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Profiles of Angelina Jolie, Carly Simon

Aired August 13, 2005 - 16:59   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNNHN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, in a moment, but first, here's what happening "Now in the News."
President Bush says when it comes to convincing Iran to give up its nuclear program, all options are on the table, and the use of force would be a final option, and possible. Mr. Bush made these comments at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, during an interview with Israeli television.

Security is tight across the Gaza Strips as Israel prepares to begin the first phase of its withdrawal from that territory. Jewish settlers have until Wednesday to leave, or they'll be forcibly removed.

In Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan troops fought Taliban insurgents in two separate incidents. Four insurgents were killed in the firefight, and two Afghan police were wounded. Coalition forces are trying to bolster security ahead of next month's parliamentary elections.

Coming up next hour on CNN LIVE SATURDAY, the same company that sent the first space tourist into orbit is now planning trips to the moon. How anyone with deep pockets can become a space traveler, straight ahead at 6:00 Eastern.

And I'll be back in 30 minutes with more headlines. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS begins right now.


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she's the Oscar-winning actress with a wild child reputation.

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: There's the actual actress, who is really good. Then there's Angelina, the wacky, wacky celebrity.

ANNOUNCER: A personal life that sparked a tabloid frenzy about the relationship with her "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star Brad Pitt.

JESS CAGLE, SR. EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Word from the set got out that there was great chemistry between these two people.

ANNOUNCER: She grew up a child of Hollywood, but rebelled against her famous father. Now, Jon Voight speaks out about their strained relationship.

JON VOIGHT, FATHER: I was very, very concerned about Angie's behavior. I was concerned about her all the time.

ANNOUNCER: The complex life of Angelina Jolie.

Then, Carly Simon. Unscripted.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Do you like living on the edge?

CARLY SIMON, SINGER: That's the only way I've ever been able to do it.

ANNOUNCER: A legendary musician whose songs have inspired a generation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Carly Simon represents, you know, the kind of best of what a career as a singer/songwriter can be.

ANNOUNCER: Now as she serenades us with a new album, she goes beyond the music to open up about her childhood anxieties, turbulent relationships, and bouts with depression and cancer.

C. SIMON: Sometimes I can love myself, and sometimes -- sometimes I just really -- I can't bear myself.

ANNOUNCER: Plus, a few clues to the secret that has kept us guessing for more than three decades.

C. SIMON: The name of the person it was about...

ANNOUNCER: An intimate glimpse at a music icon.

Now, from the pages of "People" magazine and the network for news, some of the most fascinating "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS."


ZAHN: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Glad to have you with us.

She's a combustible mix of beauty, talent and contradictions. Angelina Jolie is a former wild child, an Oscar-winning actress, a single mother who's just adopted her second child, and a U.N. goodwill ambassador. But it's her bizarre behavior at times and her many loves that often grab the headlines, especially since speculation began about a rumored relationship with a recently separated Brad Pitt.

Of course, the pair has been quiet about the true nature of their relationship, denying that they're even dating. Jolie is also mum when it comes to her estranged father, Jon Voight. But he recently did agree to sit down with CNN for a candid interview about his very famous daughter.


BRAD PITT, ACTOR: Sweetheart?

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: You still alive, baby? ZAHN (voice-over): On screen, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sizzle as a pair of sexy assassins in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

PITT: Come to daddy.

JOLIE: Who's your daddy now?

ZAHN: But off-screen, their rumored romance and Pitt's split from Jennifer Aniston have gotten more attention than their summer thriller.

CAGLE: The Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie relationship is so captivating, because at first there was the scandal, obviously. He was leaving Jennifer Aniston. And was Angelina Jolie the other woman and all of that stuff? And there was an element of mystery to it as well, because they never fully acknowledged that they were a couple.

ZAHN: Although Brad and Angelina haven't been clear about the true nature of the relationship, there's no doubt that 41-year-old Pitt is part of Jolie's life.

LARRY HACKETT, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: He owns a house in Malibu, and she's staying there. It's unclear to us where she lives. She has a 4-year-old son, who presumably will be enrolling in a school somewhere. By fall, it may become clearer what her living situation is.

