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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview With Bob Woodruff; Interview With Denise Richards

Aired August 3, 2011 - 21:00   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, it's a miracle, but can Gabby Giffords really make a full recovery? Well, he did.

BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS: Suddenly there was an IED that exploded, and then instantly knocked out, unconscious.

MORGAN: Bob Woodruff, on his own near-death experience, how it changed his life forever and what it will take for Gabby Giffords to battle back.

Also the woman who knows Charlie Sheen better than almost anybody else.

DENISE RICHARDS, ACTRESS: The Charlie that you have seen over the last six months is not the person that I met and married.

MORGAN: Denise Richards. Her life, her loves.

RICHARDS: Oh, I had many loves.

MORGAN: And of course her Charlie.

RICHARDS: I'm way too old for him now.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Anybody watching the debt vote in the House Monday night had to have been extraordinarily moved by that remarkable emotional moment when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords walked out to the floor to cast her first vote since an assassination attempt nearly killed her back in January.

Joining me now is a man who's had his own brush with death, ABC News's Bob Woodruff. He's got a primetime "Nightline" special on her and other near-death experiences tonight at 10:00 Eastern.

Bob joins me now.

Bob, it must have been a pretty moving moment for you particularly, I would have thought, watching Gabby Giffords given what you had been through yourself.

WOODRUFF: You know, I think all of us -- I'm sure you're the same. You're pretty stunned and shocked that she showed up like that suddenly right there on the floor of Congress.

You know her recovery has been pretty remarkable, I have to say. I didn't really expect her to be out there alone, out there walking and speaking to those that were there.

You know the last time she even went public in terms of visually was just the release of a couple of pictures back about three months ago, shortly before right -- you know, right before she got the part of her skull put back on.

But now this time suddenly out of nowhere and she said this is the most important thing to her, to go ahead and vote on this extremely important issue that's been recent.

MORGAN: I mean you're a top news man. It's been a very divisive period for American politics. And Washington getting a lot of heat. In that one moment it seemed to bring a bit of humanity to proceedings, I thought.

WOODRUFF: Yes, it was this moment of being united instead of, you know, bitter and fighting. And I think people did step away from that, too. It's not exactly a permanent cure to this kind of conflict that we've got. But certainly at that moment and for that day I think there was some happiness to see her not only just alive because it's a miracle that she even survived, but also reaching the medical level that she has.

MORGAN: And just to remind people who don't know your story. You were working for ABC. You went to Iraq. You were embedded with American soldiers. And what happened next?

WOODRUFF: Well, we were on the road. This is back January 2006. Believe it or not, 5 1/2 years ago. So we're aging a lot faster than we thought we would, Piers. But it was -- we were on the road just outside of Tajji with the U.S. military and the Iraqi military. And suddenly there was an IED that exploded about 20 yards to my left. My cameraman, Doug Vogt, was also there on top of the vehicle with me.

And then instantly knocked out, unconscious. And it wasn't until 36 days later got back to the Bethesda Naval in New York where I finally woke up and was able to start to remember somewhat of what happened to us out there.

MORGAN: And you wrote a very moving piece about Gabby Giffords soon after the attempt to kill her, which I read at the time. And you were sort of predicting how you felt it could have gone.

You were quite optimistic when many were pessimistic because having been through what you'd been through, arguably you started from a worse place. You were in a coma for 36 days. She wasn't. You know, she came round quicker than you did. So you could see possible life at the end of the tunnel, couldn't you?

WOODRUFF: Yes. And I think people are kind of surprised. When you see at first what happened -- I've seen this and I've done stories many times about those that were really badly injured. Now nobody gets back to 100 percent of the way they were before. But it goes in some ways better. Slower, generally, for everybody, the recovery. But it goes -- it goes better than you thought.

I mean, certainly there she was, you know, shot right in the head. Unconscious in the beginning. And just really didn't know. But she, you know, improved faster than people thought. But I mean the main point that I wanted to say was that, you know, this is a long, long road to recovery, but it -- you end up being better every year than you were before.

Even though there are some comments from certain insurance, especially this improvement, you know, ends after a couple of years. Well, she's got the same thing. She's got, you know, injury to the left part of her head. She was actually shot right over here.

