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Interview With Bristol Palin

Aired July 21, 2011 - 21:00:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go now.

My primetime special with PALIN: No topic off limit, not her mom, not her virginity, not the drastic change in the way she looks, not even Levi Johnston.

And that just a start.

Let`s go figure this out.

Bristol Palin, one of the most famous single moms in America and a lightning rod.

She`s also one of the most famous daughters. From small town Alaska girl to pregnant teen and primetime dancing star. It is all chronicled in her new book "not afraid of life." and it is a life Bristol had not imagined.


PINSKY(voice-over): As a child growing up in Wasilla, Alaska, she loved her family, sports, and the great outdoors.

In 2006 when her mother Sarah Palin became governor of Alaska, Bristol experienced her first small taste of life in the spotlight. But nothing could compare to the summer glare of August 2008 when John McCain selected her mom as vice presidential running mate. Just days later the ticket would announce that 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant with the child of her then-boyfriend Levi Johnston. The announcement has set-off a media firestorm.

Bristol Palin was a sexually active teen while her mother built a political career based on conservative values including a no nonsense stance on abstinence.


PINKSY: Bristol, you`ve became sexually active as a teen. It started with a little white lie to your mom and some wine coolers didn`t it?


PINSKY: Tell us about your book.

PALIN: Yes. That`s what my book starts off with is that life changing moment where I went from being a care-free teenager into an adulthood type of relationship. And it was so important for me to write it in my book just because it was so life changing.

PINSKY: That moment was. You describe in the book a lot of feels about that moment. In fact, the idea of losing one`s virginity is something you take issue with.


PINSKY: Tell us about that.

PALIN: Yes. It was a night that I look back on with the adult eyes that I have now and I just realize that that was so stupid. That was so stupid to lie to my mom and to have those series of bad decisions can I made all in one night. But it was definitely life changing.

PINSKY: But one of them was intoxicated.

PALIN: Yes. Underage drinking.

PINSKY: Now, in California that would be a rape. Is it the same in Alaska?

PALIN: You know I don`t know the laws on it. But I`m not accusing Levi of rape or anything like that.

PINSKY: Did it feel like a rape?

PALIN: It was consensual because I stayed with him for years on and after that. But -

PINSKY: Now, remember kids do when they tried to make it right by justifying what happened by sticking together.

PALIN: But I don`t feel like it was rape.

PINSKY: Don`t feel like? That evening you didn`t feel like you`ve been violated or those kinds of rape of feelings?


PINSKY: OK. I want you to read something from the book about this. Read right there.

PALIN: Suddenly I`d wondered why it was called losing your virginity because it felt more like stolen and Levi wasn`t there to process or even confirm my greatly fear suspicions. Instead of waking up in his arms, I awakened in a tent alone as he talked to this friend on the other side of the canvass. I didn`t realize this is the sign of many things to come.

But I did know one thing I was going to marry Levi. I had to now.

PINSKY: Now, to me that`s a very -- you read it sort of emotionless, but that was an emotion-filled series of moments for you.

PALIN: Yes, it was.

PINSKY: I mean, sad.

PALIN: Yes. Definitely sad. But I`m not accusing him of rape at all.

PINSKY: No, just stay with the feelings. It must have made you sad.

PALIN: Yes. It did make me sad because that`s not how I pictured losing my virginity to be.

PINSKY: And it must have made you angry?

PALIN: Yes I was a little ticked off.

PINSKY: OK. Did you express that?

PALIN: Yes. He knew that I was.

PINSKY: If I were Todd, your dad, I`d want to rip his face off. I think track actually wanted to do that.

PALIN: Definitely. Yes.

PINSKY: Do you guys disagree with me? My stage manager agrees with me. And he has proved himself to be not the best father and not the best boyfriend. And it must have hurt and made you angry. Must have.

PALIN: It did hurt and it did make me angry. Because I wanted to remain pure until my wedding night and that was the first of many bad decisions to come.

PINSKY: What was the next one?

PALIN: Thinking that it was OK to do it again since I had already done it once and since I`d already broken my moral code.

PINSKY: Right. So just get all the way in. But you were going to make it OK because you were marrying him?

PALIN: Yes. It was the Band-Aid on it because I was going to OK because eventually I`ll marry him.

PINSKY: Did he give any signs that he was on board for that plan at least at that point?

PALIN: Oh, yes. He was ready to get married.

PINSKY: Seriously? You`re saying that with a smirk.

PALIN: I`m saying that because I looked back on it now. And like been a young woman I`m like - I was an idiot believing that and thinking that. But -Yes he had me convinced that we were going to be together forever.

PINSKY: So in retrospect, that`s how he kept you in the sexual relationship?


PINSKY: All right. During the interview in 2009 with an interview with Greta Van Susteren, this was on FOX News, Bristol conversation about of her son Tripp, was interrupted by her mother Sarah Palin.

Watch this.


SARAH PALIN: We are all surprised. But let me put it this way and this is - I think Bristol`s kind of example, a truly it can happen to anybody.

Bristol, great athlete. Great student. Great aspirations she had planned that didn`t include a baby, of course. But it did happen to her. And now again less that ideal circumstances but we make the most of it.