ZAHN: Whether it's domestic bliss or not, the two were together when Jolie brought her 6-month-old adopted daughter Zahara home from Ethiopia. And a week earlier, the shots seen around the world -- Brad, Angelina and Maddox vacationing in Jolie's home outside of London. The media was circling, and hearts were breaking.

For the first time since her split from Brad, Jennifer Aniston is speaking out about her ex.

HACKETT: Jennifer does say that she chooses to believe her husband, that he didn't do anything in the marriage, while he was married, with Angelina. I think the way she phrases it suggests that she may be leaving some room for a reinterpretation down the road.

ZAHN: Thirty-year-old Jolie has had a history of rocky and often scandalous relationships, from her torrid and very public romance with actor Billy Bob Thornton to a brief fling with another woman. But it's her relationship with the first man in her life, dad Jon Voight, that's been the most tumultuous.

TODD GOLD, WEST COAST BUREAU CHIEF, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Angelina's parents divorced when she was about one years old. It had a profound influence on her as she grew up. She has had, as a result, a difficult relationship with her father.

ZAHN: In fact, Angelina and her father haven't spoken in three years. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the Oscar-winner actor talks candidly about his strained relationship with daughter Angelina. VOIGHT: She was a baby when we were divorced, so it surprised me when she said it affected her as severely as it did, but looking back, I can see that there were times when perhaps she expressed her anger in different ways.

ZAHN: A daughter of Hollywood royalty, Angelina Jolie Voight was born in Los Angeles, on June 4, 1975. Angelina's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, was an actress and homemaker. Her father is best known for his high-profile roles in "Midnight Cowboy" and "Coming Home."

VOIGHT: Sure, it gives you something to talk about over martinis, how you're helping out the poor cripples.

ZAHN: Growing up, Angie, as her parents called her, seemed to be taking after them.

VOIGHT: She was dramatic when she was a young girl, and she was always dressing up and designing little things, skits for her friends and so on. I saw her -- you know, I thought maybe this gal would become an actress.

ZAHN: At age 7, she made her film debut, starring alongside both parents in "Looking to Get Out."

Angelina modeled professionally, and attended Beverly Hills High School. But she wasn't like most other students.

NEELY MARGO, JOLIE'S DRAMA TEACHING ASSISTANT: She was very dark, very goth. I always remembering her wearing black lipstick. Her hair was very long. Very quiet. She didn't talk to anybody, really.

ZAHN: Angelina once dreamed of becoming a mortician and had a fascination with self-mutilation.

JOLIE: I collected knives and I always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling, like, feeling pain, maybe, feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, that it was somehow therapeutic to me.

ZAHN: Jolie has also admitted she experimented with drugs in high school.

VOIGHT: Of course, that's upset me very much. And perhaps, this was the beginning of her retaliation against me, for the anger that she felt when I left her mother. And it was very difficult for me to scold her or reprimand her. And I backed down, partially because, you know, I felt some guilt about the divorce, partially because I was hoping that things would go away. But I wasn't as stern as I should have been, and I have to say that I take full responsibility for that. That was a big mistake.

ZAHN: But despite any personal problems, Jolie's flair for the dramatic eventually led her into the family business -- acting.

JOLIE: Are you challenging me?

JOHNNY LEE MILLER, ACTOR: Name your stakes.

ZAHN: Angelina's first major film role came at the age of 19, in "Hackers," a 1995 thriller about computer geeks.

JOLIE: If I win, you become my slave.

ROZEN: You came out of the movie and said, hmm, that girl's good, who is she? And then found out she was Jon Voight's daughter. For her personally, she met the British actor Johnny Lee Miller on the film. He was her co-star. And they ended up getting married.

GOLD: It was an informal ceremony, most memorable for the fact that she wore, you know, black rubber pants and a white shirt and scrolled his name on her shirt with her own blood.

ZAHN: The pair divorced three years later, while Jolie was working on "Gia."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This must be Gia.

JOLIE: How do you know my name?

ROZEN: "Gia" was a made-for-HBO film that put Angelina Jolie on the map. It was a biopic in which she played a real-life character, a model named Gia, who was sort of one of these sort of superstar models, but had big drug problems, a complicated sexuality. And Angelina Jolie just bit into this role and chewed it like it was the juiciest steak around.

