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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Tracy Lindsey Melchior
Aired October 12, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tracy Lindsey Melchior is a stunningly beautiful soap opera star. Now she takes you on a harrowing true life journey from childhood neglect so bad she gnawed at dog bones for nourishment. Through rape to nearly dying from an unwanted abortion to a third marriage and faith in the Lord that saved her life.
The gorgeous Tracy Lindsey Melchior, an hour you absolutely will not believe or forget on a prerecorded Yom Kippur edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
It's a great pleasure to welcome Tracy Lindsey Melchior to LARRY KING LIVE. I love people with three names.
KING: A former star of daytime TV's "Bold and the Beautiful" and "One Life to Live", and author of a new book, "Breaking the Perfect 10", an autobiography that reveals an awful lot of unbelievable happiness and ugliness. What do we mean by that title?
TRACY LINDSEY MELCHIOR, "BREAKING THE PERFECT 10": "Breaking the Perfect 10", that title came to me before anything else. That was -- I created the book right around that title. It just came to me one day when I was driving and this whole concept of being the perfect 10 from the movie with Bo Derek and everything has always affected me on how physically we are perceived in our society. And it's always been a source of pain for me to be attractive, actually. Most people are like you're so lucky, you're pretty, and it's been more of a curse to me in my life. And then...
KING: So you wish you weren't a 10.
KING: If you are a 10, you wish you weren't?
MELCHIOR: Yes, there were a lot of times when I wish I could blend in more or hide. Anyway, "Breaking the Perfect 10" was about being a perfect 10 and then God's Ten Commandments and trying to find the balance of the two in my world, where I could still be attractive and embrace that and still live and honor God's Ten Commandments.
KING: Are you born again?
MELCHIOR: I am...
MELCHIOR: ... and that's not a term I was incredibly comfortable with. I think there -- it sounds so strange until you understand the concept. Does that sound strange to you...
KING: Were you a nonbeliever?
MELCHIOR: I was a nonbeliever.
KING: Agnostic? Atheist?
MELCHIOR: I wouldn't say -- I believed there was a God. I just -- I knew there was something spiritual...
MELCHIOR: I just never had -- I never identified it.
KING: All right. Fans knew you for years, the outer beauty. They know you as a soap star (INAUDIBLE) but they didn't know this incredible story. Why did you write it?
MELCHIOR: I wrote it because when I became a Christian, I know that one of the things that we are called to do is to give our testimony, because people can debate scripture, they can debate all kinds of things, but what they can't debate is your personal story and how becoming a believer has made your life better and that is one thing -- I just want to let people know that I've tried it the other way. I've tried it this way, and this way is so much better, see how it helped me. To me, I'm just so excited to tell it because it's no different than I tried this great restaurant, you got to try it, you know? It's that kind of excitement about it.
KING: So the only way to tell the good is to tell the bad?
MELCHIOR: Absolutely. Because the bad is what shows how forgiving God can be.
KING: How did you -- how long have you been a believer?
MELCHIOR: About eight years.
KING: Did an event cause it?
MELCHIOR: I think the catalyst for the whole thing was my -- the divorce. I was married. And that -- that was just devastating to me. I've never felt so alone in my whole life.
KING: Were children in that marriage?
KING: No children. Now let's go back. You had -- where did you grow up?
MELCHIOR: I was born in Hollywood, Florida. It's on the wrong coast.
KING: Know it well.
MELCHIOR: Do you?
KING: I spent a lot of years in Miami, so...
KING: ... I know Hollywood, know the circle.
MELCHIOR: Very good. Yes, not many people.
MELCHIOR: Most people are like there is a Hollywood, Florida?
KING: Oh there sure is.
KING: Between Miami and Lauderdale.
MELCHIOR: That's right. So I grew up there until I was 5 and then we moved to Colorado and I lived there from 5 to 19 until I moved to the other Hollywood.
KING: Did you have a rough childhood?
MELCHIOR: You know I would say the first five years when my parents were married I don't remember being entirely rough. I think that when my parents got divorced and it was just my grandparents, it wasn't rough either. It was lonely and I wondered where my parents were and I longed to be with them, but it wasn't until my grandfather died that I would say that my life became rough.
KING: You were an only child?
MELCHIOR: No. I have two older sisters.
KING: What happened after he died?
MELCHIOR: After my grandfather died, my mother and my grandmother had a very strange relationship. And the way it's been described to me is that she was a target child. For some reason, my grandmother did not like my mother. And I guess it goes back to that my mom's grandmother, on her father's side, so my -- it's getting confusing.
MELCHIOR: It's very convoluted...
KING: ... I'm right with you.
MELCHIOR: But my grandmother's mother-in-law, did not get -- they did not get along at all and my mother got along very well with her grandmother and she...
KING: What was the effect on you and your sisters?
KING: Both -- were they all affected?
MELCHIOR: Yes, I haven't talked to them a lot about it and I won't speak for them. I don't want to get in trouble for that. But I know that for me, what happens is when you have a grandmother who takes care of you who doesn't like your mother, but you miss your mother, and you want -- you see nothing but good in your mother because she is your mother, and even when there are things she's doing that may not be the best for you, it's still your mother and you're still...
