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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

One-on-One with Celine Dion; Interview With Kathy Ireland

Aired December 22, 2010 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the sensational Celine Dion. She'll tell us about her new twin boys. The pressures and pitfalls of being a celebrity mom. And how her next Vegas show might top anything she's ever done.

Plus, super model turned mogul Kathy Ireland. She's created a business empire. A billion-dollar brand. Happily married, too. How does she do it?

Find out next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Celine Dion is a five-time Grammy winning singer/songwriter. One of the most successful recording artists in the history of recording. She sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

She heads back to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in March. And we're thrilled to welcome her once again to LARRY KING LIVE from her home in West Palm Beach, where she is nestled in with her new set of twin boys.

What's it like? How are they doing?

CELINE DION, GRAMMY WINNING SINGER/SONGWRITER: Well, the weather here is very cold but I tell you, my twins and my big boy are -- and my husband as well, they're keeping me warm, so that's the spirit of the holidays.

It's so wonderful. It's just amazing to have all that love and it's wonderful to talk to you as well, Larry.

KING: When you were on this show in February, you said you and your husband, Rene, great friend, would love to have another child. And you were trying. It turns out you may have been -- you may have gotten pregnant right after that show.

DION: That's right. We had tried time after -- we've tried five times before this last try that worked out. And I guess when you try and you believe and you just -- we just kept trying. And we were blessed twice. And it's just amazing to have my 9 1/2-year-old beautiful boy and now we waited so long to have -- and hoped for another child and we were blessed -- double blessed.

And it's just extraordinary to be parents again and it's such a blessing. And they're doing -- Nelson and Eddie are doing really well. And they're 6 weeks old. And I still look at them and I still can't believe it. I can't believe it.

KING: You named Nelson after Mandela, is that right?

DION: That's right, Larry. I did because -- we did actually. When we knew that we were going on this last tour, go to South Africa, started the tour there almost two years ago now already, I knew that we were going to South Africa and we hoped to meet with Mr. Mandela. And we did.

And I wanted to take a little course of history, of course, before we left because I wanted to know about the apartheid and I wanted to know how great of a hero he was. And I wanted to know what he did better. And so I met with a teacher and I learned about -- much more.

And so when I met with Mr. Mandela, my mom was there, Rene was there, Rene's son Patrick was there. Our son Rene-Charles was there. And it was such an impact to meet with him. What a hero. What a difference he made. And we decided to name one of our sons after Nelson Mandela.

And for Eddie, that was another hero of our lives as well. Eddie Marnay was a French lyricist who wrote five of my French albums and he also wrote for Edith Piaf and Barbra Streisand and many, many wonderful singers. And -- so two heroes in our lives. And we wanted our boys to grow and say, you know, we're named after wonderful people. So that's --

KING: Early in --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Early in your pregnancy, it was triplets, right?

DION: Yes, there was three babies, that's right, yes. And nature took its course. And one little baby just decided to step back to give the two others a chance to survive very well. And you never want to have -- to have -- wanting to make a choice -- to make a decision if something goes wrong, for example, with a pregnancy, you never want to be put, like, forward and have to take a decision and put an end to something.

So if there was -- the doctor said to me, if there was something wrong, you know sometimes when something wrong with a baby the baby decides by itself and nature takes its course and it puts an end to it. So we don't know what happened. We're not trying to find out.

One little baby decided to step back. But you just have to look forward. And -- but you still miss -- I still think about the one that stepped back and just -- is not here today. You always think of that. I'm sure every woman who has that experience still has a feeling about the little one that's not -- that's not there.

KING: You tried in vitro so many times unsuccessfully. Did you ever think of giving it up?

DION: We tried many, many times. And that was the sixth try. And then I have to say that many times that I asked myself when am I going to end? When am I going to stop? What's going to tell me that I need to put an end to that? Because when you try three times and four times, it's like, am I going to go forward, we questioned ourselves many times.

But I guess it's nature itself. Until -- we are women and we can be pregnant and we can have babies, then you keep -- you still want to keep going. And then one day this is the beginning of something else or an end for something. And then this is your answer for you to stop. So -- but I'm not there yet I guess. So we were blessed.

