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Interview with Sheryl Crow

Aired August 23, 2006 - 20:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Sheryl Crow, the music superstar's first prime-time interview since she learned she has breast cancer, right after her breakup with sports legend Lance Armstrong.
Sheryl Crow, an intense, emotional hour -- all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Sheryl Crow, the acclaimed singer/songwriter, nine-time Grammy winner, multi- platinum recording artist. Her newest album is "Wildflower."

She was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer back in February. That was just weeks after she and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who has been a guest on this show quite a few times, announced they were ending an engagement.

What's the latest on how you're doing...


KING: ... health-wise?

CROW: I think that I'm clear of cancer. Obviously, there's always that fear that there's going to be one radical cell out there floating around.

But I feel great. I went through seven weeks of radiation. And I feel -- I feel back to normal. In fact, I probably feel better than I did before.

KING: No surgery?

CROW: I had a lumpectomy, and I also had a needle biopsy on the other breast.

I had ductal carcinoma in situ in the left breast and the right, just, atypia which are cells that you want to keep an eye on.

KING: You learn a lot about this when you get it, huh?

CROW: I have become -- you know, it's funny. From all the people that I have been around in the last few years who have great experience in -- in cancer nomenclature, I have -- I have sort of become a student of it.

You know, it's the first thing that happens when they tell you, you have cancer. You -- you know so little about it, especially if you're someone like me, who, I have always been healthy. In fact, I brag all the time about, I never have a sore throat; I never cancel a gig.

And, suddenly, I have this -- this diagnosis that is completely foreign to me. And I just -- I did what everybody else does, and dug into the Internet, and tried to educate myself as to what I was looking at.

KING: They call it the big-C. Do they still call it the big-C?

CROW: I think they do.

KING: Yeah.

CROW: It's bigger than what I thought, though.


KING: How did you get the diagnosis? How did it happen...


CROW: I went in February, I guess February 16, I went and just had a -- my yearly mammogram.

And, if we can speak frankly, I have what they call young breasts, very dense breasts. So, doing a self-examination is futile for me, because I -- I would never be able to find anything. I'm just lumpy. And, so, I always get my -- my mammograms yearly. And they found...

KING: Doing it a long time?

CROW: Since -- since I'm 35. I'm 44 now. So...

KING: Nine years.

CROW: And that's basically the -- the age they tell you to start.

But what has been interesting for me is, since I have -- since I have been diagnosed, and am now a cancer survivor, I have had so many young people come up to me and talk about their experience with cancer under the age of 30, two- and three-time cancer survivors.

And, so, it has -- it has -- it has been interesting for me to at least find out what -- how -- how -- how can we detect cancer in -- in young people now. It's happening more and more often.

KING: We're going to help a lot of people tonight.

CROW: That would great.

KING: So, you go through the mammogram.

CROW: Mmm-hmm. KING: That's painful isn't it?

CROW: It is if you're as small as I am.

KING: Yes.

CROW: You know, they have to pull skin all the way from the back, you know...


CROW: ... to make it feel like you have something.

KING: Do they -- do they tell you right then?

CROW: No, actually, they don't.

Usually -- well, with a mammogram, yeah, they will look at it. The radiologist will read and say -- well, in -- with somebody who is my age , it's not uncommon to find calcifications in the breast. And that's just bits of calcium that's been really flecked off from the milk ducts.

And, so, those are not uncommon, but it's when they start forming a -- a pattern, or they start looking abnormal, that they want to go in and biopsy.

KING: And is that what they told you?

CROW: Well, what was interesting is, when that happened, they said, come back in six months. And I got a phone call a couple of days later, after my O.B. had been called by the clinic, just as a follow-up.

And she called me and said, look, there is no reason to ever wait six months on a question mark. And, so, I went into an oncologist. And they did a needle biopsy on both breasts and found invasive in my left.

KING: Right then, or it takes a few days?

CROW: It took a couple of days. And, then, what they do is, they -- they do a sentinel node biopsy, where they go in under the arm, and they take out the first couple of nodes to determine whether it has been -- whether it has spread.

KING: At this point, are you now thinking, I'm not too sure?

CROW: You know, it was -- it was such an interesting experience, because there was so much going on in my personal life. And I knew, when I went in, my oncologist had said there's -- there's no chance this is going to be -- there is a 95 percent chance this is...


CROW: ... this is nothing. This is very common. So, I went in. And I could tell when she walked in that I was in trouble.

KING: With the result, you mean?

