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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Martha Stewart, Martha Kostyra

Aired December 22, 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: Tonight, Martha Stewart, in her final interview before her trial. How's she coping in this holiday season that she's famous for celebrating. Martha Stewart is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Good evening. It's always a great pleasure to welcome Martha Stewart to these cameras.

An important note before we get started with the interview. Martha Stewart is scheduled to go on trial in January on criminal charges in connection with the sale of ImClone stock in December of 2001.

Because of this, she cannot discuss the facts of her case or the specifics of her legal situation. So please understand, we can never get into details concerning the case. She's also here speaking for herself, not Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which is a company.

The company is not involved in any of this, right?

MARTHA STEWART, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA: Exactly.

KING: Is this -- by the way, we've looked up our records. You've been on five times over the Christmas holidays on this show.

STEWART: And I've always enjoyed each and every...

KING: And six other times -- you've broken a record for appearing on this show. Always in better circumstances.

STEWART: I know.

KING: Is this the worst holiday...

STEWART: I've missed being on the show, Larry.

KING: We've missed having you. Good having you. Is this the worst holiday ever?

STEWART: It's the saddest holiday ever. It's an unwelcome time for me, very unwelcome.

KING: We're going to trace a lot of things to light. Later, your mother will be joining us. In all the interviews we've done, we've never traced your life. STEWART: No, never.

KING: So you want to get into them and go over your life. But how about coping with this on a daily basis? Is this like 24/7?

STEWART: Well, my priorities haven't changed, Larry. I still have my great work to do. I have my television show to create for everyday programming. We have, you know, an hour every day. And I still want to continue with my teaching, with my family, with those priorities that mean so very much to me.

So I have all that, thank Heavens, because I realize...

KING: There is a "however," though?

STEWART: ... otherwise, it would be 24/7. But I have plenty of things to do that can pleasantly occupy me.

KING: Has that workaholic emphasis which you've had all your life helped?

STEWART: I think it's been fantastic, because I can divert my worry to a productive activity.

KING: Is all of this very shocking to you?

STEWART: No one is ever prepared for such a thing.

KING: I wouldn't imagine.

STEWART: No one. And no one is ever strong enough for such a thing. No one is -- you know, you have no idea how much worry and sadness and grief it causes.

KING: And I would imagine especially if someone thinks, I didn't do anything wrong.

STEWART: Exactly.

KING: So that's got to drive you berserk.

STEWART: Well, but that -- having done nothing wrong allows you to sleep...

KING: It does.

STEWART: ... allows you to continue your work, gives you the opportunity to think about other things. But there's always the worry. I mean, a trial's coming up.

KING: Do you find out in this kind of case who your friends are?

STEWART: I have such a circle of great friends. And, I think, millions of new friends because of this.

KING: You hear from people? STEWART: Oh, I do. We set up a Web site, Marthatalks.com, and we also have Marthastewart.com. But Marthatalks has gotten, oh, just millions of hits and thousands and thousands of fabulous e-mails from people who really care, who have learned from me, who have been inspired by things that we've done. And those are good friends, Larry. Good friends.

KING: How about your social life? Now, you had a high social life. I've done a lot of events in New York. You're at most of them.

STEWART: Well, I still go to ones that mean a lot to either the organization or to me. I have not the time to do the more frivolous things that I once was able to do, because, you know, I'm busy with all of this. But I still enjoy the things I've always enjoyed.

KING: Do you -- how do people treat you? Like, you know -- I mean, when someone faces something that becomes suddenly a different aspect of their life, it could be anything, whether it's a trial or someone reads in the paper someone is very sick, or even someone having cancer, you can't treat that person the same anymore.

STEWART: The outpouring of goodwill has been phenomenal. And I think that that matters more than anything. That there is a support system behind me.

My family has been terrific. The people who work in my company, all my employees, have been utterly fabulous.

KING: Has anybody quit?

STEWART: I don't think as a result of this, no. I think the general attrition in a company, that hasn't changed. But it's been amazing how many really great supporters and great friends I have.

KING: So you haven't seen people like take a breath or treat you differently?

STEWART: Well, you know, I remember my sister telling me when she was in a wheelchair -- she had broken her ankle -- that people kind of, oh, were shocked and kind of moved back. No, I haven't experienced that.

KING: Do you walk -- when you walk down the street -- and you're a visible person -- you don't hide?

STEWART: I don't know. I can go outside, normally go, messy hair, you know, pajamas and they would recognize me. No, they would recognize me. So it's like I'm sitting in a car with darkened windows. "Hi, Martha." You know, it doesn't matter.

KING: Do you start, though, thinking that they're thinking about -- when you're walking down the street, they're thinking about my trial, they're thinking about this?

STEWART: You know, I don't know what they are thinking about. But generally -- generally, people are friendly and "Hi Martha. Great cake you made yesterday." You know, that's what I hear.

KING: Do you think most people are rooting for you?

STEWART: I certainly hope so.

KING: You bear ill will toward people when this kind of thing happens? Are you angry?

STEWART: You can't. You can't let that get to you, because then, again, your functionality, your daily chores can't get done.