KING: She'll be in Vegas again in March. What a show that is, by the way. And we'll be right back with Celine Dion. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Those clips are from "Through the Eyes of the World," that terrific documentary that followed Celine everywhere. She is featured -- she and the twins and showcased, in fact, in the edition of "People" magazine that hits the newsstands Friday.

There's obviously an intense public curiosity about you and the kids. How do you decide how much you'll share?

DION: I'll leave it to Rene. First of all, as people know, I'm an open book. I have shared my whole life. My private and my show business life. It helps me actually to feel my songs and to go on with my dreams.

But how much to share? I think I leave it to Rene. I trust him. I love him. He's been my leader in my career, as well as the leader of my heart, and it's trust. And we share an amazing relationship together. For that part, I leave it up to him.

KING: Are the twins identical of -- are they identical or fraternal?

DION: Actually, they're not identical at all. When they were born, they were actually separate. But in their two little homes. But I couldn't -- I couldn't see the difference. I was like, oh, my gosh, and we don't even have names. I'm going to say baby A, baby B for how long?

I was like confused. Who's baby A? But this is where -- we mixed the hats. Oh, my god, baby A is not baby B. And B is A. I was like -- we were all confused. And after coming home, Rene says, I know how important choosing names. It's such a responsibility to choose names.

We have to have names. I said, I know, I know. So after about a week or so, we couldn't take it anymore. So we sat down. And we said, OK, it's going to be our two heroes here, Nelson and Eddie. So Rene-Charles, Nelson and Eddie. We're suiting our family. We're very proud. And here we are.

KING: Are you getting a lot of sleep?

DION: Excuse me?

(LAUGHTER)

DION: No sleep at all. It's pretty amazing how we can survive with no sleep. Actually, my little boy right now, Rene-Charles, has a little -- he's a little sick, he's got a little fever and he's got some stuff going on, so I want to be there and I want to take care of him and at the same time we're breastfeeding the babies every 2 1/2 hours.

And no, let me -- let me rephrase that, we are not breastfeeding the baby. I am breastfeeding the babies. So it's like there's not a lot of sleep. Every 2 1/2 hours. And then we're not counting the rest. I mean, sometimes I have 25 minutes left. Do I shower, do I eat or do I sleep? It's up to me.

It's still up to me for that part. But it's a great challenge. It's very, very tiring. It's full of surprises. But it's all with love. And it's all amazing. All day, I'm in my pajamas. Sometimes I forget to really close it well. So it's -- it's overwhelming. In a good way. In a good way. But there's no sleep yet.

KING: How is Rene-Charles adjusting to his little brothers? How is he adjusting to his little brothers?

DION: It's quite funny and interesting at the same time because a lot -- everybody's asking us that question obviously. But people think probably that he's like, oh, my goodness, your brothers, can I hold them, can I hold them?

I don't think it's there yet. I think R.C.'s looking at them and it's like, mom, the only thing they do is, like, these type of things. They look up. They look down. They cry and all that. So he's trying to make faces to make them laugh. And they kind of look. And I say to R.C., they're just starting to see. Colors is just coming now.

And he's like, I think he's looking forward to play with them. So they're not talking about baseball yet. But very soon it will happen. So R.C.'s very interested, obviously, in them. But he's looking for them, this is Nelson, this is Eddie. Mom, are they OK? He's trying to make them laugh. But right now I think he's looking forward and he can't wait for them to throw the ball.

KING: When we come back, we'll talk about her return to Las Vegas. Celine Dion, our special guest. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Celine Dion returns to the Coliseum in a room built for her at Caesar's Palace. The new show premieres March 15th.

Excited about that?

DION: I'm very excited. It's wonderful to be wanted and to be loved again. It is wonderful to go back home again. If I may say this way. So -- and it's always exciting. We know we've had a lot of meetings and get-together a few months back with all the wonderful people involved in the new show.

And Ken Erlich will be the director of the show who's been doing the Grammys, you know, for more than 30 years. And actually, it's just wonderful to get ideas again. Every time you think, I'm going to run out of ideas at one point but no, everybody gets together, and we have ideas and we're going to be with 31 musicians on stage and, for me, I mean, there's much more than that, but just this itself.

