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An Interview With Jenny Lee

Aired October 13, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, she's just 29 and she's already had 30 cosmetic procedures, breasts, nose, lips, brow and wants more. Wait until you see what she's done with herself. You're not going to believe it, Jenny Lee addicted to plastic surgery and taking your phone calls. She's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Jenny Lee is our special guest tonight, an incredible story. She's only 29, just turned 29. She's already had 30 cosmetic procedures including breast implants, lips, a brow lift, cheek and lip implants, three nose jobs, a liposuction and is contemplating more surgery.

At the bottom of the hour we'll be joined by Dr. George Pratt, the famed, licensed clinical psychologist from La Jolla Scripps Memorial Hospital and by Dr. Robert Singer, the board-certified plastic surgeon. Both are distinguished in their fields. Dr. Singer is not her plastic surgeon and we'll discuss this matter of Jenny Lee, who has -- when did you start? What was the first thing you did and why?

JENNY LEE: I started with my breasts and I was 19 and I started because I wanted to make an improvement to stop some derogatory comments that had been continuously made to me so...

KING: That your breasts were too small?

LEE: Too small, out of proportion, asymmetrical.

KING: So you had them enlarged?

LEE: Had them enlarged.

KING: Nineteen and you live in Austin, Texas, right?

LEE: I live in Austin now. I lived in Dallas. I lived in Houston then initially.

KING: Were all the procedures done in Texas?

LEE: In Texas.

KING: OK. All right, did that turn out OK, the breasts?

LEE: Actually, no. My left implant slipped out of place and basically fell out of the pocket, so I went in and I had both implants removed and replaced about I guess 18 months later.

KING: And was that before you did any other procedures?

LEE: At that time, I did my nose and full body liposuction.

KING: Why?

LEE: Because I guess it had been ingrained in my brain that I was overweight and that my nose was too big and, you know, I wanted to fix the problem with my breasts and you know...

KING: One thing led to another?

LEE: One thing led to another.

KING: What did your family say?

LEE: You know, I'm one of those people that I don't ask for permission. I just kind of do it and, you know, they really didn't have a whole lot to say because, you know, I was going to do what I was going to do no matter what they had to say about it. And, you know, afterwards they just kind of shrugged it off like oh well, she's going to do what she's going to do anyway.

KING: Now Jenny Lee is your -- you're married right?

LEE: I'm married.

KING: Jenny, what does your husband think of all this?

LEE: My current husband?

KING: Yes, is he your second husband?

LEE: He's my second husband.

KING: What does he think?

LEE: He's OK with it all. He -- just anything that will make me happy, you know he blesses, so you know I think he'd rather that I just stopped while I was ahead.

KING: Did the first husband not like it?

LEE: The first husband as much criticism as I got over the way that I appeared to look actually after I got the breast augmentation he was pretty upset.

KING: Really?

LEE: Yes. Yes, he was. He was upset. I gained some attention from men that I hadn't gained before and I think there was a little bit of jealousy there and so it was really ironic that he had had such negative things to say about the way my breasts look and then I fixed them and then he didn't like it.

KING: I guess what people would say is you weren't ugly were you? LEE: No.

KING: OK. You have beautiful eyes.

LEE: Thank you.

KING: Nice shaped face, right. You're very slim. You have a nice body. When you walked in you're very pretty. Why do you need this? I mean really why do you need this?

LEE: Well, I just think it started a long time ago and, you know, once it's engrained in your brain and it's been beat in there it's really hard to get it out and you just continue to self examine yourself and put yourself under the microscope and, you know, I think if you're told something enough over and over again you begin to believe it.

KING: Would you say you're addicted to it?

LEE: I would say I am -- that I really like plastic surgery and I like the way that it makes me feel. I like the results when they're finished and I don't think that I'll ever stop probably...

KING: have you had any problems other than the breasts with the first time?

LEE: I had a lip implant twice. Actually my bottom lip implant that I had put in it I guess is attached by scar tissue that holds it in place and I had ripped the scar tissue and so it had went in crooked into my lip and, you know, once it was in it and the scar tissue ripped it was crooked.

KING: Yet you keep coming back like a song, right? You keep on keeping on.

LEE: Yes.

KING: Hoping to do what? Are you an actress? I mean what do you want to do with this other than look great?

LEE: Well, I would like to be an actress and that's something that I aspire to do and I work really hard in actively pursuing it but I think my main goal is just to be somewhat pleased with my appearance.

