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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Britney Sheared: Cry For Help?/More With Tomi Rae Brown
Aired February 19, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, exclusive -- with James Brown's embalmed body still not buried nearly two months after he died on Christmas Day, she still says she's his widow, even though she and her son James Brown III are not in the will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE" JANUARY 23, 2007)
TOMI RAE BROWN: They haven't even told me where my husband's body is going to be buried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And now Tomi Rae Brown speaks out for the first time since she was allowed back inside the home she says she and the godfather of soul shared as husband and wife.
But first, Britney Spears shaves her own head bald, reportedly after checking in and out of rehab and then heads to a tattoo parlor.
What's going on with this extreme makeover?
We'll ask the man who tattooed bald Britney Friday night.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with the Britney Spears story.
Here in Los Angeles is Max Scott, the tattoo artist who tattooed -- put the tattoo on Britney Spears Friday night after she had shaved her head.
In New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist, host of "One Week To Save Your Marriage" on cable channel TLC.
And here in Los Angeles is Jann Carl, the weekend anchor for "Entertainment Tonight."
All right, Max, what happened Friday night at the Body and Soul Tattoo Parlor here in L.A.?
MAX SCOTT, ARTIST TATTOOED BRITNEY SPEARS: We were working and along came the paparazzi. So we kind of stuck our head out the door to see what was going on. And before we knew it, somebody just kind of came in the front door with a hooded sweatshirt on and it happened to be Britney Spears.
KING: Did you know her right away? SCOTT: Yes, I figured it out pretty quick.
KING: But she was bald, right?
SCOTT: Right. But she had a sweatshirt on and she had her head covered so -- but her face was pretty apparently Britney Spears.
KING: Did she ever take the head cover over? Did she take it off?
SCOTT: Yes, she did, after about maybe 20 minutes of being there. After I was, I think, done with the first tattoo, she took it off so that people could see what was going on.
KING: How did it look?
SCOTT: She looked great. I mean it wasn't what we expected to see, but she still looked beautiful with or without her hair.
KING: Did she make any reference to it?
SCOTT: She made a couple comments about that she had extensions, that she wanted to basically -- I guess they weren't sitting right anymore. And she also didn't like people touching her hair.
KING: So did she give you the idea that she was going to stay bald?
SCOTT: I don't think so. I think it was more -- I think you have to flush your -- your hair clean again when you want to get rid of extensions so that you can grow your hair back, basically, is I think what was going on.
KING: What was she looking for in the way of tattoo art?
SCOTT: In tattoo art, she got some lips on her wrist and...
SCOTT: Yes, like a lip print on her wrist. And then she got, on her lower abdomen, a small cross.
KING: Were these complicated?
SCOTT: Complicated as far as...
KING: Doing them?
SCOTT: ... the areas that I did them in more than the actual tattoo designs.
KING: It's hard to do them in the wrist?
SCOTT: Yes, the wrist and also the lower abdomen are both sensitive areas, so people tend to move around a lot when you're tattooing them there. KING: How long does that take?
SCOTT: Each tattoo took me roughly 20 minutes each.
KING: What did it cost?
SCOTT: I charged her $100 for one and $80 for the other.
KING: Do you tip the tattoo artist?
SCOTT: Most people do, yes.
KING: Did she tip well?
SCOTT: Yes, she tipped OK.
KING: How would you describe her mood?
SCOTT: Her mood I would describe as a little frantic. You know, I could understand. People were chasing her down the street, you know, kind of just like get away from me type. She took...
KING: Were the paparazzi outside the parlor?
SCOTT: Yes, they stayed there the whole time. There must have been 20 or 30 cameras pressed against the window the whole time with them.
KING: Did that affect your work?
SCOTT: No, I tuned them out pretty -- pretty immediately.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, a psychotherapist, been with us many times.
What's your read on this nice girl gone a little off?
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D. PSYCHOTHERAPY: Yes. I think she is a really nice girl and going through a very difficult time. And I think what people need to remember is that when someone is a celebrity, there are many assaults on their ego. And perhaps just she had gone through too much in a short period of time.
And I think what she was doing with the statement of shaving off her head -- and believe me, people who have extensions who want to take them out, you don't need to shave your head bald. You just have them taken out.
I think she was making a statement that she doesn't want to be aligned with this Britney image anymore. It did not work for her and she had a little bit of a tantrum. And I think she was saying I'm not doing well. And I don't think it's -- it's reading too much into it. I think we really need to take -- when celebrities act out seriously before something dangerous happens.
KING: Jann, the first and only time I met her was a long time ago when she was with Justin Timberlake. They were a really nice couple.
JANN CARL, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": They were.
KING: It was at a dinner honoring Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, and I happened to present the award to Gerald Ford. And they were really nice, presentable, pleasant, responsive.
CARL: You know, that's the question everybody is asking. I remember talking to both of them, as well, and they were young, fresh- faced. They were -- they were driven, definitely.
KING: They were out of Disney, right?
CARL: They were. They both were out of -- they were the Mickey Mouse Club.
