Dr. Laura on Paternity Battle Over Anna Nicole's Baby
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 13, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Anna Nicole Smith's sudden death leaves her 5-month-old daughter Dannielynn without a mother, and her paternity to likely be decided by the courts. Joining us now is the author of the bestselling book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage," radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
If Anna Nicole Smith were a caller to your radio show, what would you tell her?
DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER, "PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF MARRIAGE": I would have begged her to put the child up for adoption to a two-parent, mom-and-dad, married family that was going to love it, and nurture it, and bring it up in a good environment. I would have begged.
COLMES: And would she have listened? Probably not.
SCHLESSINGER: I couldn't say I'd pay her, she, what, has $250 billion?
COLMES: She got money from other sources apparently.
SCHLESSINGER: Oh, well, whatever. I don't know. You know, that's exactly what I would do.
COLMES: You talk about, in your new book, "Care and Feeding of Marriage," you talk about families, and mothers, and daddies. And this is quite dysfunctional, what we're seeing here, and we don't know how it's going to end up.
SCHLESSINGER: Well, the baby, sadly — I mean, you know, I feel a little uncomfortable. You're not supposed to say ill of the dead, but this baby was in trouble whether mom was alive or not. I would like — you know, here's my offer. I'll raise the kid; somebody else can keep the money. That kid just needs somebody who's going to love it, not use it as a means of getting an inheritance.
COLMES: You say in your book — and I want to just sneak your book in here as part of the...
SCHLESSINGER: Sneak, baby, sneak.
COLMES: You say that a woman should rarely say no to her spouse. It seems like Anna Nicole Smith...
SCHLESSINGER: Excuse me, that was about sex.
SCHLESSINGER: Well, Anna Nicole Smith didn't have a spouse. She hardly said no to anybody.
COLMES: She hardly said no was my point. That's where I was going. She rarely said no.
SCHLESSINGER: You're so funny.
COLMES: Yes. Isn't that the problem?
SCHLESSINGER: Yes. And I guess I'm — am I just about the only one in America who really doesn't care about this story? I mean, this woman is just a joke and a tragedy. And...
COLMES: You don't want to call someone a joke, do you?
SCHLESSINGER: Yes, it was.
COLMES: A person is a joke?
COLMES: She's a joke?
COLMES: She's a human being. She's not a joke.
SCHLESSINGER: Yes, she led her life like a skuzzy joke.
COLMES: But why would you call a human being a joke? She's a person.
SCHLESSINGER: Because it is, I'm sorry. Well, we are different kind of people.
And she misused her — the valued blessing of having a life in this trashy way, one son dead, another with no parent...
COLMES: She may have been an addict. She may have been sick. She may have had a disease. To call her a joke is to diminish...
SCHLESSINGER: I am diminishing her. And that's what...
COLMES: That's horrible.
SCHLESSINGER: But listen to me out. I think we need to be spending more time diminishing this kind of behavior.
COLMES: But not the person.
SCHLESSINGER: Let me finish.
COLMES: Yes, ma'am!
SCHLESSINGER: I think we need to spend more time diminishing this behavior, instead of giving all this airtime to the Paris Hiltons, and the Britney Spears, and the Anna Nicoles
You know, I'm wondering if anybody thinks, if you had started the show today saying, "We have a woman who is leading a wonderful and moral life and is very happy in her family, news at 11:00," whether you'd worry if you'd get listeners. Viewers. This is TV.
COLMES: You know, dog bites man is news, right?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, that's what's sad, that everybody is so interested in this train wreck. And I just — my heart, because the focus of my life and my career is about the well-being of children, and no matter what happens, who decides they're going to be father, this kid's life is just going to be very, very difficult.
RICH LOWRY, GUEST CO-HOST: So, Dr. Laura, if I hear you correctly, you are not surprised that Anna Nicole came to a bad end?
SCHLESSINGER: No. I'm surprised more of these young women leading these crazy, outrageous lives, with infinite sex partners, and drugs, and drinking, and carousing and all of this, I think we're going to see more of it. I mean, the human body can only take so much.
