Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Life and Times of Heidi Fleiss

Aired February 8, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the Hollywood madam opens her little black book and reveals some trade secrets. A rare one-on-one with Heidi Fleiss, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE tonight. She's not been here in almost eight years. Tonight we proudly announce the return of Heidi Fleiss, the former Hollywood madam. She has a new video DVD out with her gal pal Victoria Sellers called "Sex Tips." She also writes sex tips on Laugh.com. She's had a turbulent life, to say the least. We're going to discuss lots of aspects of it. She's now very happily engaged to a famous actor, Tom Sizemore.

How is that going, by the way?

HEIDI FLEISS, "THE HOLLYWOOD MADAM": We're not engaged, first of all, but we have a beautiful relationship.

KING: Oh, really? You have a what?

FLEISS: We have a beautiful relationship. Every day is a honeymoon, but we're not engaged. I will never get married.

KING: So then, where does this go?

FLEISS: Who knows. One day at a time.

KING: It's not going to marriage?

FLEISS: I don't believe -- who made up this rule we have to get married?

KING: Why will you never get married? You don't want children?

FLEISS: I do want children, and I don't think that being married is one of the criteria to having a baby you must get married.

KING: What do you have against the institution?

FLEISS: I know too many people who are divorced and going through the process of divorce, and the toll it's taken on them personally, especially when there's children involved. And even when there's not, it's just so -- I mean, come on, we saw "The War of the Roses." There's the hatred and the sides and the friends and the splitting. It's just too much. KING: How did you meet Tom?

FLEISS: Great story. Good friend of ours, a mutual friend, Jeff Green (ph), called me up one night. And I'm driving on my way home from somewhere. And he said, "you want to come to Las Palmas tonight?" That's like a happening little nightclub in Hollywood. "Sure, I'll go." And he was over on Highland and -- I don't know, near Hollywood and Vine. So I pull up behind him, and out pops this lunatic Tom and jumps in my car, and we went to the nightclub, and the rest...

KING: Been like that ever since?

FLEISS: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: That's great, because you look happy together.

FLEISS: We are happy. You know, we...

KING: That's good for you, Heidi.

FLEISS: Yeah.

KING: To have someone like that in your life, don't you think?

FLEISS: Well, we all want to be happy.

KING: Why not?

FLEISS: And I think -- yeah. That's what life is about.

KING: Now what -- before we get into the extraordinary story and how you are doing now, what's this videotape about?

FLEISS: This is your present.

KING: My present. "Sex Tips" with Heidi Fleiss and Victoria Sellers. This is not like lesbian sex tips?

FLEISS: No, no, not at all. Because this is the best advice you can ever get, because you are talking to experts. This isn't Dr. Laura Schlesinger, this isn't Dr. Ruth, these are people who -- Victoria, by experience and me by I had to deal with every side.

KING: You ran an enterprise.

FLEISS: Oh, the biggest and best on earth.

KING: You had the best?

FLEISS: I did. Did.

KING: Best call girl group?

FLEISS: Oh, yeah.

KING: There's even an extra, called "How to Be a First-Class Madam" included in this.

FLEISS: No, that's a very candid interview I gave, and I don't know what I got into me that day, but I'm extremely honest about...

KING: What makes a good madam?

FLEISS: This is how I ran my business, is that you want everyone to be happy. If the men are happy, if the women are happy, I'm happy, because everyone makes more money. And men have better sex, and the girls, it -- just everything -- if everyone's happy, everything is better all the time in any business.

KING: How did you choose that business?

FLEISS: I didn't necessarily choose it. Somehow it just fell into my hands.

KING: Explain. I know you're writing a book and you'll be back when the book comes out.

FLEISS: Oh yeah. My book -- it'll be out in a few months.

KING: I would say, it will be well anticipated.

FLEISS: It will blow you away. It will completely blow you away.

But the sex business, I didn't look at it as somebody -- a man taking advantage of women and beat them down and force someone into something. Like something that, for instance, when I was 13, I ran my entire neighborhood. But I was the number one baby-sitter.

KING: You were an organizer?

FLEISS: Yeah. I started out baby-sitting, and word got around I was very good with the children. And then, a Friday night would come along and three couples would call me to baby-sit.

KING: Where did you grow up? Here?

FLEISS: Yeah, in Las -- born and raised in L.A., born at California Hospital.

KING: All right, so you are a great baby-sitter.

FLEISS: And three couples would call on a Friday night -- and being a Jew, I can't turn the money down, but I can't baby-sit all three at the same time. So I called some other girlfriends to start...

KING: So you had a baby-sitter service?

FLEISS: I had a baby-sitting -- and if you think...

KING: What a unique way to begin.

FLEISS: It's a strange analogy, but it works, because the same thought process has to go in...

KING: Correct, baby-sitting.

FLEISS: Well, baby-sitting, and you have to think about a parent and their child, and a parent is going out for the evening and a parent has to feel safe and secure with who their child is being left with.

KING: Correct.

FLEISS: So I had to, right from the beginning, I had to get that feel for human nature and who would get along with who and why.

KING: Then what, though? OK. Did you go to college and everything? Did you start that? Your father was...

FLEISS: He's a pediatrician.

KING: A pediatrician. Still, right?

FLEISS: Still practicing.

KING: Successful pediatrician.

FLEISS: I'm sorry, dad. I love my dad, and without his unconditional love I think I -- my life would have been -- this whole process I went through would have been very draining.

KING: So what did you, did you go to college?

FLEISS: No, but I wanted to, though.

KING: So what did you do after high school?

FLEISS: I did terrible in school. I could never get good grades. I mean, I could just not understand why a negative times a negative is a positive. It just couldn't make sense. Did terrible in school. So I skipped school, and...

KING: Completed high school?

FLEISS: I dropped out in 10th grate grade, but I'm well read. I read all the time.

KING: What did you do then, though?