You know, it's hard to say what happened, although it was also -- it was a lot very quickly. I mean right now, this young girl who's 26 years old is worth over $100 million. That's a lot of money for a young person to have.
KING: From where?
CARL: Mostly from her music. But she also has her own fragrance. She's had endorsements. I think a lot of people remember a Pepsi endorsement. So she's been able to -- I think she's sold about 75 million records. That's a lot. So most of it's come from her music.
KING: How do you explain that marriage?
CARL: Which one?
KING: The one with the guy that nobody likes?
CARL: Oh, with Kevin Federline. You know, I think that we've seen a bit of a rebellious streak in her. A lot of people -- a lot of the people that were her fans and that blog all the time and talk about her think that it was somewhat her sort of rebounding from Justin and she breaking up.
You know, we'd have to ask her to know for sure.
KING: How would you describe her mood, Max?
SCOTT: It was kind of hard to say what her exact mood would be like.
KING: Did she talk to you a lot during the process?
KING: Had she ever been tattooed before? SCOTT: She's been tattooed before. I never tattooed her before. I don't know how she came across our shop and what made her come in there.
KING: No -- she had no appointment?
SCOTT: No appointment. She just came in and, like we said, just sporadically just walked through the front door. So -- I'm not a mood specialist, but she definitely loosened up as soon as we got the front door closed and whatever.
KING: Was she congenial? Did she talk?
SCOTT: Yes, we talked a little bit. Most of it was just about the tattoo designs and where she wanted them and stuff like that. I didn't want to pry too -- too much. She already had so many people chasing her down the street. I didn't want to be the next person prying.
KING: What a life, huh?
SCOTT: It must be terrible. I really feel bad for anybody that has to go through that.
KING: As an aside, what's with the popularity of tattoos?
SCOTT: You know, that's a good question. I wonder about that myself sometimes. I think it's just to have body, you know, beautification or modification, has a lot to do with it. And...
KING: Like you're all tattooed?
SCOTT: Right. I like the way it looks. I think mainly that's just what people -- people look at themselves in the mirror and they a little change and they like it.
KING: Did it start with athletes?
KING: The phenomenon of everybody being tattooed. The NBA is tattooed.
SCOTT: You know, that's kind of hard to say. I wouldn't say maybe so much as the athletes as far as just other celebrities have been getting tattooed. Mickey Rourke has been tattooed. I mean guys have been getting tattooed in the industry for quite some time. I think it's just a matter of what -- what's made it to the headlines. And athletes could have a bit to do with it. They're -- they're pretty wide public spread.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, in the "New York Post" last Friday, it's reported that an anguished former member of Britney Spears' posse says she and other pals of the pop tart fear disaster is certain in the singer's wild life spirals out of control.
That was before the baldness.
Do you fear that?
LUDWIG: I do. I think now is the perfect time for an intervention. And what you have to remember about a celebrity's life is very often they are surrounded by their entourage. These are people that they pay. And the celebrity becomes a product. So the people that are in their inner circle may not be able to say you know what, you're troubled, we need to get you some help, because they fear either they'll get fired or the celebrity is still making money so there's no need to make that intervention.
But I think what we see, especially with the Anna Nicole Smith situation, that if you don't get celebrities soon enough, that they can go off the deep end and that maybe we need to be curious and be careful, you know, what's said or how we handle some of these celebrities in the media.
They're just people. They're people that can only tolerate so much and I think at some point, all of us, collectively, need to step up to the plate.
KING: When we come back, the buzz cut, the new tattoo -- could it all be just a -- maybe a publicity ploy?
We'll talk about that theory and others, when LARRY KING LIVE continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRITNEY SPEARS (SINGING): With the taste of your lips, I'm on a ride. You're toxic. I'm slipping under. With a taste of the poison paradise, I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic? And I love what you do. Don't you know that you're toxic?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEARS (SINGING): Everybody's talking all this stuff about me, why don't they just let me live? I don't need commission, make my own decisions, that's my prerogative.
UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: It's my prerogative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Max Scott, I understand business is booming.
SCOTT: Yes, they've been knocking down the doors since -- since Britney came through.
KING: Mostly young girls? SCOTT: No, a lot of -- a lot of the people that have been calling have been reporters and other people trying to get a hold of us just for interviews. But, yes, there's a lot of people that are just calling trying to get their daughters tattooed and friends and everything.
KING: Get their daughters tattooed?
KING: They bring in their daughters?
KING: And they all do...
CARL: I have to ask, how old, Larry? How old are they?
SCOTT: Their daughters are obviously over 18. But, yes, 18, in their early 20s, because we can't tattoo anybody under age, so.
KING: Do they want lips on the wrist?
SCOTT: I haven't -- they haven't told me exactly what they want yet, because they haven't come down to the shop yet. But, yes, probably. I would imagine that it has something to do with what she had.
KING: But the reservations are made?
KING: Jann, could it be publicity?
Weird publicity, though, isn't it?
CARL: I don't think so, Larry.
KING: That's good.
How about doing a little publicity and shave your body?
CARL: Yes, there you go. Yes, you know, I don't think so. I, you know, I tend to agree. There's a lot of, you know, people guessing what it is. Some people think it's a rebellious act against her mom and against everyone who's, you know, talking about her.
