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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Christie Brinkley's Divorce Scandal; A-Rod Divorce Scandal; Ringo Is 68!
Aired July 7, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: A cheating husband exposed in a nasty divorce trial -- Christie Brinkley versus Peter Cook. The supermodel takes the stand today and sobs.
And the A-Rod story.
Plus, Ringo -- they say it's your birthday. Well, we're going to have a good time. A surprise guest will join the party. You're invited, too, right now on LARRY KING LIVE.
First, the Christie Brinkley matter. We'll discuss it with Sharon Cotliar. She's in New York. She's with "People" magazine, a staff writer. And she was in the courtroom today in that sensational Cook- Brinkley divorce hearing.
And here in Los Angeles is "Extra" correspondent Carlos Diaz.
Day three of the down and dirty divorce trial supermodel Christie Brinkley and her bitterly estranged husband, Peter Cook. The couple married in September of '96 after a whirlwind courtship. The relationship collapsed very publicly 10 years later, following revelations that Cook had had an affair with a teenager he had hired to work for him.
What happened today, Sharon?
SHARON COTLIAR, STAFF WRITER, "PEOPLE," WAS IN COURTROOM, WITNESSED TESTIMONY: Well, it was an emotional day later on in the day because Christie Brinkley basically said she has moved on, contrary to what other people are saying, and that actually she's really concerned about her children, given him chasing a teenager and his pornography habit.
KING: Adultery is still a charge that can be made in New York or Connecticut?
COTLIAR: Well, it's certainly a charge in this case. I mean he's admitted to this teenage love affair. That's not even in question in this case. It's really a question of his judgment at this point and whether he deserves to have custody of their two children.
KING: So the fight is over custody and money, not over whether they're divorced or not -- or getting divorced or not?
COTLIAR: Correct. Yes.
Carlos, how big a story is this?
CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA," COVERING THE BRINKLEY-COOK DIVORCE: This is a huge story. It shouldn't be as big as it is, in my opinion. I don't -- I honestly don't think Christie Brinkley should have made this a public affair. She had the choice to have the record sealed. And, obviously, she's upset about what happened with Peter Cook. And so as Peter Cook's lawyers have pointed out, she wants this to be made public so the world can see how big of an alleged jerk Peter Cook really is for the affair that he had, which he has now confirmed, with his 18-year-old assistant, Diana Bianchi.
All these things add up to Peter Cook being a bad person. But we knew that going in.
Why do we need to know this?
Why do these records need to be made public?
I'm just -- I'm baffled but the fact that Christie wants the world to see this torrid story.
KING: Do you agree, Sharon?
COTLIAR: Well, certainly, that's what Peter's side is saying. They're saying that this is an angry, angry woman and she's seeking revenge. She says that that's not true at all, that her kids aren't adversely affected because they're away at camp and they don't see newspapers and TV.
So it depends on who -- who you're listening to.
DIAZ: I'm not saying that she doesn't have a right to be angry. She has a right to be as angry as can be with him, as any woman would be, you know, when they find out that their husband had an affair with an 18-year-old, who spent thousands of dollars on Internet pornography, who masturbated, you know, on a Web cam in their home and this and that. These are things that would make any woman or any person livid.
What I'm saying is you have two kids, 12 and 10, who now, every day -- I don't care if they're on the moon, they're going to hear about this story. And she -- as she in court on Thursday said that when all of this went down, she took her kids to the mountains in Colorado to get them away from all of this.
Well, if you care about your kids that much, why are you putting them through that?
These -- celebrities every day have their court cases sealed so the world can't see it.
KING: Both Christie and Peter Cook talked to the media as they went in and out of the New York's Suffolk County Supreme Court building today. Let's take a look at a couple of comments, captured, by the way, by "Extra."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE BRINKLEY: Happy Fourth of July. I'm looking forward to my independence day.
PETER COOK: This is a family matter, a private matter. It should stay that way. Unfortunately, Miss. Brinkley doesn't seem to share that view.
BRINKLEY: You know, I've always hoped to be able to settle these matters privately, outside of the courtroom. And I continue to hope that that will be the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us in Stanford, Connecticut is Joe Tacopina. He's the attorney for Diana Bianchi. She's the young woman at the center of this bitter divorce battle.
How is she handling all of this, Joe?
JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY FOR DIANA BIANCHI, NOW 21, WHO HAD AFFAIR WITH PETER COOK: As well as can be expected, Larry. I mean this is, you know, a now 22-year-old girl who was thrown into the vortex of this very public, very sensational first relationship and then divorce trial. So she's handling it as well as can be expected. But, you know, I think she's doing it with dignity. I think she's doing it with class. She, you know, was compelled to testify. It's not something she wanted to do. She got in and out of there and told the truth and has now resumed what she hopes to be a very private life.
KING: Is she still involved with Peter Cook?
TACOPINA: No. No. That's -- the court -- the testimony that was adduced in Supreme Court in Suffolk County, that's been over for quite some time.
KING: What's she doing with her life?
What does she do?
TACOPINA: Well, what she -- she's asked both myself and Rosemarie Arnold, you know, my partner, is just basically to fend off the media at this point, as far as maintaining her privacy, not allowing the media to sort of follow her around. She certainly has tried to remain anonymous or resume anonymity. She doesn't want to go into what she's doing.
One thing I will tell you she's never done, Larry -- and no one can argue with this -- is she's never tried to cash in on this relationship, on this sensational sort of melodrama this has become. She's never gone and looked to make a dollar off of this.
She's hid. She's been offered, believe me, obscene amounts of money to talk about this and, you know, to sensationalize it. And, you know, to her credit, for a young girl who's been put through a lot, whose life has been turned upside down, she's passed on all of that.
KING: Thanks, Joe.
Joe Tacopina, the attorney for Diana Bianchi.
And thanks to Sharon Cotliar of "People" magazine.
More on this with some additional members of the panel. A well- known divorce attorney calls the Brinkley-Cook case "a freak show."
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is known for her beauty, but now her divorce is making ugly headlines.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christie Brinkley wants full custody of her two children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, but if Brinkley's attorney wanted cheating husband Peter Cook's dirty laundry to be aired in public, it certainly was hung out to dry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Carlos Diaz of "Extra" remains.
We're joined now here in Los Angeles with Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of VH-1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."
In New York is Raoul Felder, the celebrity divorce attorney whose clients have included Rudy Giuliani, Robin Givens and Christie Brinkley's third husband, Taubman.
And back here in Los Angeles, celebrity divorce attorney Neal Hersh. Among his clients, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Robin Givens and Denise Richards.
Raoul, why did you call this a freak show?
RAOUL FELDER, CELEBRITY DIVORCE ATTORNEY, CLIENTS: MIKE TYSON, RUDY GIULIANI: Well, first thing, Larry, I don't think you can play it is a freak show, but you can't blame the lawyers. Lawyers do what clients tell them to do, unless it's illegal, immoral or fattening, I guess. And they have two good lawyers here.
Miss. Brinkley wanted it public. When she was asked the same question you just asked on Friday, she couldn't answer the question, why she wanted it public.
The judge was within his rights. The cases goes all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. But I've never had a case where both parties would agree to a closed courtroom, except the Mick Jagger case, where both parities agreed to a closed courtroom. And here the law guardian wanted a closed courtroom, but she vetoed it. The judge followed the law and it had to be open. It was wrong. It turned into a circus.
Why, Dr. Pinsky, do you think she wanted that?
DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION EXPERT, HOST, "CELEBRITY REHAB," VH1: Retribution for betrayal. Pretty simple.
KING: Let's make him be shamed in public?
PINSKY: I think that's pretty simply what it is, that this is somebody who is very, very angry and this is an acting out behavior. It's simply not realistic to think that she was able to even consider the well-being of her children in this decision, because realistically, as it's been pointed out, they are going to find out about this no matter what.
KING: If she were your client, Neal, would you have objected to this?
NEAL HERSH, CELEBRITY DIVORCE ATTORNEY: You know, I would object -- would have objected strenuously...
HERSH: Well, to say that the kids aren't going to find out because they're away at camp is silly. And, frankly, if she is attacking Peter Cook because of his judgment, I think the very fact that she's made this such a public spectacle calls into question her own judgment vis-a-vis the welfare of the children and her judgment about it.
KING: Carlos, what's the effect on her career?
