CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Victoria Gotti
Aired July 25, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: A rare in-depth and personal hour with Victoria Gotti is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
She's a best-selling novelist, a terrific writer. She's a celebrity columnist for "The Star" magazine. This is the way her column looks every week in "The Star," "Victoria Gotti's Secrets." And she's, of course, the daughter of the late John Gotti. She was last on this show, God, back in December of 1999. It's been a while.
Let's talk a little bit first about the passing of your dad. Were you with whim when he died?
VICTORIA GOTTI, BEST-SELLING NOVELIST: No, Larry, I was not.
KING: How did you learn of it?
GOTTI: On the news, believe it or not.
KING: Really? You mean the prison didn't call or anything?
GOTTI: No. No.
KING: What was the circumstance? What was happening?
GOTTI: I was dressing to go to a meeting, and a friend had heard it on CNN and they called to say how sorry they were. And I was so taken aback and so surprised just at the thought that no one would call us.
KING: He was quite ill, though, right?
GOTTI: Yes, he was.
KING: So you knew he was dying.
GOTTI: But he was such a fighter, I don't think -- he had so much fight in him the last time that I'd seen him, I don't think I ever expected the end. I know it sounds bizarre, but he was just so much a fighter.
KING: Yes. How long before he died had you seen him?
GOTTI: Not too long, a couple of weeks.
KING: He was very supportive of you, your career and the like. Tell us about the John Gotti we don't know. GOTTI: Oh, gosh. You know, I think if I would have done anything, he would have been right behind me. He just wanted to see each one of his children be happy, know that they were happy, be the best that they could be in whatever career they chose. I think he always stood behind me since I was very, very young, invisibly pushing me. He was probably my loudest cheerleader and my biggest fan, next to my mom. It was very, very instrumental. I think I did a lot, I've accomplished a lot in my life, get the good grades and win all of the awards in school mainly for my parents and mainly to see him beam with pride.
KING: Did he get to read your first novel?
GOTTI: He did. He did.
KING: Did he like it?
GOTTI: He really enjoyed it. I don't think that he expected it to be so good, and I -- that's not a display of vanity, even, mind you, but he -- I think he thought it was a novelty with me, an unreachable dream. I think he was quite surprised.
KING: What was it like, Victoria -- everyone would be fascinated by this -- to grow up the son of someone who's involved in things that are not on the -- in other words, to be the daughter of someone who is regarded as a gangland figure? What was it like for you as a teenager?
GOTTI: I think that's probably the most asked question. I didn't grow up that way. My existence was never a Francis Ford Coppola existence. My father was a man that was home at 5:00 o'clock for dinner every night. And you know, there were rules. There were regulations. There were facets of our lives that he became a really big part of, that he became very involved in. And then there were some that he didn't, that he regarded as our private space. But we didn't grow up around any of that.
KING: How about other kids, though? Your name was so famous. John Gotti was a famous name throughout New York. Didn't you get any taunting or kidding, classmates?
GOTTI: Honestly, they loved him. They loved him. He was such a charismatic guy that the young girls always felt attracted to him. I'm talking teenage years. And the guys were drawn to him. He had a way of making everyone feel at ease and feel so important. And you know, I would think that, as he did with everyone in his life, he made everyone feel so comfortable.
KING: And unlike other figures in the underworld, he was enormously popular in the neighborhood, right? I mean, he was a figure who was out and about.
GOTTI: When you say "out and about"...
KING: In other words, John Gotti was -- you spotted him. He went to restaurants. He mingled with crowds. He hung around with everyday people.
GOTTI: Oh, yes. He was -- he was a people person, definitely. He mingled with everyone, every walk of life. He was definitely a people person. People that lived in the area knew him and called him by first name and never met him at all. And it was OK. It was a given. It was accepted, and that's the way it was.
KING: Did it ever bother you about what he did?
GOTTI: I'm sorry?
KING: Did it bother you about what he did?
GOTTI: What did he do?
KING: I mean the kind of life he led.
GOTTI: I never got involved -- I never got involved in his life. I never -- as I said, I didn't live that. The world that you, the media, the press is privy to, that was not my life.