KING: Knowing you, though, is there a desire -- let's say we see -- the other night, Mark Geragos was on, Michael Jackson's lawyer. And he was like, he didn't do this and we're going to -- is there a desire to, even though lawyers tell you not, a desire to want to yell, be angry?

STEWART: I have a really wonderful legal team.

KING: You sure do.

STEWART: And my legal team has inspired me to behave in the appropriate fashion.

KING: Because anything you say can be used...

STEWART: Well, no, no. They are great. And they are my advisers. They are the experts. They are the men and women that I am listening to during this time.

KING: But as strong as you are -- and we know you're strong -- are you good at listening? Do you take direction?

STEWART: If you had Mr. Morvillo as your attorney, you would be taking direction.

KING: Because you're the...

STEWART: Even you, Larry.

KING: Even you, Martha. You're a decision maker, though, aren't you?

STEWART: Well, certainly.

KING: You're used to it. You run a company; you're used to making decisions.

STEWART: Certainly. And that role, that doesn't change. That doesn't change. But you learn in a situation like this where you are not the expert, you have no idea about the runnings of such a -- of an enterprise like this, if you want to call it that. You listen.

KING: While the stories were going on -- and there were always stories -- by the way, how do you deal -- forget this for a minute -- we discussed this once in the past -- with being a tabloidish figure? Who Martha Stewart dates, how Martha Stewart treats people, who Martha Stewart is, how do you deal with -- how do you function?

STEWART: I think the tabloids, actually, have pretty much covered the universe of anybody who has any celebrity whatsoever. So you sort of have to take it with a grain of salt.

KING: But some they pick on more than others.

STEWART: Well, they do. But I don't think they've picked on me more than others. I don't think so. They sometimes are a little bit more hideous in terms of certain things that they pick on, you know? But I think that that's the tabloid effect. And it's sad to me that people want to read that stuff.

KING: How about dealing with jokes? People on late night television who despair no one?

STEWART: My buddies, you mean?

KING: The Lenos and the Lettermans and the Kimballs and the Conans?

STEWART: Well, again, it's their job.

KING: You don't mind it?

STEWART: They are satirists. They are funny men.

KING: You laugh?

STEWART: I do laugh, actually.

KING: Really?

STEWART: I do, yes. And not -- I don't watch them every single night. You can't watch all of them every single night. But they're funny satirists.

They're not evil. They're not ill intent. They don't have ill intent. That's their job.

KING: "Saturday Night Live" too?

STEWART: Oh, "Saturday Night Live" is hysterical.

KING: They have a great time with you.

Martha Stewart is our guest. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Martha Stewart is our special guest. She always brings special stuff with her. And later in the program, we're going to see that. There's an armada of stuff out there.

How do you do all these things? STEWART: It's Christmas.

KING: We're also going to meet Martha's mother, Martha Kostyra, right?

STEWART: Kostyra.

KING: Kostyra.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: From Poland.

STEWART: Yes. Well, she was born here, but we -- our family comes from Poland.

KING: You changed your name from marriage or...

STEWART: Yes, marriage. I married Andy Stewart. So it's Martha Kostyra Stewart.

KING: How is Eddie Stewart (sic)?

STEWART: Andy Stewart?

KING: Andy Stewart.

STEWART: Oh, Andy Stewart. I don't know.

KING: You never hear from him?

STEWART: No.

KING: You had one child?

STEWART: Alexis. We have a child, Alexis. She's...

KING: How old is Alexis?

STEWART: Oh, she's a grownup. She's in her 30s.

KING: Are you a grandmother yet?

STEWART: No, unfortunately.

KING: Do you want to be?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: Let's go back early Martha Stewart. You grew up poor, right?

STEWART: Well, we were...

KING: Relatively poor?

STEWART: We were -- my parents were teachers at first. And then my dad became a pharmaceutical salesman.

KING: Average income?

STEWART: Very average. I mean, that was the one thing. "Well, how much do you and dad make, mom?" Mom was a teacher. And she said, "Well, I make $5,000 and dad makes about $9,000." So that wasn't very much for a family of eight.

KING: Eight?

STEWART: Eight.

KING: Count them down, brothers, sisters...

STEWART: Yes. Three brothers, three sisters.

KING: You are where in the pecking order?

STEWART: I'm second oldest. And so then it's boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl.

KING: So you had an older brother?

STEWART: Yes.

KING: Is that an advantage?

STEWART: Oh, yes. The protector.

KING: The protector.

STEWART: But he was also the teacher. I mean, I learned how to fish with my brother Eric. I learned how to tie flies for fly fishing. I learned how to trap muskrats. I learned how to do a lot of stuff.

KING: You grew up where?

STEWART: In Nutley, New Jersey, a charming little town right on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey.

KING: I've passed it many times...

STEWART: Yes.

KING: ... going over to see the Jets or Giants.

STEWART: Well, you don't pass Nutley. You have to go a little further to get to Nutley. But...

KING: I see a sign that says, "Nutley."

STEWART: Yes. It's right between Clifton and Montclair.

