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Larry King Interviews Martha Stewart's Daughter

Aired March 17, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive, Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis Stewart, her first television interview ever. Alexis Stewart, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Great pleasure to welcome Alexis Stewart to LARRY KING LIVE. This is her first television interview ever. Do you feel OK?


KING: Why -- your mother is so on the air all her life. Have you always been sort of the laid-back daughter?

STEWART: Yes, yes.

KING: The reason?

STEWART: Excuse me?

KING: A reason?

STEWART: Just didn't have the same desire to be in the public ...

KING: Did she want you?

STEWART: Not that I think she had such a desire, but obviously it was necessary.

KING: But she didn't say, "Go on, Alexis."

STEWART: I think she wanted me to come on.

KING: Really?


KING: It's good to know. All right, on Monday it was announced that your mother has resigned as director and chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living, assuming a new position of founding editorial director. She will continue to provide creative inspiration. She will report to the company CEO, Sharon Patrick, and she's even writing two new books.

What do you make of that?

STEWART: I think it's a necessity, or maybe a requirement, but that will give her more time to be creative, so I think that's OK. KING: So she's back now, like, working?


KING: What was the trial like for you?

STEWART: Exhausting, difficult.

KING: Why did you attend every day?

STEWART: I wouldn't have missed it. I wanted to see what was going to happen.

KING: Because some people might have said it's going to be too much to handle.

STEWART: No, but I have to be there for my mother. You couldn't have kept me away.

KING: Were you shocked at the verdict?

STEWART: Oh, yes, completely. I actually fainted. Nobody really knows that, but it was so horrifying and incomprehensible that I fainted. And even the people around me didn't know.

KING: You ever fainted in your life?

STEWART: No, never.

KING: Were you out?

STEWART: Yes, for at least -- it might have been a millisecond, but I was dreaming, and then I woke up, and I was unfortunately still there.

KING: The moment when they read this thing, the judge reads it, and you're expecting the opposite ...

STEWART: Yes, completely.

KING: So this is a complete reversal to you.

STEWART: And you want to turn it back, you know, can we go back five seconds?

KING: In retrospect, do you comprehend it, now that you've had the time to sink in, or is it still difficult?

STEWART: It's difficult. Somehow, it's -- I told my friend it was perverse, and he said -- we've argued over the definition of perverse, and I looked it up, and it can mean when a jury disregards the evidence in their verdict. And I don't know if they did that on purpose, but that's what it felt like.

KING: How do you think she's going to handle all this?

STEWART: She'll be OK.

KING: She's always been strong, right? And stoic. I mean, she's kind of above the fray in a sense.

How did she handle the verdict?

STEWART: Well, she didn't faint.

KING: No, she did not.

What did she say to you?

STEWART: She's disappointed over feeling like her life was wasted. Everything she did is ignored over something that...

KING: Trivial.

STEWART: Trivial, that maybe didn't happen.

KING: Do you ever think that your mother evokes such strong feelings in people that there's this kind of -- an air about it that causes her to create controversy? I mean, who knows it better than you?

STEWART: You know, I don't understand it. It's been like that since the beginning, very beginning. Not so famous, people still crazy over her perfection. And as she said, how can you achieve -- do you bring out a messy cake that came out of a box? Is that really what people want to see?

She's not saying you have to do all these things and you have to do them all perfectly, but if you want to do this, this is how you do it. Or, maybe you want to do this, and this is how you would do that. And that's great. And obviously there's a lot of people out there that like it.

KING: What was it like to grow up with a mom that's perfectionist?

STEWART: She was my mom, and as everyone knows, I'm a better cook and more of a perfectionist than my mother.

KING: You are better?


KING: Good. Get your own show. Do something. What do you do, by the way?

STEWART: I work in the fitness business. Gyms and the other studios.

KING: You own gyms?

STEWART: I'm partners in some, yes.

KING: Are you a fitness freak?

STEWART: I like it, yes.

KING: Did you ever think of following -- there were rumors that you were going to get into your mother's company.

STEWART: Well, as far as being involved, I've always been involved, just not formally.

KING: Like a consultant?


KING: Did you ever have designs on, when this happened, running the company?

STEWART: Not really, not really.

KING: Give it any thought, because that was a big rumor ...

STEWART: Of course.

KING: Rumors always come around.

STEWART: Of course there's that. I mean, I don't know what's going to happen, but right now, no.

KING: Does a part of you want to get into the business?

STEWART: A part of me.

KING: Are you close with your dad?

STEWART: No, no, I'm not close. But he, actually on Friday, wrote a really nice note to my mother and me about how sorry he was and if there was anything he can do to help.

KING: That's sad. Daddies and daughters are usually close.

