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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Bridget Marks, Lorrie Morgan

Aired July 5, 2004 - 21:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a mother screams and cries on the street as her four-year-old twin girls are taken from her after she claimed their married father had sexually abused the girls.

Now that mother, socialite and former "Playboy" model Bridget Marks tells her side of a custody battle that made headlines coast to coast.

And then talk about sensational. Country star Lorrie Morgan. Tired affair, domestic violence, restraining orders and the rest of the story of her very public breakup and reconciliation with another country star, her fifth husband Sammy Kershaw. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a woman with a really incredible story: Bridget Marks, a New York socialite who posed for "Playboy" magazine in '92 now in a very public and sensational battle for custody of her twin four-year-old girls Amber and Scarlett.

Her lawyer, Tom Shanahan, is with us, too.

Bridget Marks had a bicoastal affair with a married man, John Aylsworth, a California-based casino company president. She became pregnant by him with twins. He won custody of his daughters after a courtroom clash that saw charges of child sex abuse, gag orders and psychiatric evaluations.

We asked John Aylsworth and his attorney to join us tonight. They declined but did provide this statement, quote, "all of the Aylsworth family love Amber and Scarlett very much and do not feel that media exposure is in their best interest. Mr. Aylsworth fully supports and hopes that the children can have a healthy relationship with their mother." Unquote.

My first question for Bridget Marks, when she met John Aylsworth, did she know he was married?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIDGET MARKS, IN CUSTODY BATTLE FOR CHILDREN OF AFFAIR: Not when I first met him, no.

KING: Did you later discover? MARKS: I was -- yes, he told me he was married. I actually discovered that he was married.

KING: Were you already pregnant?

MARKS: No, I was not.

KING: But still you continued the relationship?

MARKS: Unfortunately, yes, I did.

KING: Why?

MARKS: Because I believed that he was planning to leave his wife, he was unhappy, as he said, in the relationship. And at the time I trusted him.

KING: When you got pregnant, did you -- firmly figure he'd leave his wife?

MARKS: It was an accident, so...

KING: But you were pregnant?

MARKS: I was pregnant.

KING: And when you told him about it, did you expect him to leave his wife?

MARKS: Well, we were planning a life together, and then three or four months into the pregnancy, actually, after my fourth month, his wife found out about the relationship through a receipt from frequent flyer miles.

KING: So you then knew the affair was over and he was going to stay with her?

MARKS: Yes. But I don't believe in abortion. I'm pro-choice, but I opted to have my children.

KING: You had the children. It was a successful delivery?

MARKS: Yes.

KING: They were twin girls.

MARKS: Yes. They were beautiful girls.

KING: I know. We'll be showing pictures. Did you expect him to support them?

MARKS: I -- I really didn't want anything from him.

KING: Does he have children with his wife?

MARKS: Four grown children. KING: Had you heard from him during those three years? Did he inquire about the twins?

MARKS: Yes, actually. We did see each other on and off, and...

KING: Had he at this point asked for custody?

MARKS: No.

KING: No?

MARKS: No.

KING: So he's not asking for custody. What does he want? What's his point?

MARKS: He wanted -- he wanted to stay in the relationship with me and...

KING: Did he continue to see the children up to that time?

MARKS: I never denied John visitation with the children whenever he requested it. There was -- there were no legal documents, but I never denied John visitation.

KING: Did his children love him?

MARKS: The children have always had a good relationship with their father.

KING: When he -- did he sue to take them away from you? Did he say he wants full custody?

MARKS: Yes.

KING: All right.

Were you then retained?

TOM SHANAHAN, ATTORNEY FOR BRIDGET MARKS: No, I did not represent Bridget in the family court action. I -- I represent her now for purposes of the appeal.

KING: I see.

SHANAHAN: When we return to family court. First, John sued for visitation; he didn't sue initially for custody. Then when certain issues came up and Bridget and others reported what they believed to be good faith allegations of misconduct, he then amended the petition from visitation, then seeking custody.

KING: Would he have gotten visitation?

SHANAHAN: Yes. I don't think that Bridget...

MARKS: I -- I have never fought John's access to the children. I've only been a mother seeking to protect her children. And I recognize that the father's role is a very important, pivotal role in the children's lives.

KING: Now he lived in Malibu. You lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. So it was always bicoastal, right? You either going there or he...

MARKS: We never lived together.

KING: He had to fly here or you flew there?

MARKS: I never -- I never flew to see him. He came to see me. He always came to see me. I did not want to continue the relationship.

KING: And he amassed a fortune, right? He's a multimillionaire. That's acknowledged?

MARKS: Yes.

