Oprah Talks to Barbara Walters
Oprah: Do you spend a lot of time with her?
Barbara: We spend much more time together these days. She used to live on the West Coast. She moved to Maine to be nearer to me. She doesn't really like New York, but Maine is two hours away by plane.
Oprah: Maya Angelou said that her mother was a better mom to an older child than she was to a younger child.
Barbara: I'm not sure which is true for me. I love babies. Jackie used to say that she had to watch me in the park 'cause I'd kidnap one. My daughter doesn't particularly want to have children. I would love to have a grandchild. I've told her, "Have a grandchild and give it to me." But I understand women who don't want children. That's one of the good things about our society today. Nobody says, "You don't want children? What's wrong with you?" My mother had friends who were childless, and people looked down on them.
Oprah: That's right.
Barbara: See, Jackie adores what she does. She feels these [girls she works with] are her kids. And she doesn't want to have children. I did—desperately. If you don't want them desperately, and you've got a big career, don't have them.
Oprah: Thank you, Miss Barbara!
Barbara: You're very welcome. Anytime. Just lie down on my couch.
Oprah: My friend Gayle [King] goes, "You never wanted kids?" She was one of those people in high school who was already naming her sets of twins. I've never done that.
Barbara: Then I'm so glad you didn't have them just to show them off or to be able to say, "Now I've experienced everything."
Oprah: Yes. Is there anything that frightens you?
Barbara: Other than driving and cooking?
Oprah: Well, as a woman on the front lines, you've always seemed to know how to handle yourself.
Barbara: Oh, I don't know. Listen, I certainly haven't been very good at marriage. [A third marriage, to producer Merv Adelson, ended in 1992.]
Oprah: Don't you think it would have been difficult for you to be great at marriage with your dedication to your career? It takes a very special man to understand that.
Barbara: Maybe if he were also very busy... Marriages like that seem to work.
Oprah: You couldn't have had a man with a lot of time. He'd be saying, "Where are you?"
Barbara: I've always been attracted to men who were busy and successful in their own lives. And by the way, I do want to mention the one thing that has changed others' perception of me: It's The View. People realized I could be silly and funny. I had to think about whether being on that show would interfere with my interviews with heads of state. Would I still be able to do hard news? I'd been around long enough that I had the reputation, so I could do both.
Oprah: Was that a serious consideration?
Barbara: In the beginning, yes. The news department didn't want me to do The View.
Oprah: Especially because of the places you all go sometimes.
Barbara: That's right. There are still times when I put my face in my hands on The View. The news department is a very holy club, H-O-L-Y. Though more and more, people can be human and show both sides.