FLEISS: I started hanging around the race track a little bit. Then I hooked up with Bernie Cornfeld.

KING: The famed financier.

FLEISS: Yes. And I mean, he really started -- people forget, but in the '60s he was at one time -- it's documented -- the richest man in the world. He basically started the mutual fund.

KING: He started offshore... FLEISS: Investment Overseas.

KING: Investment Overseas, correct.

FLEISS: ... was his company.

KING: What did you have to do with Bernie?

FLEISS: When I hooked up with Bernie, I was 19. He was 61.

KING: You were dating him?

FLEISS: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: Wasn't that a little strange, Heidi?

FLEISS: Very strange. But...

KING: Did your parents think it was strange?

FLEISS: Well, they thought I was a secretary. I said, dad, you know, I'm a secretary.

KING: But at 19 and 61, I mean, didn't you look at it like...-

FLEISS: It looked very -- it looked like the true story of Heidi and her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, you know.

KING: What did you -- in retrospect, what was the attraction?

FLEISS: I fell in love with him. I really did. And he was the smartest man I'd ever met. I mean, he was this genius in so many ways. And the things I learned from him and the lessons -- he was always trying to make me a better person and make me understand things.

KING: You're glad you had him in your life?

FLEISS: So glad. I miss him. I miss him. And it was a great experience.

KING: How did that end?

FLEISS: Of course, like any breakup, it's horrible, but then we ended, we got very close. We were close friends after three or four months passed. And I mean, by then we had a special bond, and we were close all the way up until he passed. His daughter testified on my behalf...

KING: We're going to get to that. When did he pass away?

FLEISS: In '95.

KING: So he was pretty old?

FLEISS: He was 69. KING: Oh, that's young.

FLEISS: Young. He had -- it's strange. He went to Israel, and his whole life -- he told "Newsweek" in 1969, "the only time I've ever felt at home or at peace with myself when I've been in Israel." He went, told me he was going to Israel on some business, and he had an aneurysm.

KING: We'll be right back with Heidi Fleiss. She has a new video with her pal Victoria Sellers called "Sex Tips." I think it's going to do well. We'll come back with more of her -- what can we say -- incredible life. The life and times of Heidi Fleiss on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 28-year-old Fleiss was arrested in June 1993, for pandering and possession of narcotics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been state charges, federal charges. Her own line of women's lingerie called HeidiWear and speculation about her little black book, the names it might contain and what she would do with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her arraignment in municipal court last August resembled a Hollywood premiere. Hundreds of reporters and dozens of cameras documenting her every move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're going through the life and times of Heidi Fleiss. It's certainly good to have her with us. OK, now, you break up with Bernie, goes on and what do you do then?

FLEISS: So my breakup with Bernie Cornfield was -- I was hurt. And it came at a time where he was purchasing this hotel, Xanadu, built by Howard Hughes in the Bahamas. And it was Howard Hughes who thought it was the secret to eternity there or something. So I walk around -- we were living in the penthouse and look out and think, oh, Howard Hughes was here and get all energized. And I'm thinking, what am I thinking? He was a morphine addict, heroin, everything was probably boarded up. And then Bernie and I weren't getting along, so I was like, I'm out of here.

KING: Back to L.A.?

FLEISS: Back to L.A.

KING: Then what?

FLEISS: Girlfriends, nightclub, called Helena's. I run into some nefarious character, I don't even want to mention his name, who introduces me to Madam Alex.

KING: Now who is Madam Alex?

FLEISS: Madam Alex was a woman who ran a prostitution service in Beverly Hills for about 20 or 30 years.

KING: How old were you at this time?

FLEISS: About 22, 23.

KING: Did you go to work for her?

FLEISS: Well, I've heard about her growing up in L.A. I always heard about this woman, but I never met her. And when I met her, I was like, whoa, not at all -- you expect a madam like this really elegant figure like they have like on TV, who plays them, Candice Bergen played one and Faye Dunaway. They have all these really elegant women playing madams. And here's this 5'3, bald-headed, Filipino woman in a see-through muumuu, telling me, Heidi, blue and white are regal colors. And I'm thinking, what does she know about regal? You know, I was just blown away.

KING: So did you become a prostitute for her?

FLEISS: Well, I ran her business for her.

KING: At age 23?

FLEISS: Yes. She just got -- she was a coded police informant and she had just gone through her 13th arrest.

KING: Coded police -- meaning what?

FLEISS: It means you have a special code and you get paid for giving information.

KING: Cops paid her.

FLEISS: Yes, the cops paid her.

KING: Out of a reserve fund? I think all police agencies have them.

FLEISS: Yes, they have them. I mean, it's...

KING: So were you prostituting as well?

FLEISS: Let me tell you something, if you want to get into a business and you want to do it the best, I don't care whether it's cookies, cars, whatever it is, you have got to get down in the trenches, know what it's all about. That cookie formula, you just don't come in and start running it. You have got to know how much sugar, flour, chocolate chips. I was down in the trenches for a little bit and I went straight to the top.

KING: Did you like prostituting?

FLEISS: It depends. I think you have to take every situation that you're in into context and judge it by that experience itself.

KING: Did you have any moral questions about it?

FLEISS: I think it's something that everybody, a woman, has to choose. It's a choice a woman has to make. If they are comfortable, if they want to do it, do it. If there's something about it that bothers you, if you have religious hangups, boyfriend hangups, whatever, don't do it.

KING: How about the fact that it was illegal?

FLEISS: That didn't cross my mind. You know, you're that young, you think you're invincible and...

KING: First time you did it for money, what was that like? Was it hard? In other words, you don't know this person.

FLEISS: Let me tell you, the first time I ever did it for money, I was very young. It might -- let me tell you the truth. My prostitution, where I actually experienced it, was very short-lived. I'm not a good hooker. I mean...

KING: You were not good?