KING: Are you now not pleased?

LEE: It depends on the day, you know I mean.

KING: How are you today?

LEE: Today I'm OK. I'm not crazy about my hair. I did it up for you.

KING: Now you couldn't have done something to your hair right? There's no plastic surgery involved with hair right? LEE: No.

KING: So that is your hair?

LEE: That's my hair.

KING: How do you pay for all this?

LEE: For the...

KING: The procedures they're expensive aren't they?

LEE: Well, yes, but I did it over a long period of time. I mean over the last eight or nine years, I spaced it out.

KING: So, you worked and paid for it as you went?

LEE: Yes. Yes.

KING: So, you don't owe money for this?

LEE: No.

KING: How much has it cost you?

LEE: Well, if you ask me what the retail value of it is, it's different than what I've actually paid.

KING: Did they give you breaks?

LEE: Well, yes, whenever you do multiple things all at the same time there's usually, you know, a discount that you get.

KING: Oh you get like a rake off?

LEE: Yes.

KING: All right. The surgeries have taken a physical toll on Jenny Lee. Here's a look at issues caused by the many nose surgeries. Watch.


LEE: People don't realize how much they could appreciate taking a tissue and wrapping it around their finger and sticking it up their nose and being able to clean their nose out and I can't do that and so I have to take Q-tips everywhere I go so that I make sure that I can breathe out of my nose. Otherwise, I can only breathe out of my mouth. And I can't blow my nose because then, you know, it's a lot of blood and then it's stuck up all in there and I can't get it out and it's just a nightmare.


KING: Why do you need a nightmare? I mean there's a chance other things you do you'll have more nightmares. LEE: Yes.

KING: So there's something going on here, right? You don't think you're pretty enough now to do modeling, to do something? You don't think. You think you need more.

LEE: Yes, honestly yes.

KING: All right, as we go to break our camera crew went with Jenny to a tanning salon where she shows us why she thinks the 30 procedures that she's had are not enough. Watch.


LEE: My problem is that I have a lot of stretch marks because I gained over 72 pounds when I was pregnant. I have since lost all of that weight but I have the stretch marks, which I'm unhappy with and I would like to get rid of those. And, I have some skin basically that's here that I would like to have removed and in some cases lifted.

And, basically the way, you know, the doctors have described it is when I grab a hold of the skin, and keep in mind I'm at the lowest body weight that I possibly can be at before I am in a danger zone, but when I let it go there's a good five inches of skin that can be removed.



KING: Now that ain't hard to take. What kind of work do you get from this?

LEE: Well, all the work that I've gotten has kind of fallen into my lap. I didn't go out seeking it. It kind of...

KING: Like what?

LEE: Well, I did a commercial. I did a training video for a tanning company in Dallas. I've done some modeling and...

KING: Playboy hasn't come?

LEE: No.

KING: Would you do, would you pose for Playboy?

LEE: I have to discuss that with my husband. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: Would you be inclined to?

LEE: I would be inclined to discuss it with him. We have discussed it and that's a ballsy move right there.

KING: You have an 11-year-old daughter.

LEE: Yes.

KING: From your first marriage.

LEE: Yes.

KING: What does she think of all this? What does she think of mommy?

LEE: She thinks mommy looks like a Barbie doll and she says that I'm very pretty.

KING: She ain't far from wrong.

LEE: I think all this has become very transparent to her though because most of the surgeries that I've had done were when she was really small and a lot of times when she was with her dad and so she, you know, it's been pretty transparent to her.

KING: I want to get this right. In September, the Insider TV show took you to Dr. Robert Ray. We know Dr. Ray well, the plastic surgeon featured on the show Dr. 90210. Dr. Ray said he would not do any additional surgery on your face and diagnosed her as having a body dysmorphic disorder.

LEE: Right.

KING: What does that mean?

LEE: Well, the definition is imagined or perceived flaws and it's people who are consumed and obsessed with their flaws and they basically spend all of their time thinking about them.

KING: Is that true?

LEE: Yes.

KING: In other words when you look in the mirror you see a flaw?

LEE: Most of the time, yes. It's getting better though. I'm getting better.

KING: Do you have anxiety from this?

LEE: Yes.

KING: Do you have to take medication for anxiety?

LEE: When I need it I have it.

KING: So you have to -- have you been in therapy?

LEE: I have been in therapy. I've been through and I actually had a psychiatrist in Dallas who I really, really liked and he's the one that initially diagnosed me with body dysmorphic disorder and I chose to do some psychotherapy with him, which is a little unusual. Normally you go to a psychologist for that.

