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Photo: AP/Lionel Cironneau
"For years, Gayle's nickname has been 'Eyewitness News,'" she says. So when Oprah heard that Madonna and Guy Ritchie officially announced that they are divorcing after more than seven years of marriage—and Gayle didn't call her—Oprah brushed it off as a rumor. "I didn't believe any of that because for years there have been rumors that I was splitting with Steadman," she says. "We've never even come close."
Now that the rumors have been confirmed, Mark says he wishes Madonna and Guy the best. "I hate to hear when anybody gets divorced," he says. "I think it's really sad."
Mark and his wife, Kelly Ripa, went to the concert together, but Mark says he had a motive. "Let's face it, a guy who goes to a Madonna concert with his wife is going for one reason. It's because you're going to get lucky afterward," he jokes.
When they arrived at Madison Square Garden, Mark says he was shocked to find they had front-row seats. "I could touch the stage," he says. "I'm thinking in my mind, 'This is going to be great!'" Madonna also had a surprise in store for the famous couple. Toward the end of the concert, Mark says she handed Kelly the microphone and asked her to sing a few lyrics! "My heads [was] going to explode," Mark says.
When the concert ended, Mark says Madonna's manager came down and handed them a copy of the footage. "They got it that quick," he says. "He's like, 'Maybe you want to watch it," and I'm like 'Yes!' When we get home it's going to be like...what do you guys call it? Foreplay."
Mark says he couldn't wait to get home to show Kelly her shining moment. "I'm thinking [Kelly] sounded just as good as Madonna, or at least as good as one of her backup dancers," he says. But when Mark pushed play, he says it wasn't quite the solo he remembered. "It wasn't that good," he says.
Although Kelly's singing wasn't Grammy Award-worthy, Mark says the concert was amazing. "[Madonna] looked fantastic," he says.
Photo: Esquire, Hearst Communications Inc./Cliff Watts
In her candid Esquire interview, Halle opens up about what she finds truly sexy: "You know that stuff they say about a woman being responsible for her orgasms? That's all true. And in my case, that makes me responsible for pretty damned good orgasms these days. Much better orgasms than when I was 22," she said. "And I wouldn't let a man control that. Not anymore. Now I'd invite him to participate. I'll tell you this: I've learned my tricks. I know what I like. I do not wait around. I initiate. And I'm not all about frequency. I favor intensity."
"I want to be Halle when I grow up," Gayle says. "I think it's great that she can talk that candidly and just own it and say it."
Ali says that if she looked as gorgeous as Halle Berry, she wouldn't need a man. "I would need a glass of wine, a candle and a full-length mirror, and I would be fine," she jokes.
Gayle says she loved Halle's honesty in her interview. "I like what you said—sexy could be the waitress, it could be the woman from Africa, sexy could mean wearing a tank top and pumps."
At 42 years old, Halle says she can now say she is truly happy with her life. "I figured many things out for myself, and it just came with age for me," she says. "I've arrived at a really good place where I feel good and confident—confident enough to talk about my orgasms in print, so I think I'm going in the right direction."
During Halle's last visit to The Oprah Show, she said she would never get married again. Has she reconsidered? "Oh no, no, no," she says. "Because I'm in such a good place and I'm thinking so clearly, I can tell you I will never get married again. It's not about that for me anymore."
Michelle says her son met the girl at a party. Just as they were about to kiss for the first time, they got interrupted. The next day, Michelle says the girl texted her son repeatedly and told him she wanted to "go to second base" with him. Then, Michelle says the girl offered oral sex to him over text and told him she loved him.
"My son was very upset. I was very upset, needless to say," she says. "But there was a side of me that said, 'Should I call this 12-year-old girl's mother and let her know what's going on?' Or is it not my place to do that and just deal directly with my son on this matter?" To complicate things, Michelle says she's never met the girl or her family.
The experts from the show—New York Times Magazine columnist Randy Cohen and O, The Oprah Magazine columnist Faith Salie—had plenty of advice to offer. Randy thought Michelle unquestionably needed to make the call. "If you think a child is going to engage in genuinely dangerous behavior, we all have to step up. When a 12-year-old is involved it's dangerous," he says. "This is when it's our obligation as adults, as members of a community, to make sure our children are not doing anything dangerous."
Faith said Michelle's first priority needed to be preserving her relationship with her son. If Michelle decided to make that call, Faith encouraged her to do so with nothing but good intentions and love for both children. "You can only come into it with your best intentions, and you can't control how people react," Faith says.
Michelle says the conversation started strong as she told the woman that her son was taken with her beautiful daughter. Things began to get tense, Michelle says, as soon as she told the other mother there was something she needed to talk to about. "She got real defensive even before I even said anything," Michelle says. "She said, 'My daughter would never ever do anything like [that], offer those kinds of things, doesn't even know about sex, has no idea about what oral sex is about, so that could have never happened.'"
