t a normal family. But I haven’t really been pleased with it. We have tutors to supplement their education and Brandon is starting a new school next year. He’s not excited about that…. 
“We live in a small beach community and we are isolated in this little bubble. And America is it’s own little bubble anyway. A lot of Americans don’t even have passports, and I just want a good school and what’s best for him.” Although he loves being by the beach, she’s anxious that he knows there is a real world out there.
Do they spend a lot of time with their dad? “No they don’t. I think they will spend more time with him when they are older, but Tommy is eternally 16.” She says this with sadness, not frustration.
Do you not like them spending time with him? “No, it’s not that. He spends as much time as he can. I just came to the realisation that our relationship… It just is what it is.” It’s been like that for 15 years.
She falters when she talks about him. She’s been so relaxed and bubbly. Yet the mention of Tommy brings a kind of muted intensity – a nostalgia. “I have tortured myself over it for years and was devastated and depressed for a lot for the last 15 years about that relationship. It’s mostly about the kids and I think I’ve just tried to attach myself to anybody who’d create a family, but the people I attracted weren’t really the fairytale I planned. I think I’d just rather be alone and take care of my kids and wait it out. Something will happen one day. If not my kids will look after me.”
Are you not missing having a man? “No, actually. It’s a lot less annoying. It’s nice. I have interesting intelligent men to flirt with and then I come home. And I enjoy it.”
I used to think that you were always going to end up with Tommy. “Tommy…? Life’s not over yet.”
It’s a theory of mine that I put to her the last time we met a few years ago because I’d just interviewed Tommy and he told me that he had those feelings too. She went gooey for a minute and then married someone else. “He drove me to it. When I get those feelings… Of course we love each other. But we don’t have to live together. Romance is tragic, so let’s leave it. My parents are still together and madly in love.”
She’s always held them as some kind of ideal because they had their bad times and they worked it out. “They went through a lot in their lives and my mother would say, ‘Just because I’m still with your father, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in touch with these jerks’.”
Are you still in touch with your last boyfriend Jamie Padgett. He was an electrician that worked on rebuilding her house. “No,” she says emphatically. “Not a lot of people stay in touch with me. Tommy is the only one.”
What happened with Jamie Padgett? “It was nothing serious and I thought, what am I doing? Especially when it started to interfere with my relationship with my kids. I have two wild boys, but I always say God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.”
You like wild things; owls, hawks, men, teenagers. “Exactly. I like that wild spirit. And that’s important. It’s the toughest thing in the world to be a parent and I haven’t given them the easiest thing in the world to deal with. They hear things in school – I saw your mum in Playboy – and all that. Brandon is very protective. He is an incredible Lacrosse player too. But things will get to him. He’s very emotional. He says ‘Dad, I don’t care what they say about him. But if they say anything about my mum…’ He’s very sensitive.”
And of course people are always talking about his mum.  The infamous tape that got stolen of her having wild sex with Tommy and displayed on the internet will simply never go away. She’ll never be forgiven for it. But what did she actually do wrong? “I still have to talk to my kids about it all the time. There was a tape and we were very much in love and obviously you regret it but you can’t take it back and that’s what you have to deal with.”
Would you ever tape sex again? “No! I might never have sex again!” But she’s laughing as she says it.
Was being taped something you were in to, or was it Tommy’s thing? “We were both into it. I don’t think it’s bizarre. I think a lot of people do it.”
Maybe that’s why so many people latched onto it, because they either identified with it or they were guilty? “I have never seen it. Tommy told me not to watch it. He said, ‘You’ll go crazy’. So I would never watch it.”
Do you have parental controls on your computer so your children can’t? “No. But it’s something we’ve talked about, so I don’t think they would watch it. Kids today are exposed to so much information that they don’t have maturity to handle. X-Box is killing us. It’s a game where you kill people and it’s desensitizing. My kids say but everybody knows it’s just a video game. But I have a hard time with it. Well we will see how it will affect the kids coming out of this generation,” she says gravely. “But I suppose that’s what our parents thought about us. They worried about telephones and cell phones and texting. You can be a lot meaner on a text or email because you are not face to face.”
Has anyone ever broken up with you on a text? “No, but I’ve been called horrible things over text, which is sad. But if I see anything like that I erase it straight away. I don’t keep anything on my phone because I don’t want to manifest bad things. You’ve got to move on and think good thoughts.