DIAZ: It's terrible. I mean, you know, she's 54 years old. Her target demo is no longer 20 year olds. Her target demo is 40 to 60 year olds. And salaciousness like this doesn't fly with them. When you have a Paris Hilton who's out doing the things that Paris Hilton has done in the past, then the young people say, well, that's cool. But a 60-year-old, they don't think that this is cool at all. And this is -- this is terrible for her career.
KING: Why do divorce lawyers, Raoul, enjoy these kind of cases?
FELDER: Well, everybody likes to see their face on the screen. And, by the way, I agree with the doctor, the only question I have is what career? I mean she would have to turn the clock back 30 years and put her in a swimsuit for her to have a career. This is sort of a last public hoorah.
I think lawyers, like anybody else, love the fighting, love the tumult and they into the fray this way. But, you know, for instance, Neal and I had Elizabeth Taylor's last divorce, I think. Nobody read about it. We kept it quiet. Mike Tyson, it was not possible. But this could have been kept quiet and I don't think -- I think it's a bum rap if the lawyers are called to task for this.
KING: Are you affected, though, Raoul, since you represented an earlier husband of hers?
FELDER: Well, no, not at all. As a matter of fact, that earlier case was also -- died with a whimper, not a bang. So it's possible to do. She must be a very angry lady. She has a lot to be angry about, you know...
FELDER: ...but, you know, this is the way she's playing the game.
KING: Doctor, what's the effect on children?
PINSKY: Well, it can be devastation. I mean they love their parents. I really think about this the way I would approach any other case where there's any kind of addictive behavior that results in horrible consequences. You must really bring the kids into the therapeutic process. And to separate this family and to put permanent rifts and guards on anybody having access to them is going to further damage the kids.
The kids -- here's the bottom line. When a family ruptures, the kids feel ruptured. They can't help but feel responsible for it.
KING: Neal, does the attorney have any responsibility to this to the children?
HERSH: Well, the client is the husband or the wife, not the children. If circumstances warrant, they could seek counsel for the children and oftentimes that is done. So the two attorneys representing Brinkley and Cook are not obligated to the children in this case, but they could have an obligation, and perhaps should have. As Raoul said, there was a law guardian who would look after the interests of the kids.
KING: Where does this go, Carlos?
DIAZ: Well, I mean, now you've got weeks -- you've got a few more weeks of this. You've got them fighting over their properties, which they have several properties, now that, of course, he's bought several properties out in the Hamptons. You also have both of them fighting over custody of these two kids. So this -- this is going to go on for weeks. It's not going to be over just, you know, today or yesterday. It's going to go on for several days to come. KING: And what's the effect on the young lady?
DIAZ: The young lady involved in this, I mean, her career is over. And maybe that's another reason why Christie Brinkley wanted this to become public. She wanted no chance -- because the basic, you know, as it's been reported in the New York papers, Peter Cook paid Diana Bianchi off $300,000 to keep her quiet. So this is Christie Brinkley's great revenge -- oh, you're going to pay her $300,000 to be quiet?
Well, I'll tell you what, I'm going to subpoena her and her story is going to be made public, so you just wasted $300,000 of your money, which is really her money.
KING: There's another big story going on, maybe bigger than this because of the potential of the people involved. And that's Alex Rodriguez, the baseball store, and the possibility of Madonna, Lenny Kravitz. His wife filed for divorce today.
This is huge, is it not, Raoul?
FELDER: Oh, this is -- this is a great story here. The home run king. But then when you throw the pebble in the water, all the ripples go out and you've got all these other cast of characters in here.
There's a prenuptial agreement here, Larry. But in the complaint, she reserved the right to attack the prenuptial agreement or enforce it. And so this is going to play itself out.
He's doing the right thing. He isn't saying anything. He's trying not to give the story legs. But you've got Madonna here -- alleged adultery with Madonna. Maybe she was teaching him Kabbalah.
Who knows what was going on at that apartment?
FELDER: One of the things -- one of the side plays here is this Kabbalah business, because I think her lawyers are going to try to prove that to be a cult. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. And if it's a cult, it's going to aversely affect custody here.
KING: Yes. By the way, A-Rod makes $26 million a year. He's the highest paid athlete -- any team paid athlete -- in the history of this sport. Media reports, as we said, have linked A-Rod to the superstar, Madonna, alleging she converted him to Kabbalah, which is kind of a Jewish cult. Media reports also say her own marriage to Guy Ritchie is on the rocks. Madonna issued this statement over the weekend: "My husband and I are not planning on getting a divorce. I know Alex Rodriguez through Guy Oseary, who manages both of us. I brought my kids to a Yankee game. I am not romantically involved in any way with Alex Rodriguez. I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study."