There's other thoughts, that it's her way of cleansing herself, it's like a, you know, I need -- I need a fresh start. And it was her doing that.
Other people have said some sort of hormonal rage. And others are saying maybe it's something deeper. Some people are supposing possibly, you know, manic depressive, bipolar.
There's a lot on the street. I think everybody agrees she should probably seek some help and get some answers for herself.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what should she do, based on your limited knowledge of the case?
LUDWIG: I think she should return to the people who love her. She should go back to her mother and her family, where she can get support from people who can really be there for her. I think she should seek a therapist who understands the pressure of celebrity. I think she has religious leanings. I think she should get spiritually centered. And I think this is a girl who's trying -- it's an ill attempted -- I think she's trying to protect herself from getting hurt and if you shave your head bald, you're not going to have to deal with socializing with men who might, you know, tell a story about you and your sex life in a tabloid paper, which I think is absolutely awful.
So I think in some ways, she's trying to protect herself, but she doesn't have the skills or tools to do so.
KING: Show business wise, can she come back, Jann?
CARL: Well, that's the question. That's a big debate going on right now. But, Larry, if you look at some of the people who have had, you know, instances where they seem to have gone off, you look at Anne Haisch (ph), Mariah Carey, Robert Downey, Jr. as you mentioned before, Martin Lawrence, people who have all had some difficulty in their lives, and they've all come back.
I think it's possible. Other people don't think so. But I think it is possible if, indeed, she gets centered, she gets help, she stays, you know, as Dr. Ludwig said, around those that love her, and she gets back to a team that knows how to advise her properly.
KING: Because in all these cases, who have they harmed but themselves?
KING: So, they didn't beat up someone on the street, right?
KING: So you're forgiving them for something they've done to themselves.
KING: It deserves forgiving, doesn't it, if they can come back?
CARL: Right. Right.
KING: It's something to be said if they can't -- you think she will. CARL: I think she could. When we first met her -- in fact, we've got her first interview that "E.T." did we her online right now at "E.T." online -- she's determined, she's driven, she's enthusiastic. I think that there's a spark inside of her that we saw when she was on stage. I think it's possible.
KING: Max, did she say anything about the paparazzi?
SCOTT: Just that they were really bugging her. They were really bothering her, bugging her most of the night.
KING: You can only imagine what that life is like, right?
SCOTT: Yes. I mean just for the...
KING: I mean you were a part of it.
SCOTT: ... hour of it that we were involved in, it was just overwhelming. I'm still a little bit overwhelmed by it. I'm just real -- I feel terrible for anybody, like I said, that has to go through that everyday. I mean just think if you walked out of here every night and they were immediately on you.
KING: Why do they do that?
CARL: Why do...
KING: The paparazzi.
CARL: The paparazzi?
KING: I mean why? I mean that's...
SCOTT: For the money.
KING: Oh, come on.
How many pictures do you need?
You get a picture. So you have today's pictures instead of yesterday's pictures.
CARL: Oh, yes. Everybody cares.
KING: Why is it important if it's Tuesday's picture rather than Monday's picture?
CARL: Because people want it. You look at how many hits there are on the Internet today for Britney Spears. On our Web site, Britney Spears is the number one story that everyone's hitting. And so at the time...
KING: What happened to Anna?
CARL: Anna got knocked down to number two...
CARL: ... by Britney and her new haircut.
SCOTT: That's amazing.
CARL: Yes. Yes, it's -- there is such an interest...
KING: But Anna is coming back tomorrow. There's a hearing.
CARL: There is a hearing. It will be very interesting to see what the judge says, if he makes a decision tomorrow.
KING: What if Howard shaves his head?
CARL: Maybe Howard will be the number one hit on "E.T."
KING: Brings him back.
Dr. Ludwig, would you say you're optimistic or not about her?
LUDWIG: I think she is a very nice girl. I think she is a fundamentally nice girl. She has a good family support system. She needs to do some work on herself. She needs to get her personal life in place.
And I think once she really gets that in place, then she can put energy into her professional life.
I think she's put too much energy into her professional life, which is why she is where she's at.
KING: Thank you all very much.
Max Scott, Dr. Robi Ludwig in New York and Jann Carl, one of the best.
CARL: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Up next, a return visit from the godfather of soul's widow.
Tomi Rae Brown talks about what's changed in the weeks since her superstar husband's death and why James Brown still has not been buried.
As we go to break, a clip from her last appearance here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE" JANUARY 23, 2007)
KING: Is there a fight over the estate?
T. BROWN: There obviously must be. I didn't know there was. I know what my husband wanted.
KING: The will hasn't been read yet, has it?
T. BROWN: They haven't even told me when it's going to be read. They haven't even told me where my husband's body is going to be buried.
KING: It's not been buried yet?
T. BROWN: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JAMES BROWN PERFORMANCE)
JAMES BROWN (SINGING): Do it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us now, the widow of James Brown, the godfather of soul, Tomi Rae Brown.