PINSKY: What do you think about that?

PALIN: I think my mom`s statements on that are completely true.

PINSKY: Was she trying to rescue you from something?

PALIN: No she wasn`t even in the room when we were doing it.

PINSKY: She just came in?

PALIN: Yes. She just walked on in.

PINSKY: Do you think - you know your mom is a huge part of your life. Your family is a huge part of your life. And your mom is the huge part of the American landscape which is got to be crazy making for you. Yes?

PALIN: Yes, definitely.

PALIN: Is part of what was going on in her life perhaps contributing to the bad decisions you made, particularly that first night?

PALIN: I don`t think so at all, no. I think tat -

PINSKY: Come on now. Your - I`m not letting you get away with that because it has to have. Your mom is taken away by the national media and they`re vilifying her.

You`ve got to want to escape, I would imagine. Or have somebody who needed you to help you through that, no?

PALIN: No. And my mom was our Governor of Alaska but that -

PINSKY: Well I guess that wasn`t happening at that point. She was just away being a governor at that point.


PINSKY: I see. So she hadn`t hit the national stream when that happened?

PALIN: Yes. And my family is so grounded and so closes that anything that we`ve gone through --

PINSKY: Why was your dad Todd was someone I could hang out with? He just seems one of those guys.

PALIN: Yes he`s a cool guy.

PINSKY: Yes. Do you spend a lot of time with him?

PALIN: Yes. I do. I do spend a lot time with my family.

PINSKY: Did he have anything to say about those series of bad decisions? I haven`t heard his point of view yet. As a dad I`m interested.

PALIN: Showing him the first chapter of the book was -

PINSKY: Oh, he didn`t know about it until the book came out?

PALIN: Yes. Well before the book came out I showed it to him before I submitted that chapter.

PINSKY: So you`re telling me he didn`t know of the details of what went down?

PALIN: No. As a dad I don`t know if he would want to know.

PINSKY: No you don`t want to know. But you report coming to your mom. I`m surprised she didn`t al least included him in that. No judgment on your mom, I mean every couple makes their own decision about this kind of thing.

So do you think maybe she tipped him off, your mom?

PALIN: No. I gave them the chapter of that book and neither of them had known about them.

PINSKY: Oh, neither of them knew? Oh, they must have been pissed.

PALIN: Yes. They were just like are you sure you want to include this in your book, Bristol? This is personal. I wanted to include it because the more candid and open I am in my book I feel like the more relatable it is going to be.

PINSKY: And more of an impact on other young women.

PALIN: Yes, absolutely.

I`m trying to get you to connect to the feelings part of this. If people understand the feelings about it you had -- you know young women. If you look with adult eyes, it`s different when you`re younger. You got to find a different way to shape behavior. Not so much with words but with feelings and experiences. And your experience will hopefully have that impact, hopefully.

Levi Johnston, Bristol`s former fiance and father of her child. But their nice relationship ended with accusations of cheating, bad parenting, and using their son Tripp as a pawn.

What ended this relationship and what role does Levi play in Tripp`s life today?

We`ll find out when we come back.


PINSKY: When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008, a young man by the name of Levi Johnston accompanied Palin`s daughter Bristol to the Republican rally.

America soon learned that 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant with Levi`s child.

And as the media focused on their relationship, we learned more and more about Levi`s bad boy image and wonder how a good girl Bristol could fall for guy like Levi.

Before we talk about Levi Johnston, I want to read something that you wrote about him. So here it goes, "Levi`s bad behavior wasn`t the deal breaker for me. I found him exciting. Like many women I went for the "bad boy" who didn`t care about the authority. After all, he was my opposite. I was a rule follower, a teacher`s pet, a straight a student. Levi could barely get through a week without getting into trouble."

What do you think that was all about going for the bad boy?

PALIN: I think lots of women do go for the bad boy. I also saw him - you know, he came from a broken family. He didn`t really have any morals or believes or anything likes that. I saw him as something that I could fix. That I could come into his life and be like let me show you the good path. Let me help you. Let me help you grow as a person.

PINSKY: How`d that work out?

PALIN: It didn`t work out at all.

PINSKY: Call that codependency in my world where you have a project to fix. You think most young girls that go for the bad boy are doing that?

PALIN: I think lots of girls do, definitely.

PINSKY: In my experience, most of them if they don`t have a bad boy dad, like a dad who`s unavailable, your dad is very available.


PINSKY: Will go through that phase and move out of it.


PINSKY: Have you moved out?

PALIN: Absolutely. I realize now you can`t change anyone at all. It`s in their own hands to change themselves.

PINSKY: Did you perceive him as somebody`s strong and you want to be protected by and sort of misinterpreted that pathology?

PALIN: Yes, absolutely. I write in my book about it too. We were walking into a gas station one time and I`ll never forget it.

He was walking with his chest out like "I`m so big and I`m so tough". And I just felt so protected in that which I think is kind of weird because I did have a big protective father.

PINSKY: What do you think that was all about?

PALIN: I`m not sure.

PINSKY: Go for different kinds of guys now?

PALIN: Yes, definitely. My view on guys has completely changed.

PINSKY: How`s it different?

PALIN: I like guys that are into their families that are on the same page with their faith as me.

