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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Beyonce

Aired April 02, 2007 - 21:00   ET


STAR JONES REYNOLDS, HOST: Tonight, the one and only Beyonce. In a rare, in-depth, one-on-one interview the dream girl superstar opens up about her new album, her alter ego and all those rumors of marriage to music mogul Jay Z.
And what she goes through to gain and lose weight.

Plus, what this mega watt star does to stay out of that Britney/Lindsay young celebrity type trouble.

And then, the latest outrageous twist in the Anna Nicole Smith story. Larry Birkhead's former attorney, Debra Opri, reportedly hits him with a 112-page bill for more than a half million dollars.

Is this for real?

The lawyer in me says don't hate the player, hate the game. We'll ask Harvey Levin of, who broke the story.

That and more next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hi. I'm Star Jones Reynolds in for Larry this evening.

And joining me in the studio is Grammy Award winning superstar entertainer Beyonce.

Very few people are known by one name and even less of them deserve it. But this one certainly does.

Beyonce, welcome to the show.

BEYONCE: Thank you.

I'm so excited to be on the show.

REYNOLDS: Well, this is going to be a very interesting next few months for you. You are about to start a brand new tour, as you launch Beyonce B'Day, the deluxe edition, brand new songs on the B'Day CD.


REYNOLDS: How exciting is that for you?

BEYONCE: It's so exciting because for an album to -- to still have legs -- it's, I guess, eight months later -- I recorded six song in Spanish and I recorded five new songs. And the most exciting thing about the re-release is the video album. I shot eight new videos. So there's a music video for each song on the album, which has never been done before.

So I'm excited to see what's going to happen and anxious to see, you know, if it's going to be something that people enjoy.

And who knows?

It might start something new in the music industry.

REYNOLDS: Well, you've started a lot of new things in the music industry there.

First of all, you said you recorded several songs in Spanish.

Pssst, you don't speak Spanish.

BEYONCE: I sure don't. I don't.

REYNOLDS: So you have to explain to us how that occurred.

BEYONCE: Well, it's similar to -- I sang in French at the Oscars a couple of years ago...


BEYONCE: ... and I don't speak French. I learned it phonetically. And we took, you know, one sentence at a time. And I just spoke the lyrics over and over and over again and then put the melody to it.

And it's actually way easier for me to sing in another language than speak because it has a melody to it and that's what I do.

So I can't speak Spanish, but I can sing in Spanish. But it's just, you know, listening to it over and over and over again with a great coach. His name was Rudy. And we -- it was frustrating because I used the -- it was only me in the studio. I produced my own vocals. And it's just me and the engineer. And I get things really quick.

But I couldn't get it fast. So it was frustrating in the beginning. But it was challenging and I enjoyed the challenge.

REYNOLDS: Well, I'm glad that you ended up doing it, because you put some new songs on here...


REYNOLDS: ... and some songs that have been topping the charts. I guess the song that everybody talks about right now is "Irreplaceable," right?

BEYONCE: Yes. Yes.

REYNOLDS: Even though most men will not allow that...

BEYONCE: They don't like it.


BEYONCE: You must not know about me.


REYNOLDS: Not at all.

Why do you think guys don't want to hear "Irreplaceable" in their house?

BEYONCE: Well, because, I mean, it's a little honest and some guys don't deserve that song.


BEYONCE: But there are some guys that do. And when they find out a man actually wrote the song, Neo, who is an artist and very talented, I know he's getting a lot -- a lot of talk from the guys, like, how could you write that?

You're a man, you know?

All the men are in trouble now.

REYNOLDS: To the left. Put your things to the left.

What is it that you're saying to young women in terms of taking back their independence with that song?

BEYONCE: Basically we can't forget our power and our worth. And sometimes, you know, you're so in love, you forget that. And sometimes you feel like you're not being, you know, appreciated. And, you know, sometimes they forget that they can be replaced. And it's important to have songs like that, to remind us. And we can hear those songs when we need that extra boost of confidence.

REYNOLDS: Well, you are taking -- you're an all female band on tour.


REYNOLDS: What is this, chick power?

BEYONCE: Well, I've always written songs like "Independent Woman" and even "Bootylicious"...

REYNOLDS: "Survivor."

