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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Rod Stewart

Aired March 30, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Rod Stewart may live a fabulous life in Beverly Hills, but he's also one of the original rock n' roll bad boys.

ROD STEWART, ROCK STAR: Piers Morgan is in the house. Not any house, he's in my house. What on earth is he doing here.

MORGAN: Can you believe he just turned 66? And became a father for the eighth time? Do you still think he's sexy?

STEWART: Never you mind.

MORGAN: So here I am at Rod Stewart's remarkably palatial Beverly Hills mansion. And I'm told the only thing that's more impressive than the great man himself is what lies behind those doors. So let's go and find out, shall we?

Rod, here we are in the -- in the expansive library of your Beverly Hills mansion. I suppose the obvious question as I look around the extraordinary art on the walls, the expensive book collection, the different statues is --

STEWART: Are they paid for.

MORGAN: Well, A, that because you're Scottish, and B, where did it all go wrong, Rod?

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Some famous George (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: I mean how do you feel? I mean honestly when you come to this extraordinary house, given your background, given that you came from very little as a young guy. You've ended up here in the middle of Hollywood having had this extraordinary career.

What do you think -- when you sit here in this room, what do you think?

STEWART: Well, there's not a day goes by when I don't get up and say thank you to somebody. You know, it's an incredible -- I've got this house and a couple of other houses quite like it, so it's phenomenal. You know, it's just my dream came true.

When I went into the business I thought, well, I want to play, you know, a couple of gigs the next couple of months I'd be happy but 40 odd years later -- MORGAN: America's been a great friend to you.

STEWART: Oh, man, it really has. Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: Tell me about your thoughts on America.

STEWART: Well, as far as I go, they've been a very, very loyal crowd. You know, they've -- I've had my ups and downs with record sales but as far as concert tickets going it's been quite regular. You know.

MORGAN: How much time do you spend here?

STEWART: Most of the time. I'm a tax exile. I left in 1975 from Great Britain so I'm here for six months of the year.

MORGAN: And do you like it here?

STEWART: I do. Yes, I do. Most British people unless they've spent some time here don't seem to like it. They find it an unfriendly place, which I sure understand, but most of my mates they're British. You know, there was more British people here than anywhere in the world outside the UK.

MORGAN: What do you miss, though, about back home?

STEWART: I suppose I miss the British cynicism and the humor. I mean I catch up with the football. I watch as much football as I can here, but my brothers still live there. My sister lives there. I miss the family side of it but you know we go back and forwards probably six, seven times a year.

MORGAN: I suppose the obvious place to start with you, Rod, as with all interviews with you would be women.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Call it in.

MORGAN: You've had a sort of lifetime pursuit really of glamorous women. Would you plead guilty to that?

STEWART: That's a very dangerous question.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You know, I have enjoyed, you know, quite honestly, to this day I don't quite see what women have seen in me.

MORGAN: We're all baffled.

STEWART: Me especially. I see myself in the morning when I get up. It's a shambles but you know I've enjoyed it. You know I don't -- I don't boast about it like some others do. I've bedded a few but I've never kept count.

MORGAN: I mean can you remember the names of every woman that you've taken to bed?

STEWART: No, no, absolutely impossible. No, and I wouldn't -- even if I did I wouldn't tell you. I'm a gentleman.

MORGAN: But you feel guilty that you can't remember?

STEWART: Quite honest --

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: The ones -- you know the ones I've been in love with or I thought I'd love, I can remember.

MORGAN: What's sort the perfect Rod Stewart woman?

STEWART: I'm married to her.

MORGAN: Obviously.

STEWART: I did say that, didn't I?

MORGAN: So a leggy blond, basically.

STEWART: Yes, a leggy blonde with some intelligence and some warmth who understands me with some humor.

MORGAN: I mean, I hate to accuse you of prejudice but there is a pattern to your work with women. I mean they don't seem to be many brunettes or particularly redheads.

STEWART: Well, there's been -- that's another dangerous question on this very dangerous show.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: There's been a few but it probably has been mostly blondes.

MORGAN: Why blondes?

STEWART: People ask me that and all I can put it down to is my infatuation with Marilyn Monroe when I was younger and you know maybe Brigitte Bardot, because when I was a kid, you know, preteens and going into teens, they were the two blonde idols. You know, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.

MORGAN: You have just turned 66 when this interview airs and you're going to be a father again. I mean, good work, fella.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Yes, it's good. You know, it took a bit of time.

MORGAN: How do you feel about being a dad again? You know I don't want to be difficult here but when you're 84, your son will be 18 if my math is right on that. STEWART: Yes. You're absolutely right and I'm hoping that it's a boy and he's not going to be too difficult otherwise -- well, you know, I consider myself a very fit 65-year-old. I'm just going to have to be a very fit 85-year-old.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Does it worry you though? That potential age gap?

STEWART: No. Nothing worries me. Do I look a worried man?

MORGAN: You don't look massively encumbered by stresses of life, I must say. You look content.