PINSKY: OK. Let`s keep talking about Levi. In April 2009 he appeared on the Tyra Banks Show. And after some prodding Tyra, he revealed pretty intimate details about your sex life with him.

Watch this.


TYRA BANKS, HOST, TYRA BANKS SHOW: Were you practicing safe sex?


BANKS: Even when the baby was conceived?

JOHNSTON: We were.

BANKS: And so there were just wardrobe malfunctions?

JOHNSTON: I guess.

BANKS: Really?

JOHNSTON: Yes. I guess so.

BANKS: Every time you practiced safe sex?


BANKS: Every time?

JOHNSTON: Every time.

BANKS: Levi?

JOHNSTON: Most of the time.

BANKS: Most of the time, there you go.


PINSKY: Had to have been most of the time unless there was a failure of some type.


PINSKY: In your book you say it`s more than - you did practice safe sex after while. You were on the pill, right?

PALIN: Yes. I was on birth control when I got pregnant. I have stopped taking it for like three or four days.

PINSKY: You left it out in the book?

PALIN: No, that`s on the book.

PINSKY: I didn`t see that.

PALIN: That`s in the book. It`s really in a book.

PINSKY: If you missed a pill, you`re not taking it the way you were supposed to.

PALIN: No it wasn`t used effectively but I was in birth control and wasn`t used effectively at all. But, yes it bugs me to see stuff like that on TV because of like - . First of all, why is Tyra jumping like she won the lottery or something when he got that out of him and he said initially we were practicing safe sex.

PINSKY: You shared feelings about the Tyra interview in the book. Let`s read one of those exerts shall we.

There we go.

PALIN: This was my life: Balancing a baby of my hip while the intimate details on my life were shared on national television. Almost everything Levi was false. But the facts didn`t stop him.

Later in the year he posed completely naked in a play girl magazine.

PINSKY: What`s he doing now?

PALIN: I`m not sure. I don`t talk to him. Don`t really hear from him.

PINSKY: Is he getting in trouble?

PALIN: Not that I know of.

PINSKY: Is he being a father to Tripp?

PALIN: No. Definitely not.

PINSKY: You cover a lot of heavy feelings behind a delightful smile.

PALIN: Yes. I think it`s hard to talk about that kind of stuff. Just because I want what`s best for Tripp and I want him to have a father. But obviously that`s not an option right now.

PINSKY: Again, there you are smiling at me when you`re saying things that make me angry.


PINSKY: It`s OK to be angry.

After Bristol gave birth to Tripp in December 2008, she talked about life as a single mom.

Watch this.


PALIN: You have so much responsibility and its hard work all the time. It`s a 24 hour a day job.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And in terms of hanging out, in terms of what you`re able to do. How is it change?

PALIN: You don`t have friends. You can`t just get up and go to the movies or get your hair done or anything like that. You put your baby first.


PINSKY: Still tough?

PALIN: Yes, it`s still tough and I`m realizing more and more every day, no matter what your background is as a single mom or teen parent, it`s still going to be tough.

PINSKY: Absolutely.

PALIN: Even if you have a good job, you have a good paycheck. It`s still going to be hard.

PINSKY: It`s hard for any young people out there watching the show, try to articulate what that is because they don`t appreciate what it is to be a mom. It`s depleting. It`s intense. Isn`t that what you`re talking about?

PALIN: It`s exhausting. It`s something that you can never just clock out of or really take a break from. You`re always worried about your child and how they`re doing. It`s just something that`s in your mind all the time.

PINSKY: Who has Tripp right now?

PALIN: He`s with my family right now.

PINSKY: Your mom and dad?

PALIN: Yes, for the day.

PINSKY: Tell us something we don`t know about your family?

PALIN: We - I think we`re like the closest family ever.

PINSKY: But you`re not allowed to talk about feelings, it seems like. It`s just interesting. Maybe it`s too close to have feelings.

PALIN: I think we`re so close and keep our feelings within our family.

PINSKY: So you won`t share with me or the public?

PALIN: I`m trying to. And I think I do a good job in the book because it was easy for me to sit back and have my family support right behind me like its OK. You can talk about this. So like doing it in person is just hard for me.

PINSKY: OK. I understand. I`m not trying to out you in any way. I want you to be as comfortable with what you`re talking about. You`re talking about things that are very painful and very infuriating. And I can see behind your eyes what`s there. Then it`s covered by this smile.

I`d like to know really what Bristol is feeling about these horrible things that happened to her.

You know they turn out great and thank God you have a great family and everything is going great and you have this beautiful child. And you made a bit of this.

But if you don`t talk about the reality, not just of the difficulty it is to be a mom which is intense in itself. But the reality of what was taken from you and the pain with that. It`s hard for people to relate unless they really understand that.

PALIN: Yes. And I hope with this book, I really do hope that young girls will see the foolishness I`ve made and they can learn something from the mistakes that I`ve made and from the lessons that I`ve learned.

PINSKY: I want to just take this back real quick before I break to your mom. I mean, you`ve got very special stress with that don`t you?

PALIN: With my mom`s career?

PINSKY: Yes with her being so public and you being in the public.

PALIN: Yes, but I`m -- I mean, her job is her own thing.