The IED, you know, hit me on that side. My skull, called a craniectomy, was removed from this side so the brain can expand -- so that the brain can actually breathe. And she's had exactly the same thing. For the same exact reason. And it takes generally about four months before they put that back on because the brain has gone back to normal. And she did exactly the same thing.

So in that sense I had a pretty good idea of what she's feeling like, how she's speaking, how she's walking, and certainly her cognitive abilities of what she's able to think like and what she can understand.

MORGAN: I mean the extraordinary thing talking to you, Bob, is that -- is if I hadn't known your story you seem completely normal in every respect. Are you? I mean, do you still have residual issues with the injuries? Do you still have any cognitive problems?

WOODRUFF: Yes, my wife still has problems with me.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Other than that, in terms of medically, you know, I do have issues. You know, I've got what's called aphasia, which is a loss of my ability to remember certain things. The order of letters sometimes are very difficult. I've lost my memory of many, many words.

So in the very beginning, when I was hit, I lost just tons of words. In fact, I couldn't even make my point because I couldn't get past the point where I could continue. I just couldn't find any way to communicate, to really give somebody my ideas. But now I'm able to find synonyms. So I can make my point as long as I can have this ability to deviate around some way.

I can't just go straight down the interstate like I used to. And now sometimes I run into points where I can't remember something specific. So I have to go around another road and then back on the -- on the interstate to keep going.

Sometimes it may appear to be the same speed to someone like you, Piers. But I know to me it's slower than it used to be. So there's still a lot of difficulty with that. I've also got recognition problems still where sometimes I'll meet people and I don't even really recognize them again 10 minutes later or really knew exactly where I met them.

But every day, every week this is getting better. I can't even tell you. If I was doing this with you a year ago it would be even more difficult for me.

MORGAN: I mean, despite all these obvious frustrations, Bob, I guess there must also be a sense you that feel every day of being -- of feeling lucky to be alive.

WOODRUFF: You know, that's interesting you say that because I absolutely feel that way. And I've had, you know, more time to spend with my -- with my family, with my kids, with my friends. I don't -- I'm not quite as irritated by things that you irritate me, but it is not a cure. There's also issues that are raised, that exist.

And I also feel like we've got a very short period of time alive. You know, I know -- I have a good idea now that life is not long. It is certainly relatively short. And so let's do things more that we want to do.

Let's do -- let's have some more adventures. Let's help more people. Let's spend more time with the people that we love. In that sense, yes, it's been a change for me.

MORGAN: Both and you Gabby Giffords had the benefit of remarkable people to help you. In her case her husband, Mark. In your case your wife, Lee. How important looking back do you think it is to have a spouse who's just absolutely there for you?

WOODRUFF: Piers, there's no -- there's no proof, you know, scientifically or medically that having a family around you in moments like that step up your recovery. But they without question do. And does this mean that your neurons of your brain are improved because of friends around? I don't know.

I don't think we really know. But I feel that them being close at times like that was a better way to be in terms -- in terms of the speed of your coming back. And I tell that to a lot of people that have gone through the same thing.

Now the sad thing is I have met some that are not necessarily, you know, very close to their families, have now gotten better over more time because of this. And I don't want to feel that this is the only way to improve it but I think when you're there with your family, certainly those that have come there to help you, I think it does step it up scientifically and medically as well.

MORGAN: Have you been able to talk to any of Gabby Giffords' family throughout this process?

WOODRUFF: I've spoken to -- I've spoken to Mark, you know, her husband, who's been a remarkable astronaut, and I've covered that as well at NASA. And he's been -- he's been terrific. I think he's been incredibly optimistic from the very beginning.

You know, we had obviously conferences down at NASA where he -- where he gave, you know, the statements about how she's doing, which was really pretty reflective of exactly how she was advancing. And so he's been that way as well.

And I think, again, without him I don't know how she would have done, but I think the general issue would have been the way she is. But without him I think it would have been slowed down a bit. He's been remarkably, remarkably good.

MORGAN: And given that she's -- you know, four and a bit years behind you in terms of her recovery and the injuries were not dissimilar, what's the best advice you would give Gabby Giffords right now as she's finally back on her feet and beginning to be able to lead a more normal life? What do you -- what do you say to her?