JOLIE: I do be the prettiest, prettiest girl. I do be that.

ZAHN: The Golden Globe-winning role about the heroin-addicted lesbian rattled the young actress.

GOLD: It scared her. The living on the edge, the experimentation, the exploration of drugs. And when she was finished, you know, she was completely depleted. In fact, she dropped out of Hollywood briefly, and enrolled at NYU Film School, where, as she told me, she wanted to explore, you know, what was inside her.

ZAHN: Jolie admitted in several interviews at the time that she experimented with heroin.

VOIGHT: And I didn't get the seriousness of it until it started appearing in the papers, when she was giving interviews, when she was a young, young actress. And then I realized what was going on. And I tried to get her help. And our relationship became a hide-and-seek relationship from that time.

ZAHN: Coming up, the Oscar lip lock that had tongues wagging.

And later, Aniston's anger over Angelina.

HACKETT: She was hugely, hugely offended by it and hurt by it.


ZAHN: By 1999, Angelina Jolie was an award-winning actress, divorced, and, at 24 years old, already controversial. JOLIE: I'm just bad at press.

ZAHN: She began a short-lived romance with actress Jenny Shimizu, her co-star from the film "Foxfire."

JOLIE: I'm going to tickle you to death. Do you understand me?


JOLIE: I thought she was the greatest woman I met. I had so much fun with her, and found myself loving her and wanted to express that physically.

GOLD: Angelina has been very public that she's as comfortable making love to a woman as she is to a man. You know, she really is somebody who pursues what feels good to her, what feels right, without thinking much about traditional conventions.

JOLIE: Good to know.

ZAHN: That year, Jolie starred opposite Winona Ryder as a mental patient in "Girl, Interrupted."

ELISABETH MOSS, CO-STAR, "GIRL INTERRUPTED": She would walk on to set and change the energy of the room. She was like -- it was as if somebody had released a tiger onto set that was prowling around.

JOLIE: Ronny?


JOLIE: Got any hot fudge?


MOSS: I think we all knew during the filming of that that she was doing something extraordinary.

ROZEN: She was the fascinatingly crazy friend in the institution.

JOLIE: Good to be home.

ROZEN: And she just walked away with that movie and got an Oscar for it.

ZAHN: In her shocking Oscar acceptance speech, Jolie announced she was in love with her brother, and planted a kiss on his lips.

ROZEN: It was a tabloid frenzy. You look back now and you go, what was that all about?

JOLIE: There's nothing at all bizarre, sexual, or strange going on. My brother and I are very, very good friends. We deeply love and care about each other. And we came from a divorced family, and we have been through a lot together. And so we're extremely close. ZAHN: Although the kiss created controversy, 24-year-old Jolie was actually in a serious relationship with 44-year-old Billy Bob Thornton, her co-star from the dark comedy "Pushing Tin."

BILLY BOB THORNTON, ACTOR: If you ever want to sleep at night, don't marry a beautiful woman.

ZAHN: In May 2000, the couple eloped in Las Vegas.

GOLD: Then they were on the red carpets pawing each other, kissing, making out.

JOLIE: We wouldn't leave the bedroom.

GOLD: It just got weirder and stranger from there.

ZAHN: Jolie was known to wear a pendant necklace filled with Thornton's blood. For their first anniversary, Jolie bought her true love his-and-her burial plots.

But with all their strange marital bliss, Jolie's dad was worried about the relationship.

VOIGHT: There was a time when I was very, very concerned about Angie's behavior, and she was with Billy Bob at that time. And there was so much exhibitionism and displaying of negative values. I was deeply upset about it.

ZAHN: However, Voight says, because he loves his daughter, he tried to support her relationship with Billy Bob. The two eventually worked out their differences.

JOLIE: We're not as close as me and my brother, but -- and my mom, you know, but we're close in a different way.

ZAHN: Angelina even reached out to Voight, asking him to play her father in the film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."

VOIGHT: If you're reading this letter, I'm no longer with you. And I miss you and love you always and forever.