KING: Why weren't you with her?
MELCHIOR: Well she -- I guess we would have to ask her that. But I think mostly it is just because she was incapable at that time. She had gotten married very young and she did not feel like she was a fit mother and her mother...
KING: Were your two sisters with the grandmother, too?
KING: So the three of you lived with the grandmother where?
MELCHIOR: In Colorado and it was also my cousin Eric who was my mom's sister who my grandmother also raised their son.
KING: Why did she neglect you, do you think? Your mother is here with you today, right...
MELCHIOR: She is, yes.
KING: Why did she neglect you?
MELCHIOR: Well I don't think she would define it that way, first of all and I never defined it that way until when you're looking back and you tell the story, people are like, well, that's neglect. But I never was cognizant of that. But I think -- I think, at the time, she just didn't know better. And wasn't aware of the effect. Sometimes, I think people just do at the time, and they can't see past themselves all the time or they can't -- they drop the stone in the lake, but they don't see all the ripples it causes. And I think if she was aware of the ripples that it was causing and the effect, I think it was really just oblivious to it.
KING: Did she remarry?
MELCHIOR: She did. Yes, she remarried.
KING: Do you get along with him?
MELCHIOR: I do. I do get along...
KING: Are they still together?
MELCHIOR: Yes. My stepfather, we do get along. Unfortunately, growing up, there wasn't a huge warmness or connection or I never called him dad or anything like that. I don't feel like he stepped in and was like, all right, we're a family now. There wasn't...
KING: Get along with your older sisters?
MELCHIOR: Yes, I do.
KING: Did they like the idea of this book?
KING: Did anyone in the family like the idea of this book?
KING: Was it hard to write?
MELCHIOR: It was very hard to go back and open the old wounds but it was healing at the same time. And it's my hope that instead of covering all of this up, that we can explore it and get through it and maybe my family could understand me a little better than they ever did, because I've always felt very misunderstood.
KING: Do they speak with any of your sisters?
MELCHIOR: Absolutely, yes.
KING: My guest is Tracy Lindsey Melchior. The book is "Breaking the Perfect 10".
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ONE LIFE TO LIVE")
MELCHIOR: Who was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh no one for you to worry about. I have a speech I have to give. It's just a mess.
MELCHIOR: Do you have time to meet with the agency about the adoption?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I definitely need new writers, this is unbelievable.
MELCHIOR: It's important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys are like phoning it in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one is being secretive, Kristen.
MELCHIOR: Oh really? Then why doesn't the family know about it, (INAUDIBLE)? Because you didn't want us to know because this is all about you and your revenge against Rick and you, your revenge against Brooke! Well guess what? The secret is out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Tracy Lindsey Melchior. The book is "Breaking the Perfect 10". You thought you were ugly?
KING: Were you ugly as...
KING: When you look at baby pictures, are you an ugly kid?
MELCHIOR: I'd say I went through my awkward stages...
MELCHIOR: ... my ugly stages, definitely.
KING: Were you fat?
MELCHIOR: No. I never was fat. I got a little chunky in high school.
KING: What made you think you were ugly? Did someone make you think you were ugly?
MELCHIOR: I think because I felt -- I didn't feel like I had value. So I just -- I never was taught like about femininity and putting yourself together and learning how to do your hair and your makeup and let's go out and get you some new shoes and doesn't this look cute? And isn't this pretty? And you know, I never nurtured that side of...
KING: How about your sisters?
MELCHIOR: As far as what? Do they...
KING: Were they raised differently than you?
MELCHIOR: No. Same.
KING: Treated the same way. Are they pretty?
MELCHIOR: I think they are very pretty. Actually, I describe us as "Charlie's Angels". They are the two dark-haired with the brown eyes and me, the blond.
KING: You describe some horrendous things in the book like dog meat and what was that all about?
MELCHIOR: There was a time that I remember eating a milk bone and...
KING: As a child?
MELCHIOR: As a child.
KING: When your father was still with your mother?
MELCHIOR: No. This was after my grandmother kicked us out of the house and my mom had rented a house and we were living pretty much on our own and I was about 10 years old and I just remember eating it. And you know my first impulse was that it was out of hunger, but after I thought about it more than I've been asked this question so much, I almost wonder because my mom has an enormous love for animals and to the point where I felt like underneath the animals and...
KING: She liked her pets better than you?
MELCHIOR: Well, my grandma used to say she carries around pictures of her animals, not of her children. And I think that's part of what made me feel ugly. And I think that part of me, why I maybe ate that, and this would just be a guess, but it kind of came to me is that I almost wanted to identify with a dog or you know what I mean? As weird as that sounds, but it was like, OK, the dog is better than me. The dog is more important. The dog is getting my mother's affection and attention more than I. So...
KING: Did you know your father?
MELCHIOR: I knew my father until they divorced when I was 5, but my dad worked and went to school and was not home a lot even during that time. I don't have a lot of memories.
KING: How about after they broke up?