KING: Now, what were his grounds for custody?

MARKS: That I had coached and made up the allegations of sexual abuse against him.

KING: Against him?

MARKS: But...

KING: And you lost that? In other words the judge in family court agreed with him?

MARKS: The family court agreed with him...

SHANAHAN: That's what's most troubling about this case. And that's why we believe it will not be upheld. Because Bridget made a good faith allegation of what she believed to be misconduct. She had a duty under New York state law to report that.

If this decision stands, it will be a chilling effect on the country. Parents will not file good faith allegations of abuse...

KING: For fear of losing their children.

SHANAHAN: Exactly. Exactly. She -- again, the children reported it to her, a camp counselor, and also their doctor.

KING: You believe they were abused?

MARKS: I do, and actually I have every reason to believe that something did happen. The children came home with stories.

KING: When the judge announced his decision, what reason did he give?

SHANAHAN: The reason -- I believe she based it upon three special recommendations?

KING: It was she?

SHANAHAN: She, Judge Goldberg. There are court appointed fiduciaries. In this case, there was a psychiatrist that was appointed by the judge. We asked that he be taken off the case based upon something in his personal background, which we believed made him incapable of being a neutral psychiatrist.

He recommended custody to Mr. Aylsworth. The court appointed social workers also recommended custody to Mr. Aylsworth. Bridget had complained about their conduct. She had had numerous supervisors replaced. We believe that they were biased against her.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Let me get a break here. As we mentioned at the start of the show, we invited Mr. Aylsworth to appear and he declined.

His lawyer provided this statement, quote, "all of the Aylsworth family love Amber and Scarlett very much and do not feel that media exposure is in their best interest. Mr. Aylsworth fully supports and hopes that the children can have a healthy relationship with their mother." Unquote.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you feel like you could do now?

MARKS: Fight, fight like a warrior for my daughters. From these animals (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Bridget Marks and her incredible story. Since we taped this interview with her, there's been some news in the case.

Bridget was reunited with her twin daughters on July 1. Back when we spoke I asked Bridget's attorney Tom Shanahan were the case stood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHANAHAN: Well, at this point I spoke with the judge earlier today...

KING: The appeal judge?

SHANAHAN: No, this is the family court judge. She issued an interim order without explaining her final reasoning for transferring the children. So we have been unable to pursue an appeal, either in state court or state -- excuse me, or in federal court.

KING: You mean it's limbo.

SHANAHAN: We're in limbo. So the children will be back in New York City soon. They'll be back with the mother, we hope, for the period of a week. And we'd like...

KING: Is this in the court order?

SHANAHAN: Yes, that is in the existing order.

KING: So she has visitation?

SHANAHAN: At this point, it's only been decided for a one-week period of time.

KING: Why an interim order and not a final order?

SHANAHAN: You would have to ask Judge Goldberg.

KING: Did she tell you why?

SHANAHAN: She has not explained why.

KING: Your children are in Malibu?

MARKS: Yes.

KING: With him? With their non-mother and their biological father. Do you talk to them?

MARKS: I do talk to them.

KING: What's it like for you?

MARKS: Gosh, I miss them more than I could ever imagine. It's been devastating. And to hear their little voices, so sad. And they say, "Mommy, we're counting the days until we come home."

KING: When do they come?

MARKS: They say, "When are we coming home?"

And I say, "I don't know."

KING: When do they come?

MARKS: I don't know.

KING: Is there a date set for this week?

MARKS: No.

KING: Why can't they arrange that? SHANAHAN: That will be worked out amongst the attorneys and with the court's assistance. But we still do not have a date certain, if you will, for the children to come back.

He's now established an apartment here in New York. He has a home in Malibu, where his wife lives. You know, we've asked the court -- you know, to have him establish a residence here. Make sure that -- he had testified that he was going to leave his employment in St. Louis.

KING: Did the wife at all testify?

MARKS: She did. She did, actually. And the Aylsworths testified in court that they were a stable family unit.

SHANAHAN: You actually forgot to point out that there was a divorce petition.

MARKS: Oh, yes. And there was a divorce petition.

KING: Between them?

SHANAHAN: Which we subsequently found out.

MARKS: And then she said that his philandering only impacted his ability to be a good husband and not a good custodial parent.

But the stability of the Aylsworth family was what was relied upon by the forensic psychiatrist and the law guardians. So for me, it's just a sham.

KING: It's very confusing. Did the court, do you think, not believe you?

Did they think you were making a reckless charge against someone who hurt you, who you were ticked with, and therefore dragged him into court to embarrass him?