It was just the most joyous time for us both. We did nothing but laugh and tell each other how much we loved each other. And it seemed like the beginning -- there was a little hope coming through at that moment in time.

ZAHN: But will that love last? When we come back, the stormy father-daughter relationship takes an ugly turn.

VOIGHT: It's this situation where she surrounds herself with certain people and tries to stay away from me.

ZAHN: And then, what Angelina said about Brad.

GOLD: I don't think Angelina lies.


ZAHN: 2001 was a high point for Angelina Jolie. Her film, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," was a box office hit. And she had rekindled her relationship with her father, Jon Voight. Jolie was also about to discover a newfound passion for helping others.

CLIVE OWEN, ACTOR: I knew nothing about that box. What was in the box, the equipment.

JOLIE: Did you know about the guns?

ZAHN: While researching her role in the film, "Beyond Borders," Angelina Jolie traveled to Africa and Asia as part of a United Nations refugee mission.

JOLIE: They didn't dumb it down for an actress. They said, you know, we did have bets as to how much luggage you'd have and would you be wearing high heels, and make -- and we did sit around and wonder, what was this kind of strange creature that was coming to the middle of a place that seemed not to fit at all.

ZAHN: Jolie was such a perfect fit that in August 2001, she became a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency.

JOLIE: And I'm so proud to represent them. And it means a lot that I do it right.

ZAHN: In public, Jolie appeared to be the perfect diplomat. But her father says he was concerned about her private life.

VOIGHT: You see the way she talks about her sex life and the way she has gone from one marriage to another, which has been very painful to me to watch.

ZAHN: Voight says he tried to talk with Jolie about her promiscuous lifestyle.

VOIGHT: As soon as she saw a conversation going in a certain direction, she would push it aside. So the only way to reach her was to get her a letter that she would read, somehow fix the circumstance so she'd read it. And the essence of the letter was that I was in pain that she was exhibiting these traits and setting such an example for young people.

ZAHN: Angelina told "Vanity Fair" she found the letter hurtful and stopped talking with her father. Then, in March 2002, just after adopting her son from a Cambodian orphanage, Voight and Jolie's private problems became very public.

GOLD: The adoption was done in, you know, in pretty extreme secrecy. And he, without her permission, basically told the world the news that she had become a mother. He did it in the most public of ways, in front of the press at Academy Awards time.

VOIGHT: I had heard that she -- the baby was delivered to her. And I just was in the middle of a lot of attention because I was up for an Academy Award. And they asked me about, how is Angie? And I said, well, she just got the baby today. So I guess that makes me a grandfather. I mean, you know, I was happy for her.

ZAHN: When Jolie didn't respond, Voight tried to reach her by appearing on "Access Hollywood" and "Inside Edition."

GOLD: He went in front of the press and said that she was suffering from psychological problems, and was unfit, was unbalanced. And, obviously, she was livid. If there was any chance of a relationship, it ended right there.

VOIGHT: When I was on "Access Hollywood," and obviously deeply emotionally distraught, she used that against me. She used everything -- you know, she turned everything against me. She indicated that I was looking for publicity. Holy smokes.

ZAHN: Jolie wouldn't talk with CNN about her father, but she did release a statement:, "I have no anger towards my father. I simply don't know him. My son has never met him. And I'm doing my best at this to focus on a healthy life. I wish my father well."

In 2002, Jolie severed ties with Voight. That same year, her marriage to Billy Bob collapsed.

GOLD: Angelina has explained that the marriage ended because they simply grew apart.

ZAHN: Now, it seems that Brad Pitt is the main man in Angelina's life.

CAGLE: The buzz started on the two of them pretty much the second "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" started filming. I think that, whatever was happening between them, certainly word from the set got out that there was great chemistry between these two people.

ZAHN: Shooting began in January 2004. Four months later, there were tabloid stories of a romance between Pitt and Jolie. Brad and Angelina denied them.

GOLD: I don't think Angelina lies. I don't think that there was any kind of physical relationship while they were shooting the movie.

ZAHN: Just after New Year's 2005, Brad and Jen called it quits. Then in April, photos surfaced of Brad, Angelina and Maddox, vacationing together in Africa.