James died Christmas morning at a hospital in Atlanta. He had a tumultuous personal life, multiple marriages, tax difficulties and substance abuse problems.
He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. He won multiple Grammies.
And Tomi Rae has a son from that marriage, James Joseph Brown III.
You were last with us in early January, so that's about six weeks. You're back in the house.
Tell me what happened.
T. BROWN: Well, we went to the hearing and the judge was very, very fair. And I think that we have a good judge in Judge Early. And he...
KING: Where is that in?
T. BROWN: In South Carolina, Judge Early at the Aiken -- Aiken, South Carolina courthouse, I suppose that's what it was. But he granted that I could go into the house and. And I went in and I took some cameras with me. Of course, he did say that I wasn't able to use the film for anything. And that was OK.
But I just wanted to...
KING: It was just a visit to the house, not to live there?
T. BROWN: No, I was -- I was -- well, it was just to go and assess what had been taken, to see -- to get things that I needed out of the house because I hadn't been in the home since he died.
KING: And that's where you lived with James?
T. BROWN: For 10 years. And also our son.
KING: And your son lived there?
T. BROWN: Yes. James, our son and myself.
KING: Why were you not allowed into the house? Why did you need a court hearing to go into your own house?
T. BROWN: Well, that the trustees -- that implies that they can be trusted -- I would rather say the people that are in management position with James Brown -- said that it was to protect the estate. But, you know, if that was the case, then why was everybody else allowed into that home but me?
KING: What did you find when you visited?
T. BROWN: Well, when I got there, they were so kind as to have already packed up all of my belongings in my room, because I had a -- the room that James and I shared. And then I had another room right next to our son's bedroom so that if my son had a hard time sleeping or whatever, it wouldn't disturb James and I could go to the other side of the house.
And they had packed up all my belongings and put them into boxes -- not very neatly, I might add. And they packed up all of James' belongings and they were all in boxes. There was about 70 boxes in the room (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
KING: What were you, there for a day?
T. BROWN: I went in there for three hours. I was planning to spend the day on the next day. And when I went there, the judge had said that one of the trustees could go and to just make sure that everything was OK. And instead there were three or -- three of them sprawled all out all over my couch. They brought four private investigators. They brought the -- some of the other girls, some of the other family members were there.
There -- there was about 30 people in the my living room and in my house following me from room to room. Everything I touched they said you can't have that. I -- I picked up family photos and they said anything with James in it, you can't have it.
I was so emotionally distraught by the time three hours had passed that I just said you know what? Everything I touch, they dispute. So the judge had said that anything that was in dispute that I -- just to leave it there and we would sort it all out later.
KING: Where did you move all of your stuff to?
T. BROWN: I didn't move it.
KING: You left it there?
T. BROWN: Absolutely.
KING: In boxes?
T. BROWN: Because everything that I touched, they said well, you can't have that. You can't have that.
KING: But I thought they had crated it for you.
T. BROWN: Well, you know, how was I to know what's in those boxes?
I had already found fur coats missing. I had already found jewelry missing. There was already a safe in the wall that was boarded up...
KING: So you didn't trust...
T. BROWN: They actually took nails and boarded up the safe and changed the picture that -- there was a picture of James in front of the wall safe. And it was a different picture. And I walked into the room and I said, "Well, this is a different picture here. Isn't that interesting?"
And I have it all filmed. And...
KING: So they didn't trust you?
T. BROWN: No. No. What would happen is they didn't probably want to be caught with what they had done. I don't know. I don't know who went into that safe and...
KING: Who are these people?
T. BROWN: Well, these -- these -- these so-called trustees. I would rather call them the management...
KING: I know.
But who are they? The lawyers?
T. BROWN: Buddy Gallis (ph), David Cannon and Judge Bradley, you know, who -- oddly enough, Judge Bradley was fired from James Brown three years ago and now all of a sudden he's back in the mix again. But...
KING: And another puzzling aspect of this whole puzzling aspect is the body.
T. BROWN: Um-hmm.
KING: It was embalmed, right?
T. BROWN: You know, I would assume so. I certainly hope so.
KING: Where is it?
I mean it would have to have been embalmed, wouldn't it?
T. BROWN: Well, yes.
KING: Where is it?
T. BROWN: Well, you know, I've got to tell you that the burial isn't too much I can talk about. But I can tell you that I did just find out when I was in South Carolina that he is at the funeral home. They had taken him out of our home...
KING: In South Carolina?
T. BROWN: Yes. They took him out of our home -- and this is all just so bizarre to me, how they could do it like this in the first place.
KING: Why can't he be buried?
T. BROWN: I don't understand that, really, to tell you the truth. I don't.
KING: What do they tell you?
T. BROWN: Well, right now what -- what I can tell you, Larry, is that the family's lawyers and my lawyers have come to an agreement of a place -- because my -- one of the biggest parts of my fight has been to get him in the ground as soon as possible because it's just -- he doesn't want to be there...
KING: And they don't want him in the ground?
T. BROWN: Well, I think everybody does. I think that it's just...
T. BROWN: We've finally come to an agreement. So it's going to happen now. And tomorrow there is also a point...
KING: It could happen how soon?