MELCHIOR: After they broke up, I went as long as 10 years at one point without seeing my father's eyes. Never saw him.
KING: Is he still living?
MELCHIOR: He is.
KING: Do you hear from him?
MELCHIOR: I do. Yes, he...
KING: ... successful, is he proud of you?
MELCHIOR: Yes, yes, very and...
KING: Is your mother proud of you?
MELCHIOR: Very. Yes, they've been very supportive in that and it's kind of sad because I feel like I talk about in the book, how my stepfather was a newscaster and I felt...
MELCHIOR: In Colorado. And I felt like when my mom met him, now it wasn't the dogs that were getting my mother's attention, it was this guy in this TV box. And I thought wow, well, if I can get in that box, then I will, you know, it was like, OK, if I eat the dog bone, and be a dog, then she will love me. And then OK if I get in this television screen, then she'll love me and...
KING: How do you know that Christianity isn't that same striving?
MELCHIOR: That's exactly what it is.
KING: It's not the milk bone. It's not the TV set. It's Christ.
MELCHIOR: It is. Exactly. And but see the thing is, is that everything else can let you down, but Christ can't. He'll never disappoint. So that's why all of those things failed me and maybe certain things gave me temporary fulfillment, but Christ's love will never let you down.
KING: You describe your childhood as an environment of chaos and decay. Elaborate.
MELCHIOR: Well, my mom was not given the gift of housecleaning. And we, you know, she loved her animals and we had several animals.
KING: How many pets?
MELCHIOR: I -- gees, I would say like five dogs, 10 cats, you know, several horses. I lived on a ranch.
KING: You felt unloved, right?
KING: Did your grandmother love you?
MELCHIOR: My grandmother did, but my grandmother always reminded us that we could be replaced and she always had this saying like I'll trade you in for a black stallion or you know any time -- it always felt conditional. And I always felt like I had to earn my keep.
KING: What about your friends? Did friends say to you this is weird what you're living through?
MELCHIOR: I wouldn't let people get close to me. I didn't have a lot of close friends...
KING: You didn't have friends?
MELCHIOR: Not really...
KING: You went to a public school?
MELCHIOR: I did. But I had one girlfriend when I was living with my grandparents. And then when I moved away from there, I never saw her, spoke to her again. Junior high, I didn't really have any friends. And I had one friend that I got really close to in high school when we moved out to the country.
KING: Still friends with her?
MELCHIOR: I talk to her occasionally...
KING: Were you closer to one sister than the other?
MELCHIOR: At different times. It seems like I'm close to one or the other...
KING: Would you describe your relationship with your mother now as renewed?
KING: Talk to her a lot? See her a lot?
KING: She came with you here.
MELCHIOR: Yes. She -- I talk to her almost every single day and you know part of me feels some guilt about even talking about this stuff, but I do know that she supports the reason I'm doing it and the spirit in which I'm doing it. I'm not doing it to air our family's dirty laundry. I'm doing it so people who aren't talking to their parents can say gosh, if she can, you know, get through it with her mom and all the colorful past that they had, maybe I should give my mom a call.
KING: We invited your mother to come on and she declined. But she did give us a statement. From Robin, that's your mother's name.
This is about Tracy's own story. Her own perspective and reality. Tracy's commitment to serve others through her testimony is admirable. I've come a long way from the teenage mom to the now proud mom and grandma. How many ways can I say how proud I am to have been so blessed? The journey, though, difficult at times, is a story of great faith and love and acceptance between parent and child.
That's a very mature statement.
MELCHIOR: That was a beautiful statement. And I'm proud of her. I'm so proud of her and I. You know, and it's true. She was -- when I look back now, I mean, my gosh, she -- by the time she was 22 years old, she was raising three children under the age of 5. You know it's like I just can't fathom that at that age. I know that if that was my responsibility, I don't know how I would have done.
KING: She's a grandmother now.
MELCHIOR: And a...
KING: You have a child now, right?
MELCHIOR: Yes, she's a wonderful grandmother to my son.
KING: All right, when did you start to realize I'm pretty?
KING: High school?
MELCHIOR: Yes, I think -- early high school. Yes. When -- I think it was actually in eighth grade, we moved to a small country school and my sister and I were sitting in the counselor's office to register and a bunch of boys kept peeking in and laughing and stuff and the counselor turned to me and said they heard some new girls were coming, you know, and they wanted to check you out.
Well then the second day -- or the first day of school, all of the boys were talking to us and all of the girls wanted to kick our butt. And the counselor who we had gone back to at that point, she said that all of the boyfriends came and saw us and broke up with their girlfriends and now all of these girls are mad at us. And I was like oh...
MELCHIOR: ... so that, again, being pretty...
MELCHIOR: ... didn't prove to be such a blessing.
KING: The incredible story of Tracy Lindsey Melchior, the former star of "Bold and Beautiful" and "One Life to Live", the author of "Breaking the Perfect 10", a new book.
More after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ONE LIFE TO LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I imagine...
MELCHIOR: So what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... he took a vow when you got married...