KING: Yes.

LEE: But I learned cognitive behavioral therapy and so I choose to do that more so than spending $110 a week to pay someone to do something that I already know how to do, so and I've been pretty successful at that. I've gotten better.

KING: Have you pretty much, other than the first surgery and where things went wrong, use the same surgeon?

LEE: Yes.

KING: And he has no -- well, we have a statement from him we'll read in a while. He has no problem continuing to do all these procedures?

LEE: Well, I can't tell you how many times I've been sent away. I've gone and asked him for something and he...

KING: Oh, he turns you down a lot?

LEE: Yes. He's honest with me and, you know, there's not many people that I let boss me around and, you know, he's one of those type of people who I respect enough to where, you know, if he says "Listen, this isn't right for you," I'll listen to him because, you know, he's really good at what he does and he's, you know, an expert and he's honest.

KING: Well, you'd be insane not to listen to him.

LEE: Right.

KING: All right. Tell me about how you grew up. How many brothers and sisters?

LEE: I have two sisters, one older, one younger.

KING: Are they like this?

LEE: No.

KING: Are they pretty?

LEE: Yes, gorgeous.

KING: And they don't have any of these things?

LEE: No.

KING: What about your parents?

LEE: My dad has passed away.

KING: Did he know about any of this? LEE: Yes, he did and, you know, he really didn't have, you know, too much to say about it just, you know, whatever makes me happy, you know. I just -- I wouldn't tell anybody I was going to do this until the night before.

I'd call my mom or my dad and I'd say "Hey, listen, I'm going in to surgery tomorrow and I'll just call you when I get out." And they'd say, "Well, what are you going to do?" "I'm just going to fix this or fix that or whatever."

And they -- my dad would say "Well why are you going to do that?" "I don't know. I just feel like doing it." He'd say, "OK" you know and, you know, leave it at that.

KING: What do your siblings say?

LEE: You know my younger sister was -- is nine and a half years younger than me, so I mean what can she say? I mean she saw the transformation kind of through a period.

KING: She's only 20, 19 and a half.

LEE: Nineteen and a half, yes. So, you know, she didn't really have an opinion, you know. She'd just see me one time and I'd look one way and the next time I may look a different way. And then, you know, I remember one time my older sister had come over right after I had had liposuction, my breasts done, a breast lift and I showed her like all my scars. I lifted up everything and she's like, "Oh, my God I can't believe that. That's awful," because you know, you know, you look beat up.

KING: What was liposuction like?

LEE: Oh, it was a piece of cake.

KING: Easy?

LEE: Easy.

KING: From what you've been through.

LEE: Easy, yes.

KING: Don't you have a lot of after pain from all these procedures?

LEE: Well, you take pain medicine, you know, for a little bit but, you know, when you want something that bad, you know...

KING: How overweight were you?

LEE: When I had liposuction, 130 pounds.

KING: You were 130 pounds more than you are now?

LEE: No, just 130 pounds. KING: Wait a minute. You were a total of 130 pounds?

LEE: Yes.

KING: And how tall are you?

LEE: Five, seven.

KING: So you needed to lose what about six pounds?

LEE: Yes, he took off five pounds of fat.

KING: You had liposuction for five pounds?

LEE: Yes.

KING: Wait a minute.

LEE: I couldn't get it off of my hips.

KING: You couldn't exercise if off, diet it off?

LEE: I tried. I tried. It wouldn't come off my hips. It wouldn't come off my lower stomach so...

KING: I didn't know they did lipo for that small amount of poundage.

LEE: Yes.

KING: It must have taken a second and a half, I mean (INAUDIBLE).

LEE: I think it was over two and a half liters of fat that he sucked off of my body. I mean I just had these love handles that I -- that weren't going anywhere and, you know, fat in -- you know what it way my thighs were rubbing together and no matter how much I tried to work out and diet my thighs kept still rubbing together.

I said, "Please make my thighs not rub together" because I had never experienced my thighs rubbing together and I was pregnant and about seven months into pregnancy all of a sudden I had this -- I woke up and walked into the bathroom and my thighs started rubbing together and I thought what in the world and so I just wanted that to stop.

KING: You're incredible, Jenny. Again, at the bottom of the hour we're going to bring in a board-certified plastic surgeon and a famed psychologist and discuss Jenny and she's agreed to that. And we'll take your calls too. In fact, we'll take a few calls in a moment.