Thirty-one musicians for a singer, it's a dream come true. I mean, you might have that once in a while in a recording studio. But every night on stage with you? It's going to be hard for me to spend my time like not looking back too many times. You know to have my back against the people and go back and notice the crowd and the same time as all those wonderful orchestra.

So I'm looking forward to go back and perform again. I'm thrilled. And there's going to be a lot of surprises and effects and I'm very, very happy.

KING: Yes. Does the stage still slope down? Are you going to fly again?

(LAUGHTER)

DION: No way. I'm not going on the ski slope again for -- that's it. I've had five years of that. It was magnificent. But it's been very, very difficult for the spine, for the neck, for the body, for the voice itself actually.

So no, actually, when I ended Las Vegas with "A New Day," they had put it back straight. So they kept it straight. And we made sure they did. And I'm looking forward to perform on a flat and smooth surface. I'm looking forward to experience that.

KING: Does the show have a concept?

DION: Well, it's going to be much more -- I kind of feel that it's more about music itself. Not that we didn't do that before. It's putting more emphasis on big orchestra, music, musicians, singers, songs. We want to do music at the purest as possible, like the old days I guess. So if it's a concept --

KING: How about costume --

DION: I think it is.

KING: How about costume -- costume changes? DION: Well, about costumes -- yes, I think people like to see artists change in different outfits. Again, it's a -- you have to be careful with that. People want you to change. They want to see outfits. And if you change too much, they say it's too much. And if you change too little, they say it's not enough.

So you have to change just enough. You can't please everybody. But I have a wonderful stylist, Annie Horth, that I'm going to be working with again and who will make sure that we can please as many people as possible. But you know me with fashion. I enjoy that very, very much. So I will try to change, not too little and not too much.

Hopefully I'll have my shape again. But I'm not very worried about that. First thing first, the health of the children. And I'm sure Annie will find the perfect dress for the perfect size for the moment that I will be in.

KING: She's one of the great performers in the world. Celine Dion. Returning to Vegas in March of next year on a three-year contracted run.

We'll be back with Celine after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Celine Dion.

I imagine Vegas is much easier than that tour you did.

DION: Well, it's very different, that's for sure. The energy is very different. I have to say that when you tour the world, obviously, the jetlags and different hours and ways of living and traveling, a lot of hours in the plane, and you wake up in the morning and you're not quite sure where you are, and it is very tiring.

It takes longer to get to a place. But it was so well put together, so well done, and it gives you a chance as well to see the world. I was so proud to have my mom and my son to see the world and do safaris and visit museums and -- I mean, see different livings, and it was just a big thrill and a great, great chance for all of us.

It made all of us I think grow very well. But as well, to be stable in one place, it's also another great opportunity when you can leave your family home, knowing that when your kids are small they can have stability. So think R.C., my child, was very -- was old enough to see the world, but right now for my little two new kids on the block, should I say, it would be -- it's perfect right now.

So I can't pick -- I can't pick one thing that's better than another. It's just two different energies. It's like an up tempo song and a ballad, for example.

KING: Back with our remaining moments with the great Celine Dion right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Thirty years ago tonight, who could forget it, John Lennon died.

What are your thoughts about him? The Beatles, that whole era?

DION: What a legend. What a man. And it's so unfortunate what happened. And it's amazing because 30 years ago, like you said, he was killed, and it's amazing because today Rene and I were talking together about him, and I was 12 years old when he was -- when he was killed.

But fortunately, through his amazing music and through my family, my brothers and sisters and my husband, I have learned his music and his words, and so I kind of grew a little later with him.

But he's part of my life, and we were talking a lot about him today, and it's just like -- I remember that 40 -- 40 years ago he wrote an amazing, amazing song called "Imagine." And we've been singing that song today in the house, and it's just so unfortunate, you know. But he's --

KING: Want to do a little --

DION: Because of his great, great talent.

KING: Want to do a little for us?

DION: He lives inside of all of us in a way, you know, still.

KING: Why don't you do a little for us?

DION: I knew you were going to ask me to sing. But I'm certainly glad because I love to sing for you and for the people. All right. Well, if I may sing "Imagine" then.