T. BROWN: Actually, tomorrow we're going to find out a lot of other things. There is also a hearing. The judge was supposed to have it out today, but I guess Presidents Day. So tomorrow -- it's already been filed -- some rulings on an overseer over the trustees and the burial, I guess, something will come up about that.
KING: This week?
T. BROWN: Yes, this week.
KING: In South Carolina?
T. BROWN: Yes. But we've already been talking about that, the children and I, through our lawyers. And I have great lawyers in Robert Rosen and Thornton Morrison. They're going to do the right thing.
KING: Is there a family plot?
T. BROWN: Well, you know, I know what James wanted and that's what I'm fighting for.
KING: What did he want?
T. BROWN: James wants to be buried on the property and he wants to be buried in the ground...
KING: Probably where the -- where the house is?
T. BROWN: Our home. We had always planned to turn it into a museum. That was never -- it was something James and I talked about (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: So he wants something like Presley?
T. BROWN: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And James and I talked about this they -- for many years. And we knew everything that was going to happen, even down to the horrible things that have happened. He knew it was going to happen.
But he wants to be in the ground. He wants 37 songs up on top of the biggest rock you can find, fret not thyself and the evildoers. He said it in every interview he ever did. And that's what he wants on top of his grave.
KING: So if all of this comes by at the hearing tomorrow, it could be this week?
T. BROWN: It could be this week.
KING: Since both sides now want him buried in South Carolina, right?
T. BROWN: Yes. Well, yes. Both -- both me and the family do want him buried in South Carolina. I just want to make sure that it's -- that I can -- I don't know. I just want him to be at rest.
KING: You'll attend the burial?
T. BROWN: Absolutely. On, yes. I'll go through every step of the way with him.
KING: Coming up, James Brown's last will and testament, what will become of it.
As we go to break, Tomi Rae's musical performance at one of James Brown's memorials.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MEMORIAL SERVICE)
T. BROWN: I'm on my way, yes. Your lover. And if you get cold, I'm your cover. Don't need to worry, I'm here. No need to suffer baby, I am there. Yes, yes, hold on. I'm coming. Hold on. I'm coming. Hold on. I'm coming. Hold on.
KING: We are back with Tomi Rae Brown, who married James Brown in 2001. The validity of that marriage -- Is there still a legal dispute over are you married, were you married or not?
T. BROWN: To me there's not. To my husband there isn't.
KING: Is the family suing about it?
T. BROWN: What I am to understand is that the trustees are the ones fighting this issue. As far as I know, the trustees are supposed to look out for the beneficiaries, not to decide who and what ...
KING: They are the trustees of the will?
T. BROWN: They are the trustees of the will.
KING: Has the will been read?
T. BROWN: The will, I believe was read. The will that they read was read.
KING: You don't believe it was the will.
T. BROWN: I served tea at my home. And my husband changed wills all the time. And I know that I just ...
KING: You can change a will every day.
T. BROWN: Yeah. I was there a few times when they had done it. And I know that I was a part of it. They went back so far, before I was in it, I think that's what happened. But I don't know. I don't know. It still remains to be seen, I guess.
KING: How large was the estate?
T. BROWN: James Brown's estate? If you include the publishing and everything else? I think it would be priceless.
KING: It would all be in the will?
T. BROWN: Sure, absolutely, unless they found a way to siphon it in a different direction by opening a different company over here and it ...
KING: It would seem like the main inheritor, I'm not a lawyer, would be your son? T. BROWN: Absolutely. James Brown Jr.
KING: He's the only with one under 18, right?
T. BROWN: Yes.
KING: It looks like he would be the main beneficiary.
T. BROWN: Well, itooks like that. But right now you couldn't tell by asking us, that's for sure.
KING: Where are you living?
T. BROWN: Actually, my friend Jeanette and I got together a place in Beverly Hills, a nice place, behind a gated community.
KING: With your boy?
T. BROWN: We my son. With our son. And she has children as well. They all go to school together. And it's a really good environment.
KING: And what are you doing for a living?
T. BROWN: I am right now doing my music. I just signed a deal with the Machine Productions, associates with Groove Records. They have a company that's kind of multifaceted that does a lot of literary work and a lot of publicity help and a record company as well. So I just signed with them. I'm getting ready to start doing a tribute album to my husband. Not doing James Brown songs but instead doing songs that James and I wrote together. Because for the last 10 years I've been the lead soloist in the James Brown show. And James and I had recorded my songs together. And I have been fortunate enough to be on the last three albums he has put out.
So we had an album we never got a chance to put out of songs him and I wrote.
KING: So you told me you live near Britney Spears?
T. BROWN: I live like three or four houses down from her. And I would really love to go. I will pay her a 12-step call. I'm not afraid.
KING: Do you see her?
T. BROWN: No, I have seen the paparazzi outside the gate, though. But no.
KING: You're in 12 step?
T. BROWN: Yes, I am.
KING: That's A.A., right?
T. BROWN: Yes. KING: How often do you go?
T. BROWN: I go every day. Every day that I can.
KING: Was alcohol your problem?