FLEISS: No. I'm not a man's fantasy. Come on. When men dream of prostitutes, they're not dreaming of a girl like me. They're dreaming of a...

KING: Whether you were good or not, what was it like for you?

FLEISS: Everything was great except the fact that the people involved that sent me there, the man was great, the money was great, the time. If I met this guy in a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, I would have dated him anyways. So it was a wonderful evening. It was just the other people involved made it creepy.

KING: What do you mean the other people?

FLEISS: Madam Alex and the other...

KING: Oh, you didn't like all that?

FLEISS: That part made it really creepy.

KING: How does this young, Jewish, attractive girl, daughter of a pediatrician, get into this business herself?

FLEISS: I had tons of money from Bernie Cornfield.

KING: He left you money or he gave you money?

FLEISS: When we dated, he was extremely generous with me. I think drugs played a part and it kind of clouded my vision.

KING: How do you mean? FLEISS: When I first met Madam Alex and this other guy, I really had no experience with drugs and I wasn't familiar with it. And it kind of, like, clouded -- distorted my...

KING: Do you know why you took it?

FLEISS: No. I don't know why.

KING: People who take drugs don't know why they start, right? But you wanted to feel better?

FLEISS: I was feeling good, but I just -- I don't know why. But I did it and I think that made it easier for when Madam Alex called me up and said, Heidi, do you want to make some green? And I was like, sure. I was a little intimidated by her anyways. And then that was it.

KING: Is she still living?

FLEISS: No. She died the day my federal trial began.

KING: What did you parents think? Did they know about the drugs?

FLEISS: No.

KING: Know about the prostituting?

FLEISS: No. My drug was, back then, was very short-lived.

KING: What did your father think you did?

FLEISS: He thought I was still involved with Bernie Cornfield and I also had a license to sell real estate.

KING: That was your cover?

FLEISS: Yes. That was my cover. I always said I'd have a cover.

KING: So how did you get into the business on your own?

FLEISS: Well, so what had happened, Madam Alex and I developed a very intense relationship. I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated, so she was abusive and loving at the same time.

KING: And you were taking drugs at this time?

FLEISS: No. I was really kind of off of it. I was running her whole business. Her business, by then, she was using the same girls she used for years. She needed a whole restructuring, revamping. I came in. I had a hot, new, young friends, 21, 22, all gorgeous, good looking from traveling the world with Bernie.

KING: How did you recruit them?

FLEISS: It wasn't recruiting. They were just kind of my friends you'd meet along the way.

KING: And you would call up and say, how would you like to be a call girl?

FLEISS: Well, it's something like this: So, Heidi, what did you do last night? And I'd say, you won't believe what I did. I met this woman and she did this and this and I got $10,000 and this. Well, I can meet that lady? And it kind of just...

KING: I see, word of mouth.

FLEISS: Yes, exactly.

KING: So how did you -- did you break away from her or take over her business?

FLEISS: She was only making about $50,000 a month when I met her. I came in, brought in some friends, brought in even some of Bernie Cornfield's friends, older, rich men, and she made $300,000 that month. And then she gave me like peanuts compared to that. And then, we had our own problems and I was off on my own. I mean, I didn't need her for anything.

KING: At your height, what were you doing financially, as a business?

FLEISS: I'm a spender.

KING: But, I mean, what was the business taking in?

FLEISS: I couldn't even estimate. I mean...

KING: It's a cash business, right?

FLEISS: It's a cash business. My worst day, I'd probably make 10 grand or something.

KING: All right. Now, how did it work? What does the madam get?

FLEISS: I take 40 percent of everything, even tips, unless they're under $1,000. Took, took, it's all past tense.

KING: So people pay and tip, too?

FLEISS: Oh, yes. You're dealing with -- Larry, it's not Hollywood people. These are the richest people on earth that I'm dealing with.

KING: The men, you mean?

FLEISS: Yes. And their conception of money is totally different than yours or mine. You know, I'll never know what it's like to have that kind of money.

KING: Are they typical of the Vegas big spenders who come in for a big fight weekend and would think nothing of gambling a million at the table?

FLEISS: Oh, more than that. They'll play $3 million a hand at blackjack and have five hands going, stuff like that. I mean, those are the type of people. You don't hear about them.

KING: Heidi's with us for the full hour on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLEISS: The whole two years has been a tremendous amount of pressure for me. It's been a nightmare and I've tried very hard to keep a little bit of dignity and go through it the best way I could.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Our guest is Heidi Fleiss. How long were you in the business? How long was it going along before you got busted?

FLEISS: I think I was on top about two-and-a-half years and this is the top, very top.

KING: How did you work it? Where did you work out of? Did you have an office?

FLEISS: I lived in Beverly Hills and my friend, Victoria Sellers, had a nightclub called On The Rocks. And kind of word got out that if you wanted to meet Heidi Fleiss, go there on certain nights. And that's what happened and I would...

KING: And then how would it work? A john, so to speak, calls you?

FLEISS: Well...

KING: How does it work?

FLEISS: A john -- I never, ever called a john in my life. When I first started my business, I was just extremely frustrated with a lot of things in my life. I called Bernie Cornfield, and I said when Mr. So and so comes to town, have him call me and everything will be taken care of. And I saw how deals are done with Bernie. I see how -- I learned how women are key in everything. And Mr. So and so came to town and I took care of everything and Mr. So and so tells so and so tells so and so and it snowballed.

KING: So, give me an example of how a transaction works. A guy calls you up and says, I heard -- give me an...

FLEISS: I'll say this. An owner of a sports team that I'm familiar with calls me up. I do business with him frequently. He says, Heidi, a friend of mine is going to call you, so and so. So then, so and so calls me up and I handle him and then...

KING: And he would tell you what he wants?

FLEISS: He says, Heidi, I'll be in, whatever, Texas for two nights and this is that and he'll just tell me a little bit about himself and -- that quick, two minutes, I could tell what a guy wants.

