Oprah: Now you have your rhythm.

Bette: Yeah. And everything is an episode.

Oprah: Everything in your life right now is a possible episode.

Bette: I do look upon all of life as an episode—which is why the people around me are probably on guard!

Oprah: I read that many years ago you had a nervous breakdown.

Bette: Now, that was an episode. After I made a picture in the early 1980s, I was unjustly accused of grandstanding, and I never did any such thing. It brought me up short, and I became very sad and depressed. I cried a lot and I couldn't get out of bed. I called it a nervous breakdown, because what was I going to say?

Oprah: Yeah. You can't say, "I'm crying a lot and I can't get out of bed." I've also read that when you get depressed, your solution is to go on the road so you can feel the love from your fans.

Bette: I have a ball—and it keeps my heart rate up. I get to wear fabulous clothes. I get to make people laugh. That's my core business, and that's where I'll always return.

Oprah: Do you fear the future?

Bette: Not my own future. I fear for the future of the planet. But in a funny way, I'm even sanguine about that.

Oprah: Because the planet will keep going.

Bette: Even if the whole human race dies off because we keep fighting and killing each other and being heartless, the planet will take care of itself. Eventually, after millions of years, it will cleanse itself, and new life forms, maybe better ones, will come. Meanwhile, we'll have gotten exactly what we deserved: annihilation.

Oprah: Because we haven't learned. Do you want to continue your work of cleaning up parks?

Bette: Yes! For some people, a park is the only place in their entire world where they can see something beautiful.

Oprah: That's why what you're doing is so powerful. You've cleared away lots of trash, right?

Bette: Five hundred million pounds! Most people are walking around the city like corpses; they aren't alive enough to notice the trash. They come from other places and they see it as a big garbage dump. Do you want to live and work in a garbage dump? I don't. That's partly because I grew up in the most pristine environment possible—Hawaii, where it is sacrilege to leave your garbage on the ground.


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