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Alec Baldwin's Rant

Aired April 24, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the rant heard round the world.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I'm tired of playing this game with you. I'm leaving this message with you to tell you, you have insulted me for the last time.


KING: An enraged sounding Alec Baldwin chews out his 11-year-old daughter in a voice-mail message leaked to the press. The tirade inexcusable.

But is the anger behind it at all understandable?

We'll have an exclusive one-on-one with Alec's brother, Stephen Baldwin. And then Dr. Phil on kids and the damage of divorce -- why parents need to work together on custody, not go to war.

Plus, insights from the attorney representing K-Fed in his divorce from Britney and the lawyer who handled Meg Ryan's split from Dennis Quaid.

But first, Alec Baldwin in his own words -- his most recent in- depth interview on his stormy marriage and painful divorce.

All that and more is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us.

It is a sad story. At the center of it, an 11-year-old girl. Battle over her, her celebrity parents, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.

They married in 1993 and divorced in 2002. And they've been locked in a bitter, bruising custody fight ever since.

Last week, the ugliness exploded on the Internet when posted a voice-mail that Baldwin had left on his daughter's phone.

Now, here's a small segment of that message.


ALEC BALDWIN: I am going to get on a plane and I am going to come out there for the day and I'm going to straighten your (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) out when I see you, do you understand me? I'm going to really make sure you get it. Then I'm going to get on a plane and I'm going to turn around and I'm going to come home. So you'd better be ready Friday, the 20th, to meet with me, so I'm going to let you know just how I feel.


KING: After hearing that tape, a court temporarily barred Baldwin from contact with his daughter.

In the meantime, Basinger is facing trial for contempt for allegedly disregarding court orders concerning her ex-husband's visitation rights.

Baldwin blames Basinger for the leak of the voice-mail. Her spokesperson denies the Oscar winning actress released the tape. After the voice-mail was made public, Baldwin apologized on his Web site for "losing my temper with my child."

He also wrote: "I have been driven to the edge of parental alienation for many years now."

Alec Baldwin talked with me about the tumultuous break-up of his marriage and the emotional fallout from it last November. And that rare one-on-one is the most recent in-depth interview that he's given on the subject.


KING: How did it get out of hand? How did it get public?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I think -- I think that rather than speak about the specifics of my own situation, I'm writing this book for St. Martin's Press, which is really more about the dynamic of divorce in general and what people go...

KING: When will it be out?

ALEC BALDWIN: In the spring.

KING: You'll be back?

ALEC BALDWIN: Oh, by all means, I'd love to.

Thank you.

And I think that, you know, very often you see cases in which someone who is very malleable, shall we say, someone who is very suggestible, have attorneys who they just know how to play that game. You and I both know from friends of ours and people that you've dealt with in the Hollywood community that you get divorced and these lawyers, this is their gift. This is their skill. They...

KING: They incite it?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, they get one person and they know how to play them, and they know how to get them going. And well, I mean, their ultimate goal is that you never speak to the other person anymore except through lawyers. The lawyers become the messengers and distort that message and stoke the flames of the problem.

And I think that, in many cases -- and my own may or may not be like this, we'll, you know, I want to examine it when I have some perspective, but you find that there are people who they will come at you a certain way in the proceedings and they just expect you to cave and they expect you to walk away and give up.

And I've seen many, many men, in particular, who they give up. I'd be sitting in the first class cabin of a plane, I'd be in a bar, I'd be in a restaurant, I'd be somewhere, I'd be in a line at the baseball game, and I became kind of, you know, a lightning rod for this issue. And men would come up to me and say, you know, I fought and fought and fought. And I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless, you know, units of my own psychic energy on this whole thing and then I finally quit. And I would be heartbroken. You know, I didn't...

KING: How do...

ALEC BALDWIN: I didn't quit. I didn't.

KING: How do you explain to people who don't know it how tough a time divorce can be? How devastating?

ALEC BALDWIN: I wanted to die.

KING: You wanted to die?

ALEC BALDWIN: I wanted to die, yes. I went to bed for -- I mean, I'm writing this book because I went to bed for about a year -- maybe less, maybe more, probably a year. When I was abut a year-and- a-half into the proceedings and I saw the turn they were taking, and I saw that no matter what I did -- and when I saw that no matter what goodwill I showed, when I saw that no matter how much conciliation I brought to the table and how much I had hoped for on the other side, when I saw that on the other side the attorneys were calling all the shots and they were just going to run this thing right into the ground. They didn't care. Mediating and coming to any kinds of agreements -- that was just not on their radar at all.

KING: But you were once -- and this can happen. We'll do this hypothetically. You're crazy about a woman.


KING: What happens when it ends? You're not crazy anymore? What?

ALEC BALDWIN: I think that people...