STEWART: Are they? I think there are plenty of daddies and daughters that aren't close.

KING: In the history -- did that end when they got divorced?


KING: All right, what was it like growing up with mom? I mean, like, was she, "Is your homework done?"

STEWART: I was very nerdy. I did all my homework.

KING: Oh, you were one of those? You got As?

STEWART: Yes, up to a point, yes. At a certain age, rather.

KING: Then what? Did you rebel? STEWART: No, no, no.

KING: So you were never, oh, what are we going to do with Alexis?

STEWART: Oh, no. My mother would encourage me. Please don't come home on time, she would say to me, but I was very nerdy. I was home on time.

KING: She wanted you...

STEWART: She wanted me to...

KING: Be independent.

STEWART: ... to break out, I guess. Yes.

KING: Why'd you come home on time. Most kids would have said, wow, I get to stay out late.

STEWART: It's just my nature.

KING: Did you go to friends' houses? I mean, what was teenage life like?

STEWART: I went to boarding school, so...

KING: Did you like that?

STEWART: Yes, I loved it, it was...

KING: All girls?

STEWART: No, no. A very small, hippie, kind of funky boarding school.

KING: Did you want to go to public school?

STEWART: Did I want to? No.

KING: I mean, you were happier in the private school atmosphere.

STEWART: Well, this was a great one. It was a farm and cross- country skiing and gardening and it was great. I loved it.

KING: Your mother's success, what effect did that have on you -- do you think? I mean, you grew up with a mother who was very well known, is very well known.

STEWART: But that's what I grew up with, so...

KING: You didn't know anything else.


KING: How did your friends react to her fame? STEWART: They're fine. She's just a person.

KING: I mean, do they treat you any differently?

STEWART: No, no. Sometimes they'll give me a funny look, and I'll say it's just me. But it's very rare.

KING: What did you learn from your mom most?

STEWART: Strength, you know, persistence, open mindedness.

KING: What would you say is...


KING: ... her biggest fault?

STEWART: She's too, ironically, forgiving and kind and -- I know people don't know that, but she was incredibly generous and she forgives too much, I think.

KING: So, would that be ...

STEWART: Too trusting.

KING: Would that be the thing that most people don't know about your mother?

STEWART: I think so.

KING: So, in other words, you don't think she harbors grudges.

STEWART: No, not at all. I always encourage her. I try to encourage her to harbor a grudge.

KING: You're a grudge harborer?


KING: She will not come out of this bitter?


KING: That's surprising, because most people who feel they didn't do anything wrong...

STEWART: Well, I don't think she's going to give up. I think she's incredibly saddened, incredibly saddened.

KING: But sad more than angry?


KING: Our guest is Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter, her only child. Her first television interview, it's a great pleasure having her with us. By the way, still to come on the program tonight, Laura Plimpton, Martha Stewart's sister, and Sophie Herbert, Martha Stewart's niece. They'll be joining us at the bottom of the hour. And we'll be right back with Alexis. Don't go away.



KING: Martha, the toughest part of all of this for you personally has been -- what's the hardest part of this ordeal?

MARTHA STEWART: Sort of coming to a screeching halt having to deal with something extremely unpleasant, something that saddens and disheartens me. And something that is very, very difficult, not only for me but everyone I work with, my family, my friends, that's the hard part.


KING: We're back with Alexis Stewart. We realize of course that we cannot discuss the privies of the case. An appeal is being planned, a sentence is coming down in June.

Are you going to write to the judge at all?

Are you going to express your feelings?

STEWART: If someone thinks that's appropriate, I'd be happy to.

KING: Yes. Are you nervous?

STEWART: About the verdict?

KING: About the possibility your mother might have to go away?

STEWART: Nervous, I guess.

KING: I mean, you're a realist, right, that it could happen?

STEWART: I try not to focus on it. Yes, I realize that. I think it would be incredibly wrong. But I'm hoping that won't happen.

KING: And if it did, she would handle it well?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

KING: Boy, you have a lot of confidence in mom, don't you?

STEWART: Well, yes. Sure.

KING: Anything -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- anything around the home she's not good with?

STEWART: I don't know. I used to clean out her closets when I was a kid. Yes.

KING: You're kidding. She kept an untidy closet, Martha?

STEWART: There was so much stuff in a tiny little closet that it was messy. It was a day and a half job to clean it out.

KING: When she first got to -- began to be famous, what was that -- how did she handle that, being very well known? I was involved with her embryonically, she started at Welnor (ph), she came on my radio show a long time ago, before she...

STEWART: I think it was relatively gradual, so I don't think she...

KING: She wasn't overnight, in other words ...

STEWART: No, no. She was fine with it.

KING: Are you very different?