KING: Most of them married?

FLEISS: I don't know. I don't know a whole lot about...

KING: You never asked?

FLEISS: Sometimes they would offer it, but I never would pry.

KING: Would, many times, it include taking the prostitute out to dinner?

FLEISS: Oh, yes. They went to those big dinners in Century City for the president, fundraisers and stuff like that.

KING: Hookers at a presidential dinner?

FLEISS: Can you believe it? Yes, sometimes I'd have 11 of them there. And they'd all come back with photos of them shaking hands with the president, you know, you get it. It's hysterical.

KING: What would the rate be? Did you set the rate or the girl?

FLEISS: I set a rate with the gentlemen that I speak with.

KING: So, let's say you say $10,000.

FLEISS: Oh, I never would do that to someone. You do -- that's not the right way to do things. This is 1993, so economically, you know, now I'd charge it differently. Back then, I would say it's $1,500 for a nice evening. That's just how I would say it. I wouldn't say anything illegal, sex involved or mandatory. I would say you're going to have a great evening. And then...

KING: And he says OK.

FLEISS: Yes.

KING: Then how does -- the girl comes to his room or...

FLEISS: Yes, or meets him wherever. I fly them there.

KING: And he pays her?

FLEISS: He pays her. You pay the girl.

KING: And she pays you?

FLEISS: My 40 percent.

KING: She -- when it comes over the end of the week?

FLEISS: Preferably as soon as possible.

KING: You were an organizer. You kept records?

FLEISS: No. I mean...

KING: It was all in your head?

FLEISS: I kept little notes that are pretty much in code, but I was very thorough.

KING: Like a bookmaker would?

FLEISS: Yes, exactly.

KING: How were you busted?

FLEISS: I made so many enemies, it was inevitable I would be arrested at some time, but who knew it would be such a mess. I didn't think it would be 10 years basically out of my life.

KING: You were arrested on -- just wanted to get the details right -- in June 1993, after four employees were nabbed in a vice sting, right?

FLEISS: Yes.

KING: The state jury convicts you on three counts of pandering, acquits you on a single drug charge. They're thrown out after several jurors admitted swapping votes, right?

FLEISS: Yes.

KING: Then you go back on trial and you are convicted again and you finally -- how much time in jail time?

FLEISS: I went back on a federal -- I was being charged in the state and then a federal thing. It's a crazy thing.

KING: How much time did you do?

FLEISS: Three years to the day.

KING: In federal prison?

FLEISS: In a federal penitentiary.

KING: Where?

FLEISS: In Dublin, California, used to be called Pleasanton.

KING: And I remember before you went.

FLEISS: I was so scared.

KING: You were -- you were on this show. You were really scared? Was it correct? Was it as bad as you feared? FLEISS: Well, yes, and no. I mean, obviously, this was some kind of journey that I had to take. I had no choice. And I just went through it. I let go of the whole world and did what I had to do. And I think actually it went on too long. Three years is a very long time in my life, but I came away with some good things.

KING: Like?

FLEISS: Some character traits I was missing. A lot of compassion, wisdom. My -- I have a much broader vision.

KING: You mean, in retrospect, it may have been a benefiting experience?

FLEISS: I don't think that it -- I made it a benefiting experience.

KING: Some bad things can be good.

FLEISS: Mm-hmm. But three years is a long time for what I actually was -- I mean, it's sad because it's consensual sex. As I'm going on forever, it's going to go on forever and that's it. By what happened to me and my three years in the penitentiary is not going to change anything and that's that.

KING: Your father got also?

FLEISS: My father got dragged into the whole thing?

KING: How?

FLEISS: I had him sign -- I said, dad, I wanted to buy a new house and I need a loan, a million dollar loan and I'm going to take it out in your name. And he was like, I can't even refinance my condo, you know, good luck to you. And I had him just sign a blank loan document and that's all it took to drag him in. I got the loan.

KING: But it was under false pretenses?

FLEISS: Well, he signed it not thinking I was ever going to get it and, you know...

KING: And he got three years probation.

FLEISS: I'm not sure what he got, but he's done with everything. And it was unfair and I feel terrible and I will make it up to him one day.

KING: What's your relationship like with him today?

FLEISS: Couldn't be stronger. Unconditional love.

KING: Is your mother living too?

FLEISS: Yes.

KING: And how is it with her?

FLEISS: I Love her. She's a great mother. Best mother on earth. I had a great childhood.

KING: You have brothers and sisters?

FLEISS: A family of six.

KING: Six?

FLEISS: Yes, six.

KING: That's a large family for a Jewish family.

FLEISS: Yes, it is.

KING: Are they all OK?

FLEISS: Well, no. We're all whacko.

KING: Oh, did any of them stray from what might be considered the straight and narrow?

FLEISS: Who knows really who is OK. I mean, you can think...

KING: Did they have what might be called respectable professions?

FLEISS: No one had legal problems.

KING: No one had legal -- no one went to jail?

FLEISS: No one is in jail.

KING: At its height, how bad was your drug problem?

FLEISS: About $200 a week.

KING: Not a lot.

FLEISS: Not a lot, but as my attorney, Tony Brooker (ph), said, Heidi, you go down cheap. You know, I was a very rigid drug addict.

KING: How long off it?

FLEISS: I'm tested now -- I slipped -- I had problems when I got out of prison, readjusting to society. It was much more difficult than I had anticipated. And I got depressed and I thought maybe a little line of crystal meth and I might feel a little bit better.

KING: Did you?

FLEISS: Feel better? Up until I had to go do my urine analysis and then it's just this panic attack.

KING: And then what? If you failed that, you had to go back? FLEISS: I was sent back to the jail in downtown here, metropolitan detention center, and those were the toughest 14 days of my life out of the whole three years.

KING: They were tougher than the three years?