CROW: Yeah. And she -- you know, she was just very emotional. And I, of course -- I think probably most people have this same -- same experience, where you're just overwhelmed with fear.

And it really becomes one of those pivotal moments in your life. And emotions start to well up. And, even though she could say to me, this is not going to end your life, it's going to change your life, but it's not going to end it, it still is not -- there's no way to be comforted, really.

KING: Were you alone when he said it?

CROW: I was alone, mmm-hmm. And then I got in my car.

I -- I had called my parents on the way to see...

KING: Was this in Nashville?

CROW: No. I was out here in L.A.

And I had a great -- I had such great doctors around me, all of -- all of whom are women.

KING: What hospital?

CROW: I -- I was treated through the breast clinic that is associated with Cedars-Sinai and Kristi Pado.

KING: Great hospital.

CROW: Yeah, amazing, and just very nurturing, also, very open- minded, because I wanted to at least explore the idea of some alternative...

KING: So, you're in the car alone?

CROW: In the car alone. And I call my parents to say, look, I'm on my way over there. She's going to look at the -- where they have done the needle biopsies and make sure the scars are healing.

I didn't think I was going to get a diagnosis. And -- and they were fine. And, then, I called them on the way home, and said, it's not so great. And they said, OK, we're on our way out. Just hold it together. And...

KING: How did they tell you? What do they tell you? "You have cancer"?

CROW: No. Well, I think -- God, you know, it's a little bit of a blur, but she -- when she came in, she said: It's -- it's not what I hoped. And I knew at that moment that it was...


KING: Not what I hoped?

CROW: Yeah. It was not -- it's not what we planned.

And she said: And I'm -- I'm -- I'm as surprised as you are.

But she's -- and, then, she said, but this is treatable.

KING: You hear about stage three...

CROW: Mmm-hmm.

KING: ... stage four.

CROW: Right.

KING: Stage one seems minor.

CROW: Stage one is very early, yeah.

And, you know, it's funny, because I immediately started becoming known as a cancer survivor. And I have known so many cancer survivors who have really fought for their lives, and have been, you know, in the -- in the test studies. And, I mean, clearly, Lance is one of those people -- and some amazing people along the way.

And, for me, I have -- I have -- initially, I was a bit reticent to even come out and talk about it. But I think my story is, at least for women in -- who are of my age bracket and younger, I think my story is celebratory, in the fact that prevent -- prevention is really the best cure.

And, if you're not getting your mammogram, if you don't know your family history, take responsibility.

KING: You didn't talk about it for a while, right?

CROW: I didn't.

And I needed to get through -- I needed to get through the experience. And I needed to own the experience. I needed to not go out and share it with the world. I needed for -- for it to be mine.

KING: You think it was a little irony that Lance had it, had a cancer, and now you have a cancer? I mean, did it -- was it kind of weird?

CROW: No. You know, initially, because, in those moments, you're just trying to find anything humorous. I can remember saying with my family, do you get it from kissing?

You know, it's... (LAUGHTER)

CROW: It is, but, you know, I -- I swear I can't believe the statistics now. One in seven women have breast cancer.

And if I were to stand in a room with seven of my closest friends and know that one of us was going to have it, and, ultimately, another one will have it, and it's -- it's so prevalent.

KING: Did you have depression?

CROW: From the experience?

You -- you know what? Honestly, the whole experience, when I -- because my life really changed around that time. My life went from being what it was, with plans being made, to getting this diagnosis, which really dictated that I show up for myself. And nobody else could do it for me.

And I'm a person that's always taking care of -- of everyone else, and making sure everyone is happy, and is feeling appreciated. And, you know, I have this big business of touring and people who work for me. And -- and, also, I just take care of a lot of people.

And I'm always the last person I take care of. And it really demanded that I show up for myself. And a lot of the women that I have spoken with who have gone through the cancer experience say that there is a -- the metaphysical aspect of nurturing that's related to breasts. And a lot of women just are always giving out nourish -- nourishment and nurturing, and not receiving it. And, so, this was my time to really learn that.

KING: Well, you're not despair -- you're not -- you -- you didn't get depressed. But I will ask you in a minute if you were scared.

We will be right back with Sheryl Crow. Her new C.D .is "Wildflower."

Don't go away.




KING: Your old sweetheart Sheryl Crow has breast cancer. Do you know how well she's doing?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, TOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION: You know, she's doing well. And it -- it's as you -- yes, it has not been a good week for -- for me, and getting news like this. But Sheryl's doing great. She's the strongest woman I have ever met. And she's got great doctors. And her prognosis is -- is close to 100 percent.