STEWART: I am very content. I'm in a very, very good place, Piers.

MORGAN: You went through, as you entered there, a very difficult time with this baby. Tell me about that.

STEWART: This was a third time we tried it and when it does go wrong it's absolutely heartbreaking for both of us, but more so for Penny. So this was the third time. We had a wonderful English surgeon did it for us and it's worked out, but it is funny. You know, putting the sperm in a bowl or in the fryer down the doctor's, it knocks me out. That's the best part of doing it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Do you have to try the Ferrari in a certain way, at a certain speed, I mean is there any --

STEWART: We have to -- you have to keep the sperm in the bottle in the handbag on the driver's seat or the passenger's seat. It's tremendous. I shall miss doing that.

MORGAN: It was quite -- I mean it's been a difficult ride for both you and Penny. You said third time around.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: How hard when you thought perhaps, you know, it may never work?

STEWART: I think we were more or less resigned to the fact that if it doesn't work we've got one wonderful son with Alastair and you know I've been very fortunate -- I mean eight children now so I wouldn't have complained. But I really felt for her because she wanted a partner for Alastair and she got it.

MORGAN: Where were you when you heard the good news?

STEWART: I was at the Kremlin doing a show in Russia, Moscow, and Penny phoned me up and says, we've done it, we've done it, we've done it, and we both just burst into tears. I'm such a fairy when it comes to things like that. I just cried -- cried me eyes out, you know? So I was in Moscow. MORGAN: Pretty special moment there.

STEWART: It was. Yes, it really was. I couldn't wait to get home and give her a big hug.

MORGAN: Are you a good dad, do you think?

STEWART: You should ask me kids that maybe. I think I've -- I think I've become a good father. You know it's something that you don't learn at school. I don't think you do anyway. There's no books written on it or there wasn't when I became a father for the first time. But, you know, it's a craft that you improve on. I think I'm a pretty good dad now.

MORGAN: What have you learned that perhaps you didn't know when you were younger?

STEWART: The fine line between spoiling a child and depriving has always been difficult for me because I've come from a working class background and now you know wonderful wealth so it's hard for me not to spoil them and it's difficult -- I find it very difficult. It's a gray area so --

MORGAN: Do you spoil them, do you think?

STEWART: No, I don't think so. I really don't think so.

MORGAN: What about discipline? I mean when your kids, they're getting older themselves now, and coming out of teens and stuff, some of them. When they misbehave because they're your child and they obviously got the same gene, they get caught being naughty, it's obviously -- it gets the media attention that perhaps they may feel they don't deserve.

Like my kids sometimes, you know, I think, come on, dad, what does it's got to do with me? Why am I getting this? How do you deal with that? How do you deal about price of fame for your kids?

STEWART: Well, it's a double-edged sword. You know, it's fame has -- they live very well. They're never sure of anything but on the other side of it I know all of them when they went to school went through some embarrassing terrible times, you know, being mocked and things like that. But, you know, as I said they live comfortably, they've got -- I give them an allowance which is not too much and I think they're fine.

MORGAN: You said that you've got eight children.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: There was a period where you were reluctant to admit to one of them. Sarah who is the girl that you gave up for adoption.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: I think that's had a happy ending, hasn't it? STEWART: Happy ending.

MORGAN: Happier.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Well, we didn't -- her parents just recently passed on. You know, obviously I'm the biological father and I'm still here so the relationship broke down somewhat, you know, because she was -- she was a bit awkward, not a big chip on her shoulder which I can't blame her.

But in the last couple of years we've become somewhat close, you know, somewhat close. I still find it difficult to -- you know when I e- mail her to sign it "dad" because, you know, I didn't see her grow up. I didn't change nappies, I didn't take her to school. I didn't help her do her homework. But you know maybe I'll get around to that.

MORGAN: Do you regret that? Do you feel guilty about it?

STEWART: Yes, I feel guilty about everything. You know, I carry lots of guilt. But you know, we're making inroads. That's what I can tell you.

MORGAN: Coming up Rod Stewart's wild nights of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

And I heard that your favorite thing, the pair of you, was you like to just occasionally get very drunk and then throw everything out of your hotel room.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I want to ask you about is because unless I'm mistaken, that woman and I think I use the word woman advisedly, bears a striking resemblance to a young Rod Stewart.

STEWART: It certainly is. I found this painting in a shop in New York about 10 years ago and it looks like me -- exactly like me when I was 17.

MORGAN: It's identical.

STEWART: It is, because in those days I had a straight nose. I broke me nose playing soccer, but -- so I've got to have this painting.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: When your dad bought you your first guitar, it said that you actually would have preferred a nice train because you were so obsessed with model trains.

STEWART: Still am.

MORGAN: You've got a set here. Like an amazing room.

STEWART: A set. MORGAN: What do you train weirdoes call it? What do you call it?

STEWART: We're not weirdoes.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Which is -- you know, you've got to understand -- we'll get back to that question because it's a dangerous question.