FLEISS: Yes, because there's no reason for it. I mean, I'm facing no criminal charges. There is -- I did my time. I did -- served what I was supposed to serve and here I am all handcuffed in that horrible building, the creepy feeling.

KING: That's the jail, right?

FLEISS: Yes, and it was just -- it brought back horrible memories. It was awful.

KING: And we'll be right back with Heidi Fleiss after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Heidi Fleiss. The federal prison, all female, right?

FLEISS: Yes, no co-ed prisons anymore.

KING: What was that like for a heterosexual woman?

FLEISS: Well, it was -- it's 97 percent or 99 percent lesbian. They are all gay there.

KING: They go in gay?

FLEISS: I don't think they go in gay. Maybe some, do but I don't think everyone does. I started off at a prison camp. I had some problems, I was transferred to a prison where...

KING: What kind of problems?

FLEISS: Well, it's a long story. But it ended up, I threw a metal chair at a correctional officer. So I was sent to -- I was punished with solitary confinement and then put on in this big prison. And there I could tell I was out-hustled, out-everything. I just looked out on the prison compound from the solitary room, and I could tell, I couldn't run with these people at all, they'd eat me alive.

So I made this friend there, her name is Sylvia. She's still there for 20 years for drug dealing. And I hopefully will call Alan Dershowitz in the spring to help her out.

KING: What did Sylvia do for you?

FLEISS: She's the one who taught me about life, just how to be a better person. How to let go of things, and let go of anger and just deal with things.

KING: How did you eventually adjust to prison life? FLEISS: I let go of the whole world. I did what she said, just pretend it doesn't exist.

KING: Get up in the morning and do what they say?

FLEISS: I'd do whatever they say. Like when I'd get in trouble and have an extra duty, and try to sneak around doing it. She'd say I'd waste so much time trying to sneak around it, just do what they say. Get it over with, mind your own business. Don't talk to anyone.

KING: What were the guards like?

FLEISS: Some were...

KING: Male?

FLEISS: Male and female. I mean, of course -- while I was there, some of the officers got walked off for inappropriate behavior and some...

KING: Did some of the male officers have relationships with...

FLEISS: And the female. Male and female. And then some officers were a little -- they were harsh on me, just because it made them feel good to power trip on me.

KING: You were named?

FLEISS: Yes. I don't know why...

KING: You were a name in the prison, too.

FLEISS: Oh, yes.

KING: They know what's going on on the outside.

FLEISS: They were all waiting for me, Larry.

KING: All right. The January 15th issue of "Star" quotes you as telling a WEDG FM Buffalo radio show, that you had a prison romance with a convict who was a dead ringer for Jennifer Lopez.

FLEISS: That was this Sylvia. That was the 20-year girl.

KING: Did you have a relationship with her?

FLEISS: Not a sexual one.

KING: This implies it was.

FLEISS: I don't think she was sexually attracted to me. But you are more bonded by the atmosphere, and the tension and the -- come on. You're on constant -- you wish you had eyes everywhere around you.

KING: Did you have any sexual relationship in prison?

FLEISS: At the camp I did. At the prison camp I did.

KING: With women?

FLEISS: Yes. I did. She was an airplane mechanic for TWA.

KING: What was that like for a heterosexual girl?

FLEISS: It was pretty good. I just closed my eyes and pretending -- I was missing something. There's no man there, but it was all right.

KING: What was it like the day you got released?

FLEISS: Very surreal. And I was standing outside the prison. You know...

KING: How much money do they give you for three years?

FLEISS: They didn't give me anything. No.

KING: What clothes did they give you?

FLEISS: Nothing. I had my brother send me some sweat pants.

KING: And you just walked out the gate?

FLEISS: It was strange. I walked out the gate. And this is from the beginning what made me -- where I'm driven and determined to be successful was seeing Hearst Castle when I was 13, blew me away. So here I make it to the Patty Hearst ward at the prison. Closest I got.

Now on the way out it was so surreal. Because I was standing outside the gate and my father and brother are late picking me up.

KING: Late?

FLEISS: They're late. And I'm just like -- and I'm looking back at all these emotions and everything that went on behind the barbed wire. And then an officer walks by me, and is like, Fleiss, you can't stand there get over -- and starts ordering me around.

And then Sylvia, from the other side saw me and started to listen and she said, Heidi, you're free. Tell her you don't have to listen, you're free.

KING: Does the warden come over and say good-bye and good luck.

FLEISS: They have a thing where they say so and so, report to, I think it's like receiving and delivery -- R & D or something, like you're a package. And that means you're leaving on that day when they call your name.

KING: Were you bitter, Heidi?

FLEISS: There was a point when I think I was bitter, and there's -- but not anymore. I'm happy now. I'm so happy to be free and be alive.

KING: When was it that you had that line of clothing, that store?

FLEISS: That was one of the most important things I did.

KING: You make terrific underwear.

FLEISS: They're still available on heidiwear.net.

KING: They're very good stuff.

FLEISS: Thank you. Frank Sinatra Jr. Said they hold up in the wash.

KING: What happened with that?

FLEISS: Once I was incarcerated it was too painful for me to call the store, and hear what was going on. I love that story. It's like my baby. I built it.

KING: Santa Monica?

FLEISS: Third Street Promenade. That's where it was, and it was very important for me to have that store, because I needed something to keep me stabilized and grounded during that time period of the trials. And what I was going through. And if I didn't have that store, I don't know, I could have easily got caught up in a lot of gossip or things could have been worse.

KING: There is no store now?

FLEISS: Heidiwear.net. You couldn't buy -- we only make the things that never go out of style like boxer shorts. They are our custom design with condom pocket and everything.

KING: Did you like being the target of jokes, did you like being in the tabloid?

FLEISS: It doesn't bother me.

KING: You got weird kind of attention. One could say it was notorious. What was that like for you?