WOODRUFF: You know, in some ways, Piers, I don't really -- I don't really know what to say. I think she's probably got the same feelings about it that I did. I think I've got, you know, deep feelings that there are certain frustrations in your life, you're going to have more fatigue, you're going to have difficulty speaking.

She's also got physical issues because she actually had some tissue injury. That means that the right side of her is not -- it's not completely paralyzed but it is -- she's lost some of her movement on her right. But all of these things with her, I guess my only advice to her is, you know, keep faith. You know, that you are going to come through.

And you remember that your life is not necessarily the same as it was before. And some things are worse than they were before. But I think there really are some things that are even better. And part of it is the time that you spend with your family and members of your friends and your family. I think is also something that's improved over time. And I think you've got a better attitude towards the way life -- your life is.

MORGAN: And what did you learn about yourself, Bob, in all this?

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: You mean good news or bad news?

MORGAN: You know what, good and bad.

WOODRUFF: I have more time to spend with my brothers. You know, yes. I get a lot of old bad stories about it. But what I learned about myself, you know, I don't know how to answer that. I think that -- you know, that's a good question. I don't think many people have ever asked me that before. But I think part of it is you look back at the way that you had -- you know certain things to you were easy.

You know, how much I could -- how much I had read, how many places I'd been to and how lucky that has been. And generally, I've been -- I don't know. I've been OK with changing directions to go to different kinds of work.

You know, now, though, I have more -- I'm more tired at times than I was before. So I don't have that same kind of energy to go everywhere that I want to go. I do want to spend more time around my family, which means I don't do as much of that. But I don't know.

I've learned that I've been a little bit kind of insane of wanting to go as far as possible to see as more interesting pieces that I could, places that I could see. But now I see that in my -- in my mind, and I think generally -- you'd have to ask that question of my wife, for example. She could probably tell you more about that.

MORGAN: Well, I guess the reason I was curious is because Gabby Giffords is clearly, I would imagine, beginning to consider a political comeback. And you have made a very successful comeback as a reporter.

Do you think you're a better reporter in a strange way for what you've been through?

WOODRUFF: You know, some people have actually said that. You know, there's more of a calmness, I think, to the way that I report. Maybe different kinds of stories that I'm pursuing. I'm not really able to -- I'm not allowed anymore to cover wars the way those old days. Neither ABC nor my wife.

And my family, my brothers don't really want me to, either. So I'm reporting differently. More longer-term, in-depth stories as opposed to big breaking stories daily like that. So yes, that's somewhat different.

And Gabby, now she's made this comeback, which is really important. You know I did a story with Tim Johnson, the senator out of South Dakota, a story about him because he did the same thing. You know he had an aneurysm that just knocked him out. He was on a radio show at the time and just completely passed -- you know, could not speak anymore.

And he was out of Senate, of the Senate for more than a year, and then he finally came back and ran again. And that's the big question now with Gabby. In 2012 will she run again? Now they have not committed to it yet. According to Mark and of course her campaign members, that they said she has not made her decision yet whether she's going to run in 2012 again.

But I think she's going to. I think you saw her right there on the floor and you saw that she can fit in. So like Tim Johnson I think that she's probably going to make a comeback. But it's going to be some challenges for her as well when she's there. But I think cognitively the most important thing for her is that she's going to get that back over time and she'll be able to translate and communicate as well as she did before.

You know her voice will sound different, probably. And certainly her wording is going to be different. But I think that she will have the same political position on things, although who knows? And she will probably have the same ability to get through issues of politics and policy that is probably the same as it was before.

MORGAN: Bob, you've told in great detail about your own near- death experience. When we come back after the break, I want to talk to you about this show you have tonight on "Nightline," on ABC. It's a primetime special about not just your experience but also other people that have been, well, close to death.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with ABC News' Bob Woodruff.

Bob, you've got this special primetime show "Beyond Belief" tonight on "Nightline." Tell me about it.

WOODRUFF: Well, this is -- if you look at all -- people that have got into some issues, maybe medically or they've been hit or they've gone unconscious, and even some of those that have remained conscious, a lot of people have these images. They feel like they've gone after life where they -- some of them deeply believe they've now seen heaven. Others believe that they've just seen part of their past when they see.