MELCHIOR: Of course, he took a vow and he intends to keep it and no matter what you or... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I have my phone back please...
MELCHIOR: ... or -- no! No matter what the rest of you think, he will keep that vow. Here's your (INAUDIBLE). I wish you'd all just stay out of my marriage!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is Tracy Lindsey Melchior and the book is "Breaking the Perfect 10". You did get -- you got a fondness for one of the horses when you moved to a farm, right?
KING: That helps girls a lot, doesn't it?
MELCHIOR: It really was helpful for me, yes...
KING: They bond?
MELCHIOR: Yes. There's just something so organic about having a connection with an animal and going out. And I would just take this horse and we'd -- I'd ride her bareback through these fields and it was just so grounding to me.
KING: Now what about the attempted rape when you were 12? What happened?
MELCHIOR: You know, since I wrote the book, my sister says it wasn't her that had friends over. And I'm not going to argue her memory. I just remember when I was 12, when we were living in a house that my mom had rented and somebody had decided, oh, there's no parents, no parental supervision there, we're going to have a little get-together at this house.
KING: That was not uncommon?
MELCHIOR: No. It -- I wouldn't say it was common, but it wasn't the first time.
KING: So boys and girls came over?
MELCHIOR: Yes and these were high schoolers and I was 12. And -- but this actually was -- they went off in a room and were doing whatever partying they were doing. And one of the boys came out and I was sitting in the living room watching television. And I don't even remember any conversation, him saying one word to me. I just remember him pinning me down and attempting to rape me and...
KING: How did you get out of it?
MELCHIOR: Hear voices coming.
KING: And he stopped?
MELCHIOR: And he stopped.
KING: How scared were you?
MELCHIOR: You know, I think that was the moment when the piano lid closed. And I just shut off all emotions. And I never really dealt with it emotionally. I just -- the lid closed and I'll never play another note.
KING: Did you tell people?
MELCHIOR: Didn't tell a soul until this book.
KING: Didn't tell your sister?
KING: Never went to the school and brought any charge against him?
KING: Have you seen him again since?
MELCHIOR: I couldn't pick him out of the crowd of two.
MELCHIOR: All I remember is that he had curly hair and that was it.
KING: You were raped at 16 though, right?
KING: What happened?
MELCHIOR: Met some guy -- I don't remember where I was coming or going. My sister and I had met a couple of guys on an airplane and we went to this -- they invited us back to their apartment or something after...
KING: What were you doing on an -- you're by yourself, just you and your sister at 16...
MELCHIOR: Yes and I don't even really remember what or where. If it was -- it's all foggy at this point how we got in this situation with these guys. But we had just met them and they'd invited us back to their apartment. And it was two guys and me and my sister and we went with them. And they -- it was, you know, we were drinking tequila.
They had this big water bong -- I'm not proud of that. But the next thing I knew -- and I really believe that there was some sort of a date rape drug or something in either the pot was laced or something, because the feeling was so bizarre. It was -- I felt like I passed out or I felt like I was going to pass out. I pass out and I wake up in a bedroom with the guy and he's raping me. But I am physically unable to speak, to stop him, to move my body in any way, but I'm...
KING: That sounds like a drug.
MELCHIOR: ... completely aware of what's going on.
KING: Did you bring any charges against that guy?
KING: Why not?
MELCHIOR: I guess the same reason most people don't. It's the shame. The shame of it, like why was I there? Well, I was smoking pot and drinking tequila. I deserved it.
KING: Why did you go to the apartment? You must have had some attraction.
MELCHIOR: Yes, I was attracted to him and I was -- what was I thinking, and I felt like I deserved it in a sense and...
KING: What did it do to you mentally?
MELCHIOR: It just...
KING: Because you closed the lid at 10...
KING: ... now it's open again, right?
MELCHIOR: Well, actually, no. It just further cemented my belief that, you know, your physical body and your feelings just need to be suppressed.
KING: Do you blame all of this to being not only the way you were brought up, but to being beautiful? That being beautiful -- look at all the beautiful women who've had so many hang-ups.
MELCHIOR: I know (INAUDIBLE). Yes, I think we should call it a handicap...
KING: Well in a sense, it is, isn't it?
MELCHIOR: In a sense, yes. And it sounds so absurd and people -- you know -- I know a lot of people looking at this are like oh, yes, right, you get everything you want, doors get open for you, whatever, what have you got to complain about? But you know with the good comes the bad and there is a difficult side to it. And not that only attractive people get raped or have difficulties, but it definitely drew attention to me in ways I didn't want it.
KING: You also had, what, sexual allegations against a boss when you were in high school? You were harassed?
KING: You had a job while you were in high school?
MELCHIOR: Yes. I worked for a tree company. And we were out at the tree field...
KING: Cutting trees...
MELCHIOR: ... cutting trees and selling trees and we had to go out in the field that day and this big truck that we were going to load these trees in and I was doing inventory. And I'm standing in the truck and I'm getting a clipboard. And I just feel him come and press himself up against me, behind me and I was just like here we go again.