The mother let Michelle go so she could talk to her daughter and called back to say that her daughter didn't send the explicit messages. "Then she started saying it was my son's fault," Michelle says. "The thing that really was sad was that she took it personally and thought maybe I was personally attacking her."
Still, Michelle thinks she got the message across. "I think she actually really did listen to me even though she was mad at me," she says. "You could tell by the tone of her voice, the way she would stop and listen, she got the message."
Mark applauds Michelle for having such an open relationship with her son. "I think that speaks to your parenting and what a good parent you are," Mark says. "It's not so much about the parent at this point. It's about your relationship with your son."
Ali says she would have absolutely called the other mother. "But I'm wondering if there's a way to do it anonymously because, no matter what, the mother of that daughter is going to be defensive," she says.
Gayle disagrees. "I don't believe in anonymous. I think she handled it exactly right," Gayle says. "[The other mother] didn't want to hear it, but believe me, she will never forget it. And she's looking at her daughter differently."
Oprah wanted to know what students were really thinking, so she sent Ali to take the teen pulse at a Maryland high school. Seventeen-year-old Brady says his dad just got laid off. "Usually they give me money, but now I feel really guilty asking for any money," he says. "I have a lot of money saved up, so I was using all the money I have saved up mostly."
Francisco is also feeling the financial strain at home after his father lost his job, but he says he has extra motivation to learn about what's really going on with the economy. "I'm 18, so I'm going to be voting this next election," he says. "It's really important for me to find out what is going on."
Ali also met Ryan, a 17-year-old who's worried about how he's going to afford college. "For years, my dad always said: 'College is not going to be a problem. We're going to take care of it.' But now its finally coming out that he's more and more worried," he says. "That day when the Dow went down 700 points, he just sat there watching [saying]: 'There goes your first semester. There goes your second semester.' Now he's worried because it's less than a year away."
Teens aren't just worried about how the financial crisis is affecting their bottom line—they're also worried about the future. "I just want it to go away," 17-year-old Kathleen says. "It's huge. It's billions and billions of dollars—that's more than I can ever perceive. I can't imagine that my generation is going to have to solve it."
Ali says parents should start doing more free family activities. "Instead of going to the movies, instead of going shopping, go outside, play softball, go to the park," she says. "Also, talk to your kids about money because I think that's actually helping the American family come together."
So Oprah wants to know—do you think your kids should know how much money you make?
Oprah and Ali say kids should know. "When you say, 'We can't afford that, we can't afford that,' they need to have some perspective on what that means," Oprah says. "This is what is coming into this house, this is what is going out of this house. So when you say, 'I can't afford it,' you know what that means."
Gayle says the decision to tell your children your income depends more on how much you make. "If you're at a certain income level, it doesn't make sense to tell a child when they see how you're living, 'No, I can't afford to get the iPod,'" Gayle says.
Ali suggests teaching kids the concept of budgeting with a fundamental exercise. "Have a lemonade stand, and when they think they've made all this money, you go: 'Okay let me explain how this works. This percentage goes to the house. This percentage goes to the lemons and the sugar, and the rest you give to charity,'" Ali says. "They can see it; they can feel it."
Want to learn more about what families are doing in this economic crisis? Tune in Wednesday, October 22.
In 2004, she says more people voted for the winner of American Idol than for President George W. Bush. "That's not good, America," she says.
NBC youth correspondent Luke Russert, son of late news anchor Tim Russert, is following in his father's footsteps and reporting the latest political news. Before Tim passed away in June 2008, Luke says his father told him that this was his favorite election to date.
If Tim was still alive and hosting Meet the Press every Sunday, Luke says his dad's opinion of the presidential race might be different today. "I think that he would have been a little bit displeased that both candidates have gone so negative," he says. "One thing he did tell me was that with John McCain and Barack Obama, he really expected the talk to be about issues, to be about things that are important in people's lives, and not to be about negative campaign tactics. So if he was around, I think he would tell you that."
In Virginia, he says 500,000 new voters have registered since January. About 60 percent of these people are 34 years old or younger. "That age demographic swings very highly toward Senator Obama," he says. "If these new registered voters in the state of Virginia, which hasn't voted for a Democrat since [Lyndon B. Johnson], go to the polls, it could very well swing the election."
Luke says young people are engaged in this election because they find the candidates more interesting than past nominees. "You have a former POW in John McCain. You have Senator Obama, the first African-American nominated for the office of the presidency of a major U.S. political party," Luke says. "You have to understand that young folks have always been drawn to Senator McCain and Senator Obama because they view them as being authentic. They view them as being bipartisan, and they view them as two candidates who are willing to tackle tough issues and not just be completely tied into a party line."
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