BEYONCE: ... as silly as it is, it was, you know, at a time where I gained weight and I said, you know, I'm OK with that. That's real. That's life. That's just a part of being a woman. Every person is not thin. So I tried to encourage women to be strong and write the type of songs that I need to hear. I'm not that confident. I don't wake up every morning, you know, feeling like the lyrics in my songs. So sometimes I write the songs that I need to hear and that I feel other women need to hear. And I'm all about empowerment and the strength that we have when we unite as women.

So I have worldwide auditions and women from Japan, Chicago, New York, L.A. Houston, all over the world auditioned. And it was like maybe three days of auditions and it narrowed thousands of women down to the 20 women that joined me on the stage.

REYNOLDS: What do you mean you're not that confident?

I think there's so many people who look at you and they say my gosh, how can someone 25 years old be that confident?

BEYONCE: Well, I am confident and I think it starts with my parents, you know?

I had an amazing foundation. And my father was a strong father, a great male figure in my life, and my mother. And, you know, I had a great childhood. And I don't feel like my worth is, you know, my -- my career. And I don't feel like, you know, if I'm not a celebrity, then I'm not successful, because there's other things in life.

And I have -- I just had a good foundation.

But, you know, I'm not -- I'm definitely not perfect and I wake up, you know, I get pimples, I have bad hair days, I can't cook. I mess up. I say things that are silly and I read them like what was I thinking?

You know, I'm just like everyone else. And I have my days where, you know, I've kind of created this character that gives me my confidence when I don't really have it.

And I feel like every person has that. It doesn't matter if you're a public speaker or a teacher or whatever. You know, when it's time for you to be on, there's something else that takes over you. And I kind of created Sasha as my alter ego to be that confident person that's fearless on the stage so I can kind of maintain Beyonce when I'm off the stage.

REYNOLDS: You know, I read about Sasha initially and I thought -- I remember the creation of her helped to come out of when Destiny's Child went through its transition and you became pretty depressed about it.

BEYONCE: Oh, very, very depressed. We -- it was a long time ago and we're all over it now.


BEYONCE: And we're all friends and happy for each other. And it's so great just to know that we can grow. But at the time, I was very young. And being 18, it was a -- now I look at it as something that was great and I'm very happy that I experienced that. It was such a great lesson, a great life lesson, a very young age. And it kind of forced me to mature and look at my job different.

And that's when I realized that I can't take the criticism personal and it's not just me. And whenever you're a celebrity, it -- you can, you know, you're never going to be, you know, like by everyone, because people are too different. You can't satisfy everyone.

So you have to know yourself and you have to care about what the people around you think about you, because they're the ones that really know you.

And, you know, I was judged so much and everything was so not me that, you know, what -- the things that people were saying about me. And I was a baby. So that was difficult.

But, like I said, I had a choice to either go crazy and be depressed and sad or to overcome. And that's when I took the same negative things that people said about me and wrote "Survivor." and it became the biggest song I ever wrote as a songwriter.




BEYONCE: So I tried to take the negative and just turn it around. And that's what I've done in my career over and over again.

REYNOLDS: And Sasha seems to help?


REYNOLDS: You can make Sasha's brand and Beyonce the person.

BEYONCE: Absolutely.

REYNOLDS: When we come back, we're going to try to figure out why Beyonce/Sasha seems to keep out of trouble and young celebrities like Paris and Lindsey and Britney in the same age category may not be in the same league and seem to stay in trouble.

Stay right there.

We'll be right back


UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: To the left, to the left.

BEYONCE: Don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: You must not know about me. You must not know about me.

BEYONCE: I could have another you in a minute. Matter fact he'll be here in a minute, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: You must not know about me. You must not know about me.

BEYONCE: I can have another you by tomorrow, so don't you ever for a second get to thinking...

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: You must not know about me...

BEYONCE: Baby...

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: You must not know about me.




BEYONCE: Oh, love to love you, baby.

Oh, love to love you, baby.

Oh, love to love you, baby.

Oh, love to love you, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: Tonight, I'll be your naughty girl. I'm calling all my girls. We're gonna turn this party out. I know you want my body.

BEYONCE: Tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: I'll be your naughty girl, I'm calling all my girls.


REYNOLDS: And we are back here with superstar, Grammy Award winning, brand new Kids Choice Award Female Performer of the Year, right?


REYNOLDS: Absolutely.

So how do you avoid the pitfalls, Beyonce, I mean that so many young female celebrities -- I mentioned Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton -- they may not be -- do what you do, but you're in the same age category. But you seem to avoid the pitfalls of being either labeled the party girl or the diva.