And I looked around and here I am in this middle of this field without anybody around, but there was another worker that was there with us and -- but he had sent him off on some goose chase basically to get rid of him. But, luckily, he had forgotten a tool or something that he needed and he came back. And that's -- you know when I look back now as a Christian, I can see God, you know that yes, I went through a lot of difficult times and I could say where was God? But he was there because you know at 12, it didn't happen. This time, I would say you know there were times when...
KING: Yes, but how about...
MELCHIOR: ... it could have been worse.
KING: ... when all of the bad things happened, where was God?
MELCHIOR: Well he gives man free will. So I mean bad things can happen to good people and I just know that I was protected. It could have been a lot worse.
KING: Did you have during this period of time a steady boyfriend?
MELCHIOR: I like to have a steady boyfriend and one on simmer in the back usually and I was -- I call myself a recovered cheater because...
KING: You always cheated?
MELCHIOR: Always cheated, yes, no one was safe. Because for me it was like cheat before you get cheated on, leave before you get left.
KING: You were not a girl to fall in love with?
MELCHIOR: Oh no, I was a heartbreaker. I was like a man -- I was like the typical guy that would break the girls' hearts.
KING: You're one honest lady. We will be right back with Tracy Lindsey Melchior. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ONE LIFE TO LIVE")
MELCHIOR: Your principles go out the window when it comes to your politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you talking about?
MELCHIOR: What am I talking about? I'm talking about blackmailing dogs with that sex...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh that was...
MELCHIOR: And what about all this back room dealing with the governor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those deals are business. You can't compare the two.
MELCHIOR: I want a baby, Kevin. I thought you did, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do but there is no way that we can consider this, OK. Just forget it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELCHIOR: Why aren't you swimming?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It usually involves getting wet.
MELCHIOR: Oh, you don't like getting wet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Don't do that! Now you're going to get it.
MELCHIOR: What, are you afraid you're going to melt or something?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I very may melt so stop it. Now you're going to get it.
MELCHIOR: What are you going to do? Throw me in? I just got ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: She's had an incredible life and writes it all, lays it out in "Breaking the Perfect 10." Tracy Lindsey Melchior, former star of daytime TV's "Bold and the Beautiful" and "One Life to Live." Are you going back to television at all?
MELCHIOR: I sure hope so. I would love to go back to acting.
KING: Both those shows are off now?
MELCHIOR: No, they're both on.
KING: Did they write you out?
MELCHIOR: They did.
KING: Why did they write you out?
MELCHIOR: Well, "One Life To Live," they got a bigger name. They replaced me with a two-time Emmy actress. It's shot in New York, I live in the Los Angeles area and was commuting and this girl wanted to move to New York and they just said, hey, tired of that commute? We'll send you home and she took over.
KING: You're happily married now with a child and everything, right?
MELCHIOR: I am, yes.
KING: OK, we'll get to that in a while. Then a guy named Bob made you pregnant. Was he your boyfriend?
MELCHIOR: Yes, he was my boyfriend.
KING: You had an abortion?
MELCHIOR: I did.
KING: Was that a shameful thing to you based on your current beliefs?
MELCHIOR: Yes. And I think more -- it may sound strange but even more so than my beliefs, it's now being a mother, knowing what the potential of what was inside of me is. It's even more of a tragedy to me now that I know the brevity of it. And my beliefs as well, absolutely.
KING: Would you describe yourself as wild?
MELCHIOR: Yes. Oh, yes. I was wild. I was just telling someone that ...
MELCHIOR: I was very promiscuous. I got my motorcycle license. I'd ride around L.A., splitting lanes on a speed bike. KING: What happened when you got married? You've been married twice?
KING: What happened to the first marriage?
MELCHIOR: The first marriage lasted about four years. And I was way too young. And ,gain, I didn't -- I didn't know what I was doing.
KING: Cheat on him?
MELCHIOR: I cheated on him, I did, yes.
KING: But you were good at it, right?
MELCHIOR: I was very good at it by then. Yes, I had mastered it at that point. I had all of the skills and all the technique down. and I had never gotten caught and -- but I think he knew. In his heart he knew. And ...
KING: Did he divorce you?
MELCHIOR: He did. He ended up being the one to leave. It got really bad at the end and I don't know if you want to go into it, but he ended up having a skiing accident, which he had a head injury. And from the head injury, it damaged the rational and reasoning part of his brain is what the doctor told me so it was like he was drunk all the time.
MELCHIOR: Yes, and when somebody has that kind of damage or behaves like they are drunk, it kind of accelerates a lot of emotions. The doctor told me, he said, at first -- when I first took him home from the hospital, he said don't be alone with him.
You shouldn't be alone because right now, he has the capacity of a man but the mentality of a 5-year-old. And he said we don't know what kind of personality he is going take on. Like he spoke in a southern accent. He was born and raised in California, and he'd be like get me some supper, woman.
KING: I mean, now you're at this incredible stage in your life. You've gone through this marriage, you've had an abortion. You've been loose. You've been everything.
KING: Do you get part in a soap during this period?