MORGAN: Right.

STEWART: And this is a dangerous show to be on.

MORGAN: You see, I told you.

STEWART: Where were we? I've forgotten --

MORGAN: Model train sets. Your dad bought you your first guitar.

STEWART: Yes. Yes. For some unknown reason I had no musical inclination when I was in school. I used to avoid singing lessons and, you know, singing class but me dad just went out and bought me a guitar. I was 14 or 15. Just about the (INAUDIBLE) music was coming in. Just -- I would probably say, being a Scotsman he probably thought there might be some money in this. But I did. I worked at a railway station for me model railway.

MORGAN: Where was the model railway --

STEWART: Never you mind.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: No one has ever seen it, have they?

STEWART: Well it's been in magazines.

MORGAN: Yes, but no one has ever sort of filmed it.

STEWART: No. It's $250,000 a year to become a member of the Model Railroad Society of Beverly Hills.

MORGAN: Seriously?

STEWART: No.

MORGAN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: So we can't see it then?

STEWART: No, no, no, it's really private. But it's --

MORGAN: What does it bring you though? When you go in that room. STEWART: It's like any hobby, man. It's just brilliant. If -- I don't get stressed but if I get a little stress I go (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it, I'm going -- I'm going upstairs, spend a couple of hours, I'll get permission from Penny, I'm going to disappear to the third floor, and just work on my hobby.

MORGAN: The size of this room?

STEWART: It's the length of this house.

MORGAN: Wow.

STEWART: Yes, it's massive. Maybe I'll take you up, you know, as a private guest.

MORGAN: Thank you.

STEWART: I'll have to phone the other members and see if it's OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: How many trains do you have?

STEWART: It's not a question of trains. People still watching this?

MORGAN: Yes.

STEWART: It's a question of scale and detail. You know, base my layout on the 1940s New York Central and Pennsylvania Line, you know, and it's --

MORGAN: Wow.

STEWART: It's -- well, I'll take you up there.

MORGAN: Obviously you love it. It's a passion.

STEWART: Love it, man. I really do and I take it everywhere with me.

MORGAN: Do you like being the driver or the station master --

STEWART: No, don't take a -- Piers, now, I don't wear a little hat. No, it's a lovely hobby. It's like reading a book or painting a picture. It's three-dimensional. You know, it's wonderful.

MORGAN: Can you remember your first performance?

STEWART: Singing?

MORGAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: We'll come to the other one later.

STEWART: Yes, I can. Yes, yes, I can. Like it was yesterday. MORGAN: Talk to me about that experience.

STEWART: Well, it was in Manchester. A place called The Twisted Wheel. I was 19. And it was in a band with Long John Baldry. He asked me to be the singer in the group and open up a show for him, and Long John, for those of you who don't know, was instrumental in bringing rhythm and blues to Great Britain. Bless him. He's gone now.

But yes, I got up on stage and I was a bit nervous so one of the guys gave me what they call a little pill, what they call a black bomber. I must have been awake for three days.

MORGAN: Illegal drug.

STEWART: I didn't know it was illegal. He was a responsible grown- up. I was a mere lad of 19. And I must -- I made one song last for about a half hour. They ought to get me off the stage.

MORGAN: Did you love that instant chemistry with an audience, the reaction that you got?

STEWART: I didn't get any reaction at all.

MORGAN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: They were all busy drinking. It was what we call an all- nighter in those days. You know, you're bit too young to remember those day.

MORGAN: Thanks.

STEWART: It was at the bar. You know so no one was really watching me but that was -- that was the first.

MORGAN: What was the moment when you thought, I want to be a rock star?

STEWART: Oh, man, probably when I saw Mick and the Stones over at Eel Pie Island. You know there's a place in Twickenham where they used to play. There was only maybe 100 people in the audience and I saw Mick jumped in about and I was having a beer, I thought I can do that. You know?

MORGAN: So you're watching Mick Jagger who the hot rock star.

STEWART: I was watching the Rolling Stones.

MORGAN: OK. But essentially you're watching Jagger because you're thinking being the front man of a rock band that's about as cool as life gets.

STEWART: Yes. Absolutely. Yes.

MORGAN: And what did you hope being a rock star would bring you?

STEWART: A sports car. That's all I wanted. You know, when I joined the band I was earning about $60 a week which back in those days in the early '60s was a lot of money. So I wanted a sports car so I could go out and pull the birds, the girls. That's what I wanted and here we are.

MORGAN: And here you are with the Lamborghini and the Ferrari.

STEWART: Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

MORGAN: And the birds.

STEWART: Just the one.

MORGAN: The one bird. The chief bird.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: The -- obviously the first band you played with Jeff Beck and these guys, amazing musician, Ronnie Wood came on the scene. You had some amazingly talented people around you. But very quickly, you emerged as a front man and then went solo, became this huge star.

That transformation possess, was there a point when you thought, I've got to do this on my own?