KING: What did you want to be, like when you were in high school? You couldn't have dreamed of being Martha Stewart. STEWART: No. Well, in grammar school, I was so enamored with my teachers and became friends with all my teachers. Brought them home for lunch, because we lived around the corner from school.

I always wanted to be a teacher. And then in high school I thought, well, there are other things to do, too. Teaching is always like a wonderful occupation, but maybe there are other things to do. So I went to Barnard College in New York City.

KING: Famous school.

STEWART: A wonderful school. And Columbia University.

KING: Wasn't it hard to afford?

STEWART: Scholarships.

KING: Oh.

STEWART: Working. During high school, I became a photography model. I was at the Stuart Agency (ph) and also at the Ford Agency. So I did modeling.

KING: Were you a successful model?

STEWART: Yes, I was. I mean, I wasn't what is considered successful now with million-dollar contracts, but I made $35 an hour to start. Then I went up to $50 an hour. That was a lot of money in those days.

KING: Were your family happy with this?

STEWART: Oh, they were very happy and allowed me to save my money for my education. So it was all saved. And I remember making some commercials. I did a Lifebuoy soap commercial.

KING: You did?

STEWART: Well, when I was like 15.

KING: Lifebuoy, Lifebuoy.

STEWART: I played a young married. Can you imagine? As I say, I was 15-years-old. And then I did a Tareyton "I'd rather fight than switch" commercial, you know? And then I practiced smoking...

KING: You did a cigarette commercial?

STEWART: I know. I tried to smoke for a week. And when I finally made the commercial, all I had to do was hold the cigarette like that. So...

KING: You didn't blow it out in that phony fashion?

STEWART: No. I had to just (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: So there was still no focus here as to what Martha Stewart wants to be?

STEWART: Well, I wanted to go to college and get a really great education. And I didn't want a lot of distraction. But modeling afforded me the opportunity to make a lot of money to pay for my tuition.

But that time -- in those days, though, you know college was only $1,200 tuition, compared to what it is now. So it was affordable even for a girl from a family that couldn't afford it.

KING: Did you marry young?

STEWART: Yes, I got married when I was 19 years old.

KING: Does that make you a housewife?

STEWART: Oh, yes. Because mom taught me all those things.

KING: Did your daughter come along soon?

STEWART: She came along about four years later. And it was very nice to be a mother, a wife, a working woman. Because I became -- I went right from college into the brokerage business.

KING: So you were a working mom before that was even a term?

STEWART: Well, a lot of women were just starting to think about it then. And just starting to be career women. And it was real interesting, because the door was open, and all you had to do was walk in and do a really good job and succeed.

KING: The brokerage business, you did what?

STEWART: Well, I was an institutional stock broker.

KING: You were?

STEWART: Yes. And...

KING: Did you like that?

STEWART: Oh, I did. Yes, I did a lot of research in companies. What really appealed to me about that business was that I learned made a company good. And I think that that really parlayed into the creation of my company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Because we built a really fine company.

KING: Was that the more interesting part than the investing part?

STEWART: Yes.

KING: The running the company?

STEWART: Yes. Oh, it was really interesting to me, yes indeed.

KING: Because a good broker knows how a company operates.

STEWART: Well, yes. Anybody who is doing research and that kind of sales, you have to know what's making that company tick.

KING: Did you leave that to start a company?

STEWART: I left that because we moved from New York to Connecticut. My husband was working in Greenwich and we moved to Westport, Connecticut, where I thought, ah, now I can start my own business. I didn't know what that business would be until I sort of centered on food and entertaining and started the catering business.

KING: We'll find out -- that's what really got you going, right, catering?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: Do you look at it ironic that you worked in the stock field?

STEWART: No. No.

KING: You don't see any irony?

STEWART: No.

KING: Did the catering business make you famous around New York and Connecticut?

STEWART: Oh, it did. Oh, yes. Oh, yes, it did, because once you have a good idea for a business like that -- and again, the door was open. There were not very many really great caterers. All you needed was some originality, some really great food, and a wonderful wait staff, and you could have a nice business.

KING: And how did that lead to Martha everything? Martha TV...

STEWART: Well, I went to learn how to entertain on a scale, either large or small. I thought, well, maybe a book will do it. Remember I came on with my first book, "Entertaining?"

KING: Yes, I remember that.

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: You did my radio show.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: But that was your introduction to the public per se, right?

STEWART: It was. And then you right that book, people respond to it, people use it, find that the recipes are wonderful. And then...

KING: Were you surprised that it was a hit?

STEWART: No. No, not really, because I...

KING: No one really knew you outside of...

STEWART: No, but I thought, well, here is an area where no one else is really gone before to make a beautiful book with great pictures that are really informative. Really good recipes and a really good informative text.

KING: Did the marriage end before that?

STEWART: Oh, no. No, no. The marriage ended after about five more books.

KING: Really?

STEWART: Yes. I did a book a year after that, and...

KING: Did that have something to do with it ending, your getting famous?

STEWART: I think that busy, busy.

KING: Busy more than wife being better known than husband?

STEWART: Yes. I think it was more busy and busy.

KING: And did that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Unfortunately, that happens a lot.