KING: We're back with Sheryl Crow.

Were you scared?

CROW: Oh, I was terrified.

You know, even -- even though you are treated, and you are doing all the things that you are being told to do, you still have that -- I mean, I still wake up sometimes feeling like, is this going to come back? The more I read about cancer, the more frightening it really is.

There are so many different kinds of breast cancer, and there is so much we don't know. You know, luckily, they're getting into this gene therapy, where they can really dictate a lot of -- you know, a lot of the future of cancer, and what you can sort of expect, or at least be aware of in your body.

But I was -- I was scared. And I'm still nervous about it. I -- I had a stomach ache for, like, two weeks, and started feeling like, oh my God, what if -- you know, what if it has moved and you -- it's just -- that's part of -- part of the experience.

KING: What do they tell you; it's five years?

CROW: Five years, and you're really good. But, you know, obviously, my cancer was very, very small. And, when they took it out, they said, we believe this is going to be it. So...

KING: We will talk about treatment and the like.

CROW: Mmm-hmm.

KING: But Lance Armstrong was on this show right around the time the announcement came out. And here is what he said. Watch.


ARMSTRONG: Well, it gets hard to -- to be in that situation, and -- and to go through a breakup of -- of an engagement, and to have somebody diagnosed right in the middle of it.

But Sheryl knows that I love her very much, and I would be -- I would be there, either close or far, any time she needed me. And -- and I am confident she will be fine.


KING: Did he offer to come right to you?

CROW: Yeah, he was, you know, one of the first few people I spoke to about it.

And, clearly, it was a complicated situation, in that the one person I would loved to have gone to was the one person who knows more about cancer than probably anybody that I know.

But there was a big conflict there for me. And I was at a point in my life where I really needed to have the people around me who could really be there, unconditionally, who I could trust to be there. And they were my family and my very, very closest friends.

And people really rallied. And although -- even though that was really unfortunate, and very, very difficult for me, it was -- it was necessary.

KING: Was it unfriendly, the breakup?

CROW: No, not at all.

KING: Are you friends now?

CROW: I haven't seen him in a long time. But I think -- yeah, I think so.

KING: I mean, did he keep in touch through this?

CROW: I have great respect for him and a deep, deep love. And we just -- you know, like I have said a thousand times, we're just different places in our lives.

KING: Did he keep in touch with you throughout this, though?

CROW: You know, actually, interestingly enough, the person that was the most helpful -- helpful for me was Doug Ulman, who works for him. And he was always my point person when other people I knew were getting diagnosed.

He set up more friends of mine with people at MD Anderson and Dana Farber, and all these different -- UCLA. And I contacted him as soon as I got diagnosed and said, you know, all the people that I have had you mentor through this, it is me this time. Can you help me? So, he was really the person.

KING: Why radiation?

CROW: Radiation is a systemic therapy. It's -- it's basically preventative. And what they do is, in hopes that they -- that they got all of it, they -- they kill all the cells in the breast, not just the cancer cells or the pre-cancer cells, but -- but all the cells, in hopes that it will never come back.

KING: Is it like a laser?

CROW: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. And it's seven weeks, and...

KING: Every day?

CROW: Every day. And it's -- it's so much better than chemotherapy.

And I wasn't even a candidate for chemotherapy, because of my -- not having it in my lymph nodes. But it's interesting, because they shoot a beam of energy that you can't see from one angle, and then it comes around, and they shoot it from another angle. And they can detect exactly how much of the lung is being shot.

And it's not a painful process. It's one that causes fatigue and soreness. And, you know, you have some aftermath of it. Then they put you on a drug called tamoxifen, which basically puts you into early menopause. And you take it for five years. And -- and I have opted not to take that for a while. So -- but that's also preventative.

KING: Doesn't it knock you out? Tired?

CROW: It made me tired. And I'm -- I'm a really fit person. So, I -- I kept thinking, when they said I was going to be fatigued, that, no, I'm not going to be fatigued. But I was.

But you have to give in to it. That's part of the experience. You just have to let yourself be where you are.

KING: Couldn't Lance, though, just as a friend, have been a big help, having gone through his cancer was, worse than yours? He was going to die, right?

CROW: The only thing that I can say about that -- and -- and I -- I don't want us to talk too much about Lance, because that -- that is such a big part of my -- my history, as are all my relationships. And that's -- it's really informed me about who I want to be in my life and who I don't ever want to be again.