MELCHIOR: It was shortly thereafter, actually. I didn't get a soap my -- well, you know what? I did a little thing on "The Young and the Restless," like two days. It was a recurring that never recurred. And my first acting role in a soap, as a long-term contract was after I decided to leave the business, actually. KING: Really?
KING: And then they called?
MELCHIOR: Now they want me. Now I moved away out of town and now I have to commute in. Yes.
KING: Where did you move to?
MELCHIOR: I moved out to the Inland (ph) Empire, about 45 miles southeast.
MELCHIOR: Well, I'd met my current husband -- I shouldn't say current husband, my forever husband now. And he lives out that way. And I was kind of at a crossroads with like why am I being an actor? And we did this thing in my acting class where I studied with Larry Moss, who is one of -- he has been thanked from the Academy Award podium so many times. Brilliant acting coach.
And he gave us this assignment one day. And we had to free associate on a paper why do you want to be an actor? And I started writing and everything just flooded out of me, a whole page of stuff. And when I read it, I was like what? That's why I'm doing this?
This is why I'm beating this pavement and putting up with all of this rejection? And the reasons were out of vengeance, like this how do you like me now? Well, if I'm on TV and all those people that hurt me, now they're going to see me on TV.
KING: Right. If they could see me now.
MELCHIOR: Exactly, so I said I'm not -- that's no good reason to live your life, I'm quitting.
KING: We will find out how Tracy found faith in a moment. Tracy Lindsey Melchior. The book is "Breaking the Perfect 10." Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Tracy Lindsey Melchior. We should point out you changed the names people in the book, right, to protect ...
MELCHIOR: Yes, to protect the guilty!
KING: Protect the guilty. And Randy, which was the first husband, is not his name?
KING: But we invited him to appear and he declined ...
MELCHIOR: Yes, he did.
KING: ... which did not surprise you?
MELCHIOR: Yes. You know what? At first, it did. And then I was like, wow. Nothing has changed.
KING: The guy you had the abortion with. Still know him?
MELCHIOR: He actually passed away. He committed suicide several years back?
KING: Really? He was supposed to take a drug to prevent infection or something?
MELCHIOR: After I had the abortion, you're supposed to take antibiotics, and he went to get me the prescription, but he only got me half of it, and I guess he got me the pain half and not the antibiotic half or something like that. I ended up with peritonitis with a severe infection in your abdomen. And my mom came to my rescue and rushed me to the hospital. And if she hadn't, I don't know what would of happened.
But when they put me under, I had to sign releases that said they might have to my uterus or any of my reproductive organs depending on how extensive the infection was. So it was very difficult, because here I had just had an abortion, and I was like -- I thought God was punishing me saying, you know, here is what you get for that. And I thought I was going to lose my chance to ever have kids.
KING: And thankfully you did not.
MELCHIOR: And thankfully I woke up and found out that was not the case.
KING: Were you successful on the soaps?
MELCHIOR: You know I ...
KING: Did you do well? Well paid?
MELCHIOR: I was well paid, definitely at certain ...
KING: Had fans?
MELCHIOR: Had fans, all of that. My frustration with the soaps, however, is I don't feel like I've been able to stay on one long enough to really be understood.
KING: You wanted to be a screen actress? What are your goals?
MELCHIOR: I would love to be a screen actor at this point now, yes, absolutely. And that's more of what I'm trained for, you know ...
KING: How about sitcoms or episodic television.
MELCHIOR: I would love to laugh. I'm so done crying.
KING: You audition all the time?
MELCHIOR: You know what? I haven't auditioned much. Since, you know, we live kind of far away, and my son, I'm spending time with him, writing the book.
KING: How old is he?
MELCHIOR: I haven't gotten out as much. Four-and-a-half, and he will go to school in a year and then I plan on getting back, beating that pavement in L.A.
KING: What does your husband do?
MELCHIOR: He's a policeman with the LAPD.
KING: Doesn't that scare you?
MELCHIOR: You know, my dad -- my real dad was a policeman also.
KING: Really? I mean, isn't it nervous every day when he goes out to work?
MELCHIOR: You know when I get nervous? I get nervous when he's supposed to be home at a certain time and he's not and if he didn't call, I can call on the news and see what is going on. And then it scares me when you hear, you know, what the situation is.
KING: Cop's life is not easy.
MELCHIOR: It really isn't. And you know, one of my frustrations, too, is that there is so much -- people don't always like cops and they don't support and they don't realize these are real guys with families and they have their own kids and they want to -- you know, they are human beings.
KING: Is a beat cop, a street -- where does ...
MELCHIOR: No, he works on the SWAT team.
KING: The SWAT team?
MELCHIOR: Yes, and I'm very proud of him because he is in the most elite division of the LAPD, so ...
KING: You're not kidding.
KING: How did you find faith?
MELCHIOR: How did I find faith? I think ...
KING: You did not seem like a big candidate for it.
MELCHIOR: I didn't seem like it?
KING: No. Not with your background. You seem more likely to just go on with men and ...
MELCHIOR: Right. Well, you know, and that was my fear, that is what kept me away at first was I thought the roof would cave in, and, you know, the lightning would strike and all of that sort of thing, that they would escort me out as soon as I walked into a church with my background.