But what saddens me — you know, I write books like "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage," because I'm trying to help people really find happiness, and our young people are looking at this trashy behavior, and thinking, "That's a way to be happy," because every time you show a picture of Anna Nicole, she's smiling. That's not happy; that's tragedy.
LOWRY: Let's examine the cultural aspect of this a little bit more, because people were really wallowing in her dysfunction. They seem to enjoy her dysfunction. Her reality show was all about her stumbling around and not putting together a coherent sentence, and people seemed to love it. What does that say about us?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, there was a time when Christians were eaten by lions, and there were a lot of people in the stands eating popcorn. So it says...
LOWRY: This is sort of endemic...
SCHLESSINGER: ... to me, all the reality shows that show people getting sort of personally crucified by other people, or getting in situations where they could get injured and die, this seems to me to reflect that the basest instinct of human beings, it's always going to be there, but that we have a whole industry that revels in it, caters in it, and rewards it, and a people who get enjoyment out of other people's pain and misery and humiliation. It doesn't say much for us as a culture.
LOWRY: Yes. And a proper role of society — you're right, those instincts are always going to be there. No one's perfect, and everyone is going to have all sorts of flaws.
LOWRY: But ideally the proper role of a society and culture is to try to pull people back from those instincts. Instead, we seem to have a culture that's pushing people toward them.
SCHLESSINGER: Yes, I mean, Paris Hilton sneezes, and it's on every television program.
COLMES: We're going to take a quick break.
SCHLESSINGER: That's another joke.
COLMES: Thanks for clarifying that for me.
COLMES: I thought I wouldn't be arguing with Dr. Laura tonight, and look what happened.
More with Dr. Laura after the break.
LOWRY: Welcome back to "Hannity and Colmes". I'm Rich Lowry in for Sean tonight.
We continue now with the author of "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage", Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Now, it's Valentine's Day, tomorrow.
LOWRY: what do married couples out there need to know about keeping their marriages fresh and on the right track?
SCHLESSINGER: Flowers, candy, jewelry.
LOWRY: Flowers are key.
COLMES: I'm writing it down.
SCHLESSINGER: A dinner out. Don't do it. Don't. It's silly. It's silliness. I mean, it's cute but it's silly. It's not very meaningful.
LOWRY: A hush just fell on the set. Really?
LOWRY: No flowers, no candy, no dinner?
SCHLESSINGER: Just — no. What you really need to do...
COLMES: Save me a fortune.
SCHLESSINGER: People need — yes, I left out — I said jewelry, too. That helped you there.
What I've been telling people on my radio show is get this book, go through it and highlight, not what you want from your husband: "Read this and give me this." But highlight what you're going to give your wife, and I don't mean a present. I mean you.
The gift of paying attention to what they need. The gift of waking up every morning and thinking how can I make your life worthwhile? The gift of behaving like the kind of person, gosh darn it, I would want to come home to. The gift of treating you as though I loved you with my last breath, even when I don't feel like it and I'm a little bit annoyed.
LOWRY: So it's work?
SCHLESSINGER: Actually, that's the point that I make all the way through the book. It's not work. When you go see therapists or listen to shrinks on shows, it's: "Marriage is hard work." No, it isn't. It's about being sweet and thoughtful and generous and thinking how much I can pour of myself onto you.
LOWRY: But if you're annoyed and you're frustrated and you're tired that doesn't necessarily come naturally.
SCHLESSINGER: That's just the time to do it.
COLMES: That's why you're single.
SCHLESSINGER: Are you really? No, it doesn't come natural, but giving flowers one day a year doesn't make it any better. And if I have a ton of money — I'm sitting here with a pile of money and I hand you some and I hand you some, that's no big deal.
But if I don't have much and I'm squeaking by, and I go, "You know what? You need some and you need some." That's a gift. So when you feel the least like giving, that makes it the major gift.
LOWRY: Well, let me ask you — I'm not married, as Alan mentioned.
SCHLESSINGER: Are you looking for a nice girl?
LOWRY: Well, I have a wonderful girlfriend.