How have you done it?

BEYONCE: Well, I'll start by saying that I respect all of those young ladies and...

REYNOLDS: Absolutely.

BEYONCE: ... you know, I feel really fortunate that the media does not attack me the way they attack them. Sometimes, you know, I see the way, you know, they can't go anywhere without paparazzi. And I feel like people just need to calm down some time.

I've been fortunate to still have a little bit of privacy. And I think maybe it's because I don't really go to too many parties and when I'm working, I'm working. And when I'm off, I'm off. I'm usually at home. I'm with my nephews. I'm with my friends. I'm with people that, you know, if I have time, which is rare, because I work so much -- I really don't have time to party.

REYNOLDS: Are you a little bit boring, do you think?

BEYONCE: I don't think I'm boring, I just -- I love what I do and I get more satisfaction out of writing a song or maybe painting or being on a boat in Anguilla or, you know, just things that are a little more relaxing than going out, you know, and...

REYNOLDS: It sounds like you're a little more disciplined.

BEYONCE: Well, I don't know if it's discipline or just certain things don't excite me because I've been doing this for so long. So when I have time off, it's more exciting for me to rest.

REYNOLDS: What about Sasha?

Does she ever just want to like let loose, get on a table, get her party on?

BEYONCE: I do party. I mean when it's -- when I'm on vacation, I, you know, I have my rare wine. I'm with my friends. We dance. We -- that's the time to party.

But, you know, there's a time and a place for that. When I'm working, I'm pretty focused.

REYNOLDS: The focus is something that you're legendary for, that when you're in the studio or when you're on the stage, you are 100 percent focused and committed to your work.

Where does that kind of discipline come from?

BEYONCE: I think it comes back to watching my parents. They were both very successful, you know, before they knew that I even wanted to sing. And my father was one of the number one salesmen at Xerox and my mother owned a successful hair salon in Houston. And they worked hard. You know, they didn't grow up with a lot of money. They went to college and worked hard for everything that they had. And I saw my mother working 14 hours a day and still taking us to school in the morning and spending Sundays with us after church.

And I saw my dad working all day, all night and still making sure he spent time with us on the weekends.

So I saw -- that's what I saw. I saw her hard work and I saw sacrifice and I just feel like that's just a part of life. Anything that's worth anything is going to take work.

REYNOLDS: You know, it seems as if your parents have raised the bar very high for you. Your mother has raised the bar high for the kind of woman you should be and your father has raised the bar high for the kind of man you should have.

That's kind of hard.


REYNOLDS: It is. And that's kind of difficult.

BEYONCE: It is. But it's possible. And, you know, it's -- it's a blessing because I know what I want and I have goals and I've met so many of my goals. And I just keep making new goals, because I'm never satisfied and I always want to grow.

And, you know, my priorities change. Now I'm not worried about being number one and selling millions and billions of records because, thank god, we've done that.

Now, I want to -- I'm working at being a legend and being around for 20 years, 20 more years. I'm working at -- at doing things that are different and not being like every other artist. And working on my art and becoming, you know, a stronger -- hopefully an icon. But I'm working at it.

REYNOLDS: You want to -- you want to hear Beyonce 20 years from now, when little girls talk about it the way we talk about Diana Ross...


REYNOLDS: ... and Dianne Carroll...

BEYONCE: Absolutely.

REYNOLDS: ... and Tina Turner.

That's what you want?

BEYONCE: That's what I want.

REYNOLDS: You -- you mentioned that one of the reasons that you seem to avoid the pitfalls of the media is because you do maintain a level of privacy. But you seem to have, as you've matured, allowed yourself to be a little more open with the media.

BEYONCE: A little more. But still -- I'm still pretty private and now I think people respect that I'm private and don't really ask any more. And I guess, you know, people get used to things and it's not as exciting, which is great.

REYNOLDS: So I'm not supposed to ask, are you getting married? When are you getting married? Do you want to get married?

BEYONCE: You are supposed to ask.


BEYONCE: Because that is your job.

REYNOLDS: Are you getting married?

BEYONCE: But I don't answer.

REYNOLDS: Do you want to get married?

BEYONCE: Yes, I do. I grew up, you know, with my parents together. But there's a time for that and...

REYNOLDS: I think Jay Z would make a great husband.

BEYONCE: Well, thank you.