STEWART: No. When I was with the Faces I wanted to stay with the Faces, I had a feeling that Mick wanted Woody and the Stones, you know, although he said face to face to me, he said I'd never steal Ronnie from the Stones. I mean that not to be true because I think Ronnie was made to be a Rolling Stone.

And maybe we'd taken the band as far as we could. And it was a wonderful five or six years of drunkenness and silliness but --

MORGAN: How good is that? See, for someone like me that's yearned to be a rock star and never really come any closer than judging a piano playing pig, and getting a few titters from the back of the crowd.

STEWART: You do your job very good, mate.

MORGAN: Thank you, Rod.

STEWART: You do.

MORGAN: Thank you. But I mean, I would have loved to have walked out at a stadium with 80,000 women in front me and throwing their knickers at me.

STEWART: Well --

MORGAN: You've had this.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: For 40 years.

STEWART: Yes, not so many knickers nowadays. But it's wonderful. You know you don't -- there's no drug like it. I mean the adrenaline that comes and the love that comes back from a packed house. It really is remarkable. But the thing is with -- in the Faces days, you know, we would -- we really were very drunk.

MORGAN: How wild was it? Talk me through a wild night with the Faces. By you and Mr. Wood.

STEWART: Well, we used to drink and drug before the show, not terribly, you know, but we used to drink a lot. Not too many drugs, they were too expensive. But we'd -- you know, me and Woody would dangle up a Holiday Inn key in front of the girls and (INAUDIBLE) room 197 and I'd have room 200, and that's all you have to do and they'd all be back at the hotel.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: And I heard that your favorite thing, the pair of you, was you like to just occasionally get very drunk and then throw everything out of your hotel room.

STEWART: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: The entire room.

STEWART: Yes, especially with -- you know, if there was a new member of the group, moving on, we thought that was the initiation thing, you know, go to his room, put the key in the door, not a stitch of furniture, no lightbulbs, nothing. And it was even better if that particular person had pulled a girl, you know, and --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Where would all this stuff go?

STEWART: I don't know.

MORGAN: Out the window?

STEWART: No, we'd put it in the elevator and sent it down to the lobby. No, we never threw it out the window. That was -- no, we never did that. That was cheap. Put it -- send it down the lobby.

MORGAN: Who was the wildest rockers you came up against? Was there anyone that matched you and Ronnie?

STEWART: There was The Who. I mean I think they were a little bit before us. You know they were pretty wild. But just as we were becoming famous hotels were beginning to know about us and we used to book in as Fleetwood Mac which brings me round to the tour I'm going to with Stevie Nicks which we'll talk about later.

MORGAN: Sure.

STEWART: But we'd checked in as Fleetwood Mac to let them take the blame.

MORGAN: So you basically you rack up a $20,000 bill.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: And it would all go to Fleetwood Mac.

STEWART: Fleetwood Mac. Because they weren't particularly famous and neither were we so no one knew the difference.

MORGAN: Next, I'll talk to Rod about the one woman who broke his heart.

STEWART: It was a good six months of, you know, laying up stairs looking at the ceiling in bed, couldn't get out of bed, depression.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Your life really I guess changed forever in the '70s when you had the big hits. You looked pretty much like you do now actually, annoyingly. But when that happened, when it just exploded, what was that time like for you because that was stratospherically, wasn't it?

STEWART: Yes. It was -- number one album and single both sides of the Atlantic. I don't think it'd ever been done before. I think Susan Boyle has just done it again but --

MORGAN: What do you think of that? What do you think of a reality star coming in --

STEWART: It's wonderful. And she's Scottish and she's humble and she can sing. It's -- I mean it's a wonderful piece of TV where you guys are sitting in the audience and you're just gob smacked. You know? It's tremendous.

MORGAN: Some people say that those kind of talent shows, that they're not really producing proper stars, haven't gone through the treading the boards that you have to do to justify being a star. What do you think of that?

STEWART: No, that's bullocks. I think it's -- I have seen too many friends of mine, I've got amazing talent get lost and left behind. This is a tremendous vehicle for people that got talent.

I do think, you know, it helps to tread the boards a little bit and learn your craft, but you know if I would have had the opportunity when I was a kid I would have taken it.

MORGAN: Would you do it?

STEWART: I have gone into the pub for a couple of hours, get a bit of Dutch courage.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: When you watch Susan Boyle, she's Scottish obviously like you. I mean could you imagine doing a duet with her singing?

STEWART: Yes. Yes, love to.

MORGAN: What do you think of her voice technically?

STEWART: I think it's beautiful. It's wonderful pitch. It's soulful, it's got every quality. By the way I'm not Scottish. You need to get it straight with the viewers. You know my father was Scottish.

MORGAN: You pretend to be Scott. You've got to the --

STEWART: No, I don't pretend to be Scottish.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Scottish marching band here. You've Celtic football players. You've got the (INAUDIBLE). I mean you go a long way in trying and pretend you're Scottish, Rod.