KING: She's certainly is beautiful as ever. She's...

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, no, no. I met someone and I was in love with them and I got married. But then I think when people are married, people change. I mean, you're married now, right?

KING: Uh-huh.

ALEC BALDWIN: Is this your first marriage?


ALEC BALDWIN: Right. So things change. You have that experience.

KING: Things change, yes.

ALEC BALDWIN: Things change in terms of people want different things. I think another thing that's interesting is also people are older. I didn't get married when I was 20. I didn't get married when I was 25. I got married when I was 35. And by the time you're 40, you begin to have much more of a crystal clear picture of what you like in life and what you want and what you don't want. And when you're married to somebody and they don't want what you want, you become a little more intractable about it. You sit there and say well, I know what I like and I know what makes me happy. And when two people have divergent paths -- but when I thought that everything was really -- when I thought that -- I thought I was a good person.

And when I thought that everything I could bring to bear on the event wasn't going to make any difference, I thought, I don't want to live anymore. Because it was all about -- and this is last thing I'll say about this -- it was all about when you have a child involved, I mean, as a man, most men that I know that are good men, that are decent men, you're going to chew your way through a concrete wall to access your child. You want to be with your child.

KING: Absolutely.

ALEC BALDWIN: And that's all I wanted. I never asked for anything other than that. And that was made almost impossible for me, and I think arbitrarily.

KING: You mean you couldn't have joint custody?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, no, I mean, everything I had to do to get, I had to fight for. No one ever turned to me and said "Let's work this out." The answer to every request was, "No. No. No. No. No." So it was just a fight for everything. That was exhausting.

KING: Now it's OK with the child?

ALEC BALDWIN: Everything is -- you know, I mean, I have what I have now. I have the orders that I have now. I mean, that...

KING: How old is the child now?

ALEC BALDWIN: She's 11. Yes, she's 11.

KING: Do you get to see her as much?

ALEC BALDWIN: Oh, yes, I have my whole set of orders. But it wore me...

KING: What was the affect on her?

ALEC BALDWIN: I think it was probably tough. I think it was tough to have two well-known parents and you go to school and maybe somebody's elbowing somebody in their ribs and saying, you know, "There's so and so whose parents are doing this." Or she sees it on TV or she reads about it. I'm deeply, deeply saddened that she had to go through it.

But, again, I had to ask myself, what's the alternative?

You know, the fight became the fight and it became a public fight because I wouldn't give up. and I'm glad I didn't give up.

KING: We an e-mail question from Kathleen in Tacoma, Washington.

Are you serious with anyone special? If so, do you plan to marry again?

ALEC BALDWIN: Oh, wow, you're talking about my love life now?

KING: That's what the question is.

ALEC BALDWIN: It's tough, Larry. It's tough. It's so tough.

KING: You don't have anyone? You're not in love with anyone?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I mean, I was with somebody, you know, for quite a while recently. And, you know, it's -- it always is very halting, because I travel so much to come here. I come here twice a month to see my daughter. I travel to Los Angeles every other weekend to see my daughter during school.

KING: You don't bring her out to New York?

ALEC BALDWIN: It's tough to find somebody that can make that work. So it's been -- I mean, I'm single now. I had been with somebody, a woman named Nicole Seidel, for a long, long time, who is a lovely woman and it's just been tough.

KING: What happened?


KING: Talk to me.


It's been -- it's been tough. Maybe I'm not the easiest person to live with, Larry. I don't know.

KING: You mean maybe it's you?

ALEC BALDWIN: In and. Part, it could be me. I have to learn to admit that. You know, maybe you -- see, before you got married to your lovely wife -- and you have kids again, right?

KING: Yes, two little boys.

ALEC BALDWIN: You've got two? You have two. How old are you sons?

KING: Seven-and-a-half and 6-and-a-half.

ALEC BALDWIN: And I was thinking you and I could have lived together. I mean we could have been roommates and had the breakfast club that you belong to.

KING: Maybe -- yes, maybe (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ALEC BALDWIN: I wanted to be counted in on that.

KING: You came by sometimes.

ALEC BALDWIN: I came by once. I wanted to be a part of that.

KING: You can -- any time.

ALEC BALDWIN: I want the whole Neil Simon kind of a lifestyle with you.

You've been a tabloid target for years.

Do you read articles about you? Like when you pass a newspaper stand and you read "Baldwin," do you read it?

ALEC BALDWIN: You know, I didn't used to, but I learned in New York, I mean, you know what New York is like. I learned in New York that if you don't, you're kind of behind the eight ball, you're a little behind the beat there, you know?

I'd be walking down the street in New York and some doorman would say to me, "Hey, Alec, how are you doing? Good to see you, man. Sorry what I read in the paper today."

And I'd be like "What?"