STEWART: In some ways, yes.

KING: Mostly what? Other than you're unforgiving.

STEWART: Yes, that's a big one. I'm judgmental and unforgiving, and she's not.

KING: Is that the biggest difference?

STEWART: I think so, yes.

KING: Were you not -- weren't you married?

STEWART: Yes, I am married, and still.

KING: Happily married?

STEWART: Separated.

KING: You're separated.

STEWART: Yes, John was on the defense team. He handled the constitutional issues about pleading.

KING: Was that awkward for you to be separated ...

STEWART: No, no. It was wonderful. We're great friends. He's a wonderful person and a great lawyer, and it was lovely to have someone there that from the beginning you knew you could trust and would tell you the truth, and you didn't to worry.

KING: Do you ever feel involved, because you knew Mr. Waksal before your mother, right? You dated him, right?

STEWART: Yes, when I was 22, maybe.

KING: What was he like?

STEWART: He's a great guy. He's very interesting, incredibly entertaining. I love science, it was nice to be with someone who...

KING: He knew his subject?

STEWART: He did. He did.

KING: Do you write to him at all?

STEWART: I do. And I talk to him occasionally on the phone.

KING: How's he doing?

STEWART: He's surviving. He's writing a lot, reading a lot.

KING: Have you heard from him since the verdict?


KING: How's he taking it?

STEWART: He's horrified, truly horrified.

KING: Does he feel responsible?

STEWART: I think he would feel guilty, he does feel guilty. But I don't think what he did had anything to do with my mother. And conversely, I think, the other day I was thinking he probably suffered more because he knew my mother. Not more than her, but as a separate issue. His friendship with my mother catapulted him into a much higher...

KING: Boy, did it.

STEWART: Yes. so I think that ...

KING: And do you feel awkward as having been involved, in a sense, in the initiation, right?


KING: Did you introduce him to your mother?

STEWART: Yes, but that's how the world works. You marry people you work with, you hire people you know, that's what happens. It's not an unusual thing.

KING: Do you like the attention?

How have you reacted, you can't like it, since this verdict, seeing Martha everywhere?

STEWART: Oh, I don't see it.

KING: What do you mean? She says she reads it.

STEWART: She does. That's too bad. I don't read a single thing. I haven't looked at a newspaper. KING: In other words, you go by the newsstand and one of the New York papers has your mother's picture with a headline, "Inside the Story..."

STEWART: I avoid the newsstand. I have seen the covers of news magazines, and I try to ignore the headlines, and I think, wow, she looks great. And then I just go on my way. I don't listen to the radio anymore, I don't watch television.

KING: Sunday's "New York Daily News" has a headline, "Forgive Her." Public poll says forgive her, no matter what, don't send her away. You wouldn't read that, surely?

STEWART: No, I'm sure there's something irritating in there. So I don't need any more irritating. I've had enough.

KING: So your life goes on?


KING: I mean, daily when you went to court every day, what was that like as an experience for you?

STEWART: It was fascinating. It would have been nicer if it was happening to somebody else, but it was a truly fascinating experience.

KING: Were you shocked at the coverage?

I mean, people were interested in this.

STEWART: I didn't see outside so much, so I don't know the television stuff going on outside. I mean, you know, I go in, you do your thing. So -- and I don't know what to compare it to.

KING: That's right you've never been involved.


KING: Did you ever attend a trial before?


KING: Did you look at the jury throughout the trial? I mean, were you interested in what they were interested in? Were you guessing? I've never been to a trial every day.

STEWART: Your instructed not to guess. I thought they were very attentive. But we -- pretty sure that that's not -- the verdict was not the verdict we were going to get up until the last minute.

KING: Your mother has said of herself, "My life is my work, and my work is my life."

Where does that include Alexis?

STEWART: Well, luckily, her work is pretty interesting, so it's not not fun to be involved in it.

KING: So you have never felt, then, left out?

STEWART: Oh, not at all. Not at all.

KING: Because if your mother is a workaholic, one of the things we assume about a parental workaholic is somehow that hurts the child.

STEWART: Oh, I think that's silly. I mean, maybe in some cases, but...

KING: The father who's away all the time ...

STEWART: She was also at home all the time working. She worked out of her house for many, many years when I was growing up.

KING: So she was involved in your life.

STEWART: Oh, yes, very.

KING: Did she talk to teachers, your teachers?


KING: So she was an involved mother?

STEWART: Absolutely, very involved. I would beg her to be less involved.

KING: Did she dote on who you dated?

STEWART: Dote meaning?

KING: Dote meaning, who's he, I want to know about him.

STEWART: Doesn't every mother?

KING: I think fathers do it more than mothers.

STEWART: Really?