REYNOLDS: I think he would make an absolutely great husband.

BEYONCE: Thank you very much.

REYNOLDS: Absolutely. But I cannot put one rumor to the side, that you're not married.

BEYONCE: No, I'm not married. No.


Where did that come from?

BEYONCE: Well, you know, it's not just me. Every celebrity, you know, they say you're married after two weeks -- or they say you're pregnant after one date, you know?

That's just a part of it.

REYNOLDS: Have you gotten used to that?

BEYONCE: Yes. That doesn't bother me at all.

REYNOLDS: You can sort of put that to the side just like you can put work to the side and be personal when it's time to be personal?


REYNOLDS: You know, one of the things that I loved this year that happened to your career was the "Sports Illustrated" cover.

BEYONCE: Thank you.

REYNOLDS: And from a woman's perspective, it was good to see another African-American woman on the cover -- but I didn't realize -- of that issue -- you were only the second.

BEYONCE: I know. It's amazing. It really is. It's, you know, a great honor for me for them to even ask because they've never had a musician on the cover of the magazine. So not only was I the second black woman, I was the first non-model or athlete.

And I thought, you know, this is great for me. But I said the only way I'd do it is if my mother can design the swimsuits. And my mother did and we've launched our clothing line, House of Dereon Swimsuits. And on that issue...

REYNOLDS: In honor of your grandmother?

BEYONCE: Yes. We have a clothing line together and my -- my grandmother was a seamstress and all of my family -- my mother sews -- sewed all of our costumes and is still my -- my stylist. And we have a clothing line together and it's named after my grandmother.

And it celebrates three generations of style.

REYNOLDS: So you, on "Sports Illustrated," became the icon of beauty on top of everything else.

So when we come back, I want to talk about what's beautiful to you, who were your role models and moving you in that same area of iconization, as they would say.

We'll be right back with Beyonce.


JAY Z: All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend. Me and my girlfriend.

BEYONCE: Down to ride 'til the very end, it's me and my boyfriend. Me and my boyfriend.

JAY Z: That's right.

All I need is this life of sin is me and my girlfriend. Look for (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BEYONCE: Down to ride 'til the very end, it's me and my boyfriend. Me and my boyfriend.

JAY Z: Look for me.

BEYONCE: Down to ride 'til the very end, it's me and my boyfriend. Me and my boyfriend. JAY Z: Talk to 'em, B.

BEYONCE: If I was your girlfriend, I'll be there for you, if somebody hurts you, even if that somebody, teasin, was me.




BEYONCE: Hey, believe me, I could upgrade you.


BEYONCE: Audemars Pigeut you.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: Switch your neck tie to purple labels.

BEYONCE: Have you rocking purple labels!

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: I can upgrade you. I can up, can I up, let me upgrade you.

BEYONCE: Time to let me upgrade you.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: Want to let me upgrade you, flip a new page...

BEYONCE: Introduce you to some new things.


BEYONCE: I can up, can I up, let me up...


REYNOLDS: And we are back with Beyonce today.

Now, we were talking "Sports Illustrated" and you were the second African-American woman to grace the cover of the swimsuit issue. But clearly that was a different standard of beauty than what they were used to.


REYNOLDS: Were you nervous about doing it?

BEYONCE: Yes, I was, in the beginning. More so because I was, you know, wearing swimsuits and, you know, I've never done a full swimsuit spread.

REYNOLDS: Why would the Bootylicious girl that my little seventh graders at the school I teach in say she's hot, Miss. Reynolds, she's hot... BEYONCE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

REYNOLDS: ... why would you be concerned about being in that swimsuit?

BEYONCE: Well, I mean, I was pretty comfortable after we -- we started. But, you know, I'm a human being. I'm like OK, I hope this, you know -- and I'm not the standard pencil thin woman. And I requested a photographer that I felt comfortable with and they were, you know -- they did everything I asked and we had a good time.

But -- so I got through it. And they all turned out great, the pictures.

REYNOLDS: And according to a couple of polls that came out, you are the most desirable woman in the world. That's a little bit of pressure.

BEYONCE: How do you respond to that, right?

I don't know how I feel about that. It's scary.

REYNOLDS: But doesn't that put a little pressure on little girls? We were talking about that earlier.


REYNOLDS: Because as spectacular looking as you are -- and trust me, she is in person...

BEYONCE: Thank you.

REYNOLDS: ... no one can attain that every day.