STEWART: I think it was both sided.

KING: Both sided?

STEWART: Yes.

KING: Was it nasty or...

STEWART: It wasn't pleasant.

KING: It's a good way to look back on things.

Martha Stewart is our special guest. Lots more to come. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Martha Stewart.

You had a roaring success. You were -- were you a paper billionaire or a billionaire, billionaire?

STEWART: Well, paper. You don't usually carry around your billion dollars.

KING: What was it like, though, to have hit a point where anything you wanted to buy you could buy?

STEWART: Our company went public, and it was a wonderful, popular offering. And...

KING: You were on our show then.

STEWART: I know. It was very fun. We were all very happy. I mean, this is showing that a good idea can lead to an excellent company, can lead to a wonderful IPO, can lead to a wonderful, interesting, innovative company.

KING: But it also can lead to jealousy, people not liking people who succeed, and people who go after you. Right? All true, isn't it?

STEWART: That seems to be the American way, doesn't it?

KING: Do you accept that as a fact of life?

STEWART: I think it's a fact of life. I do.

KING: Do you ever think, if I had to do it all over, I wouldn't be as successful?

STEWART: No.

KING: No? In other words, you wouldn't hold back any?

STEWART: No. I don't look back like that. You can't. You just can't.

You think -- all I do as an optimist is look forward and look and see up.

You know, what's another thing that one can do that would be really useful to a lot of people?

KING: Did you ever have trouble with the law ever?

STEWART: Ever?

KING: Have you ever had any trouble?

STEWART: No, this is serious.

KING: So this is like a shocking point in your life?

STEWART: This is a very, very, very, very shocking thing.

KING: How do -- Secretary Donovan in the Reagan administration was the United States secretary of Labor. And there were charges brought against him. It was front page. And then he was acquitted page 18. And he had that famous quote: "How do I get my reputation back?"

STEWART: I remember. I've heard that several times. KING: Yes. He came on this show. Because in this country, there is the sin of charging. Once you -- we -- I'm not sure we believe innocent until proven guilty, although a lot of people are certainly in your corner.

How do you deal with that? What do you think beyond this? Do you think beyond the trial?

STEWART: Absolutely.

KING: You do?

STEWART: Oh, absolutely.

KING: In?

STEWART: And I wouldn't -- in all aspects of my life. I can't wait to get my life back.

KING: That's what I meant by, what do you do on getting your life back? Do you just go right on? Let's assume everything's great and you're acquitted. Now what?

STEWART: Nothing really has changed. The products we make are fantastic, the books we write are wonderful and informative. The products, the magazines are fantastic. All those people in place working so hard to keep our business as wonderful as it always has been, that is what's there.

KING: Anything you'd change a lot?

STEWART: No.

KING: No?

STEWART: No.

KING: Any new thing you'd want to do?

STEWART: Sure. Lots of things.

KING: Like?

STEWART: Well, as a public company we can't talk about that.

KING: All right. Any private thing? Would you like to marry again?

STEWART: I'd like to find time to marry again.

KING: Do you think you could?

STEWART: Get married?

KING: Yes.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: I mean, knowing the kind of life you lead, it would take a very unusual person, would it not?

STEWART: Well, but you know I've met a lot of women who have wonderful husbands who accommodate various forms of lifestyle. And I think that would be a wonderful possibility.

KING: So you're open to all this?

STEWART: Sure.

KING: Do you, during this period of time, date?

STEWART: Yes, I do.

KING: Do the people who date you inquire about -- I mean, how do they deal with it? It's got to be interesting.

STEWART: Well, I mean, my friends know what's going on.

KING: Naturally.

STEWART: They read the newspapers like everybody else. And they're good friends.

KING: Do you read about you?

STEWART: I get a stack about that thick every single day at papers or clips of this stuff. And some of it is important to read and some of it is not important to read.

KING: What's it like, though, to read about yourself in a vein you've never read about yourself before?

STEWART: Well, difficult. Really difficult.

KING: So why read it?

STEWART: Information.

KING: So you have to know, right?

STEWART: Well, it's important to know. I think in a...

KING: Some people, I don't want to see it. You know, if it's bad news, I don't want to read it.

STEWART: Well, I'm not like that.

KING: You're a good client then. You participate.

STEWART: I'm both a student and a teacher.

KING: How about the magazine?

STEWART: Our magazine?

KING: Yes.

STEWART: Oh, it's the same wonderful magazine it's always been.

KING: Have things fallen off during this period?

STEWART: The magazine is vibrant, it is full of great information. It is the same excellent publication it always has been, Larry.

KING: Does this, all of this, cause you to think differently when you read about other people who get in trouble? I mean, previously, might you have said, been one of those people at a cocktail conversation and said, oh, I read that story about him?

STEWART: Well, I haven't really ever been a gossip. And I'm also not an envious person. And I'm also not a hateful person. So I would probably, before making comments about anybody, know more about it than the newspapers let us know.

KING: So you don't, as some do, root for people to do badly?

STEWART: No.

KING: What was it like to have come from average circumstances to having everything?

STEWART: Well, again, I said, my priorities have kind of remained the same. And other than having a few more luxuries than I might have had, my life is the same.