KING: So you never asked about it, felt bad about it for him, wondered about it?
KING: Did you ever talk to him about his, for want of a better term, career?
GOTTI: No. I mean, how does one go home and say, Oh, you know, I just read in the paper today X? No, you -- no. I didn't.
KING: Were you there when he had to stand the trials?
GOTTI: I wasn't present, but I was privy to, I think, most of the media attention, as everyone else was.
KING: Do you think he got a raw deal?
GOTTI: The last trial, I which think was probably the most flamboyant, yes, I would definitely say so. I mean, he was denied his counsel of choice for whatever reason, and I think that, starting at that point, it was kind of difficult to think that it would be on the up and up.
KING: That was historic. The judge pulled his lawyer off the case, right?
KING: Did you have any feelings about Sam "The Bull" Gravano, who turned on your dad?
GOTTI: I didn't know him. And I -- no, I didn't have any feelings because it was someone I didn't know. I knew what I read. I knew what I heard. But I didn't know him. What I read and what I heard of him, I didn't like. But I didn't know him.
KING: We're going to take a break, and when we come back, lots else to talk about with Victoria Gotti -- what she writes about, how she chooses, how she deals with all this celebrity gossip. Having been the subject of it, what's it like to write about it? Victoria Gotti is our special guest. We'll also include your phone calls. She's the national gossip columnist for "The Star." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - FEBRUARY 5, 1990)
CHARLES FELDMAN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How did this 49- year-old resident of Queens, New York, who describes himself as a successful roving salesman for a plumbing firm, become what prosecutors have called the most powerful Mafia figure in the nation? Law enforcement sources have long maintained that Gotti did it by orchestrating the murder of Paul Castellano, a one-time boss of the Gambino crime family, who went to dinner at a Manhattan steakhouse only to be shot by a team of hit men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: La Cosa Nostra, the Mob, the Mafia -- all nonsense. Has nothing to do with this case.
FELDMAN: That has long been the position of Gotti's highly paid lawyers, that there is no Mafia, that there is no Gambino crime family and that John Gotti simply sells lots of pipes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - FOX 5 NEWS)
GOTTI: Jamie's looking great these days. And in three weeks, she's ready to get married. Want to know what she's wearing?
JAMIE LYNN-SIGLER, ACTRESS: It's ivory. It's ivory -- very sleek, simple, straight, with just a little bit of detail in the back. So the dress just accentuates me and doesn't take away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Lots of aspects to Victoria Gotti, reporting there on channel 5 in New York, now the reporter for the national "Star."
Let's touch some other bases. How is your health? I know that you had a heart condition known as mitral valve prolapse, right?
KING: What is that?
GOTTI: It's a fairly benign condition that afflicts a lot of women, probably 14 percent of the population. But I've been stricken with an arhythmia, a serious arhythmia as a result, and that's basically what I'm treated for.
KING: Did you get a pacemaker?
GOTTI: Yes, I do.
KING: How does that work, by the way? Do you feel it?
GOTTI: You do. You feel it in there, pacing your heart sometimes, and it has what's called a defibrillator. Should I suffer that arhythmia, it's generally sudden death. And the paddles that are internal shock you back and restore your rhythm to its normal and natural state.
KING: Similar to something Dick Cheney has?
KING: He has a defibrillator.
GOTTI: Exactly. Very similar.
KING: So you're constantly aware of your heart problem.
KING: Kind of a weird way to live, isn't it.
GOTTI: Oh, yes. Well, you know too, Larry.
KING: Yes, I know, but I don't have a daily reminder, you know, like, something in me. Why did you leave "The New York Post"?
GOTTI: Oh, I had a great time at "The Post." You know, when we -- when I signed on, we knew from the beginning that it was temporary, it would be a three-month trial period. But I loved it so much, I was having such a great time, that we basically worked it in. And I think they wanted me, as well. And it worked out. It was fun. It was exciting. But like all good things -- I mean, they've got some great people there. They've got -- you know, Liz Smith is phenomenal, and they've got "Page 6" and there's Cindy. There's just so many people there that to expect to stay and grow, it's kind of, you know, iffy. I think it was time. It's time to move on.