(SINGING)

KING: You're incredible. You are an incredible, incredible lady. It's an honor -- honor knowing you. I wish good health to the little boys and to Rene. Give my best to your great husband.

DION: Thank you so much, Larry.

KING: And we look forward to seeing you in March at the Coliseum in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace.

DION: Thank you, Larry. Rene and I, we love you. Thank you for everything you've done for us. The best to you. My best to Shawn and your whole family. We love you dearly. Happy holidays to all of you. Thank you.

KING: Same to you, Celine. Celine Dion, only the best.

Kathy Ireland is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Kathy Ireland, an actress, a model, author and entrepreneur, and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide. We welcome her to LARRY KING LIVE worldwide. Thanks for coming.

"Forbes Magazine" once described you as the prototype for models who become business moguls. Were you always entrepreneurial?

IRELAND: I always was, Larry. My -- first of all, thank you for your kind introduction. My goodness, actress. I tell people I was never an actress. I got the movies to prove it. But thank you to spend this time with you.

KING: My pleasure.

IRELAND: Last time on this format, for bringing the great American dialogue for us. Thank you so much.

But in answer to your question, I've always been an entrepreneur. My first job, four years old, sold painted rocks from my wagon, combination of design and business. Paper route, always worked. I enter the modeling industry as a business person already.

KING: So you don't know where that comes from? It was inbred in a sense. You had it?

IRELAND: I did, I did. It was a passion.

KING: Jessica Simpson's made headline because her fashion empire nears the billion mark. Your brand has already passe that. What was the first product? What was the first Kathy Ireland brand?

IRELAND: The first product was a pair of socks. People said, that's a stupid idea. You can't start a brand with a pair of socks. One of the greatest blessings from the long ago modeling career was all the rejection. When people said, that's a dumb idea, not going to work, it didn't faze me. I was used to that. I had the perseverance.

But I think it's really been a blessing. I did OK as a model. But no one was offering me endorsements. I think some people opened doors out of curiosity. But oftentimes I think my ideas -- I don't know, as a CEO and a chief designer, would have been taken more seriously if I just showed up with my sketch pad and my business plan. Might have moved forward a little faster.

KING: What was the fun of modeling? Or was there fun in modeling?

IRELAND: I always knew I belonged on the other side of the camera.

KING: Really? Despite the way you looked? And you knew you looked good.

IRELAND: You're kind. You know, I --

KING: You don't think you look good? IRELAND: It wasn't -- that wasn't on my radar at all. And it wasn't part of my plan. I'm grateful. What an extraordinary education it was, travel, being exposed to the best designers and different cultures. But as a teenager, Larry, I would show up at my motel room in Europe to be meant by pimps waiting there, only to learn that the person representing me had sent that person there.

And it's just -- you can see why young girls get caught up in these atrocities. The sexual --

KING: How long were you a model?

IRELAND: I was a model -- gosh, about 15 years.

KING: How did you escape that? How did you escape what they were trying to get you to do?

IRELAND: You know, something my mom told me when I first started modeling -- I thought it was odd advice at the time, but she said nothing is free. And I am really blessed. I had some great parents. And I had a best friend I got when I was 18 years old that really helped me through everything.

KING: Girlfriend?

IRELAND: Jesus.

KING: Jesus is your best friend?

IRELAND: Became my best friend when I was 18. I got to say, I'm a slow learner. But that relationship helped me to walk away from so many situations that were compromising, dangerous. It just gave me the -- I knew I could do anything else for a living, you know, cleaning toilets, anything, but that I didn't need to compromise.

KING: When you started in the business world, were your looks a hindrance? Did people tend not to look past the way you looked?

IRELAND: You know what is interesting, Larry? Several years ago, I had an accident. I was wagon surfing, for lack of better words. I jumped in our kids' wagon, standing on it. We have a circular brick driveway. I asked my husband to push me while I stood there and I steered. And it was really fun until I noticed my parked car. I overcorrected the turn, face plant. My face was smashed, busted nose, teeth.

I was swollen. Our daughter Lilly was just a baby at the time. She cried when she saw me, because I was so scary looking. Our son thought it was great, because I could scare his friends. But during that time, our business experienced the most growth that it's ever had.

KING: So is the lesson be ugly?