In a candid interview with "Vanity Fair" magazine, Aniston says, the world was shocked, and I was shocked.

HACKETT: When you see your soon-to-be ex-husband with someone else who you know was an element in the demise of your marriage, it's got to be a drag at the least, and a humiliation at the worst. To have it played out in worldwide media is a whole another thing that most of us don't have to deal with.

ZAHN: Adding insult to injury, Aniston says she was stunned when Pitt and Jolie posed as husband and wife in a 60-page "W" magazine photo spread.

HACKETT: She says in one point in the interview that he lacks a sensitivity chip. A lot of people think he was rubbing her face in what had happened. It came only a month or two after they split, and it came when all the rumors were rife that he and Angelina, you know, were looking to get together.

ZAHN: So far, Brad and Angelina haven't acknowledged a romance. For her part, Jolie says she doesn't pay much attention to the press.

JOLIE: People writing about me are saying things about my personal life. You never want anything that says something nasty against your character. You know, you don't like it, but I know who I am.

ZAHN: For the actress accustomed to doing things her own way, any future relationship with dad, Jon Voight, or Brad Pitt, would be impossible to predict.

PITT: Dance with me.

ZAHN: Could "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" end up together off-screen?

HACKETT: I think they're trying to figure out what the extent of their relationship is, where it goes, where they live. I mean, all that kind of simple stuff, that's the hard stuff.

ZAHN: Hard decisions for the two stars whose off-screen lives captivate fans as much as their Hollywood action flicks.

CAGLE: Whatever you think about them as a couple, whatever your feelings about his split with Jennifer Aniston are, there is a real fairy tale aspect to the Pitt-Jolie relationship, in that they are two of the most desirable people in the world, and it's sort of great fun to imagine them together.

ZAHN: Meanwhile, Angelina's father is hoping for another reconciliation.

VOIGHT: Still, my concern is for my daughter. I'm still concerned for my daughter, you know? I want her happiness.


ZAHN: It should be noted that Angelina Jolie turned down our request for an interview. As for her next project, Jolie is set to star alongside Matt Damon in "The Good Shepherd," a thriller about the CIA.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, after 30 years in music, she's coming around again. Carly Simon, from the heart, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns.


WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues in a moment. But first, here's what's happening "Now in the News".

Airline passenger screening may become less of a hassle. The Transportation Security Administration is considering several proposals. They include lifting the ban on razor blades, small knives and scissors, and perhaps allowing passengers to pass through screening points while wearing their shoes.

President Bush says when it comes to convincing Iran to give up its nuclear program, all options are on the table, and the use of force would not be -- or rather, would be a final option, but possible. Mr. Bush made the comments at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, during an interview with Israeli television.

Cubans marked President Fidel Castro's 79th birthday. State-run newspapers ran front-page tributes, and school children baked him a birthday cake. Castro is the world's longest-serving head of government. He took control of Cuba in 1959, and installed a communist government.

And stay with us at 6:00 Eastern for CNN LIVE SATURDAY. We'll find out what's behind the spike in gas prices and how people are coping with the pain at the pump.

More headlines at the top of the hour. Now back to more PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

ZAHN: Hi, welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

When it comes to singing the soundtrack of an entire generation, nobody does it better than Carly Simon. Her pop standards helped define the '70s, and she's still turning out the hits today. Her latest album, "Moonlight Serenade," has become a surprise hit, with strong sales, and her best debut on the charts since 1974.

Not long ago, the resurgent Carly Simon sat down with me for a rare and candid interview, and she was unflinching about everything, from her troubled childhood and past loves, to her crippling stage fright and her scare with breast cancer.


ZAHN (voice over): Like a sultry breeze, she blew on to the scene. It was the 1970s. At six feet tall, her legs wouldn't stop, and her talent seemed almost as endless as her toothy grin -- provocative, sensual, seductive. Her name was Carly Simon.

C. SIMON: Of course, I can't tell you everything about everyone that I was with.

ZAHN (on camera): Well, we only want to know about Mick Jagger and Warren Beatty. C. SIMON: You only want to know about the naughtier excursions.