MARKS: He dragged me into court. I didn't sue him for anything. And I believe that the judge had a predetermined conclusion, and that any facts that did not fit that conclusion were ignored.

And that would -- and they were ignored by the law guardian. .

SHANAHAN: But even if that was true, what's happened here is the best interests of these children has been completely disregarded.

This is the only parent, custodial parent, they've ever had since they were children. They've been taken out of the only home they've ever known. And again, we think that if the judge intended to punish Bridget, she's actually punishing these children.

KING: What happened the day they left? Did he come and get them?

MARKS: Well, actually, he went to court in the morning to get what's called a supervised transfer, because he did not want to come and...

KING: To your place?

MARKS: ... to -- to my place.

KING: So someone came and took them?

MARKS: No. I said that if he wanted to take them, that he needed to come himself, that I was not going to turn the children over to perfect strangers. We asked them to come down into the garage of the building, because of all the media which was outside. And he refused to do that.

Then it was suggested that I should take the children out of the building, through all the media, hail a cab, and then wait, kind of like a James Bond movie, for them to give me an undisclosed location, which would have caused a chase, just like the one that had killed Princess Diana.

KING: So how did they eventually get turned over?

MARKS: He came and -- he came, and the supervisors came. And they were let out of the -- we were let out of the building. And...

KING: How did the kids react?

MARKS: We were hysterical. I mean, it was -- I mean, that's what it looks like when mothers lose their children.

KING: Tom, you are a constitutional lawyer, right?

SHANAHAN: Right. Civil rights attorney.

KING: Is this a constitutional matter? I thought these are state matters.

SHANAHAN: Well, that's why we went to federal court. The United States Constitution...

KING: Usually doesn't get involved in marital.

SHANAHAN: They do on occasions, because the parental relationship with a child is a fundamental right as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

And we're in federal court because we're going to challenge the way New York state courts appoint these fiduciaries and appoint people who make decisions about custody of children based upon a flawed process. There's no court supervision. It just doesn't work.

KING: Why do you think, based on the story we've heard, the court had it in for your client?

SHANAHAN: We can...

KING: It don't make sense. SHANAHAN: I was not the trial attorney. And we respect Judge Goldberg but we disagree with her decision.

KING: What did the trial attorney think?

SHANAHAN: Well, my point of view and our point of view is that we have a judge that had sat for the majority of her career in the criminal courts, who was transferred to the family courts because the dockets were backed up. She's sitting, in essence, as a criminal court judge would, punishing someone who she doesn't believe. I mean, she -- obviously, she weighed the credibility of the parties, and she disregarded the witnesses for Bridget. And she just, you know, does not believe Bridget.

KING: Just didn't believe Bridget and as in criminal court, you don't believe...

SHANAHAN: I think that her decision was based, for a large part, on flawed reports submitted by the psychiatrist in this case, who should have been disqualified from our point of view, by court appointed supervisors who didn't do their job. And then, you know, they were biased towards her.

KING: Was the media kind to you?

MARKS: I think the media has been the -- really the only saving grace. I believe that the children would have been removed from me to California, and right now I believe that they would be seeking to terminate my visitation, if it weren't that the media is keeping close watch on the situation.

KING: Where are they right now?

MARKS: I don't know.

KING: You don't know?

MARKS: I don't know.

KING: When they call you, you don't know where they're at?

MARKS: No. I am -- I am -- I have to call a supervisor, and I'm not allowed to tape the phone calls at all.

SHANAHAN: The supervisor's on the phone listening to the entire conversation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Let me get a break here. As we mentioned at the start of the show, we invited Mr. Aylsworth to appear and he declined.

His lawyer provided this statement, quote, "all of the Aylsworth family love Amber and Scarlett very much and do not feel that media exposure is in their best interest. Mr. Aylsworth fully supports and hopes that the children can have a healthy relationship with their mother." Unquote.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter is a fit mother as the judge has stated. And we are going to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. This is not how you treat children, this is not how you treat mothers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Bridget, how do you support yourself? How do you pay legal bills? How much are your legal bills?

MARKS: I don't even want to count how much. Just astronomical sums.

KING: How do you pay them?

MARKS: Well, I got a lot of help from my family. My fiance's been very helpful.

KING: Are you going to get married?

MARKS: We don't know at this point. Life has just been so difficult that it's impossible to say.

KING: Do you earn a living? Do you do anything?

MARKS: Yes. Actually, I have a romance novel called "September" that's due in book stores in about two weeks.

KING: Wow. Based it all on a personal thing?

MARKS: No. Actually, it's a romance between a terrorist and a middle-aged socialite. So it has absolutely nothing to do with this.