IRELAND: The lesson is that I was absolutely free from worry of appearance, that our brand was not dependent upon how I looked. I never felt comfortable earning a paycheck off how someone else perceived that I looked.

KING: What has been the most successful aspect of the brand? What product?

IRELAND: It's difficult to say any one product. Our mission is finding solutions for families, especially busy moms. We design and market over 45,000 products. It's a lot of stuff.

KING: You mean like Amway?

IRELAND: No, it's -- Independent Retailer is our foundation. These earrings, Gary's Beverly Hills, 35,000 dollars. The necklace, Fred Myer Jewelers, Litman (ph) Jewelers, 200 dollars. So there's my shameless plug. But it's a range. There's got to be a solution.

We have four promises, it's fashion, quality, value and safety. We've expanded our mission to finding solutions for people in love, for weddings. When I got married 22 years ago, greatest day, 1988. So I was inspired by Princess Diana. My sleeves were so big. As a bride, I couldn't use the restroom. I had to bring in outhouses. I could I barely squeeze in to outhouse with those big sleeves.

KING: You supervise all the things you do?

IRELAND: I do. I don't put my name on anything. I give my heart to everything. My life is crazy. And I get approached by people far more famous than I will ever be. And they tell me how hard it is. And my answer is just kind of, well, duh; it's really hard. I'm involved in everything from sketching, photography, 2C issues, HR issues, shipping, distribution.

I'm stocking shelves. I don't get a whole heck of a lot of sleep. But I love what I do. I've got a passion for it. And I love serving women out there.

KING: How has the recession hit you?

IRELAND: I don't know anybody who has not been impacted by this economy. And so many of our products are in the home industry. People are foreclosing on their homes. So it's something that we saw even before it happened.

Wrote a book, "Real Solutions For Busy Moms, Your Guide to Success and Sanity." First chapter was on economic crisis. That was before our country's economic catastrophe hit. I got criticism; why are you saying we're living in the great depression? Why are you making this the first chapter?

But it's impacting everyone. And today's luxury is a job.

KING: All right. When you balance it all, career, mom, is mom the most important?

IRELAND: Absolutely, hands down. When I was a kid, I changed my mind so often what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I always knew I wanted to be a mom. And something that I love about you is that every day you pick your kids up from school. That is so awesome for them to know that -- you talk to the most famous people on Earth. But for them to know how important they are, that you would do that. I just -- I love that.

KING: Back with more of the fabulous Kathy Ireland. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: We're back with Kathy Ireland. Has it been hard to balance marriage through all of this? Your husband's a doctor and a fishermen.

IRELAND: Yes, my husband Greg is an E.R. doctor, commercial fishermen, fishes for lobster. It's tough. Balance, I can't say that I always have it. But for me I've really found it's a matter of honoring the priorities. It's my faith. It's my family. And then it's being of service through our work.

And when those priorities are not in order, I'm a disaster. I'm just crawling around, trying to get from point A to point B. I'm not effective at anything.

KING: You're into brides now, huh? Doing work for brides?

IRELAND: We are. We're serving brides from estates to bridal gowns. Just launched 30,000 designs of bridal gowns and special occasion dressings with Kathy Ireland --

KING: You going to make a pitch to Kate Middleton?

IRELAND: Oh, gosh, she certainly doesn't need my help. But what an extraordinary young woman. And that's going to be a spectacular wedding.

KING: All right. A recent Pew Research Center study showed nearly four in 10 Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete. What's your reaction to that? And it's growing.

IRELAND: It's sad. It's sad. I think it is -- it is such a special, special thing, a commitment. I think in life we just don't have enough commitment. We want to bail when things get tough. And life is tough. But to work through those things, it makes you so much stronger. It's not easy. But it's so worth it.

KING: You can have a commitment without a marriage, can't you? Or you can have a marriage that's not committed.

IRELAND: Absolutely, you can, but it's really -- it's -- it's where your heart is. And people get married for all different sorts of reasons. But I think it's -- it's having that commitment, that you're going to be with that one person for the rest of your life.

KING: How do you balance faith in all of this? IRELAND: You know, Larry, it's tricky for me, because I do sell a lot of stuff, and I never want to exploit my faith. Yet it's something I'm not ashamed of it. And it's the most important part of my life. So I can't separate it. It's just -- it's just intertwined and it certainly impacts decisions, how we work.