FLEISS: I had to realize because of the nature of what I was being arrested for, that jokes and things that were going to be said had to just make peace with it. And say, it doesn't matter if they say I'm sleeping with 10 men for free for crack on Sunset Boulevard. I can't let it bother me. Just got to -- because the next day there is going to be someone more important and taking a bigger headline.

KING: How many men out there have to be nervous about this forthcoming book?

FLEISS: They know who they are.

KING: That's what I mean? Should they be nervous?

FLEISS: Well, people that -- when your nervous, there's a reason your nervous. Maybe you did something wrong.

KING: Are you going to break a code? Is there...

FLEISS: No.

KING: So you're not going to name names?

FLEISS: This is kind of the book it is. I actually wrote a letter to a few girls I still stayed in contact with. And asked them to answer a few questions, and they did. And I even -- and their identities' are protected, the girls are.

KING: Questions like?

FLEISS: How did you meet Heidi? Your best experience. What are some of the complications that came with working for Heidi? I was surprised at what some of the answers were.

KING: You print these talk talking about you. You print no names of any men customers?

FLEISS: There are some names printed. And that's that. They are not famous because actors are cheap. They want everything for free, they think because they are famous they deserve everything for free.

KING: Hold on. We'll pick up on that in a minute. Our guest is Heidi Fleiss. Trust me I will follow up on that. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Heidi Fleiss. So you dealt with Hollywood actors who wanted it cheap.

FLEISS: Well...

KING: Explain.

FLEISS: This is the problem with Hollywood. Men are famous, they think they get everything for free. So I dealt very few Hollywood people. Everyone knows Charlie Sheen, and at first, I had a little hang up because he testified against me. But now looking back, that man has guts, and he is a true classy guy. Because he paid his bills. He wasn't afraid to call. And when he did call for six people, 10 people, they're not all for him. So he does have the guts to do it. And a lot of other people don't. And he did pay his bills on time. He was generous, and girls always loved him.

KING: And when you sat in court, though, you didn't feel that way.

FLEISS: No, because I was younger then, I'm going to prison and he is going to make a $5 million movie. So it was tough. And -- but I'm at peace with all that.

KING: But other Hollywood actors would say what? Heidi, I want this, give me a girl?

FLEISS: They think -- they want -- any Hollywood actor, they want it for free because they are famous. They think...

KING: Would you give it for free?

FLEISS: No. No, no, no, no. I'm a business woman.

KING: Did any of your girls want to see these actors?

FLEISS: If they want to go see someone for free, let them go do it. That's fine with me. On their own time. But I'm not going to make special phone calls and take my time up to hook people up just to have fun. I mean, I was very busy.

KING: Did the Beverly Hills police know you existed?

FLEISS: Obviously -- they spent six months chasing me down. So they put together this huge operation.

KING: Did a lot of people know of you?

FLEISS: Of course. Like the whole -- there was the undercurrent of L.A. that a lot of people do and don't know about it, and those circles definitely knew about me. I mean...

KING: Would you do business with businessmen from all over the world?

FLEISS: All over the world. All over the world. It was great. I loved it, Larry. I don't -- I miss the money. And I had a lot of fun, but I'd never do it again, because...

KING: Because? You don't want to go to jail?

FLEISS: It's such a pain with the girls. No jail, all that stuff.

KING: What's the pain with the girls?

FLEISS: Oh, they're complaining, this, and that, PMS...

KING: Oh, what are you going to do with the help these days. They won't do windows and nothing, right?

FLEISS: Right. They always have a problem. I'm paying their car insurance. They need this or...

KING: Should we legalize this whole thing?

FLEISS: I think it's unfair that men put laws on a woman's body. And I'm talking about abortion and everything. I think a woman has a right to choose with her own body. I mean, I don't think prostitution is a career. No. Bad choice. But maybe a little stepping stone.

KING: Did you ever have moral qualms? I mean, you are a Jewish girl, a Jewish family. We know the Torah. Were you bar mitzvahed?

FLEISS: No. I was raised really without any religion, but it sounds so strange coming from me, but I have strong values and morals.

KING: Explain because I'm sure people don't -- how?

FLEISS: I'm very sensitive. And like, I'm very emotional-type girl.

KING: Truthful?

FLEISS: And my morals are, when a girl would meet me and tell me what she's interested in or wants -- for instance, I would hate when a girl would come in and say, "Heidi, I'll do everything but have sex or something." And I'm thinking, well, you know, I don't need you coming in here and telling me your rules at all. I'll just say, you're a beautiful girl and I'm probably just -- you'd do better without me. I don't have anything going on.

KING: Did you ever think about the wives of the married men who used your service?

FLEISS: If anything, I'm doing them a favor.

KING: How do you mean?

FLEISS: For instance, some wives don't even like having sex with the men they're married to, and they stay married for the sake of who knows what reasons. And maybe it also will enhance a sex drive of the husband. I mean, there's all different reasons and all different ways you could look at it.

KING: You mean it could be a plus to them?

FLEISS: Oh, absolutely. There's a huge plus.

KING: Did the men report to you on how well your girls did?

FLEISS: Oh, yeah. I'd hear crazy stories, you know. I really don't want to hear all the details, but they are offered up all the time -- by the girls and the guys. Sometimes we'd be laying by my pool, shop talk, 10 girls, and like some of the stories would just kill me that I'd hear.

KING: Crazy stories.

FLEISS: Crazy.

KING: Any you can tell?

FLEISS: In the book. All in the book. All in the book, Larry. On the Laugh.com, on the DVD, and...

KING: What is Laugh.com?

FLEISS: Laugh.com is the largest record company. They have from the 1960s stuff from Phyllis Dillard...

(CROSSTALK)

FLEISS: Firestone Theater. All the roasts are available. And current things. Jerky Boys, myself. When you buy my DVD, you get an autographed photo.

KING: What is something that you that most people don't -- that you can tell on television that most people don't know about the relationship between men and women that they would be better off -- trying to phrase this in...