We'll discuss that and more on this right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outed home -- baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez's wife filing for divorce today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ending their nearly six year marriage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This story has become front page news in New York City, mesmerizing so many people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lawyer says the relationship between A-Rod and Madonna was the final straw. But a statement from Madonna denies any romantic involvement with Rodriguez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: This is one of those stories that has everything -- a baseball star, singer, another singer, director. We could go on and on...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Religion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big money.
KING: All right, Carlos, how big is this?
This is big.
DIAZ: This is big. As you said, it's got every facet that you could have. It's got the baseball star in Alex Rodriguez. It's got the singer with Madonna. It's got the director with Guy Ritchie. Now we have another singer, Lenny Kravitz, who is alleged to have an affair with Alex Rodriguez's wife, Cynthia Rodriguez. You have Kabbalah involved. If we can get Barack involved in this, it could be a really, really big story.
KING: The fact, Raoul -- the fact, Neal, that there is apparently a prenup, doesn't that wash away things?
That is what it is?
HERSH: Well, we all know that people try to contest prenuptial agreements all the time. So the answer is no. There is going to be a contest, in all likelihood, over the prenup, unless what she's provided in the prenup is so fantastic that it would not be to her advantage to try to set it aside.
But I would be surprised that was the case. I think you'll see a fight about that, as well.
KING: Dr. Pinsky, there are two little girls here, one recently born.
PINSKY: Yes. It's really something, isn't it?
You know, it's one thing I keep noticing, is that people that tend to become celebrities, that they're very powerful, that need to be celebrities tend to be people that don't know how to have intimacies, how to prioritize those in their life, how to nurture these things and really don't fully comprehend the impact their behavior is going to have on their children. So they are not fully aware of how devastating this can be for their children.
KING: Is it greater when something like this happens to a public personality?
In other words, if A-Rod...
PINSKY: Is it greater for the kids?
KING: If it were A-Rod rather than, let's say, a soccer player on an unknown team?
PINSKY: Yes, it is a bigger deal for the kids, because the kids have to suffer through their peers and often the people in the media, like ourselves, saying things that might be not so nice about the people -- their parents. This is just their mom and their dad, as they see it. And they want them back. They want them together. They have the usual wishes of any child.
KING: Is the lawyer's role, Raoul, to get it over with, get it settled?
FELDER: Yes. But it's very hard to do. The problems with representing a celebrity are much greater than representing a, say, a non-celebrity, a lay person. You've got to deal with their personal manager, their financial everything and so forth and a whole string of people. And they're saying to the guy, oh baby, great. Every crazy idea he gets he says baby.
Then you've got the audience. The audience is America watching you and mixing in and polarizing the people. When Neal and I got involved with Mike Tyson, in that case, they had to go to Las Vegas to negotiate because it had -- there was no way to keep it private.
FELDER: So there's problems for the litigants. There's problems for the lawyers.
KING: Neal, when there are reports everyday in the papers that he's seen coming out of Madonna's building in New York late at night. The doorman confirms this. Now, that's gossip...
HERSH: Listen, it's a big factor. When you're dealing with a celebrity, not only do you have the eyes of the spouse on one another, but you have the eyes of the paparazzi and the public doing your work for you. And when that comes out, that you're where you might not otherwise are supposed to be, it has an effect on the case, the people's emotions and the entire tenor of the work that you're doing.
KING: This becomes juicy, Carlos?
Is that a good word?
DIAZ: It's a great word for this. And no one that lives outside the New York area can truly understand the pressure that a ballplayer in New York has to go through...
KING: But a Yankee, especially.
DIAZ: Especially a Yankee, you know. Especially the highest played paid player in baseball. Everything he does in the field now will be linked to Madonna. There were fans -- there were Boston Red Sox fans last night that tried to sneak in pictures of Lenny Kravitz and Madonna to ridicule Alex Rodriguez at third base and they were confiscated at the door.
So he will have to hear this at every city that he goes to and read about it in every newspaper.
KING: What do you do if you're a teammate?
Do you discuss it or not?
PINSKY: I think you...
KING: What do you do?
PINSKY: I think you try to support him if he's your friend.