And then the FedEx guy would be parked at the stop light and he'd be like, "Hey Alec, too bad what I read in the 'Post,' guy. I'm sorry. I'm sorry what I read. It's just a tough day for you, huh?"

So I, you know, I use to not read it. And now I do.


KING: Later in the show, an exclusive -- Stephen Baldwin will react to his brother's ranting voice-mail message to his daughter.

But when we come back, more from my recent sit-down with Alec Baldwin, including an in-depth talk about Alec's relationship with his daughter. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE FROM LARRY KING LIVE NOVEMBER 20, 2006)

KING: What kind of father are you?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I think I'm like a lot of men I know. I'm kind of a slave to my daughter whenever my daughter's around.



KING: Welcome back.

Later in the show, we're going to talk about the disturbing voice-mail that Alec Baldwin left his 11-year-old daughter, including an exclusive interview with his brother Stephen, plus Dr. Phil and a distinguished panel.

But first, more from my November interview with Alec Baldwin, who really opened up about his divorce and reflected back on images from the past.


KING: Is it hard to look at yourself in pictures like that? Happy days?

ALEC BALDWIN: No, because I think that's a different guy. I'm a totally different person than I was back then.


KING: Would you agree, someone said that divorce is worse than death because you lose someone but you don't have closure?

It never has closure.

ALEC BALDWIN: Oh, I think -- for everybody that I know that's normal and healthy, when they get married, they go into it hopeful.

KING: Sure.

ALEC BALDWIN: You don't go into it predicting it's going to fail. You don't go into it wanting it to end. I mean, I'm very keen -- in the book, we have a huge component of the book dedicated to prenuptial agreements. And we advise people to get prenuptial agreements, not in terms of segregating assets and about financial issues, but prenuptial agreements whereby you have a pre-executed document that will discuss how your marriage will dissolve, if it does dissolve, while you still have a shred of respect for each other. That's the best time to negotiate a document like that, rather than later on.

I mean, what happens in divorce, the terrible thing about divorce, among other things is, that, A, you wind up having to -- the best thing for you to do is to negotiate and mediate your differences right when you're the least willing to do that.

And the second thing is that family law, particularly in California, is a place in which they mete out criminal punishments in a civil court. Men are denied their rights by judges and by therapeutic caregivers. Men are denied access to their children, not for valid reasons at all. It is as arbitrary and it is as -- it as corrupt and ineffectual as can be.

What kind of father are you?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I think I'm like a lot of men I know. I'm kind of a slave to my daughter whenever my daughter's around.

KING: Tell me about it.

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes. I mean when my daughter's around I just...

KING: ... She owns you?

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes. I mean, I just do whatever she tells me to do.


ALEC BALDWIN: The deal I have with her -- we'll go to the store. I mean, I joke with her. I say we'll go to the store and she'll want to go buy things. And she's not greedy. You know, she's not gluttonous in any way. She's a very reasonable kid. She's a great person. But we'll go to the story and I'll say to her, you can have whatever you can carry out of here. If you can carry it out of here, you can have it. You can have the clothes, you can get all the clothes you can carry out.

KING: Do you think that's a by-product of being a divorced father, an absentee father?

ALEC BALDWIN: Potentially, yes. I mean, but I've tried to steer away from that, where the things we do are not all, you know, what they call the Disney dad syndrome, where everything is about fun and games and activities and things that are, you know, not the quotidian chores of the day. I mean, you know, I want to do her homework with her and I want to do her -- I want real life with her, you know?

KING: Do you think marriage is more of a problem in California than in Iowa?

ALEC BALDWIN: Do you mean in show business?

KING: Yes.

ALEC BALDWIN: I think that people in the business -- I mean, many, many people I know have said the same thing, and I'm sure you've seen that, where you meet someone, and people in our business, they're very good at making people believe what they want them to believe.

They are very good at concealing the things they don't want you to know. I mean, performers, and actors in particular, are very good at presenting a certain kind of face to you.

And I think after you get to know somebody, my dear friend Ronnie said it best, he said, you don't really know somebody until you meet their monster. You know, when do you meet the worst side of them and when do you see them at their worst and can you handle that?

KING: What's it like the times when you run into your ex?

ALEC BALDWIN: I never do.

KING: You never do?


KING: You mean you pick up your daughter...

ALEC BALDWIN: I pick up my daughter, yes. I don't...

KING: At an assigned place?

ALEC BALDWIN: It's never an issue. Yes, I pick her up at her home and I go.

KING: You never talk to her?

ALEC BALDWIN: I don't. Yes, never.

KING: Any things you miss about her?


You're so -- you're such a devil, Larry.

KING: Yes.

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I mean, when I think about pre, you know, what happened, my -- I mean, I can't lie. My ex-wife was somebody who was funny and she was fun and she was -- and she liked to have fun and she...