Jenny was featured in a story on the television show the Insider. We've already discussed that and it reveals which celebrity she wanted certain body parts to reveal. Take a look as we go to break. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This Texas housewife, who was once told she looked like Julia Roberts, has had 28 cosmetic procedures so far and Jenny Lee is only 28 years old. Jenny says her face is a who's who of Hollywood, Michael Jackson's nose, Jennifer Aniston's jaw, J. Lo's profile.




LEE: Do I think it will ever stop, no. I think that I am the type of person who wants to look the best that I can for as long as I can. I've gotten to the point where I want to do (INAUDIBLE) things instead of more surgical things. And, to be honest, I'll probably run out of things to do. I've done just about everything on the list.


KING: Jenny Lee has a Web site. It is, right?

LEE: That's correct.

KING: It's Are you ugly to look at nude with all these procedures and the lipo and the things off and the things on and the things moved and the pregnancy and everything?

LEE: Yes.

KING: OK. What are you worried about? What do you have to do?

LEE: Well, I think, you know, when you're wearing...

KING: What would you like to change right now?

LEE: Right now, I would like to -- two things, switch out my implants to get rid of the rippling and put the silicone in. And, I would like to get rid of -- I'd like a body lift because I'm -- I just don't like the skin. I don't like the excess skin.

KING: A body lift is what?

LEE: It will shock you. It's circumferential all the way around your body pulling up like a pair of pantyhose. They cut you.

KING: Circumferential.

LEE: Circumferential.

KING: Never heard that word.

LEE: All the way around.

KING: They pull up your skin? LEE: Yes and then the inner thigh lift. They do it in the inside of your thigh and lift up your skin on the inside of your thigh.

KING: And you're anxious for this, boy I can't wait, boy if this could only happen tomorrow it would make your day?

LEE: Yes.

KING: Let's take a call, Willard, Ohio, hello.


KING: Yes.

CALLER: Jenny Lee, I have a question. Do you have any regrets and what kind of message do you want to send to your daughter?

LEE: Well, I do have some regrets. My timing for some of the things that I have done hasn't been the best and it wasn't really my fault. Had I known that there were some family events that were coming up, I think I would have been able to reschedule some surgeries but instead I didn't know and I went ahead with the procedures and then missed out on some family events.

I scheduled some things around Christmas the year that my dad had passed away, which was pretty devastating. Had I known that, of course you never know if anybody is going to die or not but had I known that, you know, that would happen I would have waited. And, do I worry about the effects of how this is...

KING: On your child.

LEE: On my child, to be honest not really because I have instilled in her a very true sense of self and how incredibly beautiful and strong willed child that she is, I think she really understands that she is a pretty little girl and that it's not necessary to go through the extremes that I have gone through in order to have self acceptance and to be pretty.

KING: You have unbelievable teeth. Did you do something to your teeth? You had to have done something to your teeth.

LEE: Yes.

KING: What is that called?

LEE: They're veneers.

KING: Wow. That's a statement for veneers. So that means they're all...

LEE: It's like a crown but it doesn't go al the way around the back of your tooth and I had pretty good teeth and my choice was to either get braces and at 26, 27 years old have four of my very front teeth pulled and get braces to get veneers I was -- I had receding gum lines and so this was a solution.

KING: A special dentist does that?

LEE: Usually a cosmetic dentist will do that but, you know, the dentist that I went to is actually the same dentist that my plastic surgeon uses so I figured well if he's going to go to her and the nurse anesthetist is going to go to her and all the Miss Texas pageant people are going to go to her then I should be going to her too, so she's really good at it.

KING: Was it painful?

LEE: Yes.

KING: It was?

LEE: Yes, the most painful thing that I have done so far.

KING: Wait a minute, the veneering of the teeth more than anything else?

LEE: Yes. After they put the final veneers on I was in the most pain I've ever been in in my life for an entire month. It was the worst.

KING: And then it went away?

LEE: It went away. But, you know, they just have to correct your bite. Your bite is all off and, you know, incidentally my dad had passed away. I was mortified that I had just had my veneers put on and I had, you know, they make them bigger and they say be with them for a month before you decide to, you know, file them down because it's easier to take away than it is to add to it.

KING: Yes.

LEE: And so, you know, my bite was still, you know, being adjusted and so...

KING: Anything you did you'd change?

LEE: Anything I did I would change? I don't know. Sometimes I think I might want my old nose back, you know.