But, hey, Larry, I've got to say, it's so interesting how we as (INAUDIBLE) just sit in judgment of people who are really in very horrible and sad situations. We love to scapegoat them. Somehow that makes us feel better about our own lives.
But I want to urge everyone to please just take a step back and take a beat and think about these human lives which are really being destroyed in front of our eyes. They deserve not our disdain, but really our prayers (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: In a tabloid and cable world, is that secondary?
PINSKY: Is it -- they don't -- it's not even secondary. I don't think it enters people's minds. They just love to consume it now. They don't -- they don't think about what they're consuming and the fact that there are really human beings at the other end here.
KING: Is there a tendency, Carlos, not to believe Madonna?
DIAZ: In what respect?
KING: In the statement that I only know him, I went to one game. DIAZ: Yes, did she -- yes. I don't think anyone is buying that. I think everyone is saying well, there's all this evidence . You're going Yankee games. You know, there's alleged reports of the late night, you know, trysts and this and that. I don't think people are believing that their manager, which they have in common, is the reason for their relationship.
KING: Obviously one thing -- one guarantee, we never guarantee things. This isn't going away.
KING: And we thank Carlos Diaz, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Raoul Felder and Neal Hersh, all of whom for joining us.
It's Ringo's birthday and you're going to join the party from Chicago's Hard Rock Hotel. And that's next.
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a good friend, a great guy, Ringo Starr. Today is his -- hard to believe it -- 68th birthday. And he's made it a special day, called peace and love. He's now, by the way, on the 10th Ringo Starr and his All Stars tour. And his limited edition art book, "Painting Is My Madness" is also available everywhere.
First, happy birthday.
RINGO STARR: Oh, thank you, Larry.
KING: You had cake and what?
STARR: And peace and love.
KING: What's happening in Chicago?
Are you working there tonight?
STARR: Well, Chicago was great. You know, we're on tour, so it -- we just happened to be in Chicago today. We were in Nashville last night. And, you know, we started -- I did an interview and they said what do you want for your birthday. And so I said well, it would be great if at noon everyone could go peace and love. And the support has been incredible. So the dream is coming true. So we're on the streets of Chicago with thousands of people and everyone peace and loving at noon. So it was great.
KING: How did you come up with the idea?
STARR: Oh it came in a dream -- flaming pie. It's just -- I just thought it would be a nice thing when, you know, because it's my birthday and I'm on tour, everybody is saying what do you want for your birthday? So I thought well, why not at noon doesn't everybody go peace and love?
KING: That was something the Beatles were always concerned with, wasn't -- weren't they, those kind of themes?
STARR: Well, yes. It was part of our generation, of the '60s -- middle '60s, of course and, you know, with flower power and peace and love and that -- I'm just keeping it rolling. That's what I'm doing.
KING: Did you ever write a song with that title?
STARR: I haven't. John wrote that great one, all we are saying is give peace a chance.
KING: By the way, do you think of them much, John and George?
STARR: Well, no. I don't sit there like day in and day out thinking about them. But, you know, certain things happen or I see something and it brings, you know, the band or the individuals to mind. And, you know, especially when I'm touring, I actually dedicate one of the songs to George. He was my friend. And, you know, it's just like life, you know what I mean, the thoughts come and go. But I don't just sit there thinking about them day and night.
KING: We have no course -- other course, but is it hard to accept aging?
STARR: Well, you know, I haven't accepted it yet, Larry, like you.
STARR: You know, I'm 24.
KING: You've got a good point.
Do you still get a kick -- you don't have to perform, right?
I mean you could retire.
KING: Why do you perform?
STARR: I perform because that's what I do. When I was 13, the dream was to be a drummer. I didn't want to be a guitarist or anything else. I wanted to be a drummer. That happened. I started playing with local musicians and I always wanted to play with the best musicians around. I ended up in the biggest band in the world with the best musicians. I'm still doing it now. The dream unfolds all the time. I love to play. I love to perform. It's a lot of fun, and it just happens to be what I do.
KING: But it's never a grind? STARR: No. Hotels are a grind. The traveling's always a grind. The good things that come out of that is that for two hours and 20 -- two hours and 15 minutes a night, you get a chance to just have a great time. On the down time, of course, you mentioned it, painting is my madness. I have my computer, so I do these paintings on the computer. Now, they're available in a limited edition. And the book has just come out called "Painting is My Madness." That's for a good cause. We just keep doing what we do.