STEWART: No. Everybody can hear, can you not, that I'm not Scottish. I'm proud of my Scottishness and my heritage and, you know, Scotland is a spiritual home for me. So there.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You got a bit of a backlash in the '70s which I guess always comes with huge fame. How did you deal with the first negativity that came your way?

STEWART: Another dangerous question. I can't stand them.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: This room is going to explode in a minute. I think in those days it hurt, you know, it doesn't anymore. It's water off a duck's back. But in those days, you mean, "Do You Think I'm Sexy" era. Yes, it did. It really did. You know, because I think --

MORGAN: Why did they go after you, do you think?

STEWART: Because I mean look at me. You know, I was put in the birds and the silly outfits and you know wasn't -- I wasn't what they considered to be a rock star.

MORGAN: I supposed the obvious question, do you think you're sexy?

STEWART: No, we talked about that earlier. I've seen me-self in the -- I really don't know what it's all about. I swear to God. I think I've got a certain charm. What do you think, guys?

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: A certain charm.

MORGAN: All the ladies are going thumbs up. Very disloyal. That's my staff.

I mean what is the secret? What's the Rod Stewart magic with women?

STEWART: I don't know.

MORGAN: Why do women behave in the most ridiculous manner around you? Like wobbly jelly.

STEWART: Yes, it's hard for me to say because you know I'm not a standard good looking guy. I'm not, you know --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: Brad Pitt, absolutely. That's a boy. But I think I've got -- you know I've been out with women of -- in "Playboy" center spreads and absolutely gorgeous features but no sex appeal. You know? So maybe I've got --

MORGAN: What to you is sexy?

STEWART: It's an inner thing, it's a look in the eye. It's almost a slight -- get me right here -- slight slutiness. Just a touch of it. Get me right here. It's a dangerous answer that was.

MORGAN: Yes, it was a dangerous answer. Show me dangerous. I mean what is a slight slutiness?

STEWART: Yes, just a short skirt, not a bit too shorter than it should be, you know? A glimpse of stocking maybe.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You've been married three times. Always to blondes we've discussed this. There is a pattern to your work. But your first wife Alana, you weren't faithful to her, were you? Or were you?

STEWART: No. No. No, I wasn't.

MORGAN: Do you regret that?

STEWART: Of course, I do. I don't like to lie to anybody. I was a little spunky lad. You know?

MORGAN: So you --

STEWART: I shouldn't have got married.

MORGAN: I was going to say, I mean, were you just too young?

STEWART: My dad told me. I was 35 and I got married. He said you're too young to married. What? I'm 35. Said, you're far too young. You haven't lived yet. He was right, bless him, thanks, Dad.

MORGAN: I mean if you had your time again what age would you get married, do you think? STEWART: I don't think you put an age on it. You know? I think it's the right time, it's just when it feels right. When -- you know, you've done all the shagging you want to do and it's time to grow up. I mean I know mates of mine who are in their 40s, they're still shagging about and not grown up.

So I think when you decide that you can be loyal and faithful and committed and this is it, like I have now, you know. But I was loyal and faithful to my second wife Rachel and didn't mess about.

MORGAN: And she -- and the irony there was after years of being a naughty boy actually with Rachel she ended leaving you which was --

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: I know a very hurtful thing for you. Wasn't it?

STEWART: Oh yes, it certainly was, yes, very hurtful. I wasn't -- I wasn't prepared for it. I didn't have the tools to deal with it.

MORGAN: Why do you think it didn't work out, when you look back on it?

STEWART: She was too young. She was too young. Me sister, when we got married, lent over to me brother when we're going down the aisle and said, you know she's going to leave him, don't you?

MORGAN: Really?

STEWART: Me sister Mary told me brother. And sure enough she did.

MORGAN: Why did she think that?

STEWART: I think because my sister Mary understands that women do a lot of growing between 21 and 30, you know, which Rachel probably has. She's not the woman that I married 20 years ago.

MORGAN: Did it break your heart, do you think?

STEWART: Oh, yeah, bloody hell did it.

MORGAN: Properly like --

STEWART: Yeah, yeah.

MORGAN: After all those years of probably you breaking women's heart, whether deliberately or otherwise --

STEWART: Karma against you.

MORGAN: Did you feel that a bit? Did you feel, wow, this is what it feels like?

STEWART: It was a good six months of, you know, laying upstairs looking at the ceiling in bed, couldn't get out of bed, depression, didn't drink for six month. That's how bad it was. MORGAN: Did you not?

STEWART: Didn't drink for six months.

MORGAN: You must be terrible.

STEWART: Terrible, exactly, because I like a glass of wine every evening, just one or two and that's it.

MORGAN: Proper heartbreak.

STEWART: Yeah, yeah.

MORGAN: How did you get over it?

STEWART: Well, there's no way of getting over it. There's no way around it. There's no way through it. You know, I went to therapists, you know, and it just -- nothing -- nothing works. You know.

MORGAN: Something works because you came through it.

STEWART: Time.

MORGAN: You believe that time is --

STEWART: Yeah, yeah, yeah, time.