PINSKY: But people have such strong feelings about her. It seems like a lot of that nonsense gets bled over to you, a separate person, a single mom. You have to take on all that that people feel about her.

PALIN: Yes. I`m pretty tough, though, when it comes to criticism for sure.

PINSKY: You`re OK with that?


PINSKY: Up next, the summer of 2008 and the McCain-Palin ticket reveals that Sarah Palin`s Bristol is pregnant.

As the national spotlight focuses on Bristol`s pregnancy, it`s a very private and personal conversation with John McCain`s wife Cindy that truly stuns her.

Bristol shares the details when we come back.


PINSKY (voice-over): In September 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin became John McCain`s running mate as the Republican nominee for vice president.

It was a day that would change the life of Sarah Palin and her family forever. It would also put Bristol Palin face to face with the McCain`s, then the most powerful Republican family in the country.

PINSKY: Just after the McCain-Palin ticket is announced and you had your pregnancy too has also announced you had a rather strange encounter with Cindy McCain, right?


PINSKY: I want you to read what you wrote about that.

PALIN: OK. This is her talking to me.

She said "Bristol, I have three things I want to tell you. I just want you to know that I want to be one of the first people to hold your baby. Also I want to go to your wedding when it comes together and lastly John and I want to be god parents to your child."

PINSKY: How long had you known her at that point?

PALIN: I think that was the third may be the fourth day that I met her.

PINSKY: Four days and she wants to be your god parent? Did that strikes you as strange?

PALIN: Yes, I thought it was strange. I just laughed it off. Just like -

PINSKY: Thank you.

There`s that smile again. I`m not going to tell you what I`m feeling.

PALIN: But I kind just thought of it as kind a just a joke, maybe.

PINSKY: What do you think she was up to?

PALIN: I think she`s a nice person and I think she was just trying to be nice. But for me, it was strange just because my family is so close. If something were to happen to me, Tripp would go to my parents or my siblings.

PINSKY: Did anything come from that? Did she develop a relationship with you? Did she -


PINSKY: That was just sort of an offer. I think she was trying to make you feel supported in the face of this frenzy that is going on.

PALIN: I think so.

PINSKY: Did you? Did you feel supported?

PALIN: I definitely did, just because there were lots of people that were supporting me. My family was supporting me. So I don`t think I felt too alone during that time.

PINSKY: Did you develop any feelings about John McCain and his family?

PALIN: I think John`s a great guy. I really like him but I never really got along with her daughter.

PINSKY: What`s her name?

PALIN: Megan.

PINSKY: Megan. Is that in the book? I don`t remember reading it.

PALIN: Yes, it is.

PINSKY: What happened there?

PALIN: We just come from two different worlds. When my mom was Governor, she sold the Governor`s jet. We never flew first class on a regular airplane. She got rid of the Governor`s chef. All those types of things.

And I think that defined her by being a politician`s daughter where it didn`t define me and it doesn`t define me today.

PINSKY: Now, you`ve got an older brother, a younger sister -

PALIN: Two younger sisters.

PINSKY: Two younger sisters and Trig.

PALIN: Trigg, my youngest brother.

PINSKY: How are their lives going?

PALIN: Good.

PINSKY: Are they involved in your life?

PALIN: Yes. We live in separate homes but close together.

PINSKY: Do you live in the same home?

PALIN: We live in separate homes but we are all very close together.

PINSKY: Last time I talked to you was a year ago. You were planning to move out and live completely independently. What happened to that plan?

PALIN: I moved out to California for "Dancing with the Stars" and I had an awesome time there. But Alaska is Tripp and my`s - that`s our home.

PINSKY: Is it because you didn`t want to be away from your family after all?


PINSKY: I saw a little sadness flash across you. Did something happen?

PALIN: No I lived in California and I have like to experience living out of state.

PINSKY: Did you like living alone?

PALIN: I did but my family was always come to visit me.

PINSKY: Sarah Palin arguably one of the most talked about and vilified women in politics.

From "Saturday Night Live" skits to left-leaning pundit, everyone seems to have something to say about Sarah Palin. Not much of its very good.

Up next, Bristol`s take on her critics and she addresses speculations that Sarah Palin is throwing her hat into the 2012 presidential race.


PINSKY: You`re watching my special primetime interview with Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin and author of a new book "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far."


PINSKY (voice-over): As the daughter for former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, Bristol is well aware of the pressure involved when your parent running for political office. I recently talked to Bristol about the upcoming 2012 presidential election and whether Bristol, herself, wants her mom to throw her hat into the ring.



PINSKY (on-camera): So, will Sarah run for president in 2012? She talked to "Newsweek" in the latest issue, and here`s what she had to say, quote, "I believe I can win a national election. I`m not so egotistical as believe that it has to be me or it can only be me to turn things around, but I do believe that I can win. Bristol, do you agree?

PALIN: I definitely agree.

PINSKY: Or do you hope it`s not true? I mean, you hope she doesn`t win. You know what I mean?


PINSKY: I can imagine as a daughter of someone -- please no, don`t do that.

PALIN: No. I think the people are going to be talking about my family and her and everyone else no matter what we`re doing.

PINSKY: Do you like that?