KING: But you were the subject of tabloids a lot. The breakup with your husband was the subject of tabloids, John Gotti's daughter, that kind of thing. Why did you join a tabloid?
GOTTI: Well, I'm a writer by nature, and I got a little bit -- a little taste of a daily fast-paced writing job, writing career, and I loved it. It was something I did not think I would embark on or embark upon early on, but I did. And like I said, it was a trial basis situation. And I just loved it. I loved the daily routine. I loved the fast-paced routine. And I enjoy it.
KING: And do you also -- does your name and good looks and everything open you to -- do you get a lot of stories people don't get?
GOTTI: I don't know. I do get most of the harder-to-get stories. I don't know exactly why. I'm going to say that maybe a little of both might play -- might have a small role. But I think it's more to do with -- I get a lot from people that I sit with. You know, I can trust you, Victoria. You know, Victoria. So I think it's sort of a common ground, a common camaraderie that -- I don't think that -- I think they feel I would think twice about doing that to them because it was done to me so often.
KING: Are you writing another novel?
GOTTI: I am. I am.
KING: This will be, what, number three?
GOTTI: This will be number seven.
KING: Number seven?
GOTTI: Number seven.
KING: A hot romance, we trust?
GOTTI: No. Actually, it's called "Women Who Lunch." And it's a -- an adorable spoof on New York's social set. Most of the characters in the storylines are true. They're accurate -- or at least as accurate as I could tell them on paper. But it's enjoyable. It's a fun project.
KING: Was the most difficult thing you ever wrote when you wrote the column after your father died, that terrific column? I remember it in "The New York Post." Was that the hardest thing you've had to do?
GOTTI: Yes. I received a call early that morning, and that was the day that I buried my dad. And the editors asked if I would do that. And my initial reaction was, No, I couldn't, and I didn't. And they called back a little bit later on in the day, and they said, What with it being Father's Day, could you find it in your heart? And you know, I kicked it around for a couple of hours and felt that maybe it would be a sort of closure for me. So I did it. And I was really glad that I had.
KING: Do you still do that in memoriam every year now for your dad and your late brother?
GOTTI: Actually, we've stopped. The family has stopped because every year that we do it, be it a birthday or be it an anniversary, you know, it's sort of like an invitation for the press to -- it's sort of like a red flag or a bright light. And I think we've talked about it as a family, and we decided to pull back from that, you know, realizing that you don't necessarily have to put things, you know, on paper. What you feel is in your heart, and that's good enough.
KING: Is your mom still painting?
GOTTI: She is painting. She is painting.
KING: Does she sell? GOTTI: I'm sorry, Larry?
KING: Does she sell her paintings?
GOTTI: She does sell. Well, she had her first gallery showing recently in New York, and the turnout was outstanding. I'm very, very proud of her. All of the paintings went rather quickly. I don't think that anybody expected her to be as good a painter as she is. But it's something she's been doing for a very, very long time, for about 25 years. And it's just really great to finally see her live her dream.
KING: And one other thing before we talk about some gossip and then take a lot of calls from people. How did you handle when there was so much publicity about your own divorce, being a gossip columnist yourself and then having to read about your personal self?
GOTTI: That was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through because, you know, while you get up every morning and you read things about yourself -- tidbits here, tidbits there, some stories that are true, some stories that are complete fallacies -- you're never prepared for something as monumental as that. It was a complete onslaught, day after day after day. I mean, literally, before I returned from my lawyer's office, moments after I filed for divorce, it was already in the news. And it just so surprised me.
When children are involved -- that was probably my worst -- the worst part to go through was coming home and explaining to children who know nothing why, you know, two adults are doing things a certain way or not doing things a certain way. And it's just -- it was horrible. It was a horrible, horrible period for me.
KING: How have the children come through it?
