Suzanne Somers on Overcoming Life's Setbacks

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 2, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Now a cable news exclusive here on "The Big Story." Survivor should be her middle name. Actress Suzanne Somers grew up in an abusive, violent household with an alcoholic father, she's battled breast cancer, she recently watched her luxury home on the beach in Malibu go up in flames, but now she is vowing to rebuild. She has a brand new Web site,, and she's also the author of the book "Ageless: The Naked Truth about Bioidentical Hormones." I spoke with Suzanne Somers earlier today and asked her why she thought she was going to die in the fire that destroyed her home.


SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: It was gone in nine minutes and because it was an explosion, because the fire came over the house, over the bluff and hit the ocean, which I always thought would save us in a fire, I never thought about a fire. But the torque of the ocean took that fireball under the belly of the house and ignited the gas line and boom, it was gone. You know, I had a fire department one minute away at the end of the block, and they didn't even know about it. It was gone. So if we had been home, we wouldn't have smelled it. The smoke alarm wouldn't have gone off. So you have to walk away grateful. No stuff, but grateful.

GIBSON: Well I understand you did find one item in the ashes. I mean, I have covered a million of these stories, I'm sad to say, and usually there is nothing left of anybody's personal effects. Photographs are gone, memories, all that stuff. But you found something.

SOMERS: I found my wedding ring. And if you see pictures of the fire and you see that there is nothing — nothing left — the fact that I found my wedding ring is absolutely just some kind of sign. I'm obviously married to the right person.

GIBSON: Well I'm sure you are. The other thing that people always say, and I lived in Malibu a little while and I know its charms, they always say, well why do you build in a place where that could happen? Or why are you rebuilding?

SOMERS: And I always thought that, too. Before I moved there I thought why would anybody live there with mudslides and earthquakes and fires. It's a real community. It's a sophisticated village. It has access to L.A. without having to live in L.A. It's quiet. People leave each other alone. I'm from a small town, so it appeals to me. There's something — I feel real comfortable in this little small village. I love it. I will build on the same spot.

GIBSON: So you're rebuilding and you're also continuing with this incredible merchandising career. Have you figured out exactly who it is you're selling to?

SOMERS: Well, you know, I grew up in a small town, a blue-collar town. I know who the women are, and I know that they're the ones who call me on Home Shopping [Network], which I've been doing for 15 years. They are my mother and my aunts and my cousins and my friends. I know them without knowing them, and they know that about me. I get them. I know they don't get a lot of attention from their husbands for the most part, and I know that they're all around my age, the customer that's buying my product, and you know, we all want the same thing. We're all the same person really.

GIBSON: There was a big controversy erupting around a book of yours recently, involving bioidentical hormone therapy. Have you rethought this at all, or are you holding firm on your position in that controversy?

SOMERS: Holding firm and really, I don't mean to be arrogant to say this, but I really think that our medical schools have to catch up with today's world. We're living longer than we've ever lived before. You and I are going to live to be 90 and 100 through technology: MRIs and CAT scans and Pet Scans and sophisticated blood tests, etc. But nobody's thought about quality of life. And as we age, commensurate with aging, we lose hormones. And hormones give you your quality of life. So the new thinking is put them back. But the ones they've been selling us have been declared dangerous, fatal, even harmful. They're synthetic pharmaceutical drug so-called hormones. What I'm talking about is biologically identical to the human hormone, an exact fit. And man do you get to feel good again. I sleep and I don't bloat and I don't gain weight and I'm happy and I've got a libido, too much information, but it's great.

GIBSON: You also got hammered. You got hammered by the medical community. And they said, she's just an actress, she's selling a book.

SOMERS: When you're the first one out there with a new idea and a new message, of course you're going to get attacked and you're going to get ridiculed. And also it's about money. The pharmaceutical companies are losing a lot of money on selling synthetic hormones if all those women and men switch over to bioidentical hormones, which aren't patentable.

GIBSON: Suzanne Somers, rebuilding in Malibu. I thank you and good luck with it.

SOMERS: Thanks, thanks a lot. Nice talking to you.

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