KING: Did you ask Hugh Hefner for any help?

MARKS: No. But actually...

KING: He's a generous guy.

MARKS: "Playboy" is -- the "Playboy" Playmates, I understand, are very up in arms about this, especially the ones that are moms. And as rightfully they should be.

KING: Were you a Playmate?

MARKS: No, I wasn't. I was a feature.

KING: A feature?

MARKS: Yes.

KING: Now, who pays for the, like, supervision now? You pay? Who pays?

MARKS: That's a good question.

KING: Someone has to pay the supervisor, right?

SHANAHAN: That has not been determined, and at this point, the judge has order -- is considering ordering 24-hour supervised visitation. Whenever Bridget's with the children someone will live in the house.

KING: What is the fear of Bridget with her children? That the mother needs supervision?

SHANAHAN: Again, these children are happy. She's never been declared an unfit mother.

KING: So what -- what is the supervision?

SHANAHAN: I don't -- I don't know. To have somebody live in the house...

KING: Did he ever charge you with treating them poorly?

SHANAHAN: She's never been declared an unfit mother. All the testimony indicates the children have above average intelligence, happy, in school, have friends, are socially functioning above where they should be. And that's why, you know, we believe when we get to the appellate division, when the final order of Judge Goldberg is issued, there will be a stay.

Larry, how is she going to pay $5,500 a week to visit with her children going forward? In essence, that terminates the parental right because she can't afford to be with her own children.

KING: There's one essential question. Why doesn't she have her own children? Right? And the answer that the court would give is?

SHANAHAN: The answer the court would give is that she made untrue allegations of sexual abuse. They weren't untrue. They were good faith allegations.

KING: They were good faith allegations?

SHANAHAN: She had a duty to report under the laws of this state.

KING: Let's say she felt they were true, right? So that's the reason to take the children away?

SHANAHAN: If the judge felt they were true?

KING: If the judge felt they were untrue.

SHANAHAN: If they were untrue? KING: That is a bone fide reason to...

SHANAHAN: This is the first case where that has happened. Every case the judge cited in her decision involves a parent who parentally kidnapped the children, took them to other jurisdictions, violated the existing court orders. This is the first time a judge has been so forceful in applying this type of...

KING: We had a famous case in Washington, Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, a very famous plastic surgeon, who wrote -- graduated Harvard. And she charged her husband, who was a dentist, with doing things to the children.

The court, in a similar kind of -- awarded joint custody, didn't believe her. And she took the child to New Zealand, where he can't get him back. She just left. Do you ever think of doing that? Just going away?

MARKS: No, never. I believe that the legal system will correct itself. I believe that I am the victim of a rogue judge. I believe that the process was biased and prejudiced. But I do believe that someone -- or the people that sit on the panel of the appellate court -- will have the courage to stay this wrong decision and return the children to me, where they belong.

KING: Has Mr. Aylsworth appeared anywhere in public to discuss this?

SHANAHAN: Not that I know of.

KING: Do you know of any? He declined to appear here. We invited him.

MARKS: He has declined to appear because he knows this isn't right.

KING: What do you make of Mrs. Aylsworth? Why does she want two children that are not hers?

MARKS: You know, I write for a living, and I can't even think of a Hollywood movie that this has ever happened in. Not even a horror movie. So I don't even want to go there.

SHANAHAN: It's surreal.

KING: Did she make any statement in courts? I mean, she has to take care of these kids. They come under her responsibility.

MARKS: She said that she would support -- you know, support John and help to care for the children.

KING: This is a bad movie.

MARKS: It's not even a bad movie. My writing agent told me that if I submitted this to him in a script, in a manuscript, that he would tell me I was out of my mind, that it was over the top. KING: I guess the most puzzling thing, Bridget, is that you would continue to him after the twins were born.

MARKS: That's a good question. I wish I could answer that.

KING: Physical attraction? That's the bet.

MARKS: Well, I forgave him. And...

KING: You believed he might some day leave?

MARKS: You know, after he came back it became very apparent very quickly that things would not work out, and I kept seeking to end the relationship.

KING: Where do we stand now, Tom, right at this minute? Where are we?

SHANAHAN: Again, we're waiting for the judge to issue the final decision so we can go back in and seek the appeal. As soon as that decision is issued, we'll go in for the stay. We believe we will get the stay in the appellate division and the case will be sent back down eventually after this decision is overturned.

KING: To another judge?

SHANAHAN: To another judge. We'll be asking Judge Goldberg at some point to recuse herself.

KING: And give me a time frame.

SHANAHAN: Within the next week or two.

KING: Really?

SHANAHAN: Yes.

KING: We're heading that close?