PALIN: I mean, I don`t know how to feel about it. I think that there`s awesome opportunities that come with it, but then, I also think there`s lots of drawbacks and lots of negatives towards it, but I think whatever she does will be right for our family and right for herself.

PALIN: Stay with I don`t know how to feel about it, because I got the ambivalence that you, sometimes, you`ve been able to write a book, you able to campaign about teen pregnancies, pretty cool things have come out of it. You`ve been a separate person doing your own thing in the world because of the road that she has laid down before you, right?

PALIN: Yes. And I`m very blessed. I can take care of trip financially. And I`ve gotten to travel and see the world. And I`ve gotten a platform to talk about things that are so important to me and so near and dear to my heart. And, so that side of it, I feel blessed.

PINSKY: So, those things are young women?


PINSKY: And teen pregnancy?

PALIN: Teen pregnancy prevention and young women, yes.

PINSKY: Love or hate Sarah Palin, it is probably not a good idea to mess with her. Watch this clip from TLC`s "Sarah Palin`s Alaska."


SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Today, Todd and Bristol and I headed out to our local shooting range. We wanted to shoot some clay pigeons and remind Bristol what it`s like to pull the trigger.





PALIN: Missed it.

SARAH PALIN: I better practice the birds before I give you the bird.


PINSKY: Sounds like she can get a little salty (ph) and intense sometimes. What`s she like behind closed doors?

PALIN: She`s hilarious behind closed doors. She`s always just making all of us just laugh.

PINSKY: She made me laugh on that very series. Your dad, she climbed up some cliffs and got stuck up there. That was one of the funniest things I`ve ever seen on television, I got to tell you. And they let it run. She was stuck up there. She was like Todd. Todd! Right?



PINSKY: Is that the kind of stuff they do as a couple and as a family?

PALIN: Yes. We`re outside all the time.

PINSKY: They seem very into each other. They seem that they really - -


PINSKY: A good pair.

PALIN: Yes, they are.

PINSKY: And yet, trying to figure out what led you to make such bad choices early on. Were they just not available during that period of your life, do you think? She`s busy with the governorship and all?

PALIN: I think they were, but I think that was my one thing to rebel on.


PALIN: Because I was literally straight "a" student, just brownnoser, good athlete, just really good kid, and that was my one thing.

PINSKY: This was it. You just had a lot of bags that came with it.


PINSKY: Do you pay attention to the critics that mock and belittle your mom?

PALIN: I don`t. I don`t at all.

PINSKY: Doesn`t get it at all?

PALIN: I don`t. The only time I really just get heated is if they`re talking about my siblings.

PINSKY: Isn`t that interesting?


PINSKY: I mean, you don`t hear too much of that, do you?

PALIN: No, but when they`re picking on, like, my brother, Tripp, that`s when I just get mad.

PINSKY: Like give me an example of when that`s happened.

PALIN: Let`s see. There was a picture that was photo shopped of him to make him look like a little devil. And that to me, I was just like hold me back. I was just so mad about that.

PINSKY: Yes. Does he and Tripp have a relationship?

PALIN: Yes. They`re about seven or eight months apart, and developmentally, they`re about the same. So, it`s really fun.

PINSKY: Because no one ever talks about that. I never see them together. I`ve never seen on photograph together.


PINSKY: Isn`t it funny?

PALIN: Yes. They`re together all the time.

PINSKY: Right now, I think they would be. Right now, they must be.

PALIN: Right now. This second, they are. Yes.

PINSKY: That`s interesting. All right. Now, since the 2008 presidential election, Tina Fey`s impersonation of Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live" has become a sensation and one of my favorites. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so excited when I was told Senator Clinton and I would be addressing you tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that diplomacy should be the corner stone of any foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I can see Russia from my house.



PINSKY: Now, that is one of the most famous moments of her impersonation of your mom.


PINSKY: Does it bother you?

PALIN: It doesn`t bother me at all, but her accent is like nothing close to my mom`s voice at all.

PINSKY: It is for those -- it`s a caricature of her voice.


PINSKY: But that kind of stuff, does it offend you?

PALIN: No, it doesn`t.

PINSKY: Do you laugh with her? Does she laugh at it?

PALIN: Yes, she does laugh at it. And when she was on that episode, I was with her. And it`s just funny because my mom can kind of own up to it, and she can laugh with them.

PINSKY: Own up to being?

PALIN: To being that person, to being, you know, glasses and her hair up, and I just think it`s funny that she can go out there and laugh with them.

PINSKY: One of the things that that impersonation always sort of took aim at was they made her seem not intelligent.


PINSKY: Doesn`t that bother you?

PALIN: That kind of gets on my nerves, but I think she`s so smart. And I think that she could debate anyone and do very well.

PINSKY: Yes. But she`s had a couple of slips.

PALIN: It depends on how you look at it, I think.

PINSKY: Well, I just imagined if somebody`s scrutinizing the way -- I imagine, have you had slips like that?

PALIN: Oh, yes, absolutely. All the time.

PINSKY: What is your primary message to young women?

PALIN: I hate being labeled (ph) as an abstinence preacher, because I`m not at all.

PINSKY: Labeled (ph)?

PALIN: No, named.