KING: Do you require your children to have it?

IRELAND: I can't. It's got to be their own choice. I share with them my faith. But I also share with them God doesn't have grandchildren. You got to have your own. And you've also -- not only need to figure out for yourself what do you believe in, but why. Why do you have the values you have and have conviction for it. Because those values will be challenged. And if you can't articulate -- if you can't think of why you stand for what you do, you're going to fall.

KING: In the world you live in and the world you came from, you must know many gays.

IRELAND: Yes.

KING: Do you have trouble -- any problem balancing that with what your religion may teach you about it?

IRELAND: You know what's been an atrocity, Larry, is people who claim Christianity throughout the years, and have hurt people so badly, from the Crusades, where thousands of Jews and Muslims were slaughtered, to the Holocaust, where 90 percent of Germany citizens claim to be church going Christians. While, yes, there were individuals who came to the aid of the Jews, not one Christian organization made an attempt to stop the Holocaust.

It's an atrocity. And sadly Christians have earned this reputation with hypocrisy, with hate --

KING: About gays, like bullying of gays?

IRELAND: Bullying is horrible. And we have to fight against it.

KING: Isn't it hard though when much of your faith teaches it is a sin?

IRELAND: It teach us not to judge. I just did a project for the Trevor Project recently. Bullying is not OK in any way, shape or form. And it breaks my heart when I see adults doing it. And what does that say to kids?

I've been bullied. And it's a cyber bullying. And it's -- people dehumanize one another. I work with a very diverse team. And we get it from every angle. I get attacked for my faith. We have attacks from people who hate gays. It is an atrocity, bigotry.

I mean, we're just a mix. We're a melting pot of people. And I love being with people who are different from me. You get great dialogue, great debate, great -- people who don't share my faith. I love to hear what their thoughts are and their beliefs. And it's -- I think it makes for really healthy debate and conversation.

KING: Well said. Earlier this year, there were some nasty Internet and media comments about your behavior while interviewing stars on the red carpet at the Oscars. Some suggested you weren't sober. Some said you looked pregnant. There seemed to be a wave of attacks on you.

IRELAND: Right.

KING: Want to respond?

IRELAND: Well, sure. The sober thing, that made me mad, because I'm a mom, and we have kids. And that couldn't have been further from the truth. The pregnancy thing, hey, I'll take that. I probably had a few too many snacks that day. You know, it's --

KING: Do you regret -- I didn't see it. Did you do something that you were sorry about?

IRELAND: No. No. I actually responded to -- there were so -- the thing that made me really angry was somebody was promoting violence. They sent a Tweet saying that the person who hired me should be shot. And I responded back that that is just not OK. And some people said, why don't you just leave it alone. I said no, when someone crosses the line, if they're doing this to me as an adult -- look, I'm a big girl, I can take it. But what's happening to kids out there? What kind of attacks are going on --

KING: Criticizing the way you handled the interviews? What were they criticizing?

IRELAND: You know what? I honestly don't know. I mean, I'm -- they can take shots at me. But if they promote violence, if they're promoting things that's are not good, the bullying, that's not OK. But as far as what their actual -- I mean, everybody's entitled to their opinion and I'm good with that. That's OK.

KING: More with Kathy Ireland. We'll talk about her relationship with our friend, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with the wonderful Kathy Ireland. What a super lady. Dame Elizabeth Taylor, with whom you've had a jewelry line, came to your defense through all of that. She called you the epitome of grace and glamour. How did you get to be friends with her?

IRELAND: I met Dame Elizabeth through mutual friends. And she's become part of our extended family. I've got so much respect for her. That woman, talk about fighting battles. I mean, what an inspiration she is.

Back in the '80s, when HIV/AIDS was just coming on to the scene, people didn't understand it, she begged her friends to help her out. She got death threats. Friends hung up on her. But she didn't let any of that stop her.

She's battled on and become the Joan of Arc of AIDS.

KING: How's she doing?

IRELAND: She's doing great.

KING: Her health good?

IRELAND: Her health is good. She's strong. She's spunky. She's feisty and full of life and hard at work.