KING: And pretty to look at.

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes. And she wasn't -- yes, I mean that's what people tell me, you know what I mean? They tell me she was pretty. And she was a lot of fun to be with. And she was a great, great person. And then all of a sudden I think we just wanted to live different lives.

KING: Is she a good mother?

ALEC BALDWIN: Oh, I think she's a great mother. Yes, she's a good mom. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Do you still have problems with photographers?

ALEC BALDWIN: As a matter of fact, they got me outside this place here. They got a couple guys. But I just ignore them because you learn all...

KING: But you used to show a temper.

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, you learn to drive your car like this (CRANES NECK) because they're coming through the windshield.

KING: What happened that time?

I don't -- you don't have to delve into it. But you made (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

ALEC BALDWIN: They stalked my house and they stalked my ex-wife.

KING: During the divorce thing?

ALEC BALDWIN: No, no, when my daughter was born.

You mean about the assault charge I had with the photographer?

KING: Yes.

ALEC BALDWIN: He was camped out in front of my house and he waited...

KING: For what purpose?

ALEC BALDWIN: To get a picture of my ex-wife with my baby, with my daughter. And they were -- and they were hidden in a car. It's a long story, but they had this whole triangulation thing with two different cars and two different guys. And the guy got out of the car and he came toward me. I thought he was going to hit me.

KING: So you hit him first?

ALEC BALDWIN: Well, I -- I had an intervention. He was out of control. He didn't really know -- he didn't really know what he needed at the time.

KING: You announced...

ALEC BALDWIN: So we had an intervention.

KING: One thing I love about you, Alec, you announced -- you announced you have obsessive compulsive disorder.

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes, but in a funny way.

KING: Yes, you did it in a funny way but you had it, right?

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes, I still think I do have it a little bit, yes, a mild case of it.

KING: How do you treat it?

ALEC BALDWIN: I don't. I guess I should have it treated somewhat, yes. But my thing was, I always tell people was the same example was, if I had coins on a table and they would call me from downstairs in my apartment and they would say the car is downstairs, you've got to go to the airport and I was already late.

And I would stop and I would arrange the piles of the coins so that they were all neat and they were all in the same -- to the dime, quarters and the pennies...

KING: Before going to the car?

ALEC BALDWIN: And I would take five minutes to do that and then get in the car. Or I'd arrange my pile of my papers.

This is from having -- this is -- I blame all this on my three brothers.

KING: Yes?

ALEC BALDWIN: I blame everything...

KING: Tell me about the Baldwin family.

ALEC BALDWIN: ... everything that's wrong with me, I blame on my three brothers. Everything that's wrong with me emotionally, I blame on Danny, Billy and Stephen.

KING: They all turned into actors.

ALEC BALDWIN: They all turned into actors. But I blame them for everything that's wrong with me. They drove me insane when I was younger.

KING: You are what in...

ALEC BALDWIN: I'm the oldest son. I have an older sister Beth, myself, Danny, Billy, Jane and Steven. And my three brothers, they drove me insane, but especially Daniel and Stephen. Billy, he was pretty good. He was father Billy. He was the one that was going to go seminary school.

KING: Stephen is very religious now, though, right?

ALEC BALDWIN: Yes, now, he's -- yes. Well he's -- he's got a lot. Yes, he's trying to make up for lost time, you know? He's trying to get it all right now.

KING: Oh, was he all wrong before?

ALEC BALDWIN: He was -- he was -- he was adventurous.


KING: Speaking of Stephen Baldwin, when we come back, an exclusive interview with Stephen about the latest firestorm surrounding his brother.

And then Dr. Phil and others will join us to dissecting the ranting voice-mail -- what could have caused it? What should be done about it?

It's all coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unhappily ever after -- sometimes when the fairy tale ends, that's when the fireworks begin.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alec Baldwin leaves an enraged message on his 11-year-old daughter's voice-mail.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nasty custody battle has gotten even nastier. Actor Alec Baldwin was heard leaving a blistering voice-mail for his young daughter after she failed to answer a scheduled phone call.



KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Stephen Baldwin.

He is Alec Baldwin's brother, the actor and spiritual activist, author of the new book, "The Unusual Suspect: My Calling To The New Hard Core Movement of Earth."

Stephen, we know there are a lot of legal reasons maybe you can't talk about all of this, so we'll try to delve our way into what you can.

How much contact have you had with Alec since all of this erupted?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Well, I speak to him almost every day.

KING: What does he have to say about his outburst and the reaction to it?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Ooh, I'm not allowed to talk about that, Mr. King.

KING: That hasn't -- that's not a legal thing.

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Oh, I'm just -- in the pecking order of the Baldwin brothers, that's -- that's a serious legal thing. Yes, there's just -- there's just some things that I'm not allowed to talk about.