PINSKY: Named, I`m sorry. Keeping named as an abstinent preacher.

PALIN: Yes, because it`s just like --

PINSKY: Well, that`s what people take aim at? They say, who are you to preach abstinence when it didn`t go that way for you.

PALIN: Yes. And that`s why I`m not out there saying don`t have sex. I hate that kind of stuff. I`m just saying that birth control needs to be used effectively each and every single time if you`re going to be having sex, because teen pregnancy is the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through. I know that it will be. And I`m just so passionate about it just warning other young girls. It`s not an accessory on your hip.

PINSKY: Is the abstinence idea something you wish you`d stuck to and is that the message?

PALIN: It`s definitely something that I wish personally I would have stuck to.

PINSKY: But you`re not advocating it for anybody else?

PALIN: But I`m not advocating it for anyone else.

PINSKY: How about not having sex education in schools? What do you feel about that?

PALIN: I think it needs to be taught, but I mean, kids are going to do whatever they want to do at the end of the day.

PINSKY: Right. So, how do we help them make healthier choices?

PALIN: Let girls know that when you skip a few days of birth control pills --

PINSKY: It`s a big deal.

PALIN: Yes. You`re going to get pregnant. Yes.

PINSKY: Do you think the young boys have a role to play here?

PALIN: Yes. I think that they need to own up for things like that. They need to own up to getting a girl pregnant. And when a girl gets pregnant as a teen, it`s her and her family that are going to have to deal with the consequences. Usually, the boy and his family don`t have to deal with them.

PINSKY: That`s interesting. So, we need to raise our boys a little differently.

PALIN: We need to raise the standards for them, yes.

PINSKY: Because Levi`s behavior was reprehensible, frankly.

PALIN: Yes, definitely.

PINSKY: He got you drunk underage, and then, in this state, it would have been a rape. I would not want my sons doing that. Thank you (ph).


PINSKY: I hope they wouldn`t.

PALIN: Yes. I don`t want my son doing that.

PINSKY: And so, now, do you work now?

PALIN: I am just finishing up this book, and then, I`m working on a project with Kyle Masey from "Dancing with the Stars."

PINSKY: Like a reality show?


PINSKY: You and your mom`s reality show. I think I saw it a couple of times.


PINSKY: How is it filming that?

PALIN: It was a lot of fun, but, in my book, I also talked about when I got back together with Levi, that was during the filming of that show.

PINSKY: Oh-oh.

PALIN: So, it`s really like a tense production.

PINSKY: Tell me about the getting back together. That was again attempt -- every teen mom I`ve ever dealt with clings to a fantasy that she`s going to make a family with the douchebag dad.


PINSKY: Did you cling to that fantasy --

PALIN: Yes. I think that, too. Any girl that I`ve ever know, that has a baby and they`re not married, they cling to that, too. It was a fantasy that I had in the back of my mind, and I tried my hardest to make it work. And that last effort that I put into it, I knew then that it was -- it`s just not going to work ever.

PINSKY: Did anything really bad happen in the relationship? Was he ever aggressive with you?


PINSKY: Nothing bad, just wasn`t working.

PALIN: Yes. And I think once the trust is broken in a relationship - -

PINSKY: Oh, he was cheating?

PALIN: Yes. Then, it`s not going to be fixed.

PINSKY: But you already knew he was cheating.


PINSKY: He`s been cheating the last time around.

PALIN: Yes. He cheated our entire relationship. And it was on and off for four or five years.

PINSKY: What was the point where you just had enough?

PALIN: Well, we got engaged and I see this all the time in young girls where they`re on again and off again with their boyfriends and whatnot. So, we got engaged and we gave the story to "US Weekly," biggest regret of my life. And the day it came out, he comes to me, and he says, hey, this girl`s pregnant, and it might be my baby.

PINSKY: Oh by the way?

PALIN: Oh, by the way. Yes. Just, by the way.

PINSKY: What do you want for lunch?

PALIN: Yes. And this was the day that magazine hit news stands. So, then, from that day forward, I was just like, I`m just done. Tripp doesn`t deserve this for his dad. And I don`t deserve this as a potential husband.

PINSKY: Why was the article the worst decision of your life? I didn`t hear that.

PALIN: Because I had betrayed my family and I agreed with him and his handlers and his managers and got talked into selling an exclusive story to a magazine. So, I sold this exclusive story to them, and it came back and just bit me completely.


Well, octomom, Nadya Suleman, answers tough questions about her family, finances, and the pressure of raising not just eight but 14 kids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll bring more water.


PINSKY: We will also take a personal tour inside her home. You don`t want to miss this.


PINSKY (voice-over): Week after week, Bristol Palin danced her way to the top of the leader board on "Dancing with the Stars," but it didn`t come without controversy. Controversy seems to follow this family everywhere, and controversy continues today, but it has nothing to do with Bristol`s dancing and everything to do with accusations of plastic surgery. Bristol confronts these controversies when we come back.




PINSKY: Although, Bristol Palin waltzed her way to a third place finish on "Dancing with the Stars," controversy swirled around her week to week rising the rankings. Despite her low dance scores from the judges, some attributed Bristol`s staying power to her mom`s popularity, not Bristol`s dancing ability. I asked Bristol about that controversy.