KING: I do it with my daughter.


STEWART: She wasn't judgmental. She was...

KING: Not judgmental.

STEWART: No, no.

KING: Peter, the other defendant. Like him.

STEWART: Yes, very much.

KING: How do you feel he got treated in all of this? STEWART: I feel very sorry for him. I think they're both treated unfairly, and -- that they -- I was thinking, how can they get a fair trial?

And some trials are moved because it's different than you -- it's fair -- the jury might be fair, less influenced by everything that's going on in the press.

Where are you going to take those two to give them a fair trial?

KING: Or who's thier peers...

STEWART: Out of the country.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Alexis Stewart, and then we'll be meeting Laura Plimpton and Sophie Herbert, who are Martha's sister and niece, respectively.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Alexis Stewart, her first television interview. It's a great pleasure to have her with us on this trip to New York. We'll meet her -- it's your aunt, right, and your cousin?

STEWART: Yes, Sophie and Lauren.

KING: Has this always been a close family, by the way?

STEWART: It's pretty close, pretty close.

KING: The Stewarts are ...

STEWART: Everyone lives nearby and celebrates many holidays together.

KING: Your grandma was on this show with your mom.

STEWART: Yes. She was great.

KING: Oh, she was a piece of work. How is she doing, and how is she handling all this?

STEWART: I'm sure she's incredibly sad, but she's pretty tough also.

KING: Do you talk to her a lot?

STEWART: Not that much.

KING: No? Are you close to your grandmother?

STEWART: No, there are a lot of kids, and I'm in New York. We live a little bit different lives. KING: We know your mom's affinity for decorating and for Thanksgiving and Christmas and parties and everything. What kind of birthday parties did you have?

STEWART: They weren't very fancy.

KING: You're kidding.

STEWART: No, one year there was a pound cake with no frosting and one big candle in the middle. I was very upset.

KING: Why?

STEWART: Why what? Why was I upset?

KING: Why didn't you have doilies and things dropping down from the ceiling and ...

STEWART: I thought -- she thought it was fun.

KING: To do a plain birthday party?

STEWART: I think she didn't understand the necessity of frosting, that that's was the most important thing.

KING: That's unusual for Martha Stewart.

STEWART: Yes, but then the next year it was the fanciest ...

KING: Oh, she did one.

STEWART: ... frosted cake. Sure, sure.

KING: And you had all your little friends over.


KING: Did you have a sweet 16 party?

STEWART: No, no.

KING: Is that out now?

STEWART: I think so. I mean, I don't know.

KING: It was big ...

STEWART: It was a long time ago. It was in high school, during school, remember, so ...

KING: How's it been difficult being Martha Stewart's daughter. That is, you're always going to be, oh, oh, that's Martha Stewart's daughter.

STEWART: Yes, I'm proud to be Martha Stewart's daughter.

KING: Yes, but does it take away from being your own person?

STEWART: No. I won't let it. I'm, like I said, very different. Different personalities, and no, it doesn't.

KING: So what, Alexis -- we have a few minutes left. What do you say to people who say, what's about your mother? What do you tell them when you talk about your mom to people who don't know her?

Everyone's interested in her.

STEWART: Yes, they don't ask me too often. We lead a low- profile life, but I have to say that everyone that knows -- doesn't really know me, but knows what happened and knows who I am, has been so wonderful, just incredible, just saying the nicest things and writing notes and giving me a call or sending an e-mail and coming up to me. They've been really great.

KING: So most people have been supportive.

STEWART: Everyone to me has been supportive.

KING: Have you seen anyone be rude?


KING: No one make a snide remark on the street or anything, or...

STEWART: No, they haven't.

KING: Now, your mother's back at work. Is she going to try to lead any kind of a normal life up to June, and then she has an appeal after that? What can be normal about a Martha Stewart existence? Is she going to do 9:00 to 5:00?

STEWART: Since when has she done 9:00 to 5:00 -- 6:00 to 10:00.

KING: Six to 10:00 she's going to do. I mean, can you see her back in the swing of things? Back in the ...

STEWART: Of course.

KING: The announcement says she's writing two books.

STEWART: Of course she is.

KING: How does she concentrate?

STEWART: I think it's good to work. Concentrating on other things, but novels and movies, I think that's more difficult. But to concentrate on work is ...

KING: And what are Alexis' goals? You're a young, beautiful woman. You're going to get divorced?

STEWART: Yes. KING: Want to remarry?

STEWART: I'm not sure.

KING: Want children -- well, you don't know if you want children, then.

STEWART: I don't know if you have to be married to have children.

KING: You don't. That's what I mean. So do you want to have children?

STEWART: Probably, yes.