I would say that, through Doug, I think Lance was helping a lot, and was always kept abreast of what was happening. But he was also going through his own pain. You know, when you split up with somebody you care deeply about, I'm sure, as he said in many -- many forums, that he -- it was difficult for him, too. So...

KING: Public is -- it's bad enough to break up.

CROW: Oh...

KING: Isn't it doubly bad...

CROW: ... it's terrible.

KING: ... or worse when it's public?

CROW: It's terrible, you know?

And it's funny, because a friend of mine got interviewed for "Vanity Fair." And I think the -- the writer was asking her about our relationship. And she said, why is it that we want to know so much about famous people's relationships, when all relationships are basically the same? You know, we all struggle with the same things, our insecurities, our fears, our -- where we are, our stations in life, who we are at that moment in time. And it's just...

KING: Some say it's because people like to know that other people...

CROW: Are suffering.


KING: ... have problems.


CROW: Yes.


KING: ... that Sheryl can have pain.

CROW: Yeah. Yeah. No, it's true.

And, you know, for me, it's such a -- it's such a personal thing. And I have never felt comfortable sharing my private life with the public.

KING: Did you ever...

CROW: And it's...

KING: ... say during this cancer thing, why me?

CROW: Gosh. You know, I didn't, really.

KING: No? No sorry for yourself?

CROW: I think I was just in so much shock, and I was trying to get through the whole experience, not just the cancer, but the whole experience, and really get through it, not make myself busy, and put it away, and deal with it later, because, I think, when you do that, you really don't ever heal yourself.

I really wanted to work my way through this process, and be present for it. And it's difficult to say "Why me?" when I have known so many people who have fought a really hard fight with cancer, to know I'm going to come out of this, and I'm going to be OK, and I have a message to -- just to share with young people about their bodies and about cancer.

It's difficult for me to say, "Why me?" when I knew I was going to live.

KING: We will be right back with Sheryl Crow. We have an e-mail for her, too.

Don't go away.




KING: We're back with Sheryl Crow.

Before we talk about the types of surgery she had, we have an e- mail from Ann (ph) in Cleveland, who says -- or asks: "How afraid should a stage two breast cancer be? I have finished chemo, and I don't know what I should be feeling."

CROW: Mmm-hmm.

KING: "Thank you, and God bless you."

CROW: Gosh. That's -- that's an amazing question.

I think, for stage two, once you pass through chemotherapy, it's just a matter of waiting, and -- and getting the test back -- test results back every six months, and then every year.

And I'm sure -- you know, I -- I have such great faith in the doctors in this country. It's unbelievable, what they're able to do.

You know, my answer to that would always be to have faith, to have great faith, to believe that you're healed, because I believe that so much of what goes on in our body is dictated by our mind. And there is a -- a metaphysical aspect to that, which is, mind and body is one, and just to move on with your life as if you are clear of cancer, and live.

KING: You believe in God?

CROW: I do believe in God. Mmm-hmm.

KING: Now for the surgery. You had a lumpectomy.

CROW: Yes.

KING: What is that? Typical man: "What is that?"

CROW: Well, generally, they go in, and they remove what they call a tumor.

For me, it was a bunch of cells, about I guess a millimeter -- a centimeter of cells, invasive cells. And, then, they go in, and they clear the margins around the tumor. So, what I think of being as a tumor is a lump, but that's not necessarily what it is.

So, they go in. They make an incision. And they remove it. And, then, they biopsy it, and tell -- tell you what -- what -- what they found.

KING: Did that affect you emotionally, as a female?

CROW: Absolutely.

And, you know, it's -- it's interesting for me. The whole process is really -- made me feel differently about my body, because my body was kind of related to my ego, in that I was a walking example of how not to look 44, you know, always fit, always active, out, you know, riding motorcycles, surfing, doing all that.

And it really made me feel differently about the feminine power. And I -- I think a lot of breast cancer survivors will attest to that, that there is so much connection between your breasts and your body. And a lot of people -- I was asking Larry Shulman, who is a wonderful doctor at Dana Farber, the other day, how many women will have reconstructive surgery, or how many women will have -- will continue just to live with the double mastectomy, the scars?

And a lot of women opt to live with the scars, just as remembrance. And...

KING: What did you do?

CROW: I have minimal scars.

I have a scar in both areolas. And it's interesting, because I went and got a couple of different opinions, because I thought I was going to be treated in Nashville. And everyone thought the doctor that worked on me was just -- she was an artist. She was fantastic. So, you know, it's -- I don't think you can actually even really tell that I have had a lumpectomy. So...

KING: Wow.