BEYONCE: No. Absolutely not. I mean, you know, we have help. We have the retouching. We have can you thin me there, point me there, you know?

It's just -- that's a part of -- of being a celebrity.

REYNOLDS: Don't say it. Somebody actually pumps you somewhere?

BEYONCE: That's just a part of it. Even when you don't ask, they do it. I've looked at covers, I'm like wow!

What is that?

REYNOLDS: And who is that pretty girl?

BEYONCE: Who is that?

REYNOLDS: Who were your role models for beauty back then?

BEYONCE: Well, I have to say my mother, you know?

REYNOLDS: You look just like her right now, I'm telling you. BEYONCE: I just thought she was the most beautiful woman ever. And I still do. And I loved Tina Turner. I loved Diana and -- I loved glamour and class and elegance. And, you know, I think Carrie from Destiny's Child is one of the most beautiful women in the world. And it's just -- more importantly, a happy woman, a smart woman, a strong woman, a confident woman is beautiful.

And, you know, the most beautiful -- the most physically beautiful women, when you meet them and they have that thing -- that darkness inside, it kind of fades the beauty away.

And one thing my mama always taught me, you know, we're all going to grow older. Beauty fades. And your a beauty from within, you know, is forever. And you have to concentrate and focus on that, so when it fades you don't go crazy and get depressed and you have something else to offer the world.


You know, you mentioned some of the icons. You got to play an icon in "Dreamgirls." Deena Jones is an icon, a character born of the Broadway stage and put on film by you.

Was that a dream of yours, to be that Dreamgirl?

BEYONCE: Definitely. I love that character because she was flawed and because, you know, I have my dramatic scenes where I was able to cry and be more emotional and be someone that, you know, when everyone else was glamorous, had no makeup on, thick eyebrows, funny wigs and I'm not a bright-eyed child.

And it was nothing like me and I didn't recognize myself at all when I watched the film. And I feel like the character has so much growth and it was just exciting for me to challenge myself and know that, you know, I can act.

And my part wasn't, you know, about the vocal ability, it was about the acting. And it was very scary for me, because it was -- I was out of my comfort zone. But it -- I learned so much from everyone, all of the actors and director.

REYNOLDS: It's interesting that you say you were out of your comfort zone, because Deena Jones, the character, is supposed to be set out of her comfort zone. She's a background singer, because her voice is soft...


REYNOLDS: ... which I found shocking because vocally, you could clearly have played Effie, because your voice is there.

BEYONCE: Thank you.

REYNOLDS: No question about it.

But you made the choice to be the secondary character, even though she's the star.

Was that a conscious choice?

Because, you know, you could have gained the 30 pounds?

BEYONCE: Yes, I -- that would have been way more fun than diving.

REYNOLDS: You could have gained the 30 pounds and just blew it out a little water (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BEYONCE: But, actually, yes, I thought the character had so much substance and people kept saying do you -- was it weird for you to be in the background?

No, absolutely not. It was a part of the character. And, you know, I had so much fun. It was -- it was, you know, the time of my life. All of us did.

REYNOLDS: It takes great humility to step back and allow yourself out of your comfort zone.

Is that one of the life lessons that you've learned?

BEYONCE: Yes. One thing I've learned, you know, there's nothing good about being comfortable and too safe. I mean there's something good about being comfortable. But not safe. And, you know, I would have never grew if I didn't take risks. And I was scared to do a solo record. I was terrified. But I did it and I learned.

And I was scared to do this movie, but I did it and I learned. And I was scared to sing in Spanish, but I did it and I learned. And I keep challenging myself and taking these risks. And sometimes I'm like what am I -- what am I trying to prove? What's wrong with me?

But I keep growing. And in order to grow, you have to do that.

REYNOLDS: And when we come back, we're going to talk role models and inspiration with the role model who's an inspiration herself.




REYNOLDS: We're talking about little life less someone's Beyonce.

And you are such a role model for young girls. For some reason, they like to put African-American women in one of three categories. You either have to be the sassy black girl, or sort of the mammy character, or the vivacious video, you know the other word that we don't like to use in proper company. How do we say to young girls, you don't have to fit into one of those categories? BEYONCE: Well, you have to have role models. I know, even with my character, I think people -- because Deena was elegant and Deena was classy and understated, you know people didn't gravitate to that character because it wasn't one of those three, you know, perceptions of an African-American woman.