I still have my chickens. I now have added canaries to my life. I have -- you really shake your head. But I do have giant cages on my porch filled with canaries who just breed happily. They're my grandchildren, until I actually get some grandchildren.

KING: Do you bargain?

STEWART: Do I bargain?

KING: Yes.

STEWART: With whom?

KING: Storekeepers.

STEWART: Oh, not storekeepers who have fixed prices. But maybe in Morocco I would bargain. I remember being once -- feeling so stupid, Larry, because do you know what a tajin is? Well, it's a clay dish with a conical cover.

KING: How would I know this?

STEWART: Have you ever been to Morocco?

KING: No.

STEWART: OK. Well, Moroccans cook in this dish. And I went into the bazaar to buy one of these wonderful dishes. And it was $1.20 translated into dollars.

And because everyone said, oh, in Morocco you must bargain, I got the guy down to 90 cents. And I felt like such a fool. $1.20 to 90 cents. And I had to carry this heavy, heavy tajin back on the airplane. I wanted to just, you know, forget it.

KING: A little weird, huh?

STEWART: It is.

KING: Martha Stewart's our guest. Her mother will be joining us shortly. And also, we can't let Christmas go by with Martha Stewart and not get to an array of things. We'll get to a lot of that in a while, too.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Martha Stewart.

An important note again, as we continue the interview. Martha Stewart is scheduled to go on trial next month on criminal charges in connection with her sale of ImClone stock in December of 2001.

Because of this, she cannot discuss the facts of her case or the specifics of her legal situation. And that's why sometimes if we get into an area that she can't discuss, she will have to say that. She's also here speaking for herself, not for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

That's the name of your total company, right?

STEWART: That's the name of the company.

KING: So what are you doing this Christmas?

STEWART: Well...

KING: What's a Martha Stewart Christmas going to be like?

STEWART: Well, it's a little more low key than usual.

KING: I bet.

STEWART: I generally have a Christmas party, but this year I'm only having a small family party. But I've been going to my friends' parties, and everybody has been...

KING: You've been making the rounds?

STEWART: Oh, yes. To my friends to have parties at home. A bunch of friends came in from San Francisco and had lunch on Friday, and it was really nice. But that's what I'm trying to do, just keep kind of low key.

And my house is all decorated. I've brought some of the examples of what we've done for you to see. Baking is going on, wrapping presents is going on. But it's pretty much everything the same, except that it's different.

KING: Do you want friends to come to the trial proceedings?

STEWART: Oh, I certainly would welcome seeing friends there, yes.

KING: Yes. So you're not telling people, don't come because...

STEWART: No.

KING: ... or stay away. Did they tell you how long this might last, how long in your life you're going to be interrupted?

STEWART: I don't know.

KING: You just go on, right? Martha, the toughest part of all of this for you personally has been? What's the hardest part of this ordeal?

STEWART: Well, sort of coming to a screeching halt and having to deal with something extremely unpleasant, something that saddens and disheartens me. And something that is very, very difficult not only for me, but for everyone I work with, my family, my friends. That's the hard part.

KING: You mentioned earlier, though, about anger. You have no anger towards prosecutors, people coming after you?

STEWART: You have to really temper yourself...

KING: You can do that?

STEWART: ... during something like this. Oh, I can. I can.

KING: I'd be through the roof.

STEWART: Well, what are you going to do?

KING: You can look at life that way, what are you going to do?

STEWART: What are you going to do. And there's a process, it must run its course. And you have to believe in the judicial system. And...

KING: You have faith in that system?

STEWART: I do. And that's the way it is.

KING: Do you ever feel a victim of fame? STEWART: I think that fame sometimes leads to problems. And -- I mean, when I was a youngster, I noticed that it happened to James Dean, my hero. It happened to Elvis Presley, my hero. Why? Why?

Why didn't anybody take care of them? I mean, those were famous people. I don't consider myself in that league whatsoever, Larry. I'm a visible, recognizable person.

KING: You're famous, though. You certainly come under the definition of famous.

STEWART: Well, yes. But that's because of the...

KING: You're well known.

STEWART: Yes. You become well known for what you do.

KING: OK. But does that make the preyers -- P-R-E-Y-E-S...

STEWART: I like to think of the other prayers -- P-R-A-Y...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: But do they jump aboard? In other words, there's more of a thing toward get him or her because they are him or her?

STEWART: I could speculate with you for days about that. But it's not...

KING: Do you believe it?

STEWART: Do I believe that there are preyers?

KING: That people are after you because you're Martha Stewart.

STEWART: Oh, no. I think circumstances have...

KING: Circumstances not because you're you.

STEWART: Right.

KING: That's a good way to look at things.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: Healthy.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: Are you -- how about God in this period? Are you religious?

STEWART: Well, I was brought up a Catholic. Mom still goes to church every Sunday. I have beliefs. I have ways to reach out. And I think that it helps a lot.

KING: Are you a roaming Catholic, as Jackie Gleason used to call himself?

STEWART: Well, I visit every church and every cathedral wherever I am.