CROW: Which is really nice, because, you know, it is a personal thing, and -- but, also, you know, you get -- when you do radiation, you -- they do these little tattoos. And I have kept my tattoos, because -- I don't know if you see that little black...


CROW: Because it is a reminder for me. It's a reminder of that time, and it's a reminder of -- of how I want to look at my life.

KING: Being small was a plus in this, or a minus?

CROW: I think it was a plus, really.

I think, just having listened to the radiologist talk about the physics of the beam and all that, also, my -- my ribcage not -- just being small in general kept my lung from having to be radiated too much.

KING: A lot of pain?

CROW: Pain after the lumpectomy?

KING: Yes.

CROW: Yeah, yeah, and pain definitely after the lymph nodes were taken out. And I still am a little bit -- have a little bit of what they call edema, which is swelling. And I'm a little bit numb. But, if that's the worst of it... KING: Does it affect your singing?

CROW: Not at all.

KING: What happened with the LASIK surgery?

CROW: Oh, I'm -- I'm great, except for, if I try to read up close.


CROW: I can't read up close yet, but...

KING: You had LASIK, too?

CROW: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: Now you have become a -- you're...


KING: You're a medical machine now, right?


CROW: Like everything, I'm -- I'm just -- jump in and do it.

KING: And you were never sick before?

CROW: Never.

And I don't have cancer in my family. So, that is one -- in speaking with my oncologist about, what -- what is my message, because she thinks it's quite miraculous that I was detected so early, because, calcifications, generally, they will tell you to come back in six months.

Now, would it have spread to my lymph system? I don't know. But it's unusual to catch it that early. And the other thing that she was saying about prevention, catching it early, as well as knowing your family history, I didn't have any -- any history.

KING: You said you wanted to reveal more of yourself in -- in "Wildflower." What do you mean?

CROW: I think...

KING: Did you write all the songs?

CROW: I did. And I -- I co-wrote a few -- a couple of songs on there.

I -- I think that, typically, my back catalogue is full of tales of my own, but have been masked in narrative, because I have always enjoyed -- enjoyed narrative songwriting. I love Bob Dylan. I have always gravitated to writers like Mark Dwane (ph). And I love meaty characters. And they were always kind of a -- I guess, a facade for what was going on in my life, to create a character.

And, on this record, I really wanted to feel like there was a connection between the listener and myself, particularly in these days, when pop music has become so vapid.

KING: You said once that Lance was your kind of sounding board...

CROW: Mmm-hmm.

KING: ... for the music on "Wildflower." Does that make performing it more difficult?

CROW: I had an interesting experience, going back out on the road.

I probably went out a little bit too early, in relationship to having finished chem -- finished radiation. I was still a little bit fatigued. But it wasn't so much the songs on "Wildflower," which I knew would definitely impact me on stage. It wasn't so much those songs. It was some of the older songs that really made me feel...


CROW: ... melancholy about my life in general, you know, songs like "Home," songs like "Strong Enough to Be My Man," which is a song I have been singing for years and years. And going back out and feeling so different about who I am now and singing those old songs was a little bit bittersweet.

KING: Where was the first time you had to sing?

CROW: We did a really small gig in New York for a network TV that -- that was getting ready to -- to launch. And it was only three songs. But -- and we -- we did a nice long sound check. And I felt great. And then, when I walked out, I felt like I didn't have any clothes on.


CROW: It was so bizarre.


CROW: I was completely overwhelmed, yeah.

But, then, we started touring in Indianapolis. And playing for me now, it just -- it feels different. I feel like it's very celebratory. And I'm actually able to sort of embrace and accept the amount of love that's coming at me, whereas it used to, I would go out, and it was like a job. And I would try to do the best I could, and make the songs feel real for people. KING: Really?

CROW: But, now, it feels different.

KING: Sheryl Crow is our guest.

We will be right back.



KING: We're back with Sheryl Crow. That little ...

CROW: My tattoo?

KING: How many are there?

CROW: There's four. One here, one here, one in my arm and then one on my breast.

KING: And they come from what?

CROW: They tattoo you when they first come in to measure you. It's really amazing the science involved ...

KING: They tattoo you?

CROW: Yes.

KING: In order to ...

CROW: In order to line up the machine. So every morning I would go in and this massive machine -- they would line it up with beams according to the marks around my breast and then they would shoot the beam through -- which you don't see the beam, it's just a loud noise for about a minute and a half and the machine comes around and shoots from the other angle.

KING: Let's look at it again. That's the one that's most visible, right?