FLEISS: Oh, this is easy. If a guy in the beginning wants to build something up with a woman, a guy -- just buy her things. It doesn't -- you don't have to buy her cars, just little tokens of something.

I guarantee you this: If you meet a girl somewhere at a nightclub or anywhere and you go home and you start to get romantic, if there is $300 on the table or $3,000, I guarantee your sex will be better if that money is there and she knows it's hers. You'll have this -- there's just something about it.

KING: Whether it's a prostitute or not.

FLEISS: Whether it's a prostitute or not. Because in a way a girl knows that that guys cares about my life and how I'm living and my lifestyle and wants to help me. In a way, there's another way of looking at it, besides just it's being illegal and wrong. You know, there's a way of looking at it from more like a sensitive side. And it makes more sense.

KING: It also tells her she's thought of, right?

FLEISS: Yeah. Go get yourself something nice, because I appreciate you.

KING: And women like to be thought of. And what should a woman know?

FLEISS: A woman -- women should know that, that they are worth something.

KING: OK, but what don't a lot of wives know?

FLEISS: Wives, that they should be more open with their husband. And if they are bored -- for instance, on Laugh.com, in some of our questions we got a lot were people that were involved in long-term relationships, they wanted to know what they could do to kind of spice it up, or this, or that. And they need to communicate better, and just say, honey, try this position or, you know, let's go, I heard of this or let's go...

KING: Do you know why that ends? Why bad communication develops? I mean, you're an experienced person.

FLEISS: I think that either maybe you don't really know -- some people are just not meant to be together forever. And that marriage goes back to my theory on marriage.

KING: You've never been married, right?

FLEISS: No. Could have, but -- no, no marriages. But who knows why. But...

KING: Would you have married Bernie Cornfeld?

FLEISS: You want to know why I didn't marry him? It's because I didn't want that name Cornfeld. Is that the stupidest reason?

KING: Heidi Cornfeld -- you could have kept Fleiss.

FLEISS: Well, at the time I was saying, oh, I don't want to be Heidi Cornfeld. And that was...

KING: Did you like the jokes on the late-night shows?

FLEISS: Yeah, I got a kick out of them.

KING: Milton Berle: "When they police put handcuffs on Heidi Fleiss, Heidi said 'that will be $500 extra." That's pretty funny.

FLEISS: I like him.

KING: David Letterman: "I don't know if I should mention this, but one of the reasons I had so much fun when I was in L.A. was because I went to Heidi Fleiss' going out of business sale."

FLEISS: I like that. They're great.

KING: So when you see that, you would get a hoot out of it.

FLEISS: I get a kick out of all of it. You know, you have to look at all of this with a sense of humor. Otherwise, I'd be having gray hair and I'd be -- I mean, I'd need a frontal lobotomy.

KING: We'll come back with more of her -- what can we say -- incredible life. The life and times of Harry Fleiss on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Heidi Fleiss. Tell me about -- does Tom Sizemore, your...

FLEISS: My lover boy?

KING: Lover boy. Do you live with him?

FLEISS: Yeah, we live together.

KING: Have any hangups about your past? Does he discuss it?

FLEISS: Right away I said, Tom, you just pretend in your head I've slept with every man on earth, and get it out of your system. That way, whatever you think went on or this or really didn't -- really, it's hardly anything -- because I was at home working the phones, running my business. I was busy.

KING: You didn't have a lot of sex with a lot of men, is what you're saying?

FLEISS: No, no, I was running a business. The Jew in me. I am making money, money, money. And so, I had to just tell him to get over these hangups right away, whatever preconceived...

KING: But did he? It's easy to say.

FLEISS: Once in a while, he has a little -- I thought you said this, I thought, you know, something stupid. But he's over it.

KING: I mean, do you ever go out with him where you walk into a restaurant, and a guy looks at you and he says, "is he one of our customers?"

FLEISS: No, nothing like that.

KING: Doesn't do that.

FLEISS: No. And I would never tell anyway, because Tom is a chatterbox. He is a cute little chatterbox.

KING: What did you think of "Black Hawk Down?"

FLEISS: Because of the lifestyle I've led, it's -- I prefer things like "Bamby." But as far as war movies ago, I think that all women that date men that are in the Army or something, it'd be really important for them to see this movie, because they'll know a little bit more about their men and what they go through, and maybe why they act a certain way. I think it's a very important movie for women to see, because it's so intense.

KING: Because it's called a men's movie.

FLEISS: Yeah. And that's why women should see it, because they'll understand their men a lot better.

KING: Did Tom like doing it? A lot of physical work.

FLEISS: It was a lot of physical work. When he called from Morocco, it sounds like he had a strong, strong camaraderie with all the men down there.

KING: As if they were...

(CROSSTALK)

FLEISS: Yeah. Yeah, it sounded like they were having -- I think him and Ewan McGregor developed a good friendship.

KING: He's a great guy.

FLEISS: Oh, Tom speaks the world of him.

KING: Great guy. Did you ever envision doing movies?

FLEISS: I envision everything.

KING: Did you ever get an offer?

FLEISS: I get lots of offers. I turned a lot down. And some I think about. Who knows. You know, I just -- I can't ever plan anything because it never goes right.

KING: What are you doing now? Or you do the videos and...

FLEISS: "The Sex Tips" and the book is coming out right now.

KING: But you don't have a full-time where you get up in the morning, go to work somewhere.

FLEISS: I work on this book. The book is a full-time job. But I don't have a -- I don't clock in, you're right. I'm not clocking in right now.

KING: And Tom is doing a movie where now?

FLEISS: Oh, he's doing a big movie, it's going to be great. "Dream Catcher," Stephen King's book. But it's adopted by the guy who did "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" -- William Goldsman (sic)?

KING: Goldman.

FLEISS: Goldman. I'm sorry, Goldman. Directed by Larry Kasan, he did "The Big Chill."