But I think the catalyst mostly for it -- when I was going through my divorce, I was in therapy. And my therapist got to a point with me, and he just was like I don't know what to do from here. He said you need to find a foundation.
You have no faith in this world, you have no security, nothing to build on. You think you run the world and you think it's in your control and you just have such a tight grasp on everything. You need something that you can have faith in. And so he sent me out.
KING: He sent you to?
MELCHIOR: Church shop.
KING: Church shop. Explain that.
MELCHIOR: I just went shopping churches, basically, but ...
KING: What faith were you born in?
MELCHIOR: I was baptized Lutheran, so ...
KING: Are you Lutheran now?
MELCHIOR: No, I'm Christian.
KING: Christian meaning? What church do you attend?
MELCHIOR: Just Christianity. I attend a Christian church. It's more of a like seek church, more of a -- it's non-denominational.
MELCHIOR: Yes. A very gifted pastor, and ...
KING: So what? OK, you went. You studied. What? Did you get a bolt of lightning? What?
MELCHIOR: Well, I think -- the burning bush, what was it? What happened for me I was surrounded by friends, some friends that were Christians at the time. And I think that they introduced me to Christianity and it takes a long time.
I mean, when you come from the kind of background I did -- and I had all of the typical, oh I believe in spirituality but I don't think you have to go to a church, and I don't believe in organized religion and all of those cliches. And I remember my girlfriend when I said I believe in spirituality. And she goes well, you know, Satan is a spirit, too. And I was like oh, I hadn't thought of that.
KING: Let me get a break I'll (ph) pick up. By the way, do you know who you look like?
KING: Julia Roberts.
MELCHIOR: I do get that.
KING: You do. We'll be right back. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELCHIOR: As Tony (ph) would say, es mui (ph) caliente.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, when Tony sees you in that dress, he will barely able to get out como estas, although I'm getting the feeling that conversation is not what you're really looking for, is it? Am I right?
MELCHIOR: You could be right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready for that? I mean, you haven't really even known Tony that long.
MELCHIOR: I know, but I feel like I've been waiting for him my whole life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Another where you also appeared. Our guest is Tracy Lindsey Melchior. The book is "Breaking the Perfect 10." You were on "Sunset Beach" right, and that was canceled.
MELCHIOR: I was, and that was such great gig. I loved that job. it was an Aaron Spelling, his daytime soap.
KING: Before you get back to faith, you were an escort once, too?
MELCHIOR: Well, you know what? It's funny. People have called it that. And I'm like, oh, I thought more like sugar daddy was more how I looked at that phase of my life. Not ...
KING: You were paid to go on dates?
MELCHIOR: No, no. And I know that some people have gotten that out of how it's written in the book and that scares me.
KING: What were you? MELCHIOR: There was just a lot of -- in case you hadn't heard, there is a lot of wealthy men in Hollywood who like attractive girls to be around and sometimes they will offer to pay for things for you.
KING: All right. Back to faith. Did you wake up one day and say I believe? What did it?
MELCHIOR: No. And it definitely wasn't like that for me at all. And what did it was, first of all, finding, you know, like I said, going around to different churches. And I found the church that I loved. And going week after week and listening to this pastor speak, it just -- I almost define it like group therapy.
KING: Before you met your husband?
MELCHIOR: No, this was after I met him.
KING: You had met him already?
MELCHIOR: I started becoming a student of Christianity before I met him.
KING: Was he a believer?
MELCHIOR: He wasn't but his parents were, or his mom and stepfather and his sister. And they had been praying for him, and kind of inviting him to church here and there but he wasn't ready to commit to that.
And I was just starting to study it, and my friends I said that I met in my acting class were sort of leading me that way. When I would have problems instead of just giving me the typical friend advice, they would kind of guide me towards well, what the Bible would say about that. And I was like, wow, this book really -- maybe I should take a look at it.
And one of them bought me a Bible for Christmas, and it was one of those student Bibles where you can look up a -- like if you're concern is jealousy, they have the concordance in the back and you can look up scriptures that relate to it.
And I started finding myself reading it all the time, instead of my self-help books that I had relied on in the past. And I just -- it just slowly, a little bit at a time...
KING: Did you bring your husband into it?
MELCHIOR: Well, what happened when I started -- when we found this church, I had gone first, and I told him about it. And he started going with me. And we agreed that, you know, this is where we belong, this is a great place. And one of the other things that was really helpful to me is music. I know you mentioned your wife is a singer. Music is so hugely profound to me. It just speaks to my soul. It opens me up.
KING: Do you sing? MELCHIOR: I don't. I wanted to be a singer. I actually, in my church, volunteered to sing, and they gave me a number for singing lessons, so I was like, OK, I guess that's not my gift. But I -- the music at this church was just incredible and the songs were -- I would just weep.
KING: Did your husband hold your background against you?
MELCHIOR: No. Bless his heart.
KING: Could have.