GOTTI: It was a slower than usual process. I thought I could get a handle on things early on, but because of the public intrusion or the publicity, it was much more difficult. So it took a lot more time. I mean, at one point -- I have three, thankfully, honor students, and their schoolwork started to suffer, their personal life. Their personalities changed. They went from being three very outgoing boys to very introverted, lonely boys, and that's very troublesome to a parent. You feel so guilty, and you carry around this guilt, as if you've done something wrong. And it just seems like nothing you do is right. You're damned if you do and you damned if you don't. But eventually, it came together in the end. And I think all of us did a lot of soul searching, and we're back on track.
KING: Are they close with their father?
GOTTI: They are. They love their father. It's not an easy process raising teenage boys, and I feel that all boys need their fathers, so I encourage that.
KING: You want to remarry, Victoria?
GOTTI: Oh, gosh, I don't know. I don't know. I think I'm OK right now. I have three men in my life that are -- they're men now. They're not boys. And they're so important. They follow my life so much, every facet of my life. And it's just -- it's great. I take care of them. They take care of me. I'm pretty content. I have my career. I think I'm OK.
KING: We'll get back to that career in a moment and some of the things she's discussed in her column, and we'll take your phone calls for Victoria Gotti. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - MARCH 24, 1992)
LAURIN SYDNEY, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The trial of John Gotti, reputed to be the head of one of America's most powerful crime families, has become a must-see for some celebrities. Mickey Rourke, Anthony Quinn, John Amos and singer Jay Black (ph) have all made cameo appearances at the trial.
ANTHONY QUINN, ACTOR: I think that the thing that hurts Gotti most is being snitched on by a friend who he trusted for years and they grew up together. And they have so many things in common, and now his best friend's betraying him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's discuss some gossipy things with Victoria Gotti of "The Star," and then we'll take your calls at the bottom. You broke the nice details about the pending marriage of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. What can you tell us? When's that going to happen and where?
GOTTI: It's going to happen in September. J-Lo will be a September bride. And they are busy planning as soon-to-be-married couples would be, having little tiffs over the usual stuff, bonding over the usual stuff, picking out trousseaux, like, again, any couple that is soon to be married -- lots of white, sexy, frilly lingerie pieces. They're a couple that's very, very much in love. And I know that the world is skeptical. A lot of the gossip pages would suggest that there's -- it's a ruse and -- you know, but it's -- having witnessed it first-hand, it is incredibly binding -- bonding.
KING: Is it going to be a big wedding?
GOTTI: Huge wedding. Grand, grand wedding. Jennifer Lopez wants her way, and that is to show the world and scream to the world and -- you know, she's very much into doing things on a grand scale in her life. And I think that screaming to the world or announcing to the world that this is the man that I love in a sedate fashion is not something she would stand by and let happen.
KING: Where will it take place?
GOTTI: We don't know yet. That's my job to find out and... KING: Ah! And you will, Victoria. You will.
GOTTI: I hope so.
KING: You recently defended Martha Stewart. Why?
GOTTI: Gosh. Well, you know, I know Martha a bit, but it had more to do with -- I felt very strong in the beginning, and I just felt that the public -- people love to see the mighty fall. It's just scandal. It's everyone's fascination and love of scandal. And I think she was pretty much made a scapegoat. I don't believe that the attention -- the case would have gotten nearly as much attention if it were Mary Smith. I truly believe from the start that whatever it is that she did or is accused of doing, if she did, in fact, do it, I don't believe that she did it knowingly. I don't think that Martha set out to intentionally hurt someone or to intentionally break a law.
KING: By the way, you were the one that announced Brooke Shields's pregnancy, and then she called you when the baby was born, right?
GOTTI: Yes. Yes.
KING: You get very friendly with a lot of these people, then.
GOTTI: Yes. They -- I think that, as I said, Larry, it's a mutual bonding. I think it's more about trust than it is anything else. I will not -- I don't -- I know that there's a fine line in journalism. I know that there's yellow journalism. I don't get the other half. I don't -- the scandal, the accusations -- I don't get that part of the job. There's no rewards in it for me, and I just can't see trying to ruin someone's life for it. There's so much more out there. There's so much more -- people have a fascination with celebrities. They want to be closer to them. They want to be privy to their lives. All of this can be had without the malicious slander or the scandalous headlines. I just don't -- I like Liz Smith's style. I'm from the old school, and I think she is a force to be reckoned with, and I adore her style.