“For me now it’s just the boys, animals and dancing. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I’m trying to feel it out. I’ve been offered theatre on Broadway or doing Chicago here, which is a great compliment. Rob Marshall (director and choreographer of Chicago) has called me too and that would be a fantasy. I would love to do it, but it would be hard, especially with kids at this age. It’s so hard to work and be with my kids. If I’m in LA I work from 9 to 2, and if I am gone it’s for three days and I try and spread that out. So I’m not away that often, and I’ve been able to do that up until now.
“When I was here last year for the pantomime I brought the kids to London. I told them you have to wear a suit every day, go to an art gallery, and eat French fries with a fork because they do that there. So they did that, but they never want to come back. They wore ties and bow ties and visited Westminster Abbey and in LA they only wear shorts. But they will come back because they want to be with me. 
“My next pantomime is in Liverpool which is a little different. There must be a Beatles museum?… but somehow I think grandma is going to figure in this.
“When I’m in London I like to go out. I went out with Philip Treacy to a club called Almada. But usually I’m exhausted and I sleep early.”
I’m not sure how well she can sleep in a trailer but she seems to think living there is perfectly fine. No wonder she likes a long hotel lie-in. Today she says she’ll sleep on the plane. When will she be getting back to her real house? What actually happened there?
“I always had this trailer. My brother lived there for a couple of years when he was trying to get on his feet with his family. I told him, Terry I need my trailer back. The kids are there with their friends. They have their surf boards. It’s like Stand By Me. They have their independence. They get home, grab their surf boards, go straight to the beach. It feels like a weekend place. It’s difficult to get them out of there. But my house will be finished soon. It’s about a month away. The main house has been the done. My pool needs to be filled and the deck done.
“What happened was I had a contractor who went way over budget. While I was travelling I wasn’t looking and they were spending all this money on my house that I wasn’t intending. Then I had to pay my taxes and people that owed me money couldn’t pay me. All over the world everything froze. Everyone was struggling. So my plan unravelled. It was my fault because I didn’t manage it properly and I think I was an easy target. But everything’s OK now.”
If she’s indoors she likes to watch Fellini and Russ Meyer films. She would love to get back into acting. Her success in Dancing With The Stars has encouraged her confidence.
“I didn’t think I had a chance as an actress but when I did Dancing With The Stars I thought I’m really going to take this and use it as an experiment. I’m going to come up with different characters and see how they would dance, and people really responded to that. It worked.”
She is indeed adored by the public. Both men and women have a soft spot for her, but there is an impulsive, reckless, insecure side to her. And as sharp as she is she’s made some stupid mistakes with her love life. She married her friend Rick Salomon and they got divorced after a record 72 days. Does she regret that?
“Well it was annulled. So that tells you right there. He was a friend for a really long time. I think Las Vegas took its toll. Too many bottles of champagne. We did something really silly and immediately rectified it.”
I have read that you like to do a prayer walk along the beach? “Yes. A Bible study walk. I have a minister from Pepperdine (University), and when we walk it’s not really prayers, but he does bring up ministry. I love church. I love tradition. I love ritual. I love the Bible. My dad read it ten times. I think it’s historical and life-affirming.”
Last time we met you remarked, My breasts had a great career, I just tagged along.” Are you ready to reverse that? “I’ve thought about it, getting rid of these things.” 
I tell her I didn’t mean that. I meant are you ready for them to follow rather than lead, let them be the ones who tag along in your moment.? “Sure,” she says laughing. “We can say that. But as soon as they are falling behind me I am in big trouble. 
“It’s funny how your life takes off on you. You don’t know where you are going and it becomes a blur. It feels like a started Baywatch. Then I did Dancing With The Stars. I don’t know what happened in between. I know I had children and that was a good thing. Everything else was just crazy. Rock and roll crazy. Sex and drugs and rock and roll. Wild. I am really proud of myself that I didn’t get destroyed by it. It made me stronger. It made me persevere and actually do some good things, like my animal rights work. I used to be so shy. I threw up when I did Playboy for the first time. I hated being shy. But that’s what I do. I jump into things. Like this dancing. I had never danced in my life and I thought this is the only way I’m going to learn…” 

And now she is dancing all over the world. The cha cha in Australia and the Argentine tango in Montreal. We arrived at her check-in and I wish her good luck and feel that she really is ready to dance all over the world.