KING: But what do you see as a goal? Do you want to run the Martha Stewart company someday? Do you want to venture out? Do you want to have health spa salons around the country? Your mother is very goal oriented.

STEWART: I know. I'm not so goal oriented. I'm more interested in environmental type issues.

KING: Oh, you are. Get involved in campaigns?

STEWART: I'd like to, maybe.

KING: Going to be involved in the elections.

STEWART: I'm not sure I -- I did vow last election that I would work at one of the polling places, so I should work on keeping that vow.

KING: You're also involved with animals a lot, right?

STEWART: I love animals.

KING: So are you one of those involved in the protection -- do you not wear furs?

STEWART: No, I don't. Yes, I'm an animal freak.

KING: As is your mother, right?


KING: Now, are you dating anyone? Come on, Alexis, we're almost done. Are you dating anyone?


KING: And how -- I won't even pry into who he is or ...

STEWART: Well, good.

KING: How has he taken all of this, your current boyfriend? STEWART: We met very recently, and he's incredibly -- it's a great distraction and he's lovely.

KING: Did you meet during the trial?

STEWART: No. Well, not during -- well, not in the trial. Outside of, during, yes.

KING: But you met after your mother had the problems.


KING: So he knew all about that going in?


KING: Did he know who you were?


KING: Did he like you before he found out?

STEWART: I hope so.

KING: Was he in court?


KING: So he didn't see you faint?

STEWART: No. No one saw me faint, did I mention?

KING: That's right. You did mention that -- I should remember that. No one.

STEWART: No one. No one standing next to me. No one noticed because they were all in such, I think, shock.

KING: Well, we're going to meet your aunt and your cousin, and I met your aunt sometime back when she was with your mother when your mother did a Christmas show with us. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Thank you very much, Alexis.

STEWART: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. Good luck to you.

STEWART: Thank you.

KING: Alexis Stewart, the daughter of Martha Stewart.

When we come back, we'll meet Martha's sister and her niece on this special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE."

Don't go away.


KING: We now welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE," all here in New York, Laura Plimpton. She is Martha Stewart's sister, the youngest of Martha's siblings. She writes radio scripts for the "Ask Martha" spots and is probably a distant relative of the late George Plimpton. That is an unusual name.

And Sophie Herbert. She is Laura's daughter, Martha's niece, and she has appeared on "MARTHA STEWART LIVING" on that television series.

All right, Laura, you're very involved in your sister's work, right? You write radio scripts?


KING: What do you make of all this?

PLIMPTON: We're all extremely sad. It's just unfathomable. I just feel so badly for Martha, but I feel badly for the whole company. I feel badly for all of her fans.

KING: Are you glad she's going to be active?


KING: Do you think that was a wise decision, to keep her in the company?

PLIMPTON: Absolutely. Martha needs to be active.

KING: Are you very close to your aunt, Sophie?

SOPHIE HERBERT, MARTHA STEWART'S NIECE : Yes, yes, we're very close.

KING: How did you get involved in the TV series?

HERBERT: They just called me up and I don't know, they had -- my brothers had been on, too, and she's been on.

KING: What do you do?

HERBERT: I'm a student in New York, mostly studying photography.

KING: What school?

HERBERT: Must I say?


HERBERT: OK, it's downtown.

KING: But you want to be a photographer? HERBERT: I'm not sure. I may be interested in going into journalism and photo journalism.

KING: How did you react to the trial?

HERBERT: Gosh, well, it's I think pretty heart-wrenching. I was shocked by the turnout. And I did go and I photographed the whole thing, and I ...

KING: Oh, you did.


PLIMPTON: Sophie was sort of doing a little undercover work outside the courthouse.

HERBERT: That was ...

KING: You were doing a little journalistic essay.

HERBERT: Yes, medium format and ...

KING: For class?

HERBERT: Kind of personal, I guess, and yes.

KING: The verdict. Alexis said she was totally shocked ...

PLIMPTON: I was totally shocked. I was at home and I heard ...

KING: Oh, you weren't there.

PLIMPTON: No, I was at home. I have an 11-year-old child, and I was waiting for him to come home from school ...

KING: Your little brother?


PLIMPTON: And when he walked in the door, I said, Charlie, sit down, this is not good news. I saw red flags being waved outside the courthouse, and we were just stunned. And Charlie, he's so sensitive about this whole thing and just so worried about what may happen. But that's where we were home watching.

And then the phone started to ring, and it was "The New York Post" and it was "People Magazine," and it just -- it was surreal, totally surreal.

KING: What did you make of the jurors, a lot of them going on television? Surprised?

PLIMPTON: No, I wasn't surprised, but I'm trying not to listen too much to it. I'm sure they had their reasons for coming to...