KING: I love Larry.

FLEISS: And Morgan Freeman is starring. Tom is a star, and Morgan Freeman. It's going to be a wonderful movie.

KING: Heidi, do you go up and visit the set?

FLEISS: I'm trying to ask my federal judge right now for a permission.

KING: What are you -- what parole...

FLEISS: I'm on federal parole right now for probation, you know.

KING: For how long?

FLEISS: Hopefully it's over in September. I pray to God.

KING: And what does that mean? FLEISS: I want this done.

KING: You can't travel?

FLEISS: It means if I travel, I have to ask permission and I have to show my financial statements, and I have to submit to a urine analysis eight times a month. And I think I'm six times a month right now -- randomly. And...

KING: You don't know when they're going to do it?

FLEISS: No.

KING: And how does that work? Do they come to your house?

FLEISS: I call a phone number. And if it's my number, I go the next day, and there's a woman who's like -- she's watching you down there, you know. It's really embarrassing, but you -- I'm used to it by now after 10 years.

KING: If you were to take a drug, that puts you back into jail again? That's not federal, right?

FLEISS: Yeah, it's federal. I'm off of state. I did my state.

KING: So state's all done?

FLEISS: All done.

KING: So why would taking a drug break a federal prohibition? Were you convicted of drugs in federal court?

FLEISS: No.

KING: Then why are they testing you?

FLEISS: It's just a rule that no substance abuse. I don't know why.

KING: So any federal parolee can't -- has themselves checked?

FLEISS: Right. It's a rule for every person who leaves the federal prison. They're on a drug testing.

KING: Do you have a parole officer?

FLEISS: Oh, yes. I'm lucky. He's very nice, and he wants me to move ahead. He's working with me. He knows that I'm having a difficult -- not right now, but I had a difficult time adjusting, and he's trying to help me. He's helped me with therapy and all that.

KING: Do you have therapy?

FLEISS: I went through therapy.

KING: What's your biggest regret, Heidi? FLEISS: I should have taken that deal at the sultan of Brunei, you know.

KING: What was the deal?

FLEISS: Right when -- this goes back to hooker days, though...

KING: What was the deal?

FLEISS: I got the phone call from the two women who when this first started and no one knew about it yet, about all the girls going over there. And I got a phone call from these two women...

KING: You sent a whole bunch of girls over to the...

FLEISS: These two women were in charge of it. They said they heard about me, and they wanted to get in touch with a couple of girls that I worked with. And they asked me to -- if I wanted to hook up with them and join in on it. And I was like, I just don't feel comfortable sending a girl over there. What if something went wrong? I wouldn't know what happened, what to do or anything.

But if I did it, I think that I would have got caught and I would have made maybe instead of $10 million, $200 million. It's just a greedy thing.

KING: The sultan of Brunei would have taken care of you?

FLEISS: Oh, the sultan of Brunei thing was the best thing going on. I mean, these girls would go there for one month, they'd come back with $2 million.

KING: So of all that's happened to you, that's your regret?

FLEISS: No, that was one of them. Getting caught is my biggest regret. You know it. Come on.

KING: It's a funny line. Getting caught. Not doing what you did, getting caught.

FLEISS: I don't regret what I did at all. It's consensual sex. These are men who are billionaires, these are women in their 20s, they are old enough to make adult decisions, adult choices.

KING: What are the women doing now? Do you keep in touch with them?

FLEISS: Not really. My life is with Tom. It's all about me and Tom.

KING: You don't hear from them?

FLEISS: Once in a while, I hear from them, or this or that. But my life has changed so much. I'm just -- you go through these different cycles in life, and I'm on some different cycle right now.

KING: You think our attitudes are different now?

FLEISS: Definitely. Especially with sex. I mean, here I am jogging around a track in prison, and the president is getting a -- in the White House. I mean, it's a crazy world.

KING: When that happened -- you were in prison when that broke?

FLEISS: Yeah, when that story was going on.

KING: Was that kind of -- how did you...

FLEISS: How did I feel? I think Monica Lewinsky is evil for keeping a blue dress with that on it. I mean, that's evil.

KING: You're mad at her?

FLEISS: I'm not mad at her. I mean, you have semen on your dress, you wash it. You don't throw it in your closet. I mean, what kind of -- it's not very -- just doesn't sound right to me. There's something fishy. And the Linda Tripp woman -- that's just -- the whole thing is fishy.

KING: But wasn't the whole thing a little hypocritical to you?

FLEISS: Very hypocritical.

KING: We have laws for certain people and not for others, right?

FLEISS: Yeah. But I can't -- you know, I'm very pro-America and pro- -- I love the United States and pro this, but I understand that some things are fair and some things aren't, and that's the way it is and you deal with it. What can I do.

KING: How about your own feeling? You're how old now, Heidi?

FLEISS: I'm 36, 12/30/65. People say I'm all different ages. I'm 36, but I really feel 500, though.

KING: Because you led so many lives?

FLEISS: Yeah, I just feel like an old soul. I feel this wisdom and old soul, but I don't want to think that too much, because then you think, you know, too much.

KING: How do people treat you?

FLEISS: I can walk into a restaurant, silent for a minute, and then people are OK.

KING: How about when they hear your name? You get that little...

FLEISS: Yes. They don't know how to do it. Especially, you know, like the corporate men in a suit, naturally they're afraid, because they are -- they're afraid. But you get a guy who has self- confidence and this and that, they're not afraid. They have nothing to fear from me, or they are not -- oh, they might think I'm a hooker or a john or this. But if you have real self-confidence and you know the truth, whether you are or you aren't, you're going to come up and not be afraid, and be yourself. That says a lot.

KING: Thank you, Heidi. Great seeing you. Heidi Fleiss, the new video DVD with her pal Victoria Sellers is "Sex Tips." She also writes "Sex Tips" on Laugh.com. The life and times of Heidi Fleiss.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top