T. BROWN: Well, you know, I think ...
KING: Because A.A. treats everything, right?
T. BROWN: A.A. treats everything. Even -- I think everybody that is a human could use a 12-step guideline really. Because it's just telling you to check yourself and treat people the way you would have yourself be treated and to say I'm sorry when you do something wrong, and admit it. And it's a good thing.
KING: How long since you have used anything?
T. BROWN: Well, are you writing this?
KING: The name of a city calling in. A secret code.
T. BROWN: You know what I did, the day after my husband and I got - after James and I got off the last tour we were on, I was on antidepressants because my father had just died and I wanted to get off of them. So I went into a fitness facility then because I had a month off so I did that 30 days. We were supposed to go back to work on the 26th of December and I came back on the 25th and I took that 30 days to get off the medication and I feel much better now.
KING: That was legal medication?
T. BROWN: Yeah. Absolutely.
T. BROWN: Yes.
KING: But you must have been involved with other substances that were not - or like alcohol?
T. BROWN: Throughout my life, certainly. I have been in the entertainment industry for 35 years.
KING: How long since you used?
T. BROWN: Since I've used -- God.
KING: How long sober?
T. BROWN: How long sober?
KING: That's what they talk about in A.A., right?
T. BROWN: Ninety eight days.
KING: Let's take a call for Tomi Rae Brown. Columbus, Georgia. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Miss Brown, I just wanted to tell you that I feel like your attitude has been great with all of the adversities you have been going through and you seem to have not been letting a lot of people take your joy away from you and I applaud you for that. Also being involved in the interracial marriage and a lot of problems I had with the other side of my family, my husband's family. How much do you think this is a race issue?
T. BROWN: You know, I really hate to play the race card, especially right now. It seems to be happening. But, you know, I think that cultures are different and that's OK. I think maybe if everybody tried to be a little bit more understanding of each other, we would all be a lot better off. It worked out for me just fine. I mean, I don't have a problem with it.
KING: How do you like those, there are some saying the little boy is not James Brown's son?
T. BROWN: Well, I ...
KING: Have they done a DNA?
T. BROWN: I cannot wait until we do, to tell you the truth.
KING: Well, they would have taken something off his body first.
T. BROWN: Actually, that's been discussed and I was asked if I want to be there present for it.
KING: I think it was embalmed already.
T. BROWN: It would be a tissue sample. And somebody asked me how can you go there and go through with that? You know, I have been through cancer treatment with my husband. I've been through diabetes with my husband. I have been through all of these things with James. Why would I go in there into this process and not be there when they take a piece of tissue with his body.
I want to be there and I want to make sure it is seen by a forensic scientist, I want to make sure that everything is up and above board. I don't want anybody ...
KING: Back to the will. Why are those who say they are not in the will?
T. BROWN: Well, because the one that was read was written before my husband and I got married, before James and I were married, and before our son was born. So in 2000, why would we be in it? I mean, really? I was just the lead soloist in the James Brown show at that point. I was not his fiancee or his girlfriend or the mother of his child or his wife at that point. So I would not put me in the will at that point either.
KING: If you got back into the house and he's buried at the house, would you turn the place into a museum? T. BROWN: Absolutely. I most certainly would. I most certainly would. I would do everything that James told me he wanted done with it.
KING: Tomi Rae Brown is our guest. More calls right after these words. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And the name for the dance you do?
J. BROWN: Oh, it's the James Brown but it doesn't matter now (inaudible) or the camelwalk or the moonwalk. But James Brown, mashed potatoes. I was experimenting at the time. And I think it was Casey Kasem who said James just kind of slides across the floor.
KING: The James is forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Where did he get the energy? I was always amazed.
T. BROWN: He said God. He always gave the glory to God. I think that's probably why he kept it.
KING: He entertained at our Larry King Cardiac Foundation functions in Washington. You could stand backstage and not believe where that came from. Let's take another call. Lancaster, hello.
CALLER: Hello. We have seen photographs of a wedding celebration. I'm wondering, was there a marriage license ever purchased and signed?
T. BROWN: Yeah, there's a marriage license. It's public record. You can get it yourself. South Carolina. It's a legal wedding, legal marriage.
KING: What is the date?
T. BROWN: December 14, 2001.
KING: There's the picture. Why would you get -- you would not have a gown.
T. BROWN: No, we had a ceremony at our home, 250 guests, maid of honor, my father, who just passed away a few months ago, gave me away.
KING: How about the charges of bigamy?
T. BROWN: You know, first of all, I hate to even dignify it with a response. But no, there's no bigamy there. There's a marriage that was not a marriage that was annulled. It was never consummated.
KING: You had another marriage?
T. BROWN: Yeah. I was married for about 24 hours and it was annulled because it was never consummated. It was a fraudulent marriage from the get-go. And the judge saw it. And it's called void in ab initio, which mean it's never happened from the start.
KING: Toronto, Ontario. Hello.
CALLER: I wanted to know if James Brown had previously recorded songs to be released for the future?
T. BROWN: He certainly does and that's a great question because that's one of the things I have tried so far to get an injunction and Judge Early, who seems to be a very fair and impartial judge and seems to be pretty right so far.