KING: Well, how is he -- how is he doing?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: He's doing great. He's doing wonderful. Actually, he's never been better. He's just trying to get some things organized and trying to work his way through a very difficult situation.

KING: Have you spoken to your niece?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Oh, no, no, no. No.

KING: Are you -- do you know her very well? Have you been in close contact with her over the years?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: I love you, Larry. I can't talk about any of that stuff right now.

KING: You can't tell me how you do with your niece?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: No, I can't talk about any of those things at -- right at this moment, I can't talk about any of those things.

KING: Does -- is Alec optimistic that all this is going to be resolved?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: I can't talk about any of that, brother.

KING: What can you talk about, Stephen?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Well, they asked me to come on your show to talk about how, perhaps, I have been having a spiritual impact on Alec and things of that nature, so I'm more than happy to talk to you about that.

KING: What kind of impact have you had on him?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Well, you know, he's had a -- a lot of problems leading up to this current one and, you know, what I think is really kind of cool is that a lot of people have been connecting with me and talking with me about how much they love my brother and what a funny guy he is and what a good guy he is and how often it's -- it's not uncommon that -- that anyone in life can -- can lose their cool with their kids.

So I'm just here to support him and love him and pray for him and do what I can to -- to be his little brother.

KING: Have you -- have you helped him, little brother, with his temper?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Oh, I think -- I think the guy is absolutely, in the last 10, 15 years, become a much cooler customer. He's, you know, I think to quote Alec recently, you know, somebody even on your team said to me, you know, this was him getting caught on his -- on his worst day in his -- in his worst possible scenario.

So, you know, this is just, in my opinion, more unfortunate for his daughter than anybody else.

KING: Of course.

STEPHEN BALDWIN: And I'm just praying -- I'm just praying for the whole family.

KING: All right, can you tell me what -- when you heard it, what your reaction was? You, Stephen?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: No. No. You don't want Alec to kick my butt, do you?

KING: You mean you had no reaction or you can't tell us what the reaction was?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: No, I -- listen, Larry, I mean, you know, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that he made a bad choice. I mean that's obvious.

But people in every walk of life around the world make similar ones every single day. Unfortunately, this has taken on the tone that it has and it's been blown into the proportion that it has and, again, I -- I just -- all I can do is my very best to be supportive, not talk about certain things that Alec has asked me not to, that may be negatively impacting the situation later.

So I'm just here to talk about how I've been there for him and how I'm supporting him and praying for him.

KING: What are your thoughts about how the media has dealt with this?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Well, I think, you know, it's -- it all, to me, seems pretty silly. You know, a good friend of my, Kevin McCullough, has a radio program called The Musclehead Revolution on WMCA here in New York. And he did a program last Friday where -- where people were phoning in and really trying to figure out, you know, why anybody wasn't asking the question, as far as, you know, how did this information get out and wasn't anybody concerned about the child in right now to that? And -- and why anybody wasn't addressing, potentially, of what has been the sequence of events that have led up to this?

So it's just -- it's very delicate. It's very sensitive. You know, it's been quite a battle for my brother for a long time and unfortunately it's come to this. And I just want to be respectful and loving to him and carry out his wishes in this very sensitive time, and support him and love him and pray.

KING: All right, Stephen, what would you say to people who don't know him, in fact, don't know anything but what they've seen of him on film, which he's been terrific, but they hear this? What would you say to them about Alec Baldwin that they don't know?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Alec Baldwin is absolutely one of the most honorable and loyal and loving and funny human beings I've ever met in my life. His heart is a heart of service. He likes to do things behind the scenes that no one ever hears about to help others and be of service to the community in his philanthropy and charity works, etc. etc.

Larry, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to, you know, try to paint a different picture here. He made a bad choice. That's obvious. Everybody knows that. I would just ask that people pray for him and his family right now and I would ask that people understand that everybody has a bad day. He obviously has had one recently. Don Imus had one recently.

You know it's unfortunate. You know life is full of lumps along the road and this is one of those moments. And I'm just here to support my brother the best I can.

KING: And you're doing a good job. You said you think he'll come out of this a better man. How so?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: Well, I think that, you know, he's really been doing very well. He has a great hit TV show "30 Rock" on right now. It's doing very well. I just hope that the media will just recognize this guy for the positive things he does. And obviously, this is a story, so to speak, within your industry. And for the same of his well being and his family, I hope they don't continue to beat this dead horse too long because it's just unfortunate for the family.

KING: Do you think it's all going to be settled, Stephen?

STEPHEN BALDWIN: I believe so, sure. I think that this is all going to work itself out, I mean, on both sides of the equation. You know it's sensitive. You know it's a very sensitive reality. So I really don't want to say too much more because...

KING: All right.