KING: We'll take a break and when we come back we'll be joined by Dr. George Pratt and Dr. Robert Singer and discuss more of the incredible Jenny Lee saga.

Linda Hamilton tomorrow night and we'll talk about depression; Rod Stewart on Saturday; Colin Powell on Monday and Robert Downey, Jr. and Sharon Stone. They're all next week.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEE: I don't wear a helmet and I've never really thought too much about the plastic surgery and how it affects me riding without a helmet. I'm more concerned driving a car that I'm going to wreck and bust my nose and knock all my teeth out than I am riding a motorcycle. I kind of feel like if I ever wreck on the motorcycle I don't want to live through it, just take me.




LEE: I got a steroid shot called Kenalog in my nose, only on the left-hand side because I've developed some scar tissue there, which makes the view from the left-hand side of my face of my nose different than the right-hand side of my face. So what I do is I take a mirror and I have to position it just right to where I look at my nose to see what it looks like, and sometimes there's a hump on the left side of my nose, and sometimes there's not.


KING: Right away, besides all of her trials with the veneers, she would do it away, and it's the best thing she did. She would recommend it to anyone. Jenny Lee remains with us and we're joined now by Dr. George Pratt, Ph.D., and a licensed clinical psychologist. He is chairman of psychology at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California, and author of "Instant Emotional Healing: Acupressure for the Emotions."

And a return visit with Dr. Robert Singer, M.D., board certified plastic surgeon, past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and co-chair of the editorial advisory board of the publication "New Beauty."

DR. ROBERT SINGER, PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, Jenny's a very nice, young lady, very outgoing, very attractive. She's had a lot of plastic surgery., but I don't think plastic surgery is the answer for her. I think that she classically falls into what she has said she has is body dysmorphic disorder.

KING: What is that?

SINGER: That's a preoccupation with deformities or imagined deformities, small areas, where it becomes -- we all have areas that we're concerned about.

KING: Well, a lot of women have it in small scales, right?

SINGER: And we all have things that we don't like about ourselves that we want improved, perhaps. But the preoccupation where it becomes the predominant aspect of your life and to pursue that, that's the end of the bell shaped curve.

KING: Would you have refused to do all that? SINGER: After speaking with her -- most good plastic surgeons, ethical plastic surgeons use the consultation as an evaluation both to educate and to inform and to get information about the motivations and how realistic a person is. After speaking with her, a little bit before this session on camera, I would have been uncomfortable operating on her.

KING: Dr. Pratt, clinically, psychologically, what do you make of this?

DR. GEORGE PRATT, CHNM. PSYCHOLOGY, SCRIPPS MEM. HOSPITAL, LA JOLLA, CALIF.: Well, I think she has a lot of personal strength, that spirit and the determination and the enthusiasm. The dilemma is I think she's carrying around some pretty severe baggage that has contributed to the BDD. BDD usually starts in adolescence. It's when kids get teased or made fun of. Then they have a heightened awareness of something that then kind of sticks with them.

KING: So started with like her breast and people complained that they were -- find them too small or ...

PRATT: And also you said that, up until the time that you were 17, you really didn't have anxiety. And actually you had never thought that there was something wrong you.

LEE: Never.

PRATT: So one of the pivotal pieces was the relationship you were in ...

LEE: Yes.

PRATT: ... with someone telling you that everything was wrong with you on a rotating basis. It was almost like -- almost a cultish kind of behavior.

LEE: Right.

PRATT: Kind of wearing you down, and then being emotionally abusive. And then just hearing it constantly, that would take a toll on anyone. So that can set an imprint even running both a conscious and a subconscious program. There's something wrong with me. I have to fix it.

KING: So when she looks in the mirror, she sees flaws.

PRATT: Correct.

KING: Yet, I was just looking at her profile, she has a great profile. So I would say what you would change in her? Now, how can you -- would you want to help her? Does she need help?

PRATT: I think so. But perhaps you don't. In terms of the, kind of a desperate attempt to always be doing something, I think there's more to life to enjoy life than to be so focused on the physical. I think it's never-ending. I think it's better to fix low self-esteem even if people would think, heck you don't have low self-esteem. But part of this is related to that. So if you work on that and become the person that you're capable of, I think these other -- the intensity of some of these other feelings, they're going to decline.

KING: Jenny, what do you think of that?

LEE: Well, I agree with him. And, you know, that's I think part of the reason why I've wanted to pursue, you know, acting is because I get -- the times they have worked, I've gotten a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment out of that and it makes me feel really good.