KING: Victoria Gotti, working on her seventh novel. And we'll work on phone calls for Victoria, and we'll do that right after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - JANUARY 20, 1992)
FELDMAN: Not since crime boss Joseph Columbo captured the imagination of Italian-Americans by publicly proclaiming there is no Mafia, only to be gunned down by order of Mafia chieftains fearful of too much publicity, has the nature seen as media-savvy an alleged Mafia don as John Gotti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in some communities perceived to be someone who has been persecuted for his lifestyle. That's the result of a good public relations effort by Gotti himself and his attorneys.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GOTTI: How many times did I tell you I don't read murder mysteries?
V. GOTTI: A lot.
J. GOTTI: Why do you keep sending me murder mysteries? Do you think I'm a liar, or do you think I really don't know what I like?
V. GOTTI: Because that's what's out. That's the only new stuff that's coming out. Like I sent you that...
J. GOTTI: I guess that's the answer. I guess I got to except that that is the answer. In other words, if you told me I hate meat balls and every day I give you meat balls.
V. GOTTI: Which one do you consider -- murder mystery...
J. GOTTI: Look you sent me 3 books. I don't even know if you looked at them. They're 3 murder mysteries. I don't want to be ungrateful, or seem ungrateful Vicki, I don't even read them. So once I read the jacket, the blurb on the jacket, one of the finest murder mysteries ever written, I just throw them in the box.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What were the service answers to that tape. That was funny. Your father was funny.
GOTTI: You know, my dad and I got along so well that the banter people would say was that of a husband and wife. We -- you know, listen, we got along great, but when we fought, we fought. And we have very, very identical personalities, two Scorpios, and I'm telling you, some of the arguments were really doozies. But that particular tape was the source of a lot of grief for me...
GOTTI: ...to this day -- well, you know these visits were private visits and these visits --
KING: Who tapes it? The prison?
GOTTI: The government. And these are supposed to be confidential visits. You're protected by legal papers that say as such. You waive your right to any communications processes as you come in the door, but those tapes, in particular, it was a mystery as to how they -- how that tape leaked out and a mystery as to how it was played on every television station.
What bothered me the most, I think, about that particular, besides it's a personal time between my dad and I, the only personal time we had on these visits, I think what most upset me was that my son, who at the time was 9 years old, was sitting next to me having a grandfather-grandson discussion about what he wanted to be when he grew up.
They got into a heated argument about my son wanting to possibly become an athlete, which all children at that age would suggest, and the press just so overplayed it. And this is a boy that's, you know is 8, 9, 10 years old. It just didn't warrant the attention that it got, that it received.
KING: Although your father did show a nice amusing side to him there.
GOTTI: Oh, yes. He was very witty. And sometimes things would come out of his mouth that just -- you know, he was an entertainer. He was definitely an entertainer.
KING: Let's go to calls for Victoria Gotti. Atlanta, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Miss Gotti, I'd like to know if you or any of your family members read that Sammy Gravano book and what your reaction to it is?
GOTTI: I didn't read it. I, like everyone else, I was privy to all the publicity around it, and, again, I said I didn't know him, but the things that I read and the things that I heard were very disturbing. I think I, like a lot of other people, or most of the public, couldn't understand the trade-off that the government had made. It just didn't really sit well with me. And I think to this day there's a lot of questions surrounding that.
KING: Also, people don't like people who squeal. That's the nature of people, don't you think? turning on a friend no matter what the situation?
GOTTI: Yes, I think loyalty and to be a tattletale is not an accepted...
Long Island, New York, for Victoria Gotti. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Victoria. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Your father's adoration is just amazing, the way you people perceive him. But as him being a godfather, do you think your children are going to be affected by it in their future?
GOTTI: My children learned much from my dad, from their grandfather, who, for the most part, was a father figure to them. They learned that education is the most important thing in their lives, and they learned that college is not an option, it's a given. They learned that they can be anything they want in this world.
