Oprah: And after all these years, you still think she's cool?
Bono: Oh, yeah. She's quite a character. And she has a very strong sense of herself. She's capable of extraordinary things. Right now she's working on a new way of doing business in apparel. It involves fair trade practices in which people in Third World countries get paid properly and get health insurance—and you still make a fortune. It may be one of the biggest brands in the next years, so watch out. It's called Edun.
My wife is not ambitious in any way you may be familiar with. For her, ambition is a slow kind of burning. If each partner wants the other to realize his or her potential, the relationship will probably be okay. If one has to sacrifice for the other, which is so often the case, I don't think it's as good as two people trying to outdo each other [with support]. I think she has sacrificed more than I have, so I'm trying to balance that now.
Oprah: How often are you home?
Bono: I'm home a lot. Because I live in Ireland, we can live under the celebrity radar. I might go missing for a whole year. As it happens, that might have been the last couple of years. You may get the impression I'm always out there, but I'm usually home driving my kids to school. I like morning better than night.
Oprah: I thought all musicians kept those crazy "Quincy hours"—working late at night.
Bono: I peak early in the morning. It's downhill from there.
Oprah: Are you a full participant in parenting?
Bono: Yes, except when I'm on tour. Even then I'm never away from Ali and the kids for more than three weeks.
Oprah: What have your children taught you about yourself?
Bono: I have very little memory of my childhood, so as I raise my kids the memories come back in the most bizarre ways. Like you're singing your baby a song, and you don't know why you remember it, but somehow you do. You don't even know the tune, but you sing it anyway and think, How am I singing this song?
Oprah: There's a theory that whatever stage your children are at, it reminds you of that stage of your own childhood. Like if you have a 7-year-old and something traumatic happened to you when you were 7, that's when all your stuff comes up. Has that been true for you?
Bono: I certainly thought my 20s were turbulent, but I didn't realize that the real turbulence comes later in life, when you get a chance—whether it's through your own children or others—to revisit what made you who you are.
Oprah: And brought on your rage.
Bono: Yes. I wrote a piece called "Rage Is Not a Great Reason to Do Anything, but It'll Do." It's a story of me learning to write songs as a kid. I didn't go to music school, because I wasn't from that kind of family. And I remember the frustration of hearing a melody in my head but not being able to quite put it down. So you learn to rely on other people, the band, and you start thinking that's a weakness. But it's a strength to rely on others.
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