MELCHIOR: And you know, we didn't really talk about my background a lot. We weren't one of those couples who is like, all right, when was your first time? You know, we didn't have to do that. It was like, this is our history, it's beginning now.
KING: How did he feel about you writing this?
MELCHIOR: He is very supportive, because fortunately, my husband shares my faith. And if you understand the testimony side of this story, of why you have to do it, then he could, you know, he understands.
KING: We will be right back with our remaining moments with Tracy Lindsey Melchior. Quite a lady. The book is "Breaking the Perfect 10." Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Tracy Lindsey Melchior. You gained 60 pounds during pregnancy?
MELCHIOR: I did. I loved every minute of it.
KING: What did you look like?
MELCHIOR: Oh, I have a couple of photos. But you know what's funny is like when your stomach is getting big like that, you don't realize that your butt is growing at the same time.
KING: You were the Pillsbury dough girl.
MELCHIOR: I was. And then all of a sudden, the belly was gone, and I was like, oh, now there is nothing.
KING: And you believe faith helped you lose the weight?
MELCHIOR: Yeah, it did. The reason I say that is because I couldn't -- I could no longer lie and I could no longer -- OK, it's kind of hard. I will just give you some background.
When I would go to the gym, I was trying to work out, because there were some roles in soaps that had been coming up, and my manager called me and he said, stop eating, start moving. And I was like, OK. So my husband was very sweet, and he would send me off to the gym when he got home, and he would watch Kyle. And he would say, this is what you're going to do. You are going to do 20 minutes on this machine, then you're going to do, you know, 40 minutes on that or whatever. And my inability to let my husband down and lie to him is the only reason I was able to do that, because I wanted to quit after five minutes. And the old Tracy was like, what if, you know, I'll go to the Golden Spoon after or something, you know, but I couldn't.
KING: Billy Graham watches this show every night.
MELCHIOR: He does?
KING: Oh, I would hear from him all the time. He is our greatest viewer, I think. Billy never misses. And he had a role in your life, right?
MELCHIOR: He did. Absolutely. I love Billy Graham, and I'm thrilled -- I'm almost nervous now that you told me that. Yeah. You know, his great saying that there is 40 people that lead you to Christ. You know, you keep asking me, like, what was the moment, and it's such -- when you look back, when you become a believer, and you look back, it's such a perfect curriculum, and it started long before you were even aware it was going on.
But Billy has a saying that there is 40 people that lead you to Christ. The first one thinks they did nothing. The last one thinks they did everything, and they're both wrong.
And I love that. Because it's so true. And I know for me, there's certain people that I've tried to, you know, I never try and force my beliefs on anybody in any way, but I try and share with them what my -- might be helpful to them. And you think, wow, it was nothing.
KING: Do any of the old habits ever erupt? Do you ever find yourself turned on by someone?
MELCHIOR: No. But as far as -- I mean, there are still, you know, the dysfunction and that stuff is still in me -- not as far as cheating. I've never, ever felt any of that, because the way I describe that now is, like, when I got married the first time, I took vows in front of God but I didn't know who God was. The second time, I knew who God was when I took my vows.
And also, I have such a relationship that fulfills me in such a different way that anything ever had that I'm not longing for that, and I don't have fears that my husband will ever hurt me. I'm so secure in our relationship that I don't have to guard myself or protect myself with someone else. But there are, yeah, I still have my own dysfunction and that I have to pray about or work through.
KING: Because you are rebellious by nature, right?
KING: Rebellious people don't change overnight.
MELCHIOR: No. And I'm outspoken.
KING: You're a rebel for the church now?
MELCHIOR: I'm a rebel for the church, that's right. I'm on a mission.
KING: Do you abstain -- do you like not have sex on Sundays, is that true?
MELCHIOR: Well, now that I'm married, it's OK. But see, I wasn't fully committed to become a Christian when Rob and I had met. But I was starting to investigate it a little bit at that time, and I started feeling guilty that we were having premarital sex. So I would bargain with God, you know how you do? I would be, like, all right, God, how about if we just don't have sex on Sundays? So that was my deal. That was the church of Tracy.
KING: What do you want to do with career? You want to be a movie star?
MELCHIOR: You know, it's not about a movie star necessarily. But I definitely -- I love to act, and I feel like a race car that's been parked in the garage. I've trained with one of the best acting coaches. I know I know how to do it.
And I love soaps. I love the lifestyle of a soap opera, and it's like boot camp for actors. Because it's just every day, it's relentless, and it's instant emotion and limited rehearsal. But I would love to get an opportunity to show what I can do. And as much as I love soaps, the technique that I've been trained, the script crumbles underneath it, and it doesn't support what I'm capable of. And I just -- I really would love an opportunity.
KING: This might be it for you.
MELCHIOR: From your lips to God's ears.
KING: Thank you, dear. And boy, do you look like her, like Julia. Especially when you smile.
KING: Tracy Lindsey Melchior, the former star of "Bold and Beautiful" and "One Life to Live," the author of "Breaking the Perfect 10." Quite a lady. I wish you the best.
MELCHIOR: Thank you so much.
KING: "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next. See you tomorrow night. Good night.
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