SHANAHAN: Yes.

KING: Good luck.

MARKS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: I'll try to figure it out. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Our guests have been Bridget Marks and her attorney Tom Shanahan. Again, we invited Mr. Aylsworth or his attorney to take part and they declined. And since we taped the interview there have been developments in the case. The twins were reunited with their mother on July 1. And the case is expected back in court very soon. Back in a moment with another lady with an incredible story straight out of the tabloids. Country star Lorrie Morgan is next. Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Before we talk to the beautiful and talented Lorrie Morgan, this just in. Washington's CNN and this from our correspondents John King and Dana Bash. Barring a last-minute hitch, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry plans to announce his choice for a running mate tomorrow morning, Tuesday morning at a rally in downtown Pittsburgh. Several Democratic sources close to the campaign tell CNN.

In an unusual wrinkle, designed to protect the secrecy of the process, Senator Kerry's choice is not scheduled to attend the announcement rally, the sources say. The sources caution that Senator Kerry could decide to delay the choice, but one said the directions are to go forward with the rollout plan Tuesday morning.

More details at the top of the hour with Anderson Cooper on "NEWSNIGHT." And Senator Kerry and his wife will be our special guests for the hour in New York this Thursday night, July 8. Senator Kerry and his wife, this Thursday night in New York.

We now welcome country music star Lorrie Morgan. Her 12th album "Show Me How" was released earlier this year. You got any thoughts on the Bridget Marks story?

LORRIE MORGAN, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: I do. I'm very sad about that. I mean, I couldn't imagine, as a mother, having someone take my children away with me and then go live with a man that they don't even know. I mean, I just -- I'm behind her 100 percent.

KING: You understand the law though? Because they're trying to prevent people from making false charges.

MORGAN: I understand that. And again I think there's pros and cons to that, because it's going to stop a lot of people from coming forward with really legitimate accusations.

KING: They'll hesitate to do it.

MORGAN: Exactly.

KING: How do you -- you've had a hectic life, right?

MORGAN: I have. And still am having one.

KING: How do you explain that? How do you explain you to you? I mean not only the marriages but the breakups, and the divorces and violence, and still having a successful career and all that jumbled into one?

MORGAN: Well, how do I explain it to me?

KING: Yes. When you look at yourself.

MORGAN: When I look at myself I just think that I'm destined for a whirlwind kind of life. And I accept that, because, I'm not one to sit back and just take things calmly, you know, calm bothers me. And for some reason there has to be something exciting in my life.

KING: You're an activist? A risk taker?

MORGAN: A risk taker.

KING: In other words, you like the drama?

MORGAN: I like some of the drama. A lot of the drama I don't like at all. But, you know, drama is something that lets you know you're still alive.

KING: Also you sing about it right? You know country music is drama.

MORGAN: Yes, it is drama. And I do sing about it. And I live it. And there's nothing more truthful than singing a song about what you live.

KING: Let's break some things down: You're a child of the Grand Ole Opry. Your full name is Loretta Lynn Morgan. You were named after Loretta Lynn.

MORGAN: Actually I was not named after Loretta Lynn. I was born in '59.

KING: She wasn't famous in '59.

MORGAN: And she didn't come to Nashville in '60 or '61.

KING: And her name turned out to be Loretta Lynn.

MORGAN: Exactly. She always calls me her name sake which I'm very proud of, but that's not really the case.

KING: And your father who was a famous singing. Made one of the great recordings in country history called "Paper Roses."

MORGAN: No. You just sang it a minute ago.

KING: "Candy Kisses." Wrapped in paper mean more to you than any of mine.

MORGAN: That's right.

KING: George Morgan.

MORGAN: That's right.

KING: He wrote it?

MORGAN: He wrote it, yes he did.

KING: Did very well with that song.

MORGAN: Had a whole career on that. Of course, back then you could record one great record and have a full-time career for a lifetime. But it doesn't work that way now.

KING: When did you start singing?

MORGAN: I actually started singing professionally, my first professional appearance was on the Opry when I was 13 years old. That was my first paycheck.

KING: Did your father promote this? Did he say he wants you to sing?

MORGAN: You know, he told me, he said I would love for you -- he believed in my voice. He believed in my talent. But he said if it's something you want to do, I'm there for you 150 percent. If it's something you don't want to do, I will never press you to do it.

KING: Pretty good guy?

MORGAN: Yes, very good guy.

KING: How's the state of your fifth marriage to Sammy Kershaw? I know Sammy's here with you tonight. He's a great talent himself.

MORGAN: Yes. Thank you.

KING: That was a violent, turbulent beginning, right? He was married? What's the story.