LOWRY: And apparently, according to her, and I think she's right, unfortunately, I have some communication problems. I think, like most guys, I don't talk enough, at least about the things she cares about.
SCHLESSINGER: Yes. That's not a communications problem.
LOWRY: What do I do? What do guys do about that?
SCHLESSINGER: You tell her that you are not a woman.
SCHLESSINGER: I think that's the first thing you have to inform her about.
LOWRY: I hope that's — I hope that's self-evident.
SCHLESSINGER: She may not have clarity. Because most women don't seem to have clarity. Women's brains are wired to constantly talk. It's how we bond. — It is how we bond. And we not only bond in relationships, but we bond with families. — That's what we do. And we can go over the same story 4,000 times.
You guys are not wired that way. So I tell women, "OK. He didn't sit and tell you he was in pain about this. What did he do?"
"Well, he went out and scraped the ice off my car so I could go." That's how he's communicating he loves you. You guys do; we speak.
LOWRY: Now, talk to Alan about his relationship problems.
COLMES: Yes, yes I've got to — I'm doing OK, but thankfully, because I found someone willing to put up with me.
But here's what — when I don't give her the flowers. And she says, "Where's the flowers?"
"I didn't have to get the flowers. Dr. Laura says just underline her book." How do I explain that?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, it depends on what you underline.
COLMES: OK. So you know — because they would like the flowers and the candy.
SCHLESSINGER: But it's nice, but it's not enough. OK. You can all give flower and all that, and I certainly hope I get some jewelry. I like that. —Bling is always good. — But if I didn't get the thoughtfulness and the compassion and the caring when you least feel that you can do that.
COLMES: Right. And by the way, if you do it on Valentine's Day that's too predictable.
COLMES: You've got to do it like six months later.
SCHLESSINGER: That's true.
COLMES: And keep it going.
LOWRY: You romantic dog, Alan.
SCHLESSINGER: As I say, you wake up every morning, thinking what can I do to make his life, her life worth living?
COLMES: Is that what you do, honestly, in your relationship? Is that top of the mind for you?
SCHLESSINGER: I have evolved,as I've matured, and as I've been doing this show and understanding more and more about what's needed in marriage. And the No. 1 problem we all have is that it's all about me. So like the Toby Keith song, "Want to talk about me?" I love that song. But it is all about me.
And the perfect marriage, there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. And it's not because everybody is healthy and there are no money problems or in-law problems or work problems. But it's because each is thinking what's most valuable to me. I'm going to give it to you. And if you have two people doing that, there's an attitude and an atmosphere.
And in communication, we talk too much. I'm a therapist and I'm a talk show host. And I'm telling people stop talking so much. Instead, touch a hand.
COLMES: That's very nice.
This is going to be all over the Internet tomorrow.
LOWRY: It's a wonderful moment.
COLMES: I hear music playing in the background. Unfortunately, it's the “Hannity & Colmes” theme.
COLMES: So what do you think of a guy who gets on television the day before Valentine's Day, while his wife is laying in her bed in Los Angeles, and he just says, "I just had a 10-year long affair with Anna Nicole Smith, and I think I'm the father of her child." What a nice Valentine's Day present that is. Right?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, you know, there are a lot of marriages that have nothing to do about love and caring and cherishing. They have to do about P.R. and money and positions and they're — they're not about what the vows really are supposed to express. So with those kinds of people, you can see that kind of behavior.
COLMES: That's very sad.
COLMES: I mean, a lot of people don't have the traditional mother/father/children. You say in your book...
SCHLESSINGER: And it hurts them.
COLMES: ... men should be the providers. Women should be at home raising the kids. But society doesn't always work like that.
SCHLESSINGER: It has nothing to do with what society works at. I did it. You know, I got up at 5 to write. And you take care of your kid, because that bond is what sets themselves up to healthfully bond with people in the future.
LOWRY: Thanks so much for being with us. It's always wonderful. Have a happy Valentine's Day.
SCHLESSINGER: Thank you.
COLMES: Thanks for holding my hand.
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