MORGAN: You say you've learned lessons from that experience too. What were the lessons, do you think, for you as a guy, as a husband? You know, obviously now with Penny, you're incredibly happy. But what were the lessons you had to learn from that not working, that second marriage?

STEWART: Probably, you know, I'm a better listener now than I've ever been before. I listen more. And I say I love you a lot more than I used to.

MORGAN: Do you?

STEWART: Yeah, I used to say it, but now I'm all over it like a dirty rag, Penny, every morning, love you darling, I love you pussycat.

MORGAN: You've gone all soft.

STEWART: I have. Nothing wrong with being soft.

MORGAN: You're in touch with your feminine side.

STEWART: Yes. I'm still butch, playing football Sunday.

MORGAN: So you're a butch football playing softy.

STEWART: Absolutely right.

MORGAN: When we come back, Rod Stewart's rocky road to true love. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: It was hard for her coming into this family with all the kids. They were weary. They didn't want dad to get hurt again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. STEWART: When I first met rod I realized that it wasn't going to be your regular relationship. My dream was always to have a child. To see Rod's flock made me want to have a family with him even more so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Let me take you to the moment you first saw Penny.

STEWART: All right.

MORGAN: It was an extraordinarily strikingly beautiful woman. Congratulations. But the first moment you saw her, what did you think?

STEWART: Well, it was at the Dorchester Hotel. And I literally had just broken up with Rachel. I mean, within the last 24 hours it had become -- it was in the newspapers. And I walked in and there she was.

And she was dancing. And she's really an extraordinary dancer. You know, she's 6'1" and in high heel, everything I wanted, you know. So we got to talking. And I said, you know -- she knew who I was. She had sent someone over to get my autograph.

And I invited her down to Al's (ph) Court, which is a place in London where we do concerts, to take a few photographs. Had me eye on that.

MORGAN: That old trick.

STEWART: That old trick.

MORGAN: Come and take my picture, darling.

STEWART: Come and take me picture, darling. I kept my side of the street clean. I didn't see her for another six months. The bass player in my band said she's too good for you, Rod. You are going to wait six months until your heart breaks all finished. Then I'll give you her phone number.

MORGAN: That was good advice. After six months, he gave you the number.

STEWART: I phoned her up and her boyfriend answered. Or a moment it was the answer phone. And I thought the guy -- his name was Mick -- I think it was a woman. So I just phoned back and she answered and we made a date.

As it was, she was breaking up with her boyfriend anyway. So I came to her rescue.

MORGAN: And how long was it before you realized you were in love with Penny?.

STEWART: It wasn't immediate. It's -- because I was still hurting a bit. You know, I didn't want anything to do with women. Never going to get married again. Don't want nothing to do with it. But I think after about six or seven months, we began to fall in love.

MORGAN: Are you as happy now as you've ever been?

STEWART: Yeah, without a doubt.

MORGAN: What is it about Penny? How has she wouldn't say tamed the wild man. You're not really like that, and haven't been for a long time. But what was it about her that gave you contentment, do you think?

STEWART: She's naughty. She's sort of naughty in a lovely schoolgirl way, if you know what I mean.

MORGAN: I think I do, yes.

STEWART: You know what I mean. But apart from that we have wonderful sex, she's just thoughtful.

MORGAN: You still can at your age.

STEWART: Oh, yeah, don't you worry about that, mate.

She's very thoughtful, very loving and very caring. It was hard for her coming into this family with all the kids. They were weary. They didn't want dad to get hurt again.

But one by one, she sort of won them all over. And the girls come to her for advice now. So --

MORGAN: Do you think this is it? Do you think she's the one?

STEWART: Beyond a doubt. Beyond a doubt.

MORGAN: Coming up, the moment when Rod Stewart's career nearly ended.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You're one of the world's great singers and you've just been told you -- if this goes wrong, you may never sing again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: When Rod went to the doctor's and had a scan and they discovered a small cancerous growth on his thyroid, the first thing Rod did was kept it to himself. That idea that if he survived he might not be able to sing was just the most -- must have been the most scariest scariest moment. I just can't imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: It was thyroid cancer. I went for a regular checkup. And, you know, they said, Mr. Stewart, you better come back. That phone call, better come back. There's something going on.

MORGAN: When you got that call, what were you thinking?

STEWART: Didn't even think it could be cancer. Not me, Rod Stewart. I'm fit. I work out. You know? But sure enough it was a little growth that they think they should cut out.

And I was in and out of the hospital in 24 hours. So when people say, oh, you battled cancer, you know, I didn't. I was dead lucky.

MORGAN: But did you get a sense then of your own mortality for the first time?

STEWART: Yeah, yeah.

MORGAN: Did you think to yourself, I could die here?

STEWART: Yeah, yeah, I didn't -- no, I didn't when I went into the surgery. But afterwards, the surgeon told me how delicate the operation was. You know, he says if there had been an earthquake while I was operating on your throat, he said, one little slip and you wouldn't have spoken again, because the nerve and the thyroid are so close together.