MORGAN: Well, Sammy and I had, as you know, we had a very rough start. And Sammy is -- he's kind of like me. His life has been very dramatic and somewhat sad. But Sammy has been, I guess, following me and knowing me for 20-some years. And from the first time Sammy and I met, there was an attraction there.

KING: But nothing happened with it?

MORGAN: Nothing happened. And 20-some years later, we were both in marriages, and we decided to get out of those marriages to pursue the love that we feel for each other.

And it was very tough. It was tough on our family. It was tough on our children and our fans. But, you know, you only live once. And we thought we could make the best of it, and join families together, join our children together. Which we've, I think, we've done very successfully with that.

KING: But you had some problems. You had restraining orders against each other.

MORGAN: Oh, that was after we got married. Yes.

KING: That's what I mean, after you got married.

MORGAN: After we got married.

Well, that was a big mix-up for sure. Because Sammy and I, you know, it's really hard, as you know, to be in the public life, and have a private life. And we had so many people that were for us, but yet so many people that were against us. And they didn't want to see us succeed.

KING: You took it out on each other?

MORGAN: And they played us against each other. And we fell for it. And we took it out on each other. And one fight led to another fight, and it became extremely, extremely violent. I mean, it was -- it was very uncalled for. And the first thing we did was file a restraining order. Instead of talking about it, we were kept away from each other. So we couldn't even talk about it.

KING: Was liquor involved, too?

MORGAN: No. Neither one.

KING: Drugs?

MORGAN: Neither one of us do drugs.

KING: What resolved it? And what makes you do well now that you weren't doing before?

MORGAN: Well, I think we both have realized that we are soul mates. And he is -- he is my best friend. And he's such a wonderful person inside that it's been hard to pull that out of him.

And I think when we got back together, which we both kind of initiated when I was going to get my stuff out of the house, and it hit us that, you know, this is something we worked for a long time.

And a very good friend of ours, our priest, told us, what are you going to do? Start over? Get married again? And then come to the same problems in the next marriage? You've got to make it work. If you love each other, make it work.

KING: How's it doing?

MORGAN: It's doing very, very good. We've -- we've learned when we get ready to argue, we just kind of go, OK, and we go -- he goes his way and I go mine.

KING: Do you support each other's career?

MORGAN: Very much. I'm very supportive of Sammy's career. I think Sammy is one of the most underrated male country singers in the business. And I think he's extremely talented, and extremely handsome. And I'm sure he feels the same about me.

KING: Do you think you're underrated?

MORGAN: Underrated? No, you know what? I feel very lucky in this business, because I -- I got so much more than I ever prayed for. And I've recorded with some of the greatest singers in music, not just country music. But I've got awards and albums.

KING: You've got a great voice.

MORGAN: Oh, thank you. I don't feel like I'm underrated. I'm very lucky. I'm very fortunate.

KING: Because you had a lot -- you've had a husband die, right?

MORGAN: Yes.

KING: Mr. Whitley who died, right?

MORGAN: Yes.

KING: You've dealt with people who had problems of their own. You had to support people, hold them up, right?

MORGAN: Yes. And it's very nice that someone's there to hold me up when I need it. And Sammy's very intuitive about my moods, and my fears, my phobias. He's very supportive of that. And I've never really had that before. So it's very comforting.

KING: Do you concertize together? Do you go out on the road together?

MORGAN: We do. We have before. But we find his crowd and my crowd are two separate different people.

KING: Explain.

MORGAN: Sammy's kind of a southern rock country. I'm more of a very laid-back music.

KING: Pop?

MORGAN: No, no, I wouldn't call it pop. I'm more laid back, Tammy Wynette-ish kind of songs. Sammy's more, like I said, southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, that kind of thing. And the crowds just kind of don't mix.

KING: You also had an early hit, right, "Paper Roses" was a hit at what age?

MORGAN: Well, it really wasn't a hit for me. It was my debut song on the Grand Ole Opry. It's kind of what made my mark.

KING: It's a famous song.

MORGAN: It was made famous by Marie Osmond.

KING: Who will be with news a couple weeks.

MORGAN: It was very popular back then. So my dad asked me what song I wanted to sing on the Opry for my first song. So since it was popular, I chose "Paper Roses" and was scared to death.

KING: Did you have a relationship with Troy Aikman?

MORGAN: Yes, I did. I dated Troy for a couple years, and...

KING: Good guy.

MORGAN: He's a great guy. And he's a wonderful, wonderful father, I'm told. He was two -- three children, three girls. And very happily married. And as a matter of fact, I'm still very good friends with his mother.