So I'm going to have to say that the lessons that he passed down to them about character, about building themselves up as men, is going to far outweigh any adversity that they would encounter.
KING: Boston, Massachusetts, for Victoria Gotti. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I just basically wanted to say thank you to her for sharing her story and for letting people know that not only is he just John Gotti, but he's also someone's father and also she is someone's daughter. But was there anything she ever read in the newspapers or saw that caused a negative impact on her life and how did she deal with that?
GOTTI: I think, as I said before, Larry, I think the worst part for me in all of this was -- only because it hit so close to me and namely -- I mean I'm pretty resilient and I can deal with a lot and I have, but when it comes to my children, I feel very helpless, and it's -- you know, I'm a tiger or a lioness with her cubs, and I didn't know quite how to handle the publicity, the negative publicity surrounding my divorce. So I think that's probably one of those moments that -- comes with the territory.
KING: She said did you ever read anything regarding your father that upset you?
GOTTI: I'm sorry. I misunderstood. Yes, there were some -- I mean, each time that they printed how sick he was physically and how he was always nearing, you know, death's door, it was inevitable. And 24 hours lapsed, and you feel helpless when you're removed from the situation. There's really not much else you can do. There's no communication with the BOP. That was probably the most difficult.
KING: That's the Bureau of Prisons. By the way, he always called you Vicki?
GOTTI: Yes. He's the only one that calls me Vicki.
KING: I noticed that on the tape. The Poconos in Pennsylvania. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Victoria. I keep listening to all these questions and what people are asking you about your dad and what did you think of this and John Gotti's daughter. But everybody forgets to ask you, Vicki, how are you doing since you've lost your dad? You're a little girl who's lost a parent. I'm 39 years old. I lost my mom four years ago. It's painful. It's hard when people refer to you just as her daughter or so and so's business associate. Instead of, you know, hey, you lost your dad. How are you doing?
KING: Good question.
KING: Not so well?
GOTTI: One day at a time. You know, it's -- it's very difficult. And I didn't expect -- you know, every death is -- when you lose people, it's different, friend to friend, lover to lover, father, child. He was a really, really big part of my life, and I -- it's very difficult.
KING: Daddies and daughters, right?
KING: Oyster Bay, New York, Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Good evening Victoria. I was wondering in terms of your 3 sons, how you've handled raising them and helping them dichotomize between what their family legacy is and what the media and what the public perceive it to be.
GOTTI: Well, they were raised to know that their family legacy, their grandpa's wishes is he wants all of them to remain at the top of their classes. He wants all of them to choose their rightful path, their career, that they would be most happiest at or most successful.
And I think, for young men, they're working so hard towards those goals only because it's what he wanted for them. I think it's sort of a testimonial from them to achieve this. It's their main objective.
But it is difficult, and, you know, there's all situations in life. And I'm sure that the boys will consistently come up against...
KING: They will.
GOTTI: ...the stigma, what people perceive them to be, what they expect of these children. And I think that's probably most heart- breaking, to me as a parent anyway.
KING: Your last name is not Gotti, though, right?
GOTTI: No, it's not. It's their middle name.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for Victoria Gotti, celebrity columnist for "The Star", best selling novelist, now working on her seventh book and you read her every week in "The Star" as well.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Every 4th of July, illegal fireworks explode above this New York City neighborhood. The patriotic colors have become a symbol of the colorful character who puts on this show, reputed mob boss John Gotti. With tailored suits and ties as bright as a skyrocket, he's the Dapper Don.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: Morgantown, West Virginia, for Victoria Gotti, hello.
CALLER: ...Victoria and Larry.
CALLER: Good evening. Victoria, I'm having a hard time believing that you didn't know what your father did when you were growing up. I lived with my father until I got married. My father was a minister. I knew exactly what he did, who his friends were. And with your father being the head of the Mafia, I just can't believe that you don't know what he did for a living. In some way, you had to know he was a gangster, a killer, a mobster.