KING: One of them said it was a victory for the little guy. What do you make of that statement?

PLIMPTON: What little guy?

KING: Did you ever think that Martha did anything wrong, or did you ever say to yourself that somewhere Martha did something, or are you totally believing in her innocence.

PLIMPTON: Of course I believe that she's innocent. You know, we're all capable of making mistakes. I think this thing was just on a fast train, you know? Just too fast.

KING: You think it was because it was Martha Stewart. I mean, if it were Jane Jones?

PLIMPTON: I think her celebrity had a lot to do with it, yes.

KING: Do you agree, Sophie?

HERBERT: Yes, absolutely. I think that the scale that it has reached is just absurd.

KING: Were you close sisters?

PLIMPTON: Very. Very close.

KING: Whole family close?

PLIMPTON: We're close. But I think Martha and I have a very special relationship. I was five when she got married, and all I wanted to do was be around her, her husband, and then when Alexis was born, I just wanted to take care of Alexis.

So we lived in New Jersey, and it was about a 50-minute bus ride through the tunnel, and my parents let me take the bus all by myself into New York City as a young child. Just -- I would pack my little suitcase and go every weekend, practically, just to be with Martha.

KING: So you were kind of -- she's the next youngest to you, right?

PLIMPTON: No, Martha is the second oldest.

KING: She's the second oldest. So you really looked up her?


KING: She was like your idol, I guess, a little girl with a big sister.

PLIMPTON: Kind of a complicated relationship.

KING: In what way?

PLIMPTON: Well, she's a sister, but she was a mother figure in many ways, a teacher, an employer. It's a little difficult...

KING: Did Alexis describe her well?


KING: Is that the Martha you know?

PLIMPTON: Pretty much.

KING: So the hardened Martha that people have an impression of is a misapprehension.

PLIMPTON: Martha is so generous. And one story that I'd like to tell you -- sadly, my first husband passed away and left me with two young children.

KING: Your father?

PLIMPTON: And I was just in shock. The rug was pulled out from under me. And Martha called me one morning and said, come to Connecticut. Let's look at houses. And I said, what is she talking about, let's look at houses.

She bought me a house to live in, so that my kids could go to a nice school, and how generous is that.

KING: Bought you a house.


KING: What did your husband die of?

PLIMPTON: A rare form of lymphoma.

KING: How old was he?

PLIMPTON: Thirty three.

KING: Were you dealt with something -- are you remarried?

PLIMPTON: Yes, happily. Very happily.

KING: You like your stepfather?

PLIMPTON: I love him. He's just my father now, and he's wonderful.

KING: What kind of relationship did you have with your aunt?

HERBERT: With my aunt? Well, I just remember holidays when we were little. I guess -- I was born in 1984, so it's kind of -- and the books were starting and the magazine, and it was kind of -- the home videos. I don't know if you remember...

KING: She was getting very famous.

HERBERT: Well, not -- she was getting -- her name was becoming known. And I don't know. I guess as I grew up, her company grew, but it was -- she was just my aunt and it was lovely, really, really great. She has always been so kind. She -- I remember in eighth grade, she came and spoke to my whole class on career day. It was the whole middle school.

And, you know, she's always been there. Came to my school plays and music events.

PLIMPTON: Extremely supportive.

HERBERT: Yes, she was fantastic.

KING: After the verdict, did you all gather together? You say you were home. How soon did you see her?

PLIMPTON: I went to Martha's house that night. In fact, my birthday was the day before and I had some cake that I wanted her to taste, and I wrapped up a big piece of cake and went over to her house and was just assaulted by photographers outside her gate. And then I actually missed her, because I left and then she came a little bit later.

KING: What did you say to her?

PLIMPTON: Well, she called me from the courthouse, and she just said, I'm just so sorry about all of this. And I just said, yes, we're all so sorry.

KING: When did you talk to her, Sophie?

HERBERT: I went -- I met up with my brother quickly right afterwards, and we were both shocked, and I called her and left a message. She called me back shortly after. I was actually at an antique auction, just kind of scoping around, and just -- it was -- she and my mother were the only people I've ever antiqued with, so that was really kind of -- it was a little difficult.

But she called and she -- I just wanted, told her how we're there for her and we make it through this. And she was -- she was so composed when she came out, and I guess I just told her that. And she's so strong.

PLIMPTON: Well, you see, that's another thing. She was so composed walking out of the courthouse that day ...

KING: Sure was.

PLIMPTON: But, you know, that's Martha, and she's probably thinking, OK, I have to get beyond this. What can I do next. You know, she's -- she is just so, so strong.

KING: Where does she let it out?

PLIMPTON: She lets it out -- and her relaxation is different from what most people consider relaxation ...