KING: So that wasn't a mean breakup.

MORGAN: No. It wasn't mean at all, no.

KING: Our guest is Lorrie Morgan. As we go to break, here's Lorrie and her husband together, watch.

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KING: We're back with Lorrie Morgan. Yours is an unusual voice for country, in that you could also sing Broadway. I mean, you have a lilting voice.

MORGAN: Thank you very much. You know, a few years ago I recorded a standard album called "Secret Love" where we did all the great standard songs.

KING: Doing "Secret Love" from Pajama Gang?

MORGAN: Exactly. And just a lot of the great love standard songs. And it was just one of my favorite albums I've ever done, because I love that kind of music.

KING: You have that kind of voice. It took you awhile before you had a hit, though, right?

MORGAN: It took me a long time before I had a hit. I was in the business for many, many years and finally RCA Records offered me a deal and I said this is the last time I'm going to a record company and they offered me a deal and got me a hit record.

KING: You recently had a birthday, right? June 27, right?

MORGAN: That's right. And my band celebrated it on the road. Sammy flew in to -- actually we were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Sammy flew in. KING: There you are blowing out the cake.

MORGAN: And they had those candles that don't blow out.

KING: Is this one of your happier birthdays?

MORGAN: This was a great birthday. Great birthday.

KING: You look happy.

MORGAN: Thank you.

KING: You sang at the 2000 Republican National Convention, right?

MORGAN: Yes, I did.

KING: Going to sing at this one?

MORGAN: I would like to. I haven't been invited. But I would like to.

KING: You're a Republican?

MORGAN: Yes.

KING: Nashville, Tennessee, as we include some calls for Lorrie Morgan. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi. Go ahead.

CALLER: I was just wondering how Lorrie's kids and Sammy's kids got along.

MORGAN: Well, you know what? They get along absolutely wonderful. It was -- it was a little bit hard at first, because it's really hard mixing two families together. But the kids have so much in common. Their sense of -- all of our children have a great sense of humor. And that really, I think, was one of the things that drew them together. They laugh a lot.

And you know, I think at first it was a little tough. But, they've realized they had people in their lives now that they weren't blessed with before. And they get along great.

KING: What are their ages?

MORGAN: Oh, my goodness. Let's see. 29 -- no 28, 26, 23, 23...

KING: No younguns?

MORGAN: Uh-huh, a 10. A 10-year-old. And a 16-year-old.

KING: Wow. MORGAN: And an 18-year-old.

KING: Atlanta, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Miss Morgan, you are absolutely the most gorgeous woman in country music, without a doubt.

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

CALLER: And someone already talked about the children thing. And I wanted to ask you, when are we going to hear some more of those gorgeous ballads that you sing? I'm telling you, I miss it so much. I have every CD you've ever made.

MORGAN: Thank you very much. I have my current CD right now is "Show Me How." And there's some great ballads on there. As matter of fact, my very -- my current single right now is called "I Can Count On You." And it's a beautiful ballad. It's just me and a piano. And it's just beautiful. And there are some beautiful ballads on the new album. And it is called "Show Me How." So go to your store.

KING: Is "Show Me How" one of the songs?

MORGAN: "Show Me How" is one of the songs. Yes.

KING: Grass Valley, California, for Lorrie Morgan. Hello.

CALLER: Lorrie?

MORGAN: Yes.

CALLER: Good evening. How are you?

MORGAN: I'm fine, thank you.

CALLER: Good. Real quickly, I have to say that I appreciate and thank you for doing your duet with Keith Whitley "Until Each Teardrop Becomes A Rose."

MORGAN: Thank you.

CALLER: And I would just like to ask you, were you with Keith, were you married to Keith when he passed on? And I love Sammy, also.

MORGAN: Thank you very much. Yes, I was with Keith.

KING: You've written about this.

MORGAN: I was married to Keith.

KING: Loved him? MORGAN: Very much. Very much. Keith was a wonderful, wonderful man. And I was married to Keith at the time.

KING: What did he die of?

MORGAN: He died of alcohol poisoning. And Keith had a very, very very sad sickness, very bad sickness with alcohol.

KING: Couldn't stop?

MORGAN: Could not stop. Had been to treatment after treatment. But I did write a book about my relationship with Keith, and Keith, his whole life, and it's called "Forever Yours Faithfully." And it kind of explains a lot of things in the book.

KING: Did Sammy know Keith?

MORGAN: Sammy did know Keith. I actually think he'd met him once or twice. And he was a fan of Keith's. Matter of fact, he got Keith's autograph before Keith and I ever met.

KING: Didn't you also go out with Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee?