STEPHEN BALDWIN: ...again, I want to be respectful to my brother. And I think it's all going to work out fine.

KING: Stephen Baldwin, thank you so much, Stephen, Alec Baldwin's brother. He's on his way to Russia. He's the author of "The Unusual Suspect: My Calling to The New Hard Core Movement of Faith."

We asked members of Kim Basinger's family to be on the program tonight. They declined. Her representatives declined the invitation, too. However, a spokeswoman for Ms. Basinger has issued a statement denying that Kim released the voice mail. The statement also says -- quote -- "everybody is always asking why this custody battle has been going on for so many years and now they have the answer. The issue is not about Kim or the alleged alienation that Alec constantly refers to. It's about his ongoing aggressive behavior. Kim's sincerest wish is for him to finally address his unstable and irrational behavior so he, at some point, can potentially create a relationship with his daughter. Until then, Kim will continue to protect and safeguard her child's well-being as any parent would" -- end quote.

When we come back, Dr. Phil and his take on this after this.


KING: We now welcome Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the high rated daytime TV show "Dr. Phil," author of many "New York Times" best- sellers.

What's your make of all of this?

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR. PHIL": Well, Larry, sadly, this isn't an isolated situation. I mean this goes on in so many families. We got over a 50 percent divorce rate in America so this happens a lot.

And the problem I have with this is, first off, we only know what we know. Who knows what's really going on behind the scenes? There are allegations here of instability on Alec's part. There are allegations of parental alienation on Kim's part. Who knows what's really going on?

But what I do know is that when you put a child in the middle of this sort of thing, when you fight in front of your children, when you fight over your children, it changes who they are. You get adults running their agenda, you get adults who are angry and upset and emotional and they start venting all of that, the child picks up the tab for that. They pay the price.

KING: You're saying there's no way that he can be right on this?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, first of -- well, let me say this, the things that he said in that voice mail, are wrong. He knows they're wrong. He says they're wrong. There's no question that they're wrong. But does that mean that he's a bad father? Absolutely not. I mean, this guy clearly is frustrated. It is his reaction to it correct? No, it's not. But what happened is he's had such a bad reaction on this voice mail, and clearly he had an expectation of privacy about that.

But, you know, that's a bad example. If that's who he was, that's not good. But I don't believe that that reflects who he is. Overall, I think it's just a bad reaction to a frustrating situation.

KING: Let's listen to another segment of that tape.


ALEC BALDWIN: I'm tired of playing this game with you. I'm leaving this message with you to tell you, you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me. You don't have the brains or the decency has a human being. I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) if your 12 years old or 11 years old or that your a child or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in (EXPLETIVE DELETED) who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.

(END AUDIO CLIP) KING: What's proper with a 12-year-old?

MCGRAW: OK, he's run so many red lights there, I mean, saying things he shouldn't say: name-calling, demeaning her. All of those things are absolutely bad. And it's easy to jump on the bandwagon and dog on him for that because it is so outrageously wrong and it is outrageously wrong.

But I hear so much pain in his voice. I mean hear a father that's on another coast trying to reach out to his daughter and not getting through. Does that justify it? No. And his reaction is so outrageous; it overshadows what may be victimizing him in this situation.

What should he do? He should take this up with her mother. They should get a third party counselor involved. You just don't put children in the middle. And let me tell you something that is so worrisome to me. I have been doing this for 30 years and I'll tell you something I know for drop-dead sure: children have a way of figuring out why it is their fault when things go wrong in their family. No matter what it is, kids have a way of figuring out I have done something wrong that caused this. You hear mom and dad fighting over money and the mortgage and all of that. Children will go to their bedroom and say, "If I hadn't asked for $11.50 for school pictures, they wouldn't be fighting. This is all my fault." When the fact of the matter is they're talking about thousands of dollars not pennies.

KING: It's their reality of it.

MCGRAW: It's just their reality. They see it as their own fault. And that's what I think is so tragic in this.

KING: We have a panel coming up. Dr. Phil will be back at the end of the show.

Thanks as always.

We'll be right back and Dr. Phil McGraw will return. And we'll meet our panel right after this.


KING: To discuss this, our panel has joined. Mark Vincent Kaplan, a family law attorney who's represented Kevin Federline in his divorce from Britney Spears; Lynn Soodik, family law attorney among the high-profile clients she's represented, Meg Ryan and her divorce from Dennis Quaid; Harvey Levin, the managing editor of He broke the story of Alec Baldwin's taped tirade; and in New York Judge Glenda Hatchett who presides over the TV court show, "Judge Hatchett," former chief presiding judge of the Fulton County, Georgia Juvenile Court.

How'd you get the tape, Harvey?

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Larry, I can't say how we got the tape.

KING: Why not?