ZAHN (voice over): One Oscar, two Grammys, and three decades later, Carly Simon remains one of the greatest singer/songwriters in pop music history. A luminescent diva with a past that continues to intrigue.

ZAHN: There is still so much mystery about who inspired the song, "You're So Vain." Are you amazed by the level of interest in that question?

C. SIMON: Yes. I'm amazed by it. And the only real thing that's mysterious is why it's still so interesting.

ZAHN: At 60 years old, her body of work reads more than 25 albums deep. And this summer, she's coming around again. Her latest is "Moonlight Serenade," a collection of romantic standards, produced by longtime collaborator Richard Perry, the man behind Rod Stewart's mega-selling "Songbooks I, II and III."

RICHARD PERRY, PRODUCER: I called her, I said, I can taste this album. I can hear it in my head completely already. One thing led to another, and here we are.

C. SIMON: Anybody and everybody who loves these songs, who is able to do them, should do them, because we all have different interpretations, we all have different voices. I want to do it in my own way. I want to do it. I want to sing.

ZAHN: And for nearly 35 years, we've listened to that voice sing.

But the road to legend has certainly been paved with pain. A decade-long marriage to singer James Taylor ended bitterly. Anxiety, depression and stage fright have haunted her for years.

C. SIMON: There are days that I'm so depressed, and something can get to me, and that will bring me down so far. And I still don't understand how I can let myself sink so deep. But invariably, what helps me come out of it is music. And my songs and my ability to compose myself out of it.

ZAHN (on camera): Do you think music has saved your life during some of these dark periods?

C. SIMON: Yes. I think music has definitely been my way through the dark periods.

ZAHN (voice-over): She was born Carly Elizabeth Simon on June 25t, 1945, in New York City. The third of four children. Her mother, Andrea, was a housewife. Her father, Richard, a legendary publisher.

C. SIMON: I think it was my father's downfall to become the founder of Simon & Schuster. That sounds so ironic to say that, because he was so successful. But the thing that he was greatest at was playing the piano. ZAHN: Country homes. Trips to Paris. Monday nights at the Met. It was an artistic, affluent household filled with the who's who of luminary friends.

JOANNA SIMON, SISTER: George Gershwin came by our house the year that "Porgy and Bess" came out, and he played the songs for my mother and father. I do remember an incident where Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein were invited for dinner.

ZAHN: But in the midst of wealth and proper pedigree, Richard Simon's youngest daughter was different.

LUCY SIMON, SISTER: Little Carly Simon was always the funny one. She also was, perhaps of all of the sisters, the most fragile emotionally.

ZAHN (on camera): I read a quote from a "Rolling Stone" interview you did way back in the '70s, and you said, "I felt as if I always had to perform in order to get any love at all. What did you mean by that?

C. SIMON: I was daunted by my two older sisters, who were my father's favorites, and they were very beautiful and very talented.

ZAHN: You're sure of that, definitely your father's favorites?

C. SIMON: Definitely.

J. SIMON: It was problematic. My sister Lucy and I excelled in certain ways that appealed to my father. I think that she always was looking for a place in his heart, and trying to find it.

ZAHN: By Carly's fifth birthday, she began to stutter. Her first anxiety attack came three years later.

C. SIMON: Very needy. Very insecure. Very afraid of going away from home. I had tremendous trepidations about leaving my mother. I had such a bad stammer that I really couldn't talk. It would come out very -- it was like that.

ZAHN: Psychotherapy, medication, nothing stopped that stubborn stutter. Until one day in 1955, Carly's mother devised an ingenious idea.

L. SIMON: Our mother was extremely thoughtful and good about the stammering. And in fact, I think it was the stammer that started her singing, because she didn't stammer while she was singing. So she had difficulty getting a sentence out or getting a word out; our mother would say sing it, Carly, and she could sing it.

ZAHN: From pass the butter to hold the mustard, Carly Simon sang all day long. And as the years passed, the stammer slipped away. But so did the fathe,r and the love she so desperately wanted.

