Oprah Talks to Mariane Pearl
Oprah: I love how you start your book—you tell us that on the day your husband was kidnapped, you began that morning in each other's arms. You say, "My love was absolute."
Mariane: Yes. Danny had never lived with a woman before me. He'd had relationships, but he was very independent and was happy traveling all over the world as a journalist. So when we met and decided to live together and marry, it was really because we were so attracted to each other. There was no "I have to get married" kind of thought.
Oprah: How did you meet?
Mariane: In 1998, he was with his girlfriend at a party in Paris, but I didn't know the woman was his girlfriend. She was just hanging out there. She was my opposite: a tall, blonde, blue-eyed German lingerie designer. Danny gave me his business card and was very proper. When he left with his girlfriend, that's when I realized they were together.
Oprah: Were you attracted immediately?
Mariane: I was, and he was attracted to me, too. I started dancing with my mom, who is Cuban, and he was watching. He was fascinated to see a woman dancing with her mother. After that I didn't see him for a long time. But I would travel [as a journalist for Radio France International], he would travel, and we would write each other about the countries we visited. He was in the Middle East and Iran a lot, and I was in Cuba.
Oprah: What drew you to him?
Mariane: His talent for life. I admired his work as a journalist. I admired his integrity. I admired his effort to be so open to the world. I didn't know where it came from—he'd grown up as a Jewish boy in L.A., an all-American boy, right? But together we traveled the world, and his capacity to just be himself wherever he was fascinated me. And we had something in common: this desire, this appetite for the world.
Oprah: Didn't you have deep philosophical conversations all the time?
Mariane: All the time and about everything—like courage and truth. Danny's sense of journalism was so ethical; and to remain a journalist who was independent and thinking, he chose not to practice any religion or do anything that would alter his objectivity. I once asked Danny, "If you had a religion, what would it be?" Because I have a religion—I'm Buddhist. He said, "Ethics." And then he said, "Truth." Our love relationship was like two people together, for the world. I've heard it said that love is not about looking each other in the eyes, but about looking together in the same direction. That was the idea with us.
Oprah: Was he a man who took a lot of risks? Just being a journalist in Karachi was very dangerous then.
Mariane: Danny was very security conscious, much more so than I was. The first time we went to Karachi [on September 12, 2001], I thought we'd just land at the airport, take a taxi, and go to the hotel, right? But he had somebody waiting for us at the airport, carrying an AK-47, to guide us. Danny had arranged everything so that we would be safe.