MORGAN: Wow.

STEWART: So, yeah, it did bring me down to Earth. You know, I kept thinking what am I going to do? I can't sing.

MORGAN: What goes through your -- I mean you're one of the world's great singers and you've just been told if this goes wrong, you may never sing again.

STEWART: Some people would have been pleased.

MORGAN: I can think of a few. Hallelujah! What was going through your mind, seriously?

STEWART: I was frightened, really scared, and all sorts of thoughts were going through my mind, you know, of becoming a landscape gardener. I had no interest in gardens whatsoever. Maybe I'll start a landscape gardening firm. Just mad.

But I went to -- I had some singing coaches give me some advice. But in the end, it was getting the band together in the garage and just singing every day. One minute I could sing for maybe two lines of Maggie May. The next day four lines, then I could sing a verse, then the whole song.

MORGAN: Was there a moment when -- like a Eureka moment when you knew you were back?

STEWART: Yes, exactly six months after the operation, five or six month.

MORGAN: What was the moment?

STEWART: Well, I could do an hour of singing. You know, I could sing without being sore and hoarse. That was it.

MORGAN: Was that the greatest relief you've ever --

STEWART: Certainly was, mate. That's a nice relief.

No, it was. It really was. It was wonderful. It's -- it brought me down to Earth.

MORGAN: When your life was flashing before you in that period, which obviously I guess it does, if there's one moment of your entire life that you could relive again before you die, what would it be?

STEWART: Outside of football?

MORGAN: It can include football, but for this audience --

STEWART: it probably would be the day Maggie May become number one in Great Britain, you know. And I remember I was driving down Swiss College, a place in London. I heard it on the radio. I knew we would get close to number one, but it was number one.

And I turned the car around, went all the way back to me mum and dad's counsel house, and walked in proud, give them a big hug. My dad was nonplussed. He said, oh, I'll put the kettle on for you, make a cup of tea.

That was -- that stuck in my mind forever, the pride on their faces, you know, because they never pushed me to do anything else. They didn't say, go and get a job; this rock 'n' roll is never going to last. They were always, you know, stick at it, boy, you know, stick at it. So bless them.

MORGAN: Do you have great ambition left? Or are you content now to keep rocking at the level that you are?

STEWART: Well, you know, the business has been very kind to me. You know, the people out there have been kind.

Ambition? I want to stay healthy. I want to be happy. I know it sounds, you know, cheap and -- but I

MORGAN: Nothing wrong with life.

STEWART: I'm very scared of becoming unhealthy. I'm a bit paranoid about it.

MORGAN: Next, one of rock's original bad boys reinvents himself as an all-American crooner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ARNOLD STIEFEL, ROD'S MANAGER: 1982, Rod said he would like to do an album of the kind of songs he heard as he was growing up.

I said, let's just put it away and there will come a time, maybe, when you can bring it out again. And sure enough, 18 years later, that time came. The perfect person for it was Clive Davis.

CLIVE DAVIS, CHIE CREATIVE OFFICER, SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT: So the idea associated that voice with great standards to me was a wealth.

STIEFEL: Went on to become the biggest selling collected music series in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You've got the new album, "The Best of the Great American Song Book," a follow up to your hugely successful album before, which brought you back into huge vogue in America. It's extraordinary that you've had this career resurgence on great American songs?

STEWART: Yeah, it is. You know, for a British boy from North London, to be singing these songs of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong is quite remarkable.

MORGAN: When you had the idea, quite a gamble for you to do that?

STEWART: Yeah.

MORGAN: Were there people telling you don't do this?

STEWART: First I had the idea in the '80s. But the record label at the time said we think you're a rock singer and we don't want you to be anything else.

But when I went to Jay Records, my current label, they had nothing but enthusiasm for it. And it was done as a labor of love. I thought if this 50,000, I've got it off me chest and I've done it. So I think I'm up to about 20 million now.

MORGAN: What are you expecting from this one? How long can this franchise continue? There's so many great songs you can sing.

STEWART: Well, this is it. This is the last. This is the best of the five albums. So we move on to other things now. I want to do maybe a blues album with my good mate Jeff Peck or I may do a country album.

MORGAN: Really?

STEWART: I'm supposed to do a Christmas album sometime. I keep getting letters through the post.

MORGAN: You can do a country album?

STEWART: Yeah, man. It seems I can sing that stuff. I love to. Country music now is -- to me seems more like rock 'n' roll. There's -- they crossed over.

MORGAN: And there's a tour coming.

STEWART: Yes, myself and Stevie Nicks are going to go out and tour. We'll do a few songs together.

MORGAN: Do you still get the same kick out of touring?

STEWART: Yeah.

MORGAN: Is it still the one thing that is more exciting than anything else?

STEWART: Well, Celtie beating Rangers is good. But yeah, it is. It's very hard for me to explain to you how it is. It's -- to walk out and feel all that. As I said, it really is love --

MORGAN: Take me out. I'm walking out with you through the tunnel onto the stage. There's 80,000 people. What is that feeling like?