LEVIN: Because we protect our sources. I will say we got the tape legally. And there are a lot of guesses on how it happened and that doesn't necessarily make it fact.

KING: But if the tape was suppressed, how could it be legally gotten to?

LEVIN: Well, there are a variety of ways the tape could be legally gotten. It could be, for example, before a court hearing, we could have gotten it. It may well be, Larry, this tape was not protected by a court order and that may well be the case, too. But I can assure you it was legally obtained.

KING: Why did you use it?

LEVIN: Because a couple of reasons: one, we wanted to make sure it was legal. But secondly, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how this would impact Ireland. And I will tell you that I have good reason to believe, number one that she kind of wanted this out, and number two, that she was happy on Friday, the day that this tape ran.

KING: The daughter was happy?

LEVIN: Happy because this could contain a really bad situation.

KING: Mark, do you believe that?

MARK VINCENT KAPLAN, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: Well, I don't think that we should decide and let 12-year-olds decide whether a tape that is potentially so damaging to their relationship is going to go public. First of all, the rant is bad in and of itself. When the tape very leased -- and I'm not saying that Harvey made the wrong call but when a tape is released, it perpetuates the effect of that forever. It'll become the defining moment of her relationship with her father.

KING: Lynn, what's your read on this?

LYNN SOODIK, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: I think it's a bad thing that it was released. I don't think there was a court order prohibiting it. But if it was from Kim's camp, it shows she has some problems with judgment. And you also wonder everybody is looking at what he's doing, the bad things he's said, but why wasn't she available for telephone calls?

KING: I she were your client, would you have said don't release it, if she was the one releasing it?

SOODIK: I wouldn't want her to release it.

KING: Judge Hatchett, what's your read on this?

JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, TV'S "JUDGE HATCHETT": Yes, I'm really concerned that the tape was with released. And of course, Harvey has to make his own decisions but I certainly don't agree that an 11-year- old is in a position to decide whether this is a good thing or not.

And whether Kim or her camp, she says she has not, but this 11- year-old is going to have to live with this. And at the end of the day, we really have to figure out what is in her best interest. And it seems to me that this has really opened a Pandora's door. I don't think it's healthy for her, frankly.

KING: Any second thoughts, Harvey?

LEVIN: Absolutely not. And as a matter of fact, I would argue here, pretty strongly, that Alec Baldwin will think twice before saying that again. This kid was caught in the middle of a nightmare. And you know what; she's the one that has to live this. And let me just say that Alec Baldwin knows how bad this was because he heard it. It resonated and this may actually give this kid some protection from that.

HATCHETT: And I don't disagree that he will think twice before he does this again, Harvey. That is not my argument. The whole question is whether this had to be done publicly. This was played in court. I would take the position that this really should have been covered by the gag order that was entered in the court.

KING: All right, let me -- hold it, I got to get a break. We're short on time tonight because of the earlier portion. The panel will be right back. We'll be right back with more, don't go away.

Tomorrow night, Senator John McCain making his official announcement that he's running for president. He'll join me with his wife, Cindy. It's another interview you will not want to miss.


KING: Mark Kaplan, where does all of this go? Does this hurt the advance of the divorce...

KAPLAN: Well, I think...

KING: ...of who gets the child, this whole case?

KAPLAN: There's not going to be a change of custody because of the tape. There is going to be a suspension, as there has been, of some visitation. And I think that the court's first instinct is to see what the damage is, if any, to Ireland. After the court sorts that out, they're going to make some orders that will prevent this from happening again. And I think that there's a contempt pending. So quite frankly, not too much is going to be said about anything.

KING: Why is this apparently unresolvable, Lynn?

SOODIK: Well, everything is resolvable, but when you get two people who are really angry and that have a lot of money, they can fight forever. They're going to fight until this child is no longer a minor. You can see it. It's in the cards. And it's the personalities and there might be some parental alienation, which is what Alec is claiming, and there's obviously an anger problem.

KAPLAN: But unfortunately, Alec has alienated himself with that rant. Not only that, but I think what's going to happen here is that in the future this child is going to be reacting to this tape as opposed to just having heard it and being the victim of it.

KING: More going to come forward, Harvey? Are people giving you more stuff?

LEVIN: You know, this was one thing. But this has been a six- year battle, Larry, so a lot has come out really on both sides over the years. And I've never seen a more bitter divorce in Hollywood. I've never seen anything like it. And it just escalates and escalates. This was, you know, pretty revealing but it's not the first thing.

KING: Judge Hatchett, the judge's role is to protect the child, right?

HATCHETT: Absolutely, to do what is in the child's best interest. And we have advocates and we have great lawyers who come in and they fight hard for their clients. And that's the way it's supposed to.