KING: Do you pray at a time like this?

STEWART: Well, it might be an unorthodox way to pray the way I pray. But I have my good thoughts.

KING: Do you ask for spiritual...

STEWART: Assistance?

KING: Angels' help, people around? Listen, a lot of people believe that.

STEWART: It's very -- it's hard for me to talk about how I think about all of this. You know, it's very hard to talk about it. But I have inner strength that comes from somewhere.

KING: How do you blanket your day out between preparation and still being Martha Stewart? You do an hour television every day.

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: How do you block out -- give me your day.

STEWART: Well, television isn't done every day. We tape our shows.

KING: Tape...

STEWART: Yes, we tape our shows two to two and a half days a week. The other five days a week are spent doing my creative, thoughtful, supervisory job, which is...

KING: You go to work every day?

STEWART: Oh, yes. I work every day. And we are -- we've just created a new magazine called "Everyday Food," which is a really wonderful success.

KING: Really?

STEWART: Oh, yes. We have our wonderful line of products at Kmart, Martha Stewart Everyday. We have our "Martha Stewart: the Catalog for Living," which I work on a lot on the product development for that. We have our books that we create. I'm working on a home keeping book right now.

So it's -- I have more work than the week can accommodate.

KING: And also very involved in your own defense, right?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: You participate?

STEWART: Oh, yes. Preparation, sure.

KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, we'll meet the mama. And you're going to see this desk change.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Happy Holidays.

Oh, by the way, tomorrow night, what a special show we have. We have all of the doctors who were at Parkland Hospital on November 22, 1963 when John Kennedy was brought in. That's tomorrow night.

We'll be right back with Martha Stewart and her beautiful mother, Martha. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: Another thing to do for the holidays, is to make your gifts. You know, you're giving the narcissus that's not really homemade, it's packaging.

KING: Yeah, but it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

STEWART: But this is a little box, it's a little balsa wood box, that I just -- it's not stenciling, it's sponging with food coloring. Natural food coloring. And this is a purpley and a brownish color. And in this box, you can put anything, cooking, you can put meringue mushrooms.

KING: But you made the box.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: There is a feeling of, you made...

STEWART: Well, you decorated the box, really. But it feels like it's...

KING: You could have made it.

STEWART: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Can't do Christmas with Martha Stewart without Christmas with Martha Stewart. And joining us here on LARRY KING LIVE is what we call "Big Martha" -- or she calls her "Big Martha," Martha Kostyra, her mother, who is 90 years young.

I can't believe it. You don't look it.

MARTHA KOSTYRA, MARTHA STEWART'S MOTHER: Eighty-nine, actually. I'll be 90 next year.

KING: Eighty-nine. You're used to your daughter like this, huh? Look at this. Who would have thought it would happen?

Is this a hard Christmas for you?

KOSTYRA: Well, it could be happier. It's a little difficult because of what's coming up. But we're -- we're hopeful and know that things will turn out just right.

KING: Optimistic?

KOSTYRA: Very optimistic.

KING: How do you think she's handling it?

KOSTYRA: She's handling it very well.

KING: She was a good daughter, huh?

KOSTYRA: Absolutely.

KING: When you were teaching your children about cooking and house cleaning and everything, did you think it would come to this?

KOSTYRA: No, I didn't. How can you tell what the future holds?

KING: Are you surprised at her success?

KOSTYRA: In a way, I am. Although I don't think I show it very much. But I certainly am.

KING: Proud of her?

KOSTYRA: Very proud. And you know, the first thing people say to me when they meet me for the first time, they'll say, "Did you teach her everything she knows?" Well, I'll take the credit, certainly.

KING: Why not, sure. What the heck. You're her mother.

She doesn't -- she's not angry. Are you angry?

KOSTYRA: No. I have more patience, I believe. Lots of patients.

KING: So you're able to -- do you think you got that from her, Martha?

STEWART: Patience?

KING: Yes.

STEWART: No. I had to teach myself patience.

KING: I mean, your ability to absorb things and not take it personally against others.

STEWART: Yes. Mom's very balanced. KING: Your father has been gone how long?

STEWART: About...

KOSTYRA: From '79.

STEWART: A little more than 20 years.

KING: Twenty years.

All right. What have we got here, Martha and Martha?

STEWART: Well...

KING: What is this?

STEWART: This is our feather tree made out of goose feathers. Traditionally -- well, originally, from Germany, they used to make trees out of feathers instead of using a forest tree.

KING: That's beautiful.

STEWART: So it's artificial, but I just think they're beautiful. And you can use them over and over again. You don't denude the forest.

KING: I don't want to break anything.

STEWART: And they're just covered with a collection of fun, pretty little birds. Your kids would love that.

KING: Is this -- oh, would they? Is this in my honor, these menorah candles?

STEWART: I brought that because I thought that it is the most charming, old-fashioned menorah I'd ever seen.

KING: And we are in Hanukkah now.

STEWART: We are in Hanukkah. And that -- it's from the Jewish museum, it's a replica of the 19th century Russian menorah, and I just think it's beautiful. And they have the original there at the museum.

So I thought you would like to take it home to your boys.