KING: It's Peace and Love Day with Ringo Starr. He's 68 years old. That's the theme of his birthday.
STARR: The new 68 is 28.
KING: I'm sorry, 28. The fans that come to your concerts, what age range? What age range?
STARR: They go from my age to like last night we had a six-year- old, an eight-year-old, teenagers. It's such a mixed bag. It's incredible.
KING: How is the all-star band picked?
STARR: I picked them because the first rule is that you have to have had a it in the '60s, which I had, '70s, which I had, '80s or '90s. We're the best 1-800-band that goes live. You know, Colin A from Men at Work, Edgar Winter, Billy Squire, Gary White, "Dreamer Weaver," Hamish from the Average White Band. Everybody on stage has had hits. The thing is, for the summer collectively, we all get together and support each other. I play on all their songs. They play on mine. Some of them I do from the front. I have this other drummer, Greg Bissonette, who is great. He does those and then I get up and play the drums. I win both ways.
KING: We have a birthday surprise for Ringo when we come back. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Ringo Starr, he is an Chicago. It's his 68th birthday, and the theme is --
STARR: Peace and love.
KING: Joining us on the phone is Yoko Ono.
YOKO ONO, WIFE OF JOHN LENIN: Hi, Larry. Hi, Ringo.
STARR: Hi, Yoko, great to hear your voice.
ONO: Happy birthday and many more. Larry, because he's not there and you wouldn't know, but these days, I've had an occasion to meet him a few times and he's getting younger and younger. I don't know why. What does he do? KING: He says he's 24.
ONO: Anyway, did you know that -- I just want to tell you this, that he's a painter.
KING: I know, yes.
ONO: His book, I just read, I was so surprised because it's a very good one. I hope somebody will give him a show because it's really spot on, you know. It's great one. And he is saying that playing drums for me is a group thing. It's totally a band thing. Painting is a solitary thing. And the title is called "Painting is My Madness." It's really mad stuff. It's great.
KING: Yoko, what makes Ringo Starr special?
ONO: I think that with somebody who is so incredible and talented, I think he had this thing about just being cooperative when he was in the band. In other words, he didn't try to say, me, me, me, I'm the star. He was just playing with the other people in the band. There was a peacefulness and lovingness about it. He was always like that. So, I think that's something that was very special in those groups of people in the '60s, where everybody was saying, me, me, you know.
KING: You and Ringo were on the show last year with Paul and Olivia, George's widow, in Las Vegas. That was a really special night. Do you try to keep in touch, Yoko?
ONO: Of course, we do things together, yes.
KING: You want to sing happy birthday to him?
ONO: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Ringo. Happy birthday to you, and many more.
STARR: Thank you, Yoko.
KING: Was that a nice surprise, hearing from Yoko?
STARR: Yes. What a surprise. We were just in New York and Barbara and I went turnover say hi. We're friends and there's e-mail communication or phone. If we're in the same sort of part of the world, we can hook up, but it's another thing. We're not in each other's pockets.
KING: The house you were born, Number 9 Madrin street, in Liverpool, is facing demolition because English heritage has decided not to list it for preservation. Paul McCartney's home was bought by the trust. George Harris' home is a family residence, no danger of anything happening. Are you ticked?
STARR: No, I don't mind. What they want to do is knock my neighborhood town, and then they had a big campaign to save my house, the house I was born and lived in my first five years, and put it somewhere else. I never thought, you know, why would you put it somewhere else? This is where I was. It would be like me knocking down the house down in Liverpool and put it next to your big house in wherever you live. Makes no sense.
They can do what they like. I am not going to stay awake. They want to save it, they don't want to save it; it's up to them.
KING: You upset folks in Liverpool when you said during a BBC interview that there was nothing you missed about the place?
STARR: I know. I'm being interviewed. The guy is very humorous. We were having a lot of fun and ten people got upset about it, and the other millions knew I was having fun. I had just seen -- that weekend that we were in Liverpool, I had just seen all of my family. We had a tea for 27 of my family members and friends. Of course, you miss them. You know what I mean? I haven't lived there for over 40 years. Besides, only the family -- I love the family, but, you know, I'm not going back to the neighborhood I was brought up in.