In a way, it's probably some sort of therapy for me, just to, you know, to do that kind of work because it just absolutely love it. But, you know, I've also practiced lots of the cognitive behavioral therapy stuff that I have learned.

KING: Is that working?

LEE: It's working. It's working.

KING: Do you know about cognitive therapy?

PRATT: Cognitive behavioral therapy is the standard. It's a wonderful tool. Sometimes it's a little bit like bending steel. It takes a lot of time and attention. Sometimes -- because of what had happened with you with the emotional abuse over actually several years, let's think of it this way. We can logically come up with some conclusions.

We'd agree to them and then we'd seek to follow them, but let's say for some reason we can't. We're blocked in some way. If you have been traumatized, you can't get the prefrontal cortex, those two little, dinky spots right there, that really are associated with logic, you can't get them -- you can't get that logic to the parts of the brain that really need it, the limbic system. There's a disconnect, so you have to find alternative ways to get that information indirectly.

KING: Can a plastic surgeon work with a psychologist?

SINGER: Often in a patient who comes in desiring to look like someone else, desiring to really change themselves significantly rather than just improve something and may not be totally realistic about the outcome, that patient should see a psychologist. They should have evaluation and therapy rather than plastic surgery.

KING: And you would work with that psychologist? Or not see you?

SINGER: Yes. Well, I would want them to be evaluated first. And then to see how realistic they were, and to see if in fact that the therapist felt that the patient could undergo the procedure and would be happy with it. Problem with patients who have body dysmorphic disorder is they may have surgery of one area. They may or may not be pleased with that. If they are pleased with it, they often go on to find another area they're displeased with. So it doesn't really answer ...

KING: They're never going to be satisfied?

SINGER: That's correct. Surgery's not the answer for them.

KING: When we go to break, we're going to ask Dr. Pratt if Jenny can change. We'll be right back.


LEE: My doctor made actually a fabulous suggestion. He did a brow lift. Then I would not have to have Botox again, probably -- in my forehead for a good 15 years, if not the rest of my life. And they cut you literally from your ear to here, to here, across your forehead, back to here, and then back to your ear so -- and fold your face forward, cut the muscles, tighten them up, and then staple you here, and here, and then sew you here.




LEE: The younger you are, the less risk you are. The older you are, the more risk you have. So because I am young, I can withstand, six, seven procedures all at the same time. And, I mean, when you see like "the Swan" or "the Extreme Makeover," that's what they do to those people. They do a brow lift, the face-lift, the nose job, a lip augmentation, a chin implant, breast augmentation, liposuction all at the same time. So, a young person can pretty much withstand six, to eight hours of surgery.


KING: By the way, Dr. Pratt, I'm told that 1.5 to 2 percent of population have body dysmorphic disorder, about 5 million people. It was never included in the diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders until 1987. Why?

PRATT: I think under reported. People didn't want to deal with it. People thought it was really -- practitioners thought it was more associated with compulsive disorder.

KING: Is it a disorder or disease?

PRATT: You know, technically, I think we are splitting hairs. It's a ...

KING: Something wrong.

PRATT: It's a condition that can be debilitating and disabling for people.

KING: But you don't think you have a problem, Jenny? Or do you?

LEE: No. I have been diagnosed with it. So, I know that I have a problem. I think that my problem is not as bad as it was. It once was pretty severe. And it has gotten much better I would say in the last year to 18 months.

You know, I've -- just by visiting with psychiatrist and having the therapy that I went through and trying to discover what happened to me? How did this happen? How did this happen to me? I never felt this way before.

KING: Have you had a patient where you have done multiple things?

SINGER: I think there's a difference with patients who have serial procedures at different stages of life and multiple procedures. There are some that the multiple procedures make sense as long as it's safe, as long as they're realistic about their expectations. That's different from multiple procedures that we're talking about here.

KING: I want to ask Dr. Pratt if he could -- if this could change. But I have a statement from Jenny's plastic surgeon I want to read. He didn't want his name identified, but he wanted to say, this. "I have always found Jenny to be reasonable about the approach of plastic surgery. Our job as physicians is to consider the patient's desires and motives and weigh those against what we believe to be reasonable and safe. I do not believe that Jenny suffers from body dysmorphic disorder.

And I have always found her to be very accepting of my advice as a surgeon. I believe the only thing you can accuse Jenny of is having bad taste in how she wants her nose to look and of what celebrity nose she wants hers to look like." That's her plastic surgeon. Could you change her, Dr. Pratt?