KING: Where do you want to start? Do you want to start with those -- yeah, I'll take this.

STEWART: Yes? OK. Well, mom spent all of Thursday doing what, mother?

KOSTYRA: Making the traditional Polish babka.

KING: Oh, babka. I know babka. It's Jewish, too, although we borrowed it from the Poles.

STEWART: Oh, yes, yes, and this is one of the more delicious, flavorful ones. Mom makes them every year.

KOSTYRA: I'm so proud of it that I think I'll even make a batch for myself. We made these for you.

KING: Said like a true mother. The whole crew will enjoy babka.

STEWART: And this is a jingle bell wreath, doesn't this sound beautiful?

KING: Oh, I love this.

STEWART: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And that was the original jingle bell wreath, and from that, I mean, just the way our minds work, from that we searched the world for pretty inexpensive bells. That's an expensive one, because those are made out of these...

KING: Those are expensive.

STEWART: Yes, expensive because of the way we made it. But it was a prototype for a wreath that we now sell, Martha Stewart Everyday at K-Mart, for $12.95. A big one. It's fabulous.

KING: Look at this wreath.

STEWART: And this also, these are Martha Stewart Everyday leaves, and look how beautiful these are. And look at the wreaths.

KOSTYRA: Looks like it's purple.

STEWART: If you bunch them up like this and take them around a wreath form, this is just the basis for the whole thing. And if you gather it with wire and continue to work around, you will come up with this just an extraordinary wreath that you can hang indoors or outdoors. Isn't that pretty?

KING: That's beautiful.

STEWART: What do you think? For your front door?

KING: This is Martha Stewart. This is Martha Stewart.

KOSTYRA: Yes.

STEWART: Bring this to court. Come into court with something like that. This is the way we know you.

STEWART: Wouldn't that be nice? And then the sparkly animals are another thing that I did last year.

You know, your little boys have those little animals, plastic animals, barnyard animals? Well, I found pairs of every animal that Noah would have had on his arc, and probably some that he wouldn't have had on his arc, and just use Elmer's glue and glass glitter, and we have transformed these into almost pieces of jewelry, and so I have pairs of animals. And I made an arc, and we have a picture -- I hope they can show the picture -- of the arc with all the animals. And it's just another little craft idea that is the kind of thing I like to think of.

KING: What do you do with these ideas? I mean, I know you print them in your magazine...

STEWART: No, we print them, we show them on television.

KING: You have them at home in your house too?

STEWART: Oh, yes, definitely. That's where they start. They start at my house, they start at my all my artisans' houses, all my crafts people.

KING: You go around thinking of things like this?

STEWART: Of course. That's my job.

KING: Wait a minute, but you say to yourself, Noah, the arc, I'll do every animal.

STEWART: Two by two. Two by two.

KING: Two by two.

STEWART: You think about that, it's a musical, two by two. You think about Noah, you learn the whole story, you read the Bible, you get a fabulous idea and you go with it.

KING: Did you learn cooking from big momma?

STEWART: Definitely. My recipes -- oh, and we're featuring mom in the upcoming issue of the magazine. Mom has some of her best recipes, and four gorgeous pictures of mother.

KING: Do you like cooking as much as decorating?

STEWART: Yes.

KING: You do? They're equal to you?

STEWART: And gardening. Gardening, cooking, decorating, collecting. They're all kind of equal things that I love to do.

KING: Is she...

KOSTYRA: She's overwhelmed, she's overwhelmed.

KING: She's a little nutty, though, right? Isn't she? I mean, let's be honest. She's a little -- every time -- she's a little nutty.

STEWART: If you say so.

KING: Look at this light. Look at this tree.

KOSTYRA: Well, Martha purveys a lot of ideas. People can choose whichever ones they want, whichever ones they find interesting. KING: Is this tree, like you sell that at K-Mart?

STEWART: Yes, but we took it one step further, and to go with Noah, these are the Cedars of Lebanon. So we decided to roll down in a little glue and glitter and it makes it -- they go nicely with the animals and the arc.

KING: I want to -- well, I want to take a break, and then when we come back, I want to go back to this cake over here, be sure we covered everything. I'm amazed at this tree. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE with Martha Stewart and her mother, Martha Kostyra.

KOSTYRA: Right.

KING: I got it. We'll be back right after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: First lets explain this Hanukkah stuff.

STEWART: Well, tradition has it that little gold coins were given out to children for Hanukkah time.

KING: Correct.

STEWART: So we made these little -- they're not real gold coins, these are chocolate gold for you.

KING: But they're adorable.

STEWART: Yes, and they are tied in old fashion. We actually found the old net that they actually wrapped these candies in. This is probably from the 20's.

KING: This is an inexpensive, cute little gift for people...

STEWART: It is. And I hang them on my tree which is sort of a mixed -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but I like to hang them on the tree and give them out to the children who come visiting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back. The most unusual Christmas of Martha's life. Martha Stewart and her mother Martha -- safe to say this is the most unusual. What have we baked here?

STEWART: Oh, bouche de Noel (ph), which is...

KING: Which is what?