And you don't. You can be who ever you want to be. You know when I was a kid, I was a chubby kid. I had an awkward stage. I never knew I would be a celebrity or star. For whatever reason something was in me that made me very focused when I was a little kid. And I wish kids could know and see how hard I work. Not only I work but any successful person they see you glamorous and whatever on television and they don't know that, you know, I was up at 4:00 this morning and I rehearsing until midnight last night. And I do this everyday all day.

So you know when other girls were into the guys, I wasn't interested. I wanted to be in the studio. And I think it's important to have some type of goal and some type of interest, which is why I think music is so important, which is one of the reasons that I had the female band so people could have that to look up to.

Music kept me out of a lot of trouble. And I just feel like young girls need some type of goal. And it's very rare at a young age that you ask yourself, what do I want to be, what do I want to do? And when you have some type of ambition or goal, then it keeps you focused and it gives you a reason to live.

REYNOLDS: You have attained your short term goals, no question about it. And you seem to be someone who makes lots of goals, accomplishes them, makes blocks more and goes to the next level. What's next? Where do you want to go next?

BEYONCE: Well, you know, I'm going to be on tour until September.

REYNOLDS: Your birthday.

BEYONCE: Yes. But my next goal, acting, growing as an actress and doing more films, and then just being a normal person, learning to cook, the things that I should know how to do already but I've been too busy to learn.

REYNOLDS: What can you make?

BEYONCE: I can make some good Hamburger Helper.

REYNOLDS: That is scandalous.

BEYONCE: Isn't that bad?

REYNOLDS: That is scandalous. I tell you what. Next time we sit and talk, we'll make macaroni and cheese together, baked macaroni and cheese so at least you have at least one good dish in your repertoire that you can cook.

BEYONCE: And my mother cooks. She's the best cook in the world so I have no excuse.

REYNOLDS: Well, I hear the first stop you make whenever you go to Houston is to your mother's house.

BEYONCE: Yes. She makes the best Creole food and all the gumbo and Jumbalayah and soul food. But when I go home, I want to be babied. I want my mom to cook me the food and I want to wear my socks and crawl up into bed and I don't want to cook.

REYNOLDS: But you want to learn?

BEYONCE: I do. I do. So I just have to take some time off. I want to take a year off and maybe take Spanish. And I really love to paint. I'd love to taken an art class and you know visit museums and just do things, you know, that have nothing to do with music or entertainment.

REYNOLDS: I'm not sure if you can physically take a year off and just rest.

BEYONCE: I've tried but you know...

REYNOLDS: Have you ever really done it? Have you ever just rested?

BEYONCE: No, no.

REYNOLDS: Well, at 25, I'm not sure that it's time just yet.

BEYONCE: Yes, I'm still a baby.

REYNOLDS: Yes, absolutely, you're a baby, but a baby with a pretty big resume behind you. Knock 'em dead.

BEYONCE: Thank you.

REYNOLDS: And Happy Birthday.

BEYONCE: Thank you so much.

REYNOLDS: That birthday album is going to be in stores tomorrow. Happy Birthday indeed.

Now, let's talk about going into your comfort zone. When we come back, one of the players in the Anna Nicole Smith saga reportedly just got hit with a bill of over a half million dollars. Ouch! We'll check whether or not the client got their money's worth, so you guys stay right there.


REYNOLDS: Well, guys, I got to tell you, boy, I want go back to my comfort zone in the law briefly. It allowed me to do so with this story.

OK, the celebrity website,, is reporting that Larry Birkhead, one of the men who is in, I like to call it the Baby Daddy Sweepstakes of Anna Nicole, who claims that he's the father of Anna Nicole's daughter, Dannielynn. He received a legal bill from his ex- attorney, Debra Opri over the weekend.

Now, the bottom line for legal service is rendered and expenses incurred, that's what it is, a whopping $620,492.84. Some of the itemized expenses are raising some eyebrows as is the report that Opri is offering Birkhead a discount if he will accept the bill without further discussion.

Now, this is alleged because I have not seen a document. But allegedly, Harvey Levin of, managing editor and an attorney has indeed seen it.

So Harvey, first off, have you seen the document?

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TMZ.COM: I'm not going to say what I've seen but I can tell you it exists, Star.

REYNOLDS: So I'm supposed to believe you just a general principle that you've seen this document. And we're going to talk in hypothetics then, all right?