MORGAN: Yes, I did.

KING: Who now is the star of Law & Order?

MORGAN: Yes, he is.

KING: Fun guy. Lifetime bachelor.

MORGAN: Yes. Well, no he's married.

KING: Now he's married?

MORGAN: Now he's married. And has, I think, a little girl.

KING: Nice guy.

MORGAN: Very nice guy. Very down-to-earth. And just a great guy. One to be proud to call a friend.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Lorrie Morgan. The album is "Show Me How."

Don't forget we have reports now, this is CNN has reports from sources that Senator Kerry will announce tomorrow morning in Pittsburgh his running mate. That could change, but that's what we hear.

Senator Kerry and his wife will be our special guests for the full hour in New York on Thursday night. We'll be right back.

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KING: You lost two people in your life close to you, your husband and Tammy Wynette, right?

MORGAN: Yes, very much. Actually three people, my father and Keith and Tammy. Yes.

KING: You friends -- close friends with her?

MORGAN: Very much. Tammy was...

KING: She was great. She guested on this show.

MORGAN: She was such a great lady. And so, so supportive of me, and my life.

KING: Yes?

MORGAN: And always giving me encouraging words, and just such an inspiration.

KING: And you and your husband have a restaurant?

MORGAN: We do have a restaurant.

KING: Where?

MORGAN: It's in Nashville. It's right outside of Nashville. It's called Hot Chickens.com.

KING: Hot Chickens...

MORGAN: Hot Chickens.com.

KING: Plural?

MORGAN: Oh, yes.

KING: dotcom?

MORGAN: And we serve everything from chicken to fish to shrimp, po' boys and it's just a great place.

KING: Hot Chickens.com.

MORGAN: That's right. KING: Colonial Heights, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Hi, Mr. King. Hello, Lorrie. I just wanted to ask, your being so successful and talented in your own right, why so many marriages?

MORGAN: Hmm. Well I've asked myself that question, but unfortunately, you know, sometimes things just don't work out. And you know, being successful in a career and being successful in a relationship are two separate, separate matters.

And unfortunately, I -- you know, I -- well, let me put it this way. Fortunately, I was married to some good people. Unfortunately, the relationships did not work. And it's for the better.

KING: That's why they invented divorce.

Huntington Beach, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Lorrie. I think you're one of the best singers in country music.

MORGAN: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, do you think country music has become too pop?

MORGAN: Oh, yes. For sure I do.

KING: Well, it's the most popular radio form of -- the most popular format on the radio today.

MORGAN: But I think it has become too...

KING: Commercial?

MORGAN: Too pop-oriented, actually.

I just, you know, I think very fortunately right now country is getting back to being more country music versus how it was a couple years ago. Because it was pretty scary a couple years ago how country music was.

It was like you would send a song to radio and they'd call you back and they'd go, that's too country, we can't play that. And you're like, well what am I...

KING: How do you define it? Country Pop as opposed to Country?

MORGAN: Well, Country is...

KING: What's one? What's the other?

MORGAN: Country is a lot of fiddle. It's a lot of steel guitar. It's a lot of heart. It's a lot of what is inside of you. Versus what's going to be playable to radio, or what's going to, you know. It's more about the heart. It's more about the simplicity of the music. And it got so far from that. For awhile.

But I believe it's on -- I believe it's on the incline again.

KING: Lorrie you're next in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Thursday night, right? You're on a swing now.

MORGAN: Friday night.

KING: Friday night.

MORGAN: I'm there Friday night.

KING: You're on the tour now right?

MORGAN: Right. We are touring.

KING: 61 cities.

MORGAN: Well, 60-some dates, yes.

KING: You don't do as much as you used to?

MORGAN: No, I don't.

KING: Slowing down?

MORGAN: It is called slowing down.

KING: Thank you, doll.

MORGAN: My pleasure. Thank you.

KING: Lorrie Morgan. The newest album released earlier, "Show Me How." And I'll be back in a couple of minutes and tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.

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KING: Tomorrow night Tawny Kitaen. Another incredible story. The former wife of baseball star Chuck Finley. Tawny Kitaen tomorrow night.

And Wednesday night, Gene Hackman is the guest.

And Thursday night, Senator John Kerry who, with Anderson Cooper's return from Iraq. Anderson is going to host "NEWSNIGHT" tonight, sitting in for Aaron Brown. And John Kerry just may be the lead story, correct?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: He's definitely the lead story tonight. But we'll watch, also, Thursday night with him -- and his wife is going to be on your show, correct?

KING: Correct.

Welcome home, Anderson.

COOPER: Larry, it's good to be home. Thanks very much.

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