STEWART: That's the chocolate log, it's a roll cake, like a jelly roll, and then you cover it with chocolate bark (ph)...

KING: Is it real? STEWART: It's real edible cake. I didn't make that one, but I make one every Christmas. And those are merang (ph) mushrooms on top. So it looks like it's right out of the woodland.

KING: Sure does. This?

STEWART: More babka. Mom made different shapes and sizes...

KING: Oh, yes, different shape babkas.

STEWART: ... of babkas. Go ahead, take a bite and tell us if you like it.

KING: I will. I'm going to take a bite.

STEWART: Yes.

KING: I'm a babka person.

STEWART: Oh, good. Tell us what you think.

KING: I lost a lot of weight.

KOSTYRA: You do, you look great.

KING: Oh, that's babka.

STEWART: Isn't that a good crumb, and good texture, good fruit?

KING: Mamma Jenny (ph) were live. This is Jewish.

KOSTYRA: You should have tasted my mother's gefilte fish that she made for the holidays.

KING: A Catholic gefilte fish?

KOSTYRA: Oh yes.

KING: Did she believe in Santa Claus?

KOSTYRA: All my children believed in it. We told them the myth about Santa Claus, and carried on the tradition. And...

STEWART: But we didn't have a chimney.

KOSTYRA: We did not have a -- we did not have a fireplace in our house. So I guess if we used stockings, we hung them by the french doors to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Have all your children done well?

KOSTYRA: Yes, my oldest son is a dentist.

(LAUGHTER)

KOSTYRA: Good to have a dentist in the family. My middle daughter is a teacher in Greenwich. Frank is an entrepreneur down in Alabama. George is the remodeler. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut. And Laura does lots of Martha's...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: My sister's a writer. She's great.

KING: So the whole family is -- and your granddaughter, how is your granddaughter doing?

Her daughter?

KOSTYRA: She has a gym.

KING: Your daughter has a gym?

STEWART: Yes, she has several gyms, actually.

KING: She goes and trains, treadmills.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Was she a perfectionist as a kid?

KOSTYRA: I'd say she was. She was very fussy. Probably learned it from me, because I did my all work, and...

STEWART: No one's ever picked on my mother for being a perfectionist.

KING: Why do you call her Big Martha?

STEWART: Well, she was Big Martha, she was in control, she was it.

KOSTYRA: Sort of a nickname that stuck.

KING: Why did you name her Martha?

KOSTYRA: For myself.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Will you go to the trial?

KOSTYRA: Yes.

KING: Every day?

KOSTYRA: Yes.

KING: That's a mother.

STEWART: That's my mom.

KING: And how is the rest of the family dealing with this, Martha, the brothers and the sisters?

STEWART: I think everybody is surviving. It doesn't affect them directly...

KING: No, but they must have a lot of question.

STEWART: Indirectly, it's terrible.

KOSTYRA: We don't really talk about it that much, knowing how Martha feels. But you have your feelings inside, and -- and I know that so many of my friends and strangers who meet me, who recognize me will come up to me in a store or on the street and they'll compliment me, they'll compliment Martha, tell me how much they love watching her, and wishing her the best. They even tell me they pray for her. And they're sincere, so.

KING: You go to church every Sunday, right?

KOSTYRA: Yes, I do. I'm a practicing Catholic.

KING: Do you pray for her?

KOSTYRA: I pray for everybody.

KING: Because I'm not sure she prays for herself. Martha's not a prayer.

KOSTYRA: Well, but I think inwardly she has some kind of a force. She may not call it religion, but she has a spirituality.

KING: Did you always have a bond? Because mothers and daughters, they can have bonds or they can have rifts?

STEWART: No, mom and I and mom and all her children actually have always gotten along. And also, the in-laws. You've gotten along with all the in-laws, haven't you?

KOSTYRA: I got along with everybody.

KING: Even her husband?

KOSTYRA: Of course. We loved him.

KING: See? She loved him more than you.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You should have stayed. You should have stayed.

Do you want Martha to remarry?

KOSTYRA: I wouldn't mind. Absolutely. Whatever makes her happy. Besides, she's too old for me to give her too much advice.

STEWART: See?

KING: No, but she's still a mother, right?

STEWART: There comes a time -- no, but she'll still say she's in control.

KING: Well, I know this wasn't easy for you, Martha, and I appreciate you coming.

STEWART: Well, I love coming to talk to you and to see you and to bring you cakes and...

KING: It's appreciated (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Appreciated. Big Martha...

KOSTYRA: Pleasure.

KING: My pleasure.

STEWART: And love to your family.

KING: Thank you. And to yours.

KOSTYRA: Happy holidays.

KING: Oh, this is babka.

KOSTYRA: Happy New Year.

KING: Same to you. (SPEAKING YIDDISH.). And go with good love. Good luck.

STEWART: (SPEAKING POLISH.). That's Polish for happy -- happy New Year.

KING: Thank you, darling. The Stewarts. No, the Kostyras.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: And Stewart. Thanks for joining us. I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, the doctors who are in attendance on November 22, 1963 at Parkland Hospital in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was brought in on that terrible day.

Right now "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next.

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