C. SIMON: He got sick when I was 10. And it was shrouded in mystery, what was wrong with him. Made me start distrusting everything. And I felt that the only way I had to protect myself against his, you know, falling down dead, was knocking on wood. The first time he was in the hospital, I knocked on wood 100 times the first night that he was in the hospital, and he was alive the next day. And then the next night, I did it 500 times, and he was better. And so I thought, well, I've got to keep doing it 500 times a night. And I would always fall asleep knocking.

ZAHN: Five years later, in 1960, the knocking stopped. Carly was 15 years old when Richard Simon passed away.

L. SIMON: Carly probably never fully believed that he, in fact, loved her as much as he loved Joey and me. There was always the lingering sense of, that's unfinished and I have to get that from someplace else.

ZAHN: Coming up, James Taylor and the downward spiral of rock's first royal couple.


ZAHN: On March 7, 1964, 18-year-old Carly Simon and her sister Lucy appeared on the "ABC" variety hour, "Hootenanny."

It had been just four years since the death of their father, Richard Simon. Immersing themselves in music, the siblings were now a duo, and Carly was splitting her time between Sarah Lawrence and the stage.

But in 1968, with guitar in hand, Carly set out on her own. New York secretary by day, sexy songbird by night, for four years, she shopped her music and searched for the perfect song.

C. SIMON: I wrote the melody to "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," and that was kind of where I started writing and taking my compositions more seriously. And I started collaborating with Jacob Brackman, who wrote the lyrics.

JACOB BRACKMAN, LYRICIST: That was a song that, you know, related in some way to things that were less than perfect in her parents' marriage, and maybe some anxieties that she might have therefore felt about making a decent life with a man.

ZAHN: In "A Season of Change," Carly Simon had found her voice. Released in March 1971, that haunting ballad would become the breakthrough single on her self-titled debut.

(on camera): 1971 was the year that "Carly Simon" was released. What do you remember about that?

C. SIMON: I remember it very, very well. I remember thinking that I was going to put out an album of songs, and it would be used for catalog purposes only.

ZAHN (on camera): Eight months and a million albums later, album number two.

(on camera): You created "Anticipation" in 15 minutes? SIMON: Maybe an hour, but that's at the very outside. I was waiting for Cat Stevens to come over, who was my date, and I wrote, I mustn't focus on 15 minutes from now, I must focus on right now. These are the good ol' days.

ZAHN: But Cat Stevens wasn't the only man catching her eye. There was another guy, and his name was James.

J. SIMON: I remember when Carly and I were living together, James' first album came out, and on it, you could open up the album, and it was a full-length picture of James lying down on the grass. And Carly looked at him in that photograph and said, I'm going to marry him.

ZAHN: The romance would be one of the most the most photographed couplings in music history. And when singer/songwriter James Taylor married Carly Simon on November 2, 1972, they were instantly proclaimed rock's first royal family.

(on camera): What do you remember about the good ol' days with James Taylor?

SIMON: Oh, gosh. We had some fine, fine moments.

ZAHN (voice-over): Days after the wedding, the mania went into overdrive. Carly's latest, "No Secrets," had just hit the shelves. On it, a mysterious single about an oh-so-vain suitor. Who could it be? Three decades later, we are still scratching our heads.

J. SIMON: Well, I always thought it was me.

That's a family secret, and I'm certainly not going to expose it.

ZAHN: But as the hits rolled in and the decade rolled on, cracks began to appear in the marriage. Dueling careers fueled battling egos, and there was the matter of Taylor's drug use.

BRACKMAN: James' drug history is kind of a matter of public record, and without a doubt, that was enormously difficult for Carly.

ZAHN: Numerous separations and reconciliations followed, but nothing could keep this rock 'n roll union alive. In 1981, a divorce was finalized. James Taylor and Carly Simon were no more.

BEN TAYLOR, SON: I was never the kind of kid who wished every night or prayed that his parents would get back together. That didn't seem like -- it seemed logical to me, even at a very young age, that they were splitting apart.

ZAHN: Next, the legendary ups and downs of Carly Simon.

(on camera): Were you afraid of dying?

C. SIMON: Yes, but no more so than I usually am.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: In 1981, a seismic split shook the halls of rock 'n roll. Rock's first royal couple, Carly Simon and James Taylor, were calling it quits. Competition, coupled with Taylor's drug use, had divided them.