CROW: Yes.

KING: And that will be with you forever?

CROW: Unless I get it removed, and ultimately I might get it removed but for right now it feels very connected to me so -- and I want to remember. I don't want it to fade on me so fast.

KING: It's a benchmark, isn't it?

CROW: It is a benchmark, yes. And it's that thing that reminds me my life will never look or feel the same again because I have the knowledge of what it feels like to be able to touch mortality. I think a lot of ... KING: (inaudible)

CROW: ... a lot of cancer -- a lot of people who have suffered through disease and beat them can relate to that feeling.

KING: Do you want to be married?

CROW: I don't know. Yeah, I would love to be married. I love the idea of it. I think relationships in general are where you meet yourself. It's where you really discover who you are and I guess I believe that my parents have been married 51 years and they're great people and happy and they enjoy each other so ideally, yes, I would love to be married.

KING: Do you have brothers and sisters?

CROW: I do.

KING: Are they married?

CROW: They're married, yes.

KING: Are you an aunt?

CROW: I'm an aunt many times, yeah, yeah. And I have one divorced sister and she's got three beautiful kids.

KING: Do you want kids of your own?

CROW: I would love that.

KING: You're getting close at 44.

CROW: Yeah, you know. That's ...

KING: You'd adopt?

CROW: Absolutely. I think -- for me, the age thing -- obviously, scientifically I'm getting older and I don't feel my age and if I were to adopt I could love a child that came through somebody else's womb as easily as I could my own.

KING: Yeah.

CROW: Yeah, I believe that.

KING: No, no, no. I believe in -- did you come close to marrying Lance?

CROW: Yeah. Absolutely. We were engaged.

KING: Have a date?

CROW: You know, all that stuff is history now.

KING: You're putting it past you, right? CROW: It is past me. Yeah, it is.

KING: Being public personalities. Did that affect you a lot? Did that harm the relationship that you were both so well known?

CROW: Honestly, a lot of that stuff I've always been able to manage and keep under control and like I said, I'm not a -- I don't feel comfortable having cameras in my face and very rarely will I ever step out into that consciously and wield that kind of notoriety. It's not a place I love. I don't know how he feels about it. He's a very visible person. It didn't really dictate one way or the other about how I felt about our relationship.

KING: You stay involved in what he's doing?

CROW: Well, I'm now a cancer survivor and so ...

KING: Now you share that.

CROW: Yeah and actually it is true, once you get into the community of cancer survivorship, there's a lot to be done and that is the best organization for cancer survivorship and just recently having gone to Dana Farber (ph) and talking to Dr. Ann Partridge (ph) over there who is doing so much with young women who are diagnosed and who are surviving breast cancer, young women. There's just so much to be done in that area that I find myself compelled to be involved in it.

KING: T. Maudlin (ph) of Carlsbad, California has an email.


KING: On our Web site. "Do you date regular, everyday guys or just celebrity guys? And if you date regular guys -" good thinking, Maudlin -- "what's the best way to ask you out?"

OK. It's a good question.

CROW: First, where does he live?

KING: Carlsbad. It's not far.

CROW: Carlsbad, OK.

KING: Like La Costa (ph), all those ...

CROW: I am mobile.

KING: Rancho Santa Fe. It's all down there.

How would someone, like a regular guy just meet you?

CROW: How do you meet me? Well, I go to the grocery store like everybody else. I would be ...

KING: Hang around at the grocery store. CROW: Yeah -- you know, I'm in normal places. I walk through airports, I'm completely accessible. And I like my life that way. I live with a certain amount of anonymity by virtue of the fact that I don't go out and wield a big celebrity front. I don't have a lot of people around me and I talk to people on airplanes. I talk to people everywhere.

KING: Where do you live?

CROW: I live in L.A.

KING: But also Nashville, right? You have a farm ...

CROW: I bought a farm there and I think ultimately I'll probably wind up being there.

KING: Willie Nelson is helping you buy a truck?

CROW: Yeah.

KING: You have an interesting life?

CROW: I have an interesting life? I have an unbelievable life. And that is another thing. I was talking about the biodiesel thing before we went on. The environment thing has always been a very, very compelling topic for me and when I got diagnosed I met with this nutritionist which was really interesting and has changed the way I live my life. Just about what we put into our bodies.

And just little small things which I feel compelled to educate people about, like not drinking out of a water bottle that's been in your car.

If it gets hot it's emitting byproducts that act as cancer -- for me I'm estrogen positive and it's very bad ...

KING: Never heard of that.