PINSKY (on-camera): Well, here`s a bit of a backlash when you were on "Dancing with the Stars." What do you think that was about?

PALIN: I think it could have been about a lot of things. I think that there was a lot of support on "Dancing with the Stars," and then, there was a lot of criticism on it.

PINSKY: People somehow felt that your success was politically motivated.

PALIN: Hmmm.

PINSKY: Like it was your mom`s supporters coming in. Do you think there`s any truth to that?

PALIN: No. And I think of it too, it`s like when people vote for their favorite actor on "Dancing with the Stars," they obviously like their show. So, how is that controversial that people who like my mom voted for me on the show?

PINSKY: Do you think that`s what happened?

PALIN: I think so. Yes.

PINSKY: Some of that. OK. Now, backstage at "Dancing with the Stars," when you delivered a message -- we`re going to look at it -- a message you had to some of your haters, nonfans. Let`s look.


PALIN: We went out there. I did my best. I had fun regardless of our low scores, but whatever. It`s up to the voters now. Going out there and winning this would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me.


PINSKY: Hate you?

PALIN: Yes, I definitely do.

PINSKY: Really? They hate you?

PALIN: I think so. Definitely. A guy shot his TV because I had gotten through another week.

PINSKY: Well, let`s talk about that. The controversy surrounding the appearance of "Dancing with the Stars" was a lot. Watch this news report from my associate Vinnie Politan.


VINNIE POLITAN, HLN`S HOST OF SPECIAL REPORT: Now, Bristol Palin`s "Dancing with the Stars" performance left one Wisconsin man shooting mad. The sheriff says Steve Cowan got so upset, he pulled out his shot gun, took out his own television, then threatened to kill his wife even himself.


PINSKY: Wow! I thought angry grandpa was a lot to deal with. I have to deal with a guy that yells at me on the screen, but he has shot at the television.


PINSKY: How do you think that happened?

PALIN: Well, I definitely think there were some screws loose with him before that incident, but --

PINSKY: Clearly.

PALIN: Clearly. I just think it`s so strange that they can have so much hate over a dance show.

PINSKY: Again, I think it`s not just the dance show. It`s with your mom in sight for some reason. It`s funny that Michele Bachmann seems to be generating the same kind of feelings. Do you think we and again, even Casey Anthony, we`re asking this question regularly, which is do you think attractive women have to carry a special burden?

PALIN: Yes. I think attractive, successful women, they do have to.

PINSKY: What are we doing? As a crowd, what are we doing? Are we judging them especially hard? Are we hating them for some reason?

PALIN: I think people judge them a lot more when they are attractive, when they`re pretty.

PINSKY: You`re not allowed to be pretty and smart? You`re not allowed to be pretty and a good person?

PALIN: Yes. I think that they don`t want them to be pretty and successful and be able to have a good family.

PINSKY: Why not?

PALIN: I don`t know. I don`t know. And I think it`s weird that people have so much of an opinion on it. They either like love them or they hate them.

PINSKY: I think you`re right. I think that`s really interesting. Yes.


PINSKY: I think pretty women do generate that kind of feeling, particularly, when they start accumulating power.


PINSKY: Do you feel like a powerful person?

PALIN: I don`t feel like a powerful person. I feel like that I do have a platform, and when I am able to talk about things that are important to me, I am going to talk about them.

PINSKY: Now, you`ve been sort of thrust into the politic limelight. This wasn`t your career objectives three or four years ago, was it?


PINSKY: To be on public life and to be on television. And you`re a beautiful young woman. Do you worry about your appearance?

PALIN: I think I do to a degree.

PINSKY: Your friends say you`ve some lost weight since I last saw you.

PALIN: Yes, definitely. And I think it`s weird that looks are so important in this industry. And I hate talking about it. And I hate having to address it and stuff, because it`s like really? That`s what people are worried about is my weight fluctuating?

PINSKY: It`s this special thing for women, right? OK. But I know you hate it, but I`m making you talk about it. So, there`s also been this controversy about whether you had some plastics.


PINSKY: Want to put that to rest?

PALIN: I`ve already addressed it before. When I was like 12 years old, I had braces, I had (INAUDIBLE) where so it`s to bring your jaw forward, and it didn`t work. And they told me when I was younger that I was going to probably have a jaw surgery, and that`s what I had done.

PINSKY: They cut the mandible and move it forward?


PINSKY: Is that the procedure? Did they put an implant or anything in?


PINSKY: So, it`s just --

PALIN: Yes. I`m so sick of people talking about it, and I`m so sick appearance being such an issue.

PINSKY: You understand what they`re trying to do when they`ve oh, she`s so superficial. She`s so worried about her looks.

PALIN: Yes. And it just bugs me because --

PINSKY: And by the way, she has money so she can do this with her appearance. Think about what people think.

PALIN: Yes. I`m sure they do think that.

PINSKY: OK. So, let`s put it all the way to rest. The procedure was a mandible fracture and --

PALIN: It was something an oral surgeon did.

PINSKY: How long ago?

PALIN: This was in December.

PINSKY: December. You happy with it?

PALIN: Yes. I`m happy with it.