KING: You don't live in yesterday, then?
STARR: I don't. I live in today. I try not to live in tomorrow.
KING: Of course, you aren't sure it's going to be here. Ringo Starr, his 68th birthday, a special day. It's a day of peace and love. Your latest CD is "Liverpool 8," and it is probably -- not probably, it's definitely the most personal of your albums. Why did you do it?
STARR: You're a writer, I write with friends. People are talking about the actual title track, "Liverpool 8," which was about my life. The first verse, I was a sailor first; I was in the Merchant Navy. I worked in a factory and then I joined Rory Storm (ph) and that's when I went professional as a musician, and we played this holiday camp called Botlin's Holiday Camp, and then we went to Hamburg and we ended up in Shea.
It's like a mini autobiography. I think that's what people are getting to.
KING: I love the title song too. there was love all over the world today. Take a look. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
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KING: We're back with Ringo Starr on his 68th birthday, a special day of peace and love. He's in Chicago. Back in 1974, you did something called "The No No Song," about hard partying and living it up as a rock star. Do you have any regrets? STARR: No. You can't live in regrets. I don't do it now, that's my life now. "The No-No Song" was really a lot of fun, because when we were doing it, of course, we were all smoking spliffs and drinking and getting crazy. We were singing, "No, No, I don't do it no more." Now, I don't. I haven't done it for several years now and this is the result.
KING: Speaking of hard partying, what do you think of singer Amy Weinhouse, who has a great deal of talent but struggles with drug demons.
STARR: Yes, I don't know the pain that Amy is going through. But Amy is an incredible talent. You know, like me, like a lot of people in our business, you know, she might find a way out. That's all we can pray for.
KING: And hope for. As we've been saying, this is your 68th birthday. We have a few special greetings from people who want to join in on today's good wishes. Watch.
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CHRISTINA AGUILERA, SINGER: Happy birthday, Ringo. I wish you so much peace and love.
BROOKE WHITE, SINGER: Happy birthday, Ringo. Peace and love. Thank you.
CROWD: Happy birthday, Ringo.
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KING: The entire cast of Cirque du Soleil, who of course are featured in Love in Las Vegas, the hit show in Las Vegas. You've seen it a few times. Isn't that a great show.
STARR: It is a great show. I want to say to Christina Aguilera, peace and love. That was great, what a surprise. The peace and love show -- the love show in Vegas is great. You've seen it yourself. I have seen it twice. The music is incredible, and the show they put around that music is magnificent. What George Martin and Giles did remixing the Beatles tracks is incredible.
KING: You have been quoted as saying, if you're over 21, the music business is difficult.
STARR: Yes, I said that because I make a record and I can have it played on oldies but goldies. But trying to get actual, across the board air play is very difficult.
STARR: It's just how it is; 21 is an arbitrary number. If you're over 21, it's just difficult to get air play.
KING: How did you get to be a Beatle? STARR: I got it because I'm an incredible musician, and I knew the boys, and they gave me -- I was playing with Rory. They gave me a call and said, do you want to join the band. I said, sure. That's how it happened.
KING: Did you like that band right off?
STARR: No. I liked that band before I was in it. It was the only band I used to go and see in Liverpool. We became friends before that, before I joined. We were all playing in the same venues. Actually, Rory Storm and the Beatles played in Germany together. It wasn't like I was some stranger they called up.
KING: Did you like the other drummer?
STARR: The other drummer was the other drummer, you know. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. They for their reasons decided they wanted a change and I am the result.
KING: How fortunate for everyone. You and Paul McCartney are the two still alive. You were with us last year in Vegas in an extraordinary show. This may be difficult. What was it like to be a Beatle?
STARR: Well, it's difficult, because what was it like? I mean, it was incredible. It was hard, because when we started we were a club band and then it got bigger and bigger. Because we were four brothers together, we supported each other. But you cannot not say that it wasn't crazy days and reckless nights. That's what it was.
You know, in the end, you know, the one big image that we had, the whole floor of the plaza in New York and the four of us were hanging out in the bathroom trying to get away from the pressure.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Ringo Starr on the occasion of his 68th birthday and the theme of the day, peace and love. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Ringo Starr on tour. The 10th Ringo Star and his all stars tour. They're in Chicago, and it's his 68th birthday and it's a day of peace and love. Any chance of you and Paul getting together again?