CROW: In general the heat in a microwave in plastic, to freeze in plastic, it emits carcinogenics. And cooking in olive oil at high heat.

If it's burning, it's carcinogenic.

So there's things that we need to know, need to educate people about. Eating organically, which really ...

KING: You could do the eating part. You and Al Gore could go on tour.

CROW: I love Al. He's funny. Al is funny. Yeah.

KING: We'll be back with more of Sheryl Crow, don't go away.


KING: We're back with Sheryl Crow. Her new album is -- her new CD is "Wildflower."

Do you wear those cancer things, those cancer bracelets that Lance used to wear?

CROW: The yellow ones? Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. In fact I was the first person to wear one on the "Today" show.

KING: He gave that to you ...

CROW: No, actually they were just starting to build a campaign and I wore one on the air and he talked about it with Katie Couric and then they started selling.

KING: Another e-mail from Scott in Lewiston, New York. "After this year of heartbreak and incredible strength through battling breast cancer, is your next album going to take a complete turn from the last?"

What's it going to be like?

CROW: I need a rap album. No, I'm kidding.

I don't know. Throughout my cancer treatment I didn't write any music.

I decided that that was not going to be a place that I was going to go to, which is generally my modus operandum (sic) is to bury any kind of feeling I have in my music and I just kept journals and journals and journals and wrote a lot and as I'm getting that through -- a lot of lyrics in there. So I don't know exactly what kind of record it's going to be but I definitely hope that it's going to be country-flavored because that's really what I love and it's where -- that's my upbringing and my part of the country.

KING: Are you primarily a country singer? Would you call yourself a country singer?

CROW: God. By today's standards I guess I'm more country than anything else. I couldn't say that I'm really so much pop anymore and I don't think rock really even exists, so I guess I'm more country. Which I like.

KING: What was your break?

CROW: Hmm.

KING: How do we know you?

CROW: Well, I was a backup singer for Michael Jackson on the Bad Tour.

That was ...

KING: You what?

CROW: Backup singer for Michael Jackson on the Bad Tour. Big blonde hair, did the duet with him and ...

KING: What was that like?

CROW: It was great. I didn't even own a passport when I got that gig.

It was my first audition, I crashed the audition here in L.A. I found out from some other singers that there was a closed audition and I went down and nobody stopped me. I guess they assumed that I had been recommended by Bruce Wideen (ph) or Quincy Jones and I sat in front of the cameras and said, "Hi, I'm Sheryl Crow and I would love to go on the road with you." And he called me back and I sang with three other singers and a few days later I was getting a passport to go to Japan and a month later I was onstage in front of 75,000 people.

KING: What was he like to work with?

CROW: It was a massive organization and it was almost -- I can only equate it to being in a Broadway production that travels from town to town where the show is exactly the same every night. Lots of choreography, costumes, hair, makeup and it's the total antithesis of what I do now but it was really a good experience.

I saw every major city in the world and went to every museum and just it was really a cultural experience, eye-opening experience but also working for somebody of that magnitude. I got to watch him and his brilliance every night.

I mean there is no denying the guy was absolutely brilliant. He was doing moves that we had never seen before and when you think about how difficult it is to actually be original, to do something that no one has ever done before, it's awe inspiring.

KING: Did you get close -- get to know him ...

CROW: Not at all. No.

KING: Didn't know him at all?

CROW: I probably had a couple of social occasions with him where I got called one night when we were in Japan to come up to his suite with his security and watch -- we watched "Amos and Andy" episodes. Which people younger than me probably won't even know what that is but that and Bubbles was on the road and it was like a circus.

And will say I felt a little bit sorry for him because there were all these people around him that were just there to facilitate his brilliance and didn't want anything from him and he could have really cultivated some normal friendships but he's so reclusive that ...

KING: Are you shocked at what happened to him?

CROW: Oh I can't -- I don't really have an opinion about it to really know what the truth is. So I feel sorry for him because I look at him and you can see that he's an unhappy person. You don't change your stance (ph) by doing all that plastic surgery and portray yourself to be happy.

KING: But what he did to an audience was amazing, right?

CROW: It was unbelievable. Truly magical. I mean just really, really ...

KING: Was it hard to be a backup singer?

CROW: No, it was great. I mean it was hard to get my hair and makeup done every day because I can't sit still for two hours.

KING: You have to sing harmony, though.

CROW: Yeah but that was great. That's what I grew up doing, so ...

KING: Sheryl Crow is our guest. Never knew this. We'll be right back, don't go away.