KING: Injunction against?
T. BROWN: Yes, so they cannot -- that's what this hearing tomorrow, which the hearing I was at actually a couple of weeks ago, tomorrow we are getting the ruling on that hearing on overseers over the trustees so they cannot liquidate his publishing ...
KING: You don't want the records released?
T. BROWN: Well, I want them -- oh, absolutely. I think the whole world should hear all of them.
KING: So what is the injunction for?
T. BROWN: We don't want to be able to take and liquidate everything to siphon the money out and to get rid of the money so by the time this is all settled, there's no way to keep control of it, there's no way to put a handle on it or put your hand on archives that should be all categorically done, like at Graceland, where you can look up a James Brown song and it would be right there in a box where you can find it and go through it. If they have a chance to liquidate and sell it to whoever has the highest dollar, then the world does not get to hear James Brown.
KING: Is this supposed to be ruled on tomorrow?
T. BROWN: Well, tomorrow we are going to hopefully get -- I'm very confident in our legal system. I have to say, I really think they will appoint an overseer over those trustees.
KING: Will you be there tomorrow or you don't have to be?
T. BROWN: I don't have to be there tomorrow. But at any other public hearing, at a burial, anything that has to do with my husband in that manner, I will be there for.
KING: The hearing is in South Carolina?
T. BROWN: Yes.
KING: Do you expect the burial this week?
T. BROWN: I pray for one. I pray for one.
KING: What do you think his legacy is? James Brown is going to be remembered as what?
T. BROWN: I think he should be remembered as the greatest entertainer in the world myself. God, he was a great man. He was a hard man. He was a businessman. He was one of the best business people I think, business minds, to ever even hit business.
He was a consummate entertainer all the time, 24/7. He was a perfectionist. He was a groundbreaker. I mean, he did so many things for our country that people don't even talk about that they need to talk about. As far as rights for black people, for white people, for everybody. There's so much that he's done. It would take a lot to get into.
KING: There was nobody like him.
T. BROWN: Nobody like him. Never will be.
KING: Anderson Cooper will host AC 360 at the top of the hour and he's still in Brazil. I thought you were coming home. What's up, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I will be home on Wednesday, Larry. We are actually deep in the Amazon at a location that I cannot disclose right now for security reasons with the Brazilian police and wildlife and environmental officials who are going to be going on a series of raids to try to stop the destruction of the rainforest here.
We will take you along on some of those raids tonight on 360. We are also going to look at the rescue on Mt. Hood, how climbers were saved and what role a dog played in the recovery effort. And also the troubling news out of Afghanistan, al Qaeda, resurgent along the border areas in Pakistan. How al Qaeda has been able to regroup and rebuild Pakistan. That is at the top of the hour on 360, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Anderson, that is certainly, that Afghanistan story, the big story of the day. Afghanistan hyphen Pakistan. ANDERSON COOPER 360, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We will be right back with Tomi Rae right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: We didn't have a star until we had James Brown. James Brown wasn't smooth and wasn't acceptable. He wasn't tall and light skinned with good hair. He looked like us! And he made the whole world see how good we could be! (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are back with Tomi Rae Brown. We go to Pompano Beach, Florida. Hello.
KING: Hello. Hi.
CALLER: Yes. Good evening. I would like to know, the gentleman that Miss Rae married before Mr. Brown, I would like to know how long did she know him?
T. BROWN: Actually, I knew him for about 11 months. He used to come to my show all the time. I was a singer in a coffee shop and he would always come to the show. Very religious guy. I thought he had good morals.
KING: What did he do?
T. BROWN: He was a salesman.
KING: Keswick, Ontario, hello?
CALLER: Hi, how are you?
CALLER: My question is, I was just wondering, what is James Brown's estate estimated at?
KING: I asked that earlier.
T. BROWN: Well, they're estimating it now anywhere between $100 million and $200 million.
KING: That's a pretty anywhere in between.
T. BROWN: That's a lot of difference, isn't it?
KING: You took your little son to the Grammies, right?
T. BROWN: I did. Yes.
KING: Where they did at tribute to your husband.
T. BROWN: They did. They did do a tribute to him.
KING: What was that like?
T. BROWN: It was good. They did a good job. I thought there -- Of course, my expectations were they would have given him a little bit more. But he had to share it with the Eagles, I guess. And I love the Eagles too. But I just wanted more for him. I thought they could have done a little bit more.
KING: How did your son feel?
T. BROWN: My son loved it. James loved it. He went and he walked the red carpet with me. It was a lot of fun. My son, just when we were in here in your greenroom, he saw the footage of James and he said, daddy. Daddy's gone so we have to go now. And I said no, baby and i sat him down on the couch and explained his daddy, again, was within him.
We go to therapy. Him and I both still go to therapy from the horrible way I was treated, I'm in therapy still from the funeral and just even until this point the kind of phone calls I get are pretty painful. So we get therapy now to help us deal with what's going on.
KING: Is your boy going to be an entertainer?