BRACKMAN: And the punch line was that he cleaned up within months of their separation and has been clean to this day. It's a mystery, but that made it even harder in a way.

ZAHN (on camera): What has been the toughest challenge for you? Was it the period of time when you and James Taylor knew you weren't going to make it?

C. SIMON: Well, that period of time was very challenging, because I was really swept up in the sadness and the brokenness. I lost a whole lot of weight. I was crying all the time. I wanted to be so many things that I couldn't be.

ZAHN (voice-over): Adrift, Carly's anxiety fueled her life-long battle with stage fright. An early 80's concert tour was suddenly canceled when the pop star collapsed backstage.

C. SIMON: I was lost. I was really lost.

ZAHN: But Carly Simon was far from over. In 1986, director Mike Nichols was in need of a theme song for his latest film, "Heartburn." The superstar was about to come around again.

Carly Simon was back. On a personal front, she was also in love, marrying poet Jim Hart in December, 1987.

Two years later, yet another milestone. It was the feel-good movie of the year, and Carly's theme became the anthem of working girls everywhere. "Let the River Run" nabbed a Grammy, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for best song.

(on camera): What did it mean to take home your first Oscar?

C. SIMON: It was ravishing.

ZAHN (voice-over): On the highest of highs, she sailed into the '90s. But in 1994, a loss would send her once again into the darkness.

J. SIMON: She died at 5:00 in the morning, and I remember that Carly was alone with her for a few minutes, and started to scream and started to shriek. It was like a moan for all eternity.

C. SIMON: It was four days after she had died, and I'd read this poem about things flowing like a river. I thought about my mother, and I thought, I will wait no more for you. Wait for you forever, like a river. And that spurred me onto other tears (ph) and other places that she would always walk into, places of safety, and the boat beside me where we could look up at a couple of stars.

ZAHN: But the death of her mother was only the beginning of the trials ahead. In October 1997, a devastating discovery. L. SIMON: Carly's breast cancer was obviously terribly traumatic.

C. SIMON: I heard about it over the phone, and I went into swift denial. And I put my head down on the table, still with the phone in my hands, saying that this can't be. This just can't be true. It's impossible.

ZAHN: Family and friends rallied. Eight long months of chemotherapy followed.

TAYLOR: It was a hard year, and it certainly was on many levels, but I think it made her so much stronger. It made her so much better of a fighter.

(on camera): Were you afraid of dying?

C. SIMON: Yes, but no more so than I usually am.

ZAHN: How's your health now?

C. SIMON: I think it's good. I still knock on wood.

ZAHN (voice-over): Now, after more than three decades in the spotlight, the legendary singer/songwriter returns.

C. SIMON: Favorite song on the "Standards" album? Oh, gosh, they're all -- they're all just incredible songs.

ZAHN: And with this resurgence comes that question, a secret that still gets under our skin.

(on camera): You once admitted that it could potentially be a composite of a number of men who were dear to you in your life, whether it was Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty...

C. SIMON: Well, I guess, you know -- I mean, those who are interested in the clues, the name of the person it was about had an "E" in it.

ZAHN: Well, thank you. That's very helpful, Carly.

C. SIMON: Maybe I could disclose another letter. Let's see, it also has an "A."

ZAHN: All right. We'll be asking you about this for the next 30 years.

C. SIMON: Well, listen, two vowels ain't bad.

L. SIMON: She speaks from her heart. It is all genuine. There is nothing phony about her. So, what you see is who she is.

ZAHN: At 60 years old, Carly Simon remains a musical legend. An unwitting icon whose soundtrack we know by heart.

C. SIMON: I hope that people will be subtly changed by what I've said or written or composed.

ZAHN (on camera): You really want to touch people.

C. SIMON: I really do.

ZAHN: That's important to you?

C. SIMON: I really need to touch people. I don't want to be alone here in this universe.


ZAHN: Carly's latest album, "Moonlight Serenade," is a collection of American standards penned by legends like Cole Porter and Glen Miller. It's her fourth album of classics, and a 26th record of her career.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, the new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI.

I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for being with us. Hope you'll be back with us next week.



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