Hypothetically, how large a bill is this?

LEVIN: Well, it's huge bill. The documents -- I'll tell you what happened. Larry Birkhead got a FedEx Saturday and it was a FedEx containing 112 pages of bills and receipts, and the total, as you said, was $620,000 and it included legal services. But there were many other things that went way beyond legal services, Star.

REYNOLDS: Let's talk about a little bit about that because these are some of the things that leaked out of this. We have a couple of graphics. The total of three $1,500 monthly charges for lumped media and marketing, supposed to be Debra Opri's personal publicist. We have Opri billing Birkhead 18 times for the Diva Limousine Service that took them to and from the Fort Lauderdale courthouse. I probably would not have picked the limo company called Diva if I was going to send it back to my client.

But then she has a bill for $435 for getting dubs of seven appearances on L.A. TV stations and then $161 for Outback steak dinner. Now, we're not upset with that except the bill was $111.65 and it was a $50 tip. That's a big tip now.

And then, of course, there's a couple of laundry service for Zawacki. Who is Zawacki? Isn't that her husband?

LEVIN: That's her husband. That's Debra's husband.

REYNOLDS: OK, for $25.75. So I know it's raising a couple questions about the billing methods. And I know it raised some questions with you and your team there at there at TMZ.

LEVIN: Yes, and Star, it went beyond that. I mean she charged for the funeral as well, the funeral of Anna Nicole Smith. REYNOLDS: Well, why are you mad at that? I mean you're a practicing lawyer and you know if you did work, you want to be paid for your work, right?

LEVIN: But where is the work in attending a funeral?

REYNOLDS: You're with the client and -- but for the fact the client asked you to accompany him to the funeral, you wouldn't be there. You weren't friends with Anna Nicole.

LEVIN: But the but for the fact is the problem because we know that Larry Birkhead asked Debra Opri not to attend the funeral. So therein lies the problem.

Look, I mean here's the bottom line to this, there are obviously charges here -- I mean one of the things you didn't talk about was a $2,000 dinner, actually I think it was $2,400 where she took a Bahamian lawyer out. Birkhead wasn't present. And there are other charges.

The issue here is was Debra Opri allowed to charge beyond just for legal services. And you know I am told by people, and I can't get more specific, that her position is, "Look, I was representing him not just in the case, but in the media, too. So everything I did was billable." And I think the retainer agreement that she had Birkhead sign is going to be very telling. If it said that, that will be interesting. If it didn't say that, I think she's got some explaining to do.

REYNOLDS: Explaining and obviously explaining to another lawyer who gets what -- is going to bill for the time it takes to sue her. You can best believe that.

When we come back, I'm going to bring in some lawyers that can tell us are the billable hours outrageous or is it just par for the course? It's a part of the game we play. We'll be right back. Stay there.


REYNOLDS: Well, the allegation is that Debra Opri says, "Show me the money here!" Joining me here in New York is Courts TV's Lisa Bloom. She co-anchors the daytime trial coverage program, "Bloom and Politan, Open Court." Lisa's a lawyer also. It runs in her family because her mom is Gloria Allred. I know her real well.


REYNOLDS: And out of Los Angeles, high profile defense attorney, Mark Geragos. He's clients have included Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Wynona Ryder.

I bet you he had some billable hours up to here. I'm going to get that in a minute, but we want to be fair, counselors. And Harvey is still with me. But I want to read Attorney Debra Opri's statement. She says: "One can only imagine from whom and for what purpose these stories were started. I cannot comment on unauthenticated documents" -- that's a dig at you right there, Harvey, "which were disseminated to the media under suspicious circumstances," second dig, "and which are covered by attorney-client privilege." Challenge, counselor. "I can assure you, however, that all the fees and expenses incurred on behalf of Mr. Birkhead were reasonable, necessary and appropriate given the complexity and magnitude of this very high-profile case that was litigated in two different states and a foreign country. Out of respect for Mr. Birkhead, I cannot comment further at this time."

Counselor -- Lisa, will you just stop laughing.

BLOOM: I'm sorry, "out of respect for Birkhead," I mean she's the Marie Antoinette of the legal profession, but out of respect for Larry Birkhead. And "unauthenticated documents," Star, this is the media. No document is authenticated. She never denies it. She doesn't say it's false. She doesn't say, "I didn't send him the bill." She doesn't say any of the items are false.

MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: Except Lisa, you know as well as I do that in California, the bill is protected. It's a privileged document.


BLOOM: The client waived it.


GERAGOS: The client has not waived it, is my understanding.

BLOOM: By disclosing it to Harvey.

GERAGOS: No, the client didn't disclose it to Harvey.

LEVIN: I didn't say who gave it to me.


BLOOM: I know you didn't say, but who is else...

GERAGOS: Harvey is to my side saying that that didn't happen.

LEVIN: I did not say who gave it to me.

BLOOM: I know Harvey didn't say it. Who else gave it to Harvey, Debra Opri?

GERAGOS: Lisa, until you've got a waiver, none of this should be out there in the public domain.

BLOOM: OK, Mark, there's no way you're billing a client, a regular guy like Larry Birkhead, a guy who's got $1,500 a month rent, doesn't own a home, he's a freelance photographer, you're going to send him a bill, Mark, for $600,000? Are you kidding me? She's the laughingstock of the legal profession. GERAGOS: If she doesn't want to practice law anymore, I'd like to put her into my billing department. But the fact is that I will talk about it generally because I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense, at least legally, to talk about it because as I say, it's covered by the privilege. Generally, most of those charges that have been talked about, if they were charges that were on a legitimate bill, if the bill was for real, you could not charge a client for.

BLOOM: Right, of course.

GERAGOS: And you cannot demand from a client that he pays immediately otherwise, blah blah blah. All of those things -- in fact, in California, you have to offer arbitration or mediation.

BLOOM: And it has to be reasonable, necessary and appropriate. She's 0 for 3 on that standard for most of these charges.


BLOOM: The husband's laundry bill, are you kidding me?

GERAGOS: Before you hang her, just talk generally. Generally, you can't have what's called an "unconscionable fee," if it shocks the conscience. Obviously, Lisa's conscience is very shocked here.


BLOOM: I'm pretty shocked.

GERAGOS: Like most people...


REYNOLDS: Mark, not for nothing, $620,000 is shocking a couple of people right now.

Don't go anywhere. Right now, don't go anywhere. We'll be right back. You all can fight a little bit more. $620,000, I think I picked the wrong job this time. I'll be right back.


REYNOLDS: So Harvey, reasonable, necessary and appropriate? I know one of those dinners that was paid for at Outback, Larry Birkhead wasn't even there. So give me a little bit more. Since you won't tell me who and you won't show it to me, tell me a little bit more.

LEVIN: OK, one of the dinners was over $2,400 that Debra Opri had with at least a Bahamian lawyer or two in the Bahamas. Larry Birkhead was not present.

She billed 10 hours at a rate of $475 an hour to attend the funeral.

She has a publicist that she paid $1,500 a month to. She wanted Birkhead to front that bill for three months. She... REYNOLDS: It wasn't a publicist for Larry; it was a publicist for her?

LEVIN: It was her personal publicist that she had used before and after Larry Birkhead had left as a client. It was her publicist she was charging him for.

REYNOLDS: Well, she's working tonight, I can tell you that. Her personal publicist is definitely working tonight. She's earning that money.

Mark, $475 an hour. I know what your bills are. That's not unreasonable now, is it?

GERAGOS: $475 an hour, especially with the amount of travel and everything else, is not unreasonable at all. In fact, most of the hourly charges that have been discussed, the hours are not what's unreasonable. The parts that would become subject to real contest obviously are going to be billing for dinners, $50 tips, things of that nature. And the personal publicist

BLOOM: (OFF MIKE) lobster?

GERAGOS: Well, I don't know if it was lobster or they were drinking Louis XIII. I don't know.


LEVIN: No, actually what happened was...

GERAGOS: That's a large bill for Outback.

LEVIN: No, I'll tell you what happened to the lobster. When they were in Fort Lauderdale for the court hearing, she brought a gift to the people whose house they were staying at. And she brought in four trays of lobster that cost 600 bucks and Birkhead paid for the gift.

REYNOLDS: That's a nice gift. Well, you know, the woman was trying to do her job and look at the three of you just...


REYNOLDS: Tomorrow night, Lou Dobbs is actually going to be sitting in her for Larry. So our text vote question of the night is should the U.S. get involved in the Iran-British troop crisis. Text your vote from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 266688. Text KINGA for "yes" and KINGB for "no" and we'll reveal the results on tomorrow night's show. Of course, you can always e-mail us by going to