PINSKY: Any more surgeries planned?




PINSKY: I think that should put it to rest, right?

PALIN: Yes, hopefully. I`ve already tried to address it before, but they`re going to say whatever they want to say. So be it.

PINSKY: What are they saying? Let`s address it.

PALIN: They`re saying that I had a facelift. They`re saying that I had liposuction. They`re saying that I`ve had Botox. They`re saying I`ve had all this stuff. No, I`m 20 years old, and I`m confident. Whatever. They can say whatever they want to say. I`m just so sick of looks being such a huge topic.

PINSKY: Your love life now. Want to talk about that?

PALIN: I`m single now. I don`t have time to date.

PINSKY: I don`t believe that.

PALIN: I promise I`m single now.

PINSKY: You don`t date at all?

PALIN: I`ve dated since Tripp`s been born, but it`s not on the top of my priority list. I have a long time before I want to get married and have more kids.

PINSKY: You can still date. You`re 20.

PALIN: I know, but I have a screaming two and a half-year-old that`s always on my hip.


PINSKY: All right. Now, before we go to break, I want to tell you about something that makes the tech nerd in me very, very happy. You can watch us or other HLN or CNN shows live anywhere. That`s right. Because we are streaming on iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch. Just go to, click on the live tab and log in through your cable or satellite provider. You can see us live anywhere at no additional charge. So, do it during the break, and I will see you on the other side.


PINSKY (voice-over): Three years ago when Bristol Palin was 17, her pregnancy made national headlines. Although, Bristol wants shun the attention, today, she embraces it as an opportunity to educate the public about teen and sex. She will talk about that important platform when we come back.



PINSKY: Bristol Palin became pregnant at 17 and at 18 gave birth to a son, Tripp. Since his birth, Bristol has been vocal about the challenges she faces as a single young mom, and today, uses her own experiences to educate the public about teens and sex. But in true Palin passion, even in her desire to educate, Bristol has found herself embroiled in controversy.


PINSKY (on-camera): Earlier this year, as Bristol was scheduled to speak about abstinence at Washington University, Wash U in St. Louis, great school, but students complained about Bristol`s so-called lack of expertise on the subject. Then actress, Kate Walsh, got involved in the controversy and even tweeted this. "Please join students at Wash U to boycott Bristol Palin`s speech on abstinence. What does she know about college or abstaining? How do you respond to those critics?

PALIN: I always look at it like someone who get to go into schools and talk about gang violence. There are former gang member. And when I`m going to go in and talk about teen pregnancy, not just abstinence in specific, it`s because I lived through that. I experience it every single day, and I live with the consequences of it.

PINSKY: Yes. I do that show "Teen Mom" and "Sixteen and Pregnant." Do you think that helps?

PALIN: I think it does help, but I don`t think that anything is going to show how hard it is to be a teen mom.

PINSKY: So, what is your message to teenagers?

PALIN: It`s not easy to be a teen mom at all. I know the girls from "Teen Mom" and "Sixteen and Pregnant." They`ll say that it`s not easy. And, they just need to wait and look at their lives and think before they have actions and stuff.

PINSKY: But you`re OK and you have a kid and you seem fine. Who are you to say that? I`m just saying.


PINSKY: What do you tell those people?

PALIN: I tell those people that my life, my teenage years were cut completely short. I was on the fast track to adulthood just in an instant because of that one decision. And Tripp is just the love of my life. He is everything to me, but do I wish that he had a dad that was involved in his life? Absolutely. And do I wish that I had an education and a real career path? Absolutely.

PINSKY: So you`re robbed of a few things.

PALIN: Yes, definitely.

PINSKY: Robbed of your childhood, robbed of your virginity, rob of your fantasies about family, robbed of your education.

PALIN: Yes, definitely. It`s not ideal for anyone to get into situation like that at all.

PINSKY: OK. Well, I thank you for joining me.

PALIN: Thank you.

PINSKY: I encourage you to keep talking about your feelings, because --

PALIN: I`m trying to.

PINSKY: They`re right on the surface there, and they`re very powerful. I can see them (INAUDIBLE) but that`s how the message gets through is you talk about how you feel about this experience.


PINSKY: Not just what you say about it.


PINSKY: When we announced my interview with Bristol Palin, several of you posted not so nice comments like this one. "Nobody wants to see stupid Bristol Palin." And even this one, "A hypocritical piece of garbage. I`ve never seen a teen pregnancy so rewarded." Guys, what is all the victory all and venom directed at Bristol? Love or hate Sarah Palin, Bristol is not her mother.

Bristol became a teen mom just like thousands of teens who become pregnant every year, and she admits it wasn`t a good thing, not her finest moment, a cautionary tale. Imagine you took a misstep, and suddenly, the world knows about it and is judging you. Not because you made it public but because someone you love is a high-profile figure. I doubt any of us would want our personal missteps shared nationally or those of those we love, for that matter.

Bristol seems to be genuine, smart. She has an important message and a means to spread it. As Bristol shared with me, as much as she loves her son, she was robbed of an education and a real career path. So, like many of the teen moms I work with, she`s turning her life experience into a career. Let`s listen without judgment. We all just might learn something. So, I`ll see you tomorrow.