STEWART: I don't suffer nerves like I used to. I was more nervous to do this interview than going out in front of an audience.

MORGAN: Because it's so dangerous.

STEWART: But it has been dangerous. But it's wonderful. It's anticipation, because you sort of know what you're going to get from the audience, but you're not sure whether they're going to react in the way you want them to.

Sometimes when they don't react the way I want them to, that really makes me mess about.

MORGAN: How do you know when you've got them?

STEWART: You can see it, mate. You can feel it. It's like an avalanche going over you.

MORGAN: Really?

STEWART: It's tremendous, yes.

MORGAN: Is that the greatest feeling?

STEWART: Yeah, yeah, it is. MORGAN: Is that better than sex?

STEWART: No, no, it's not that good, mate. Bloody -- never going to be that good. No, but it is a wonderful feeling. It really is. Thank you everybody out there that's put me in that position.

MORGAN: What would you like your epitaph to be?

STEWART: I'm a celebrity, get me out of here. I've finally given up smoking.

MORGAN: Do you have a way you would like to be remembered then?

STEWART: Just as an honest guy who loved his football, just a simple man really who got extremely lucky, extremely lucky.

MORGAN: If your parents could be sitting now watching this, what do you think they would have thought?

STEWART: Well, you know, they saw me break through in the early '70s. I had a massive house in England. They'd be over the moon.

MORGAN: They would be proud of you as a man, do you think, the way you've evolved?

STEWART: Yeah, they would, I'm sure. I think they would probably go around turning all the lights out to save electricity.

MORGAN: You've touched on this, obviously a delicate area. But you have got a little bit of a reputation, Rod, as being --

(CROSS TALK)

STEWART: It's not true. It's not true. I'm very careful with money. I'm not very trusting of accountants and lawyers and the like. Because you get guys like Madoff that went to jail, and people have got turned over in this business. I was turned over for considerable amounts of money. And it makes you not trusting.

MORGAN: You've lost lots of money?

STEWART: Yeah, not compared to some. But I got swindled by not keeping an eye on the books, which I do now.

MORGAN: Do you know how much you're worth?

STEWART: Sort of. It all depends -- it's inflation and current market terms.

MORGAN: I've read anything from 100 million to 500 million.

STEWART: No, that's disgusting. We can't talk about that. That's a very dangerous question, I must admit.

MORGAN: Is this the most dangerous interview you've ever -- STEWART: It's bordering on it. I don't know. I really don't know. I don't want to retire. That is one dread I have in life, when this finally ends, like most people in entertainment.

MORGAN: Does it have to end, though? If you're your kind of singer, you're singing great standards now, do you ever have to end? Sinatra was still going in his 80s. Is there a moment when your pride would say to you, enough?

STEWART: No. I would imagine, you know -- I don't think I'll ever be fat or if my hair fell out.

MORGAN: What would be the worst thing for you?

STEWART: The Barnett (ph) going.

MORGAN: Bald?

STEWART: I don't know how I would cope with that. There's one thing me and the queen have got in common. Do you know what it is?

MORGAN: Go on.

STEWART: We've both had the same haircut for 40 years.

MORGAN: Your hair is extraordinary. How do you keep it in such magnificent splendor.

STEWART: It gets cut every couple of weeks. That's very important.

MORGAN: Cut or is it like a hedge trim.

STEWART: Now, now. This has been a nice interview so far. I get it cut every couple weeks. But I do look after it. I wash it every other day, put oils in it. When I'm not staying in, I just cover it in oil, keep it --

MORGAN: Would you say you're vain on that?

STEWART: Yeah. Most men are. Come on, I saw when you came in the house, look at yourself in the mirror. You're giving it one of them.

MORGAN: I was admiring your guild aged antique mirror, actually.

STEWART: No more than any other guy. No more than you, I don't think.

MORGAN: Last question. I've been saving this, because it is a dangerous one. And I'm not quite sure how you're going to react to this. But I've got to ask it.

STEWART: Are you gay?

MORGAN: Well, it wasn't going to be that, but maybe it's something you want to tell me, Rod.

No, no, it's actually whether you're still wearing women's underwear?

STEWART: No, not today I'm not. That as something I did when I was going out with a woman called Brie Ekland (ph), and we were short --

MORGAN: Who was a movie star, of course.

STEWART: A wonderful movie star. She doesn't speak too highly of me anymore. But we were short of stage nickers, so she borrowed me her --

MORGAN: For what period of time were you wearing women's underwear?

STEWART: Just for one show. But my press agent let it slip. I actually put them on back to front, because, you know, I couldn't get me block and tackle in a pair of women's nickers. So I put them on back to front and we got through the show.

MORGAN: Thank you, Rod.

STEWART: Cheers, mate.

MORGAN: It's been a lot of fun. And it's been dangerous.

STEWART: And it's been explosive.