GOTTI: Ma'am, if you're asking me if my father held sit-downs in the home or if he had -- if we lived behind the wrought iron gates or had friends like scenes out of "The Godfather," I'm telling you no. I don't know what else to tell you, except to say that that is the truth. I don't lie. So I'm not going to.
KING: So you didn't know about it?
GOTTI: I'm not going to say -- you know, listen, we read -- we're all made aware.
KING: That's what I mean. You had to read.
GOTTI: Correct. Correct. But, I mean, to say this was my life -- I think the public wants to hear that. I think women, like the woman on the phone, wants to hear that this is the way that we lived because the world is somehow fascinated with the romanticism...
KING: Of course.
GOTTI: ...behind the mob
KING: But you understand that -- you would understand that, wouldn't you?
GOTTI: I do. I do.
KING: There is a fascination.
Now we have a special call -- and I think we verified this. Who is this on the phone?
CARMINE, VICTORIA GOTTI'S SON: Carmine.
KING: Who is this?
GOTTI: Hey, buddy.
GOTTI: Hey, buddy.
KING: Tell us who Carmine is, Victoria.
GOTTI: That's one of my children, I think.
KING: Carmine, turn your radio down.
KING: Turn the TV down, Carmine.
CARMINE: All right.
KING: How old are you?
KING: What do you want to do?
GOTTI: Hey, buddy.
KING: Are you going to go to college?
CARMINE: Of course.
KING: Of course. Naturally. You're an honor student. Where are you going to go to school?
CARMINE: Florida State.
KING: Ah, Tallahassee. Why Florida State?
CARMINE: The surroundings, the area, everything -- sports.
KING: How do you feel about your mom and how she's doing tonight?
CARMINE: She's done great. She looks good tonight. She's doing good.
KING: How do you feel about your...
GOTTI: Hey, buddy.
KING: your -- were you close to your grandfather, Carmine?
CARMINE: Really close.
KING: What was he like to you?
CARMINE: Greatest man ever.
KING: You were very close?
KING: Tell us about Carmine, Victoria. What's he like?
GOTTI: He's my first born, and he's a lot like I am. Aesthetically speaking, we look a lot alike, and personality speaking, we're a lot alike.
He's a good boy. He has always excelled in school. He's a very, very sensitive boy, and he's a very conceited boy.
KING: Carmine, what are you going to major in?
CARMINE: I'm not even sure yet.
KING: So you don't know what -- you don't know what you do -- you don't what profession you want to be?
KING: In the picture we're looking at, Victoria, which one is Carmine?
CARMINE: He is the tall one to my left. But that's a couple years old. He's a bit older now.
CARMINE: That was seven years ago.
KING: That was seven years ago. Carmine?
KING: You got a girlfriend?
CARMINE: Of course.
KING: Carmine, of course. I would say he's slightly cocky. Is that correct, Victoria?
KING: Of course he's going to college. Of course he has a girlfriend. Of course -- Carmine, you know it all, don't you, Carmine?
Carmine, thanks for calling in. Your mom's doing great.
CARMINE: All right. Thanks.
GOTTI: Bye, buddy. I love you.
KING: Trenton, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Good evening, Larry. I enjoy your show very much.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: And I have a question for Victoria.
CALLER: I'd like to know a little bit about her mom and how she's doing. I don't know too much, and I don't hear too much about her. Could you ask that to her?
KING: How is she doing?
GOTTI: She's doing -- mom is doing great. Mom is, in a nutshell, to sum up -- she's an old fashioned woman, very traditional, raised with the belief that her children, her husband, her home is the most important thing, in that order.
But, basically, she's now finally -- she's a painter. She's a painter. She's an artist, obviously, and she's living her dream. So I'm thrilled -- I think she's been through a lot, and to see her happy these few past months with her artwork is very uplifting for me.
KING: Did they have a good marriage?
GOTTI: She's a great woman. They had a great marriage. They were soulmates, in every sense of the word.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Victoria Gotti, the columnist for "The Star." Don't go way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Interview with "Extra" special correspondent, best selling author and "New York Post" columnist Victoria Gotti.