KING: She bakes a cake. PLIMPTON: She loves her animals. She walks through her yard, and she does relax.

KING: So she needs away.

PLIMPTON: She was telling me, and it's kind of a joke that she has, that it was - let's see, it was if you want to be happy for 10 days -- no, one year, get married. And if you want to be happy for 15 years, get a dog. And if you want to be happy for life, get a garden. And it's just ...

KING: That sounds like Martha.

PLIMPTON: Like, two weeks ago. She does live by that.

KING: We'll be right back with Laura and Sophie, Martha's sister and niece, right after this.


KING: We're back, with Martha's sister, Laura Plimpton, the baby of the family, and Sophie Herbert, her daughter, Martha's niece.

You have a different last name because you took the name of your ...

HERBERT: Of my father.

KING: Plimpton is your new husband's name. Herbert was the father who passed away.

Are you continuing to do the radio scripts? Is she going to continue the radio show?

PLIMPTON: We'll know more soon, but I hope to continue. I love my job. It's so interesting.

KING: What did you make of the cancellation of the TV?

PLIMPTON: That - she's got so many fans who are terribly disappointed, male, female, kids, they just watched that show because it's just so entertaining and teaching.

KING: Alexis does not read the papers. Do you?

PLIMPTON: I read them to an extent.

KING: How do you deal with that?

PLIMPTON: I have sort of lost a lot of faith with the press through this whole ordeal. I don't really like what I read. I think a lot of it's very mean spirited.

KING: Do you think they're jumping on someone who's down?

PLIMPTON: Yes. To talk about Martha's wardrobe walking into the courthouse, please.

KING: Do you read it?


KING: You do.

HERBERT: I kind of read them to contrast how absurdly different they are from paper to paper. And I'm just reading the "Wall Street Journal" and then the "Post," and also when - I had the few days I went to court. It's just, I don't know, kind of interesting what they ...

KING: Do you ever get weary (ph) - get a little removed, but that's your aunt they're writing about.

HERBERT: Yes, and I do, it's just because they deal with her in just this - kind of not inhumane way, but just absurd way ...

KING: Why do you think she reads it? She told me she reads this stuff.

PLIMPTON: I think that she likes to have a lot of feelers out there so that she knows how to respond, who's saying what.

KING: So she'd rather be informed even if it's tough information.

PLIMPTON: Well, Martha's still in the public eye, so no matter where she goes, she's still Martha. And I think she reads it as a form of protection so that she can ...

KING: In case somebody says something. Do you live in Nutley?

PLIMPTON: No. I grew up in Nutley, but I haven't been to Nutley in quite a while.

KING: You live in Connecticut.

PLIMPTON: Yes, I do.

KING: Nutley is very supportive of her, though, right?

PLIMPTON: Nutley is very supportive.

KING: The heroine of Nutley.

PLIMPTON: I was reading the Norwalk, Connecticut paper this morning, and there was a big article about the townspeople of Nutley, who are stunned by this. And there was also a photograph of the house we grew up in. I feel so badly for those people that live in that house. They have people digging the dirt because Martha grew up there.

HERBERT: Let's not mention the one who ate the dirt.

PLIMPTON: They found somebody eating the dirt.

KING: What do you make of all the speculation about who will be the new Martha?

PLIMPTON: I think that Martha is going to be a very hard person to replace. There's so much Martha in the world of domestic arts that I was comparing it to the name Tupperware the other day. I mean, whenever you reach for a plastic food container, you call it a Tupperware, so ...

KING: Who makes it, it's ...


KING: So Martha's generic.

plainspoken: Yes, I think so.

KING: What was that like for the rest of the family, though, one, to have someone have that kind of an impact on culture.

PLIMPTON: We watched it grow. It didn't happen suddenly. We watched it, and Martha's evolved over the years into doing so many different things. And I just sort of felt, OK, Martha's going to be Martha no matter what, and it's great.

HERBERT: I think it's also just my whole family lives by those (ph). We want things to look good, and we always learn, and what's life without creating?

KING: Are you all fussy?

PLIMPTON: Yes, in our own ways. You know, the whole thing, we were all kind of raised to be not perfectionists, per se, but to do things well, and to appreciate things that are done well.

HERBERT: Strive to do it the best you can, and if you don't, then try again next time.

KING: How in your opinion, Laura, is Martha dealing with this now, post-verdict?

PLIMPTON: I think Martha's dealing with it pretty well considering it's a lot for a person to deal with. But as I said, I think Martha's thinking about what needs to get done next.

KING: What keeps her spirits up?

HERBERT: She works out three times a week. Her animals, her family...

PLIMPTON: Her animals, the beauty that she's surrounded herself with. That all makes her happy.