Larry, I love it when lawyers come in and they're passionate about their positions. Although the court at the end of the day must decide not whether it is in Alec's best interest, not what is in Kim's best interest, but Ireland really is a person that the court has to decide. And I would suggest -- and of course, we don't know what has happened, we don't know what the court has had information about, about behavior, up until this point.

And let's just say hypothetically that this is the first time we have even this kind of behavior from a father. I would hope this would not cause the change of custody or -- I don't think it'll change custody, but I hope there will not be a permanent suspension of visitation in this case.

KING: Mark, will the judge talk to the child?

KAPLAN: I think that the child is old enough. There's provisions in our code where if a child is of a certain age, a judge can hear from a child on a custody issue. We don't let children decide what the custody should be. And usually, the preferred way of having the judge talk to the child, if both parents consent, is that there can be someone to interview them.

KING: We'll have you all back. Thanks very much and I appreciate your understanding our time limits here tonight.


SOODIK: Thank you.

KING: In a TV interview last spring, Kim Basinger talked about the divorce and custody battle and how she explains to her daughter why the media pays attention to it. As we got to break, just some of what she said, and then Dr. Phil is back.


KIM BASINGER, ACTRESS: We talk very openly. We have a very, very close relationship. And I've just said, "Ireland, you know, you will see this stuff. You will read this stuff. You will hear this stuff at school. All of it happened." And I said, "You know we will discuss what bothers you." And in the end, I said, "it will be your truth that matters. You'll get to know the truth. You'll know. But don't be so hungry to know everything tomorrow or the next day or whatever, just give yourself a break and know that all will be OK."



KING: Dr. Phil returns.

Are they right or is Harvey right, does the child benefit from the release of this?

MCGRAW: Absolutely not. That is absolutely not true, in my opinion. And you don't let a child make that decision in anyway. Look, it was wrong to leak this. Was it wrong for Harvey to run it? I'm not saying that. That's what he does. I mean he breaks news and gossip and tabloid-type things. I totally understand and get that. But this was leaked by an adult. I assume not Alec. I don't know if it was Kim or somebody on her staff or...

KING: I'm sure it wasn't Alec.

MCGRAW: ...some stranger. I don't know but somebody had access to that and that somebody didn't give a damn about what was in the best interest of this child.

If this was a concern and the judge needed to know about this, they could have gone into chambers, presented this in-camera, had an ex parte meeting, put it on in a hearing behind closed doors. There are any number of things that could have done to advise the court of what's going on. And I suspect that at some hearing soon, whether it's May 4 or at some other time, some judge is going to consider appointing an ad litem for this child.

KING: Meaning?

MCGRAW: Someone that doesn't have any obligation to either side in the divorce, only to the child, who is going to start advocating for this child's rights. That certainly is what I would recommend.

KING: What's the long-range damage to the child, long range?

MCGRAW: Unfortunately, it's not yet to be determined because you don't know if this is going to stop. Two inexcusable things in this current chapter: number one, that he made that phone call and left his pain and frustration be exhibited in this way; number two, leaking that tape and now making her a spectacle -- she's got to go to school the next morning. She's got to go to school the next morning and everybody is hearing their business. Everybody is hearing what's going on inside their home.

And if parent alienation is going on here, that is dangerous because it will backlash. I can't tell you how many times I've seen kids when they get 18, 20 years old that look at the parent that alienated the other and said, "Why did you take my mother or father away from me?" Again, I'm not saying Kim is doing that because I don't know. I don't know what Alec is like most of the time. I know what he did on that tape was dead wrong and he needs to sit down with his daughter.

This relationship needs a hero. They need to recognize, we may not like each other but we're going to be co-allies for this child for the rest of our life. Let's put our feeling aside. If Kim is concerned about his aggressive behavior, get therapy, get counseling, supervise the visits, do whatever you have to do, but stop the fighting. He needs to sit down with his daughter and say, "I am sorry and I'm going to do better and I take back the things that I said. There just not right."

KING: We have about 40 seconds. Why do parents -- the thing I hate is why do they use the child?

MCGRAW: Because that's their leverage. It's a turf war. It's like if you love me, then that validates me as being right. If you love the other, that validates him as being right. They may have legitimate concerns about each other and that's all right if they do.

I will sit down with them behind closed doors, no cameras, no media, no nothing. I can resolve this situation because I know. I volunteer to do it right now. I will meet with one or both of them at the same time, whatever, and turn this around. I know what it needs.

KING: Would you meet with the child to?

MCGRAW: Of course, I would, but not in front of cameras, not on my show, your show or anybody's show behind closed doors.

KING: Thank you, Phil.

As always, Dr. Phil, as we would say in the business, on the money.

Tomorrow night, Senator John McCain is going to officially announce to the presidency tomorrow. And his first media appearance will be on LARRY KING LIVE, Senator John McCain with his wife, Cindy.


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