KING: You competed in the ninth season of "Dancing With the Stars." What did you make about the Bristol Palin fuss?

IRELAND: Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, with my "Dancing With the Stars," I've got to say, I had the best teacher in the world, Tony Dolvalani (ph), man of patience. I'm not a star. And for anybody who saw, I'm not a dancer. But it was an opportunity to raise money for a nonprofit.

KING: How long did you last?

IRELAND: I lasted -- I was the third couple voted off. And so I did a lot better than a lot of people thought.

KING: Was it fun?

IRELAND: It was so much fun. It was so much fun. And I think Bristol did a fantastic job. Like me, she didn't have experience. And it is so hard. I discovered muscles I never knew I had.

KING: Last time you were on this show, Spring of 2009, you spoke about having gained weight over the years and getting back in shape. Do you still have a weight issue? Because if you do, I don't se it.

IRELAND: You're very kind, Larry.

KING: Where? Where?

IRELAND: It's an easy thing to have happen. I think there's no shame in a weight gain. I think our society is too obsessed with it. And I'm so rebellious. I think that was one of my issues with modeling. So much of it, it's an unattainable look, unattainable prices. And I just want my life to be real.

And my goal is health. It's not to fit in a certain size or look a certain way. But I do want to be healthy and that's my goal. You know, I get --

KING: What about the ultra-thin models, the "Vogue" look? You never were that, right?

IRELAND: No. I was never that. And again, because it really wasn't part of my plan. I just felt, look, if they don't like me for how I am, fine, I'll do something else for a living. If this works out, great, I can save money for college or to start a business. But it just -- because I had so many failed businesses, it took me a long time to finally start our own brand.

KING: You had a lot of failed businesses?

IRELAND: Oh, gosh. I had so many failed businesses. And I really learned you have to have a passion for what you're doing. And it's all about people. It's -- like I said, I love diversity. I love working with people who are different. But when it comes to core values, it's so important to be on the same page, so that you're in sync.

Something that our company does surprise factory inspections, how people are treated, that's critical. We adhere to the highest standards of protection for human rights.

KING: Couple other things, your husband is an E.R. physician. That's probably the toughest job in medicine.

IRELAND: I can't imagine. I couldn't do it.

KING: Has to know a lot about everything.

IRELAND: Yep.

KING: And you never know what your day is going to be like.

IRELAND: You never know what you're going to walk into. You deal with people's suffering, so it's hard. But I've got so much respect for Greg. He does an amazing job. And I think being a commercial fisherman really helps him. He just -- he fishes for lobster and when he's not saving --

KING: -- more fishing than E.R.

IRELAND: He does. When he's not killing lobster, he's saving lives. So he gets that mix.

KING: Did he watch "E.R."?

IRELAND: He watched it a little bit, but working in the E.R., he didn't want to see it. He's like, I was just there. I don't want to relive it. I loved it. I loved watching it. But he wanted to escape.

KING: Any goal on --

IRELAND: So many things, Larry. So many things.

KING: Any new business you want to try?

IRELAND: Yes. I mean, I want to continue to grow and learn in so many ways. Our business is a baby business. But I love what I do. I tell people, I have the toughest boss in the world, the moms out there. And if you could see my Tweets, my e-mails, she doesn't care what I look like. She doesn't care about any of that stuff. She wants her solutions. And she's really tough with me.

And I love that. It's wonderful. So following what she tells me, being able to implement that, and I could -- I don't know where the future will take me. There's places I love. I love visiting Israel and Haiti and different parts of the world that I feel really drawn to.

KING: Do you sell all over the world? Do you sell products everywhere?

IRELAND: We do. We have team members in Israel and we sell products in 50 countries. And I work with -- the brand bears my name, but I work with so many incredible people. It is a team effort and a great team.

KING: Always great seeing you. Thanks so much.

IRELAND: Larry, I just have to say, I am going to steal from George and Ira Gershwin, it makes me think of you that the world -- pardon my mush -- but, Larry, we've all got a crush on you. Thank you for everything you give us.

KING: You have a crush on me?

IRELAND: We all do.

KING: Your lips to God. Celine Dion earlier, Kathy Ireland now. And "AC 360" starts right now.