KING: But when you become this much of a figure, and then you get this kind of thing happen to you, it must never leave your mind, one would guess.

PLIMPTON: I'm sure it hurts greatly. I mean, I'm hurt, but it's not happening to me directly.

KING: Are you angry at anyone?

PLIMPTON: I'm angry at pettiness, at petty people. I am angry at people who take great pride in gloating. I've seen it first hand. I've seen snickers, people walking down the supermarket aisle and people looking. Why? I'm Martha's sister, you know?

KING: Yes, why do you think? Well, you're too young, maybe to - this is all new to you in a sense. Why do you think people like to see people get knocked down?

HERBERT: Jealousy.

KING: You mean people are jealous of Martha.

HERBERT: Well, I think there's a number of factors. I guess people also don't like that - I think people misinterpret that she's a perfectionist thing ...


PLIMPTON: ... is so apropos the other day about viewing her strength as arrogance.


PLIMPTON: And I think that is one thing, definitely, that ...

KING: Is that a thin line? In other words, people see her as strong, and you can look at - and a woman who's strong is considered arrogant, right?

HERBERT: Yes, or ...

PLIMPTON: But Martha is also very intense. She's a very intense thinker, and she's always thinking about something, you know. You know she's got a lot going on ...

KING: That can be a load, though, can't it, to ...

PLIMPTON: But that's where the creativeness comes from. She's just always thinking. She's thinking how can I do this better? How can this get done better? She is a list maker, so ...

KING: I know the type. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Laura Plimpton and Sophie Herbert right after this. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. There's a word, maybe unfairly or fairly, that doesn't get used around Martha Stewart much, and that word is sensitivity.


KING: Is that wrong?

PLIMPTON: That is totally wrong. Martha is one of the most sensitive people that I know, and she may not show it publicly, but there is a time and a place for sensitivity. And Martha cries. Martha is very sincere.

KING: Can't picture Martha Stewart crying.

HERBERT: You can't?

KING: No. I mean, does Martha Stewart - I don't think the public pictures her crying. They picture her as - she's the chairman of the board.

PLIMPTON: Those emotions are kept privately. She is the chairman. She's a tough woman, a very tough woman, and I think what people need to know is that she's very, very sensitive.

KING: If she has to go to prison, how would she handle it?

PLIMPTON: I think it would be hard. I think - she's even said, at this point in my life, I don't really need to do something like that. She would love to continue doing what she's doing, teaching and learning. And if it did end up, Heaven forbid, she would do fine. She's a survivor.

KING: Do you agree?

HERBERT: I absolutely agree.

KING: And she'd come out strong?

PLIMPTON: Stronger, if you can fathom that.

KING: In other words, Martha Stewart will not go away.

PLIMPTON: I don't think Martha Stewart will be going away.

KING: We do not envision her going out to Colorado and buying a bungalow?

PLIMPTON: I kind of think of her as a legend, in many ways.

KING: Well, the public obviously thinks so too, and some people like to see legends fall for some reason.

PLIMPTON: That's too bad.

HERBERT: I think there's some people, but the majority that don't is still strong enough, and I don't know, she's just such an inspirational figure.

KING: Do you think they'll make an example of her?


KING: No. So she's kind of like, we won't (ph) come down. Do you feel bad when you see the Enrons are not being ...

PLIMPTON: Yes, I'm wondering what that's all about right now.

KING: I mean, why prosecute this and not that?

PLIMPTON: Well, I don't think that Martha really hurt the way that they hurt.

KING: You mean she didn't hurt any people, except herself.

PLIMPTON: No. This has hurt a lot of people, yes, but Martha didn't intentionally go out there and hurt her company.

KING: How's your young son handling it?

PLIMPTON: Charlie (ph)?

KING: He's 11?

PLIMPTON: He's 11, and he's in a very wonderful school, and they're being very supportive at school.

KING: How's your husband doing? Is your husband close to Martha?

PLIMPTON: Yes. He's pretty much blown away, like everybody else. Martha is somebody that you just respect and you want to see continue on doing what she's doing.

KING: Best of luck to both of you. Thank you so much. Thank you, Sophie. Thank you, Laura. Good seeing you again.

Laura Plimpton, Martha Stewart's sister, the youngest of the siblings. She writes radio scripts for the "Ask Martha" radio spots, and Sophie Herbert, who is Laura's daughter, Martha's niece, who did some sneaky photography outside the courthouse for a private journalistic tour, right? We're going to see it someday in print, and she has appeared many times on "MARTHA STEWART LIVING" TV series.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of "LARRY KING LIVE. There's more news ahead on your most trusted name in news, CNN. See you tomorrow night. Good night.


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