PRATT: If she wanted to be changed. I don't think there's enough surgery to fix low self-esteem through that method. I think the capacity with -- with interest and motivation to actually help heal this, I think that does exist along with the traditional techniques that Jenny was talking about: the cognitive behavioral desensitization, the anxiety and the obsessions. Along with that adding some additional tools.

Clinical hypnosis can be very helpful. Eye movement desensitive reprocessing can be helpful. And then the newer innovative techniques on energy psychology where you actually affect the body's energy system.

KING: You have to want it?

PRATT: You have to want.

KING: What do you make of the statement from her surgeon that he thinks she doesn't have this? SINGER: You know, he spent more time with her. I don't necessarily agree with him about that. It doesn't make any difference if she falls into that exact category. But Jenny certainly has not been totally satisfied with her appearance, seeks more surgery. And I can understand the surgeon with the desire to try to make her happier. As plastic surgeons, we deal with deformity, we deal with birth defect, we deal with injuries and there we try to make those patients happy.

Most of those patients, the overwhelming majority, are happy with their surgery. Would do it again and don't pursue additional surgery. That's very different from where Jenny is.

Jenny interestingly said, I asked her, what would you do if your surgeon said, I wouldn't do these procedures anymore? And she really wanted them. She said I would go and find another plastic surgeon.

KING: So you definitely want it?

LEE: Yes. I don't see what is wrong with a woman wanting to feel beautiful. I mean I'm not -- I don't do what I do to gain acceptance from -- from men. I don't do it for attention from people. I do it for the acceptance in the mirror in my reflection. I don't understand what's wrong with wanting to keep up with yourself and maintain a decent look.

KING: I'll take a break but doctor, she's saying, if it ain't a problem to her, is it a problem? I'll be right back with more. Don't go away.


LEE: I'm not ever fully satisfied with the way I look. And to be honest, I don't think I ever will be. You know, it's a battle that I struggle with. And I hope some day to overcome. But I have to be realistic and someone told me that I couldn't have anymore plastic surgery, you know, -- it was it was life threatening. They said if you have another plastic surgery, you are going to die, I don't know. I don't know what I would do about that.



KING: OK, Dr. Pratt, if she doesn't think there's anything wrong, is anything wrong?

PRATT: Well, it's -- it's an operational definition, defining what's wrong. I would say that if you have a person that is normal looking to begin with, and then is accessibly preoccupied about appearance so much so, that 12 invasive procedures prior to age 28, you know, something is going on. There is a self-esteem issue. There's some kind of a connection or a self-absorption in the process that is distancing her from other opportunities and life and family.

KING: Aren't you smart enough to see that? Listen to what he's saying. Aren't you smart enough?

LEE: Well, first of all, 12 invasive procedures -- you know, of those 12, maybe eight of them were done all at the same time in a period of five or six hours. So, you know, that's a one-time shot deal and then, you know, you go in and do the little touch-up things. And just because, you know, it may be painful ...

KING: But as you look back on you, weren't you a pretty girl?

LEE: Well, yes.

KING: I'm not looking at some ugly girl who needed all of this work.

LEE: Yes.

KING: Do you have pretty girls come into your office?

SINGER: All of the time.

KING: I mean, do you have people come into your office that you say to yourself, what is she doing here?

SINGER: You know, I -- some of the prettiest models in the world come into plastic surgery offices and they don't feel that they look pretty. So people want to improve themselves and I have nothing against people trying to look as good as they can, improve themselves as long as it's in moderation. I wish there was a surgical procedure that would make Jenny thrilled with her appearance and say, I'm happy this did it. But I don't think there's ...

PRATT: It's called proper therapy.

SINGER: Yes. I don't think there is a plastic surgical procedure that will do that.

KING: Problem is, can you work with her while this is going on? Because if a psychologist is working with her, she's going in at the same time to get plastic surgery.

PRATT: Yes, that would be a lot to do at one time. I think a lot of what you're experiencing is resulting from those years of severe emotional abuse.

KING: But shouldn't she be over that now? She has a marriage that's happy.

PRATT: Wrong. We have a conscious mind, we have a subconscious mind. People can be minimally consciously aware of something and can still be stuck in the subconscious. When you clear that, it's a different story. And that's one of the things we do, and it makes a dig difference.

I think you've been subjected to probably three or four years of intense negative self-hypnosis and you started believing the horrible things that were being said about you. KING: And so there ...