KING: Are you dating again?

CROW: I am. Terrifying.

KING: Anybody you like?

CROW: Yeah. Yeah.

KING: Aw, that's good news.

CROW: It is good news, you know.

KING: You seeing him regularly?

CROW: Larry, good heavens. I'll meet you at the Daily Grill and we'll talk about it over lunch.

KING: That's where we meet, at the Daily Grill. One other thing on Lance and I won't bug you again. How did you react to the doping allegation?

CROW: Oh, you know, I can't even step back in time and talk about all that stuff.

KING: Did it shock you that it's even alleged?

CROW: I have to tell you, I have not had my nose in that world in a long, long time. I haven't. I haven't been reading tabloid magazines.

I don't know what's going on besides us being in a war and watching CNN constantly but all that stuff I don't even have an opinion about it.

Don't know anything about it. KING: Is it hard to date again?

CROW: Umm ...

KING: First time out? Is that hard?

CROW: Yeah. I just think it's hard dating, period. It's hard to try to explain to somebody who you are, what your beliefs are. It takes a lot of ...

KING: What's your sign?

CROW: What your sign is. Whether you eat meat. You know. But yeah, it's scary.

KING: You also must be to someone not in the business intimidating. Logically.

CROW: I'm sure I am logically but for me it just seems astounding because I'm so ...

KING: Down to earth?

CROW: I feel like I'm so connected to the earth and I'm from such a close-knit family and we're so normal and so the fact that I don't get asked out all the time -- I don't get asked out hardly at all because of that.

KING: You're kidding.

CROW: Well, you know, I think people just figure that you're bigger than life and you've got people around you so they don't call you and ask you. But I'll meet people out or I'll have friends who will introduce me to other people which is how I met this person.

KING: And you're seeing him regularly now?

CROW: Larry!

KING: I'm happy to hear this! I'm happy for you.

CROW: I'm open for business. How's that? I mean, I'm not getting married anytime soon, so ...

KING: Do you eat meat?

CROW: I eat a lot of salmon. High in omega-3. I know. I've really changed the way I eat. I'm such a healthy eater now. All clean foods. A lot of fish, some chicken.

KING: Was audience reaction different after you had cancer?

CROW: Yeah, absolutely.

KING: Sympathetic? CROW: I don't think sympathetic, I think more celebratory. Far more celebratory. People are just -- I think their hearts were so warmed to see somebody come out and just be in life again and I've had so many people come up to me and say you handled that with such grace.

And I think, how else do you handle these pivotal moments in life, where you're handed something like Katrina and you lose your house or -- you just get through it and it's what you do with the experience that really counts in my mind and I think it dictates that you find the grace within yourself.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments. The wonderful Sheryl Crow. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Sheryl Crow.

The new album is "Wildflower." When's the next one coming?

CROW: I don't know. I don't know. I'm not on that breakneck pace anymore. I'm kind of just taking it as it comes.

KING: When you sing songs that are related to people, do you think about them? Like let's say you're singing a song about a guy named Phil, and the song is, "I Miss You."

CROW: Or Larry!

KING: Or Larry. Do you think about, or Larry?

CROW: No. I mean, I do. I can sort of tap into where I was at when I was writing the song but for the most part songs kind of -- they bring about new -- they relate to new life and new experiences and I can sing a song like "River Wide" (ph) now and it has a completely different meaning for me than when I first wrote it and that's kind of comforting for me. I really can find myself in those moments when I'm singing a song and it's like, oh, there's maybe an epiphanal (ph) moment there.

KING: Do you think about cancer?

CROW: I do. I think about it every day. I do.

KING: You can't can't help it.

CROW: I can't help it and I'm still a little tender from it. I'm definitely just wide open from the experience and from having had radiation and I'm also, every day, just kind of knocked off my pins by how many young women are coming up to me in their 20s with cancer and I feel -- like anything, we're watching our planet really, really change. It's scalding hot outside and the environment, it will be interesting to know when we really discover the cure how much play there is in the way we live, the environment and what we ingest, what we put into our bodies, what we breathe, what we drink.

KING: You think they're going to cure it?

CROW: God they're doing such amazing work with gene therapy right now.

KING: It's hard to cure though.

CROW: It's going to be hard to cure but they're just making great inroads.

KING: Continued good luck, doll.

CROW: Thank you, appreciate it.

KING: And as we finish, show Tommy (ph) who it is -- Sheryl Crow.

Now stay tuned for a CNN special investigation "In the Footsteps of bin Laden." Starting now, only on CNN.


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