T. BROWN: He wants to be. He wants to be already. So I'm doing what James told me. James told me to get him piano lessons first. So that's the first step. And we'll get him -- he dances naturally.
KING: Are you bitter over all of this?
T. BROWN: I can't be bitter. It takes up too much space in my head. So I have to be forgiving as far as my family is concerned. I just lost my father. I know what it's like to lose a father. And I can only pray that after this is all over, that they will come back around and see that they are not doing what their father wanted and they will come back around. They know the right thing to do. They know. I'm just waiting for them to do it.
KING: Birmingham, Alabama. Hello?
CALLER: Hello, Larry, how are you doing?
CALLER: I would like to ask Miss Tomi Rae, do any of his other brothers, his other children, do they visit with her son? Obviously that is James' son as well. I would just like to encourage her to continue to battle and just keep the Lord in her life. Obviously, the lady is well grounded and she's human. She goings through problems like everybody else.
But I think they should cut her some slack, come on, and realize James obviously died happy. And I would like to think she was the greatest part of it. She seems like a beautiful woman.
KING: Thank you. Do they visit at all?
T. BROWN: For a while they were not allowed to, for many years. Because of this lawsuit that Deana (ph) and Yoma (ph) had with the music that happened a few years back.
KING: They didn't see their little brother?
T. BROWN: After this they did. We had -- I begged James, I said please let's have a family reunion and Deanna and I both helped set that up and we had a family reunion at the house. They all came by.
Since then they had been coming for holidays. I would break bread with them on Christmas and on Thanksgiving. And they would see their father when their father would allow them to. James was a very private man. Charles Bobbitt was probably the only person by myself and our son that James really even dealt with.
KING: When he died, they stopped all of that.
T. BROWN: When he died, they stopped all of that. They did. But I know that they are grieving as well. I have to -- I have to hold some reserve for them. I know what it's like to lose a father and just recently.
KING: Back with our remaining moments with Tomi Rae Brown right after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: I'd never seen a performer perform like James Brown and right then and there I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, because of James Brown. I love you, but -- James Brown, I shall miss you and I love you so much. And thank you for everything. God bless you. And I love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I understand there's a tribute album coming out?
T. BROWN: There is. It is going to be called "Mrs. Brown." and I'm titling it "This is for You."
And it's all songs that James and I wrote together. And on each track will be a various rap artist, where actually we have a meeting where Snoop Dogg's people after I leave you at the Ivy and we are going to talk about getting hill on the record as well. They seem to be pretty excited about it. And they are all going to lay tribute to James Brown in a different kind of way.
KING: Some songs never heard?
T. BROWN: These songs are all never heard. Usually people do a tribute album and do his songs and tribute it. But the reason why I think it is important to put it out because James and I had been working on this album and trying to release it the past couple of years.
KING: Good thinking. Augusta, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: How are you doing?
KING: Hi. CALLER: I would just like to know how is James' death affecting little James?
KING: How is the what?
CALLER: How is James' death affecting little James?
KING: Oh yeah, thanks.
T. BROWN: Well, it's definitely affecting him. He - in therapy we are learning how to deal with it a little better. He will draw little pictures of him in the casket with lots of hair on the stick person and stuff. And he'll say that's daddy and daddy's dead.
And they will tell him to put where it hurts. And he'll put on its heart.
KING: He talks about heaven?
T. BROWN: He does. He talks about heaven and he talks about where his daddy is. He asked me today in your greenroom if daddy was still sleeping? And I said yes, daddy is still resting but you will see him again one day and he lives within you and nobody can take that from him.
KING: Does he cry?
T. BROWN: He does this thing, and I actually talked to my therapist to see if that was healthy. Will he go oh, no, I've lost my daddy. I've lost my home and I will never see my daddy again. And then he will look at me and says, now you do it, mom.
And he'll do it and it breaks my heart because I don't know whether it's healthy or not.
KING: Do you do it?
T. BROWN: I do it with him. I play the game with him a little bit.
My therapist said it's OK to do that he's trying to come closer to the feelings. So I will do it with him a few times and I'll stop and hold his hands and explain to him that his father is still in his soul.
KING: Is it hard to look at James Brown?
T. BROWN: No, I look at him every chance I get. Because he's here. I feel him. He's with me every day and when I pray to God, I kind of say little things to James, too.
KING: Do you think he would be very upset at all this mess?
T. BROWN: He absolutely would. I think he's also laughing up there. Because he knew this was going to happen. But, yeah, he's upset. I think he put a lot more faith in people and they didn't pull through. They didn't come through.
KING: So he would be disappointed?
T. BROWN: Absolutely. They didn't come through. They knew how he wanted and they knew how they wanted them to treat his wife and his son. And they know they are wrong. And you know, what is in the dark comes to light, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Tomi.
T. BROWN: Thank you very much.
KING: We'll check on what happens tomorrow in the courts in Aiken, South Carolina.
T. BROWN: Yes. Thank you.
KING: And that's it for tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Right now we head back to Brazil. Anderson Cooper and AC 360.
Anderson, come home!
COOPER: Hey, Larry, thanks very much. It will be soon. But there is great drama happening here.
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