GOTTI: You want to be a wife and a mom?
PAMELA ANDERSON, ACTRESS: I don't mind doing "VIP" for a couple more years. I may do -- there is a series of six movies that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now. They're really short movies. And I think in a couple of years I'm just going to like bow out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's Victoria Gotti serving as a television anchor host and reporter for "Extra." Let's go to Long Island, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. Hi, Victoria. By the way, you look wonderful, Victoria.
GOTTI: Thank you.
CALLER: And I've heard great things about your family and especially yourself contributing to many charities. Is there a specific charity that you like to give more than others?
GOTTI: The American Heart Association. Definitely. I was on the board of directors not too long ago, and, of course that's my affliction. But my mom also has heart disease, and my son. So I...
KING: Your son has heart disease?
GOTTI: ... the oldest that you just spoke to, Carmine. Yes, he has the same thing I have.
GOTTI: Same thing I have.
KING: Does he have a defibrillator too?
GOTTI: No. Thankfully not. Not at his age. Not yet. I mean, he seems to be OK.
KING: Fort Wayne, Indiana, hello.
CALLER: Hello, hi. Glad I got a chance to get in. Victoria, I would like to say I lost my father as well, and I saw you almost cry. My thing is, though, my father had a notorious past, and I got a lot of backlash with my last name, and it reflected on us children as well, and then the grandchildren. What kind of backlash are you getting? And do you get a lot of it, and because your last name's Gotti, you got what you've got?
GOTTI: Oh, yes, as I said earlier, it can be a double-edged sword. That's you know -- anyone that stands -- anyone that accuses either/or, I tell it's a double-edged sword. So that goes -- the pendulum swings either way. Backlash? You know, again, it depends. The negative, the positive.
But I didn't live with the man that the press created. I didn't live with the man that the movies created. I lived with a John Gotti that -- the father, the husband, the brother -- very, very different. Very, very different. And I don't know if anybody can understand that. But it was -- I had an entirely different relationship with him. It was a very special relationship, you know. This is not a -- there are no bad details about that.
KING: Queens, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Victoria. It's great to be on. I just want to say that... GOTTI: Hi.
CALLER: Hi. I just want to say that your father intrigued me, still does. I had a wonderful relationship with my dad. He's passed as well. And I just want to ask you, will you be writing a book about you and your dad's relationship growing up, and do you feel him spiritually around you, Vicki?
GOTTI: As for the book, I don't know. You know, it's just so hard for me. I've tried to write some things and my thoughts, and it's -- I found it really difficult, increasingly difficult these days. As for -- as for, you know, whether or not it would happen in the future, I don't know. I couldn't say.
KING: Maybe an autobiography?
GOTTI: Maybe. Maybe when I feel I've accomplished enough in my life to interest people. I don't want to interest them for the wrong reasons.
KING: You write about celebrity romances. What about you?
GOTTI: No time for it. No time. I enjoy writing and reading about theirs.
KING: You're not seeing anyone in particular?
GOTTI: No. No. I can't even remember the last time I was on a date.
GOTTI: Yes, really. I've been so busy, so, so busy.
KING: Thank you very much, Victoria, for giving us this hour. We appreciate it.
GOTTI: Is it my turn to ask you a question, Larry?
GOTTI: Quick. How do you feel, as the interviewer? Why do you choose your -- your position, your stance? You're a very good...
KING: I'm out of time. But I'm insatiably curious. Have been all my life.
GOTTI: Good. Good.
KING: Since I was a little kid. Just liked asking questions.
GOTTI: Good answer. Good answer.
KING: Thank you.
GOTTI: Thank you. KING: May I say, thank you, Vicki.
GOTTI: Thank you.
KING: Victoria Gotti, columnist of "The Star." I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. GOTTI: You'll never see another guy like me if you live to be 5,000. I'll always be me. I'll always be one of a kind, until the day I die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tomorrow night, a panel of top legal experts discuss crime and the coverage of crime on television. Sunday night, we'll repeat our Bob Dole 80th birthday celebration with a special visit from the former president, Bill Clinton.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com