PRATT: You liked your body before this started, then he was picking on your feet, nose, buttocks.

KING: Feet.

PRATT: But it was never ending and it was rotating series sequence.

LEE: Yes.

KING: So he implanted ...

PRATT: Right, and then also the self-esteem issue of associating -- I mean, I know some of the complexity. I mean, it wasn't an easy situation to deal with. But you want to make sure that you're treated with respect and love and that you do the same thing with yourself.

LEE: Right.

KING: Take a break. And when we come back in our remaining moments, try to get a few more calls in. Don't go away.


LEE: It was determined that I was fine until I was told otherwise. My ex-husband had such a poor self-esteem, I think the only way he could bring himself up was to bring me down and so he started with my appearance. Had I not been told that I was not aesthetically perfect, I would have never started this.



KING: I want to get a few more phone calls in, but Dr. Pratt mentioned something that you could do.

PRATT: I thought it would be interesting to actually treat you for some of the trauma you have received, some of those blocks that you had mentioned earlier. And even though you're not forced to change your behavior, it's almost like taking some of the fuel out of a rocket ship and so the orbit changes by itself. And actually that's a pretty easy thing to do with some of the newer techniques.

KING: Really?


KING: You think use techniques by which you could work on those things that occurred to her when she was ...

PRATT: Right.

KING: Corpus Christi, Texas. Hello. CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi, Jenny Lee.

LEE: Hi.

CALLER: My question is, what is your most expensive procedure and would do you it again?

LEE: Most expensive procedure is veneers, that do you on your teeth. And it is the most painful, and I would absolutely do it again.

KING: What did it cost?

LEE: $23,867.

KING: Washington, D.C., looks good. Washington, D.C., hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.


CALLER: Hi, greetings from the nation's capital.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Hi, Jenny Lee.

LEE: Hi.

CALLER: Hey, I just wanted to say I saw the photos when you were growing up and you look like a classic beauty. And I was wondering if -- how your parents treated you when you were growing up and what your self-esteem was like when you were a kid?

KING: Teenager.

LEE: Oh, well, I was just always told that I was just a little walking model. And, you know, you can see pictures of, you know, my hair all done up and makeup and, you know, I was very proud of the way I looked and my family was very proud of the way I looked and it was very much reinforced all of the time.

KING: Until you met this guy?

LEE: Well, for three years, you know, there really wasn't much said about my appearance. And it wasn't until I was out of the grips my parents that this started. And it was instant.

KING: You understand that, doctor?


LEE: Instant. I mean, how do you know someone for three years and they're within way and all of a sudden, they're different?

KING: It happens. East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, good evening. I actually met Jenny a few months out in Dallas. And she's beautiful outside as well as inside, and it hurts to see her not see that yet. My question is, what do you see as your greatest fear?

LEE: In regards to what?

CALLER: So far as ...

KING: Anything. What do you fear the most?

CALLER: ... everything in your life. What do you see as -- what would you be afraid of if it was your last day, what is your greatest fear?

LEE: Losing my teeth.

KING: Your teeth?

LEE: My teeth.

KING: You were told -- we asked during the break. If you were told by the doctor that you were going to die if you did one more procedure, you said you might do the procedure.

LEE: Well, you know, when you talk about -- you know, leaving my daughter behind. You know, no, I wouldn't leave my husband and my daughter behind. I mean, nobody's ever asked me a question like that.

KING: But you didn't answer right away.

LEE: Well, yes, I had to think about it. But, you know, I would not -- it's like -- if somebody said you have cancer, you have six months to live or you got to have treatment, you know, what are you going to do? You got a kid and you got a husband. You're going to get treatment.

KING: Would you take this case if it were a case?

SINGER: I would opt not to. And I would hope that she wouldn't pursue more plastic surgery. She's delightful.

KING: She is.

SINGER: She's very nice. She has a wonderful personality and she's very pretty.

KING: Would you take it.

PRATT: Yes. To help her ...

KING: I'd bet you would.

PRATT: ... with the behavior.

KING: I'd been on you. Jenny Lee -- if you want to reach her, it's Dr. George Pratt is chairman of psychology Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla. Dr. Robert Singer is past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Tomorrow night, Linda Hamilton. The subject is depression. Rod Stewart on Saturday, Colin Powell Monday, Robert Downey Jr. next week and Sharon Stone.

Right now, the gold dust are in the -- there they are. You don't like the gold dust twins ...


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