STARR: Well, you know, he's played on my records. I've played on his. Going live is a totally different proposition. I mean, it's not in the near future. You know, he's out touring. I'm out touring. So we got things we got to do. We don't sit around saying we got to get together. Whatever you say, Larry, that sort of hints that we might get together is like big news and we're not even getting together. I said once in an interview, 50-50, and suddenly, you know, everyone is saying oh, that must mean they're getting together. We're not getting together. Peace and love, Paul. He understands me.
KING: What a night that would be. STARR: Yes.
KING: You can think of it, can't you?
STARR: I can think of it, yes. You know, if we do get together, we want you on drums.
KING: Do you still listen to the Beatles?
STARR: Yes, of course I do, some great tracks. My iPod is on shuffle. I have Beatle tracks in it. So they come up and, you know, the music is still, you know -- I love the music.
KING: You're not kidding. Did you have a favorite Beatle song other than the ones you wrote?
STARR: It's very difficult. I used to say "Rain," but there is "Day in The Life." There's "Drive My Car." I mean, there's too many tracks really. I've never been able to like say, that one, you know?
KING: Why or how do you explain their long lasting?
STARR: Because they were great songs and, you know, we were incredible musicians who gave those songs incredible life.
KING: When you were doing them, did you know they were great?
STARR: Well, we knew they were the best we could do. And we knew that was the best take. So we only did the best we could. And everyone talks about the latter days of the Beatles, where they are all fighting or arguing. But as soon as we heard the counting, we all gave everything that we had.
KING: Do you think the Beatles would be a success today?
KING: Great music is great music.
STARR: Hey, I mean, the kids of today don't know us really, but they know the music. You know, they're still listening to it and saying wow! You talk to any new band, most of them have actually had a listen to what we did.
KING: Do you like a lot of what you hear today?
STARR: I like some of it, yes. You mentioned Amy, I loved Amy. But we have to wait for her to get herself together to do the next CD. You know, everyone complains it's all reality shows. Underneath all of that, because there is that -- underneath all of that, there's a lot of bands out there, you know, playing great music.
KING: Do you like country, do you like rock?
STARR: I like it all.
STARR: No, no, I do. I like it all. It's such a broad band of music that I love. You know, everybody knows I love country. I did a country album. I've always loved rock, and I love the blues. You know, and I like pop and I like classical.
KING: Do you like that Tony Bennett? Did you like Sinatra?
STARR: I like Sinatra, yes. In those days, it was like a choice of Frank or Bing and I always went to Frank.
KING: All right, celebrity marriages. They hang on the rock today. You and your wife Barbara, 27 years in April. What's the secret?
STARR: The secret, Larry, is love and understanding and getting through the hard days, because for 27 years, you're going to have a bad day and you got to get through that.
KING: There were tough times then?
STARR: Oh, yes, yes. You cannot expect two human beings to go the 28 years we've been together without having an odd bad day. But the love underneath is still here. You know, I love Barbara. She loves me. And we're together.
KING: Anything you want to do, Ringo, you haven't done?
STARR: No, I'm sort of doing enough. It's good. And I'm privileged and blessed that I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it.
KING: And it's still -- when you're on that stage, hitting those drums and the band is going --
STARR: Love it.
KING: It's still the same kick?
STARR: Yes. It's a different band but it's still playing. I played with BB King, that was great. I played with a lot of other people too, and when it's on, it's on.
KING: What are you going to do for 69?
STARR: Well, I'm not talking to you. Could you stress my age enough, for Christ's sake? How old are you, 102?
KING: Seventy four. I'm 26.
STARR: Well done. OK, you're a little older than me.
KING: That's right. You're 24, I'm 26.
STARR: Yes, yes.
KING: Anything you want to do musically you haven't done?
STARR: No, I'm making music. I'm still making music, making records. I'm halfway through another CD for next year. I'm live on stage now for another 20 gigs, I think, we have left on this tour. So it's good. Life is good.
KING: It's always good having you around. Thanks, Ringo. Great seeing you.
STARR: Thank you, Larry, and thanks for the support and peace and love. Let me see you do it, peace and love.
KING: Peace and love. Happy 68 to Ringo Starr.
STARR: Happy 74th, Larry; 24 remember, mentally.
KING: Twenty six. Go to CNN.com/LarryKing.