But this is what happened to me really. When I was hit back in 2006, when I was knocked out by that bomb, when I went unconscious for that one minute, I saw my body floating underneath me, and I did not wake up until 36 days later, back in the U.S., in the Bethesda Naval.

And one of the very first thing that I said to my wife was, I saw my body floating below. And she wrote down all the details of this. What I said. And I told her, I said I saw, you know, whiteness. I said there was no pain, it was comfortable. In some ways that I thought maybe I should just stay here, I should not even go back.

And it turns out that I met so many others that felt the same. You know, we put part of our book about this, you know, 4 1/2 years ago we came out with, and I got so many calls after that from people who have seen something very similar when they've had difficulties or gone or believed that they were going to die.

And some of them even said they did die and then they came back over the line. So it's very interesting to take a look. We want journalistically in this case to try to see what people feel like, what it looks like to them, what doctors think about this, what do scientists think.

We even had a, you know, conversation with an atheist who also saw something very similar to those that are very, very religious. Very similar to what they saw. It's really an interesting thing --

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: That must have been a bit of a blow for an atheist to find out there's an afterlife.

(LAUGHTER) WOODRUFF: Well, it is kind of an afterlife. Just what is it, you know, when you go? I mean some of them believe surely it's an illusion --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let's take a -- yes, let's take a look, Bob, at a clip from the -- from the show tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Were you ever above your body? Did you see yourself at all in any of this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I -- when I was going up, I knew my body was back there, like I caught a glimpse of it.

WOODRUFF: You did?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mm-hmm. I wasn't afraid at all.

WOODRUFF: Yes. I mean, I saw mine. That's really pretty much as far as I got.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you attached to it?

WOODRUFF: Attached to it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Like did you feel attached to it?

WOODRUFF: No. I felt like I'd become a stranger. I think I had -- I don't know. I thought either I'd gone into a dream or there was something firing around my head or I was somehow on a trip.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, so it's a fascinating subject here, Bob. And I can't wait to see the whole show. Because everyone wonders, don't they, what it's like, if you've go through what you've been through, do you have these kind of out-of-body weird experiences.

When you look back on what you went through, what do you actually think it was? I mean, are you a believer in god? Do you believe it was a religious thing or -- well, what was it?

WOODRUFF: You know, this is -- this is one of those things that we will know the absolute truth of what it is that we saw and what we lived through, you know, when we die. Yes, I'm definitely, you know, a believer.

And a lot of them, even my somewhat -- some critics in some ways, and she was kind of a little bit, not a full believer in where she was going, Mary Jo, who you just saw there, when she went, but this was a changer for her. Now she's a deep believer. She saw such specific details of what she partly expected. She did not see God, but she saw, you know, comfort, and she saw the whiteness, and she saw incredible comfort and absolutely no pain. All of that very similar to mine. But we don't really know exactly what caused it. I think most of the people that we talked to really hope that it ends up that way. They we're in a beautiful, comfortable place once we're gone.

But those that were -- in fact, we talked to an atheist who really believes that they are totally fine with dying now because of what they saw. Again, because it's not -- it's not painful, and they saw some people that have been parts of their lives there at that moment.

And they think that they may be having those same thoughts. At least probably ending when they die. But certainly they're having during that time -- during that time of dying.

MORGAN: Well, Bob Woodruff, I can't think of many more compelling reasons to watch the show than the end of atheism as we know it. So everyone should tune in tonight to ABC's "Primetime Nightline" special, "Beyond Belief," hosted by Bob Woodruff. I can't wait to see it.

Bob, it's been a real pleasure. It really has. Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Yes, thank you, Piers. Same thing.

MORGAN: Coming up, my interview with a woman who knows Charlie Sheen probably better than just about anyone else. His ex-wife Denise Richards.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Denise Richards. It's hard to believe she's been acting for more than 20 years. She's also a mother and of course ex-wife of Charlie Sheen. Now she's also a first-time author with her book "The Real Girl Next Door."

Denise Richards joins me now.

Denise, with the greatest of respect, you look nothing like the real girls that live next door to me. Or most people.

RICHARDS: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: If only they did.

RICHARDS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: What's the title about? What do you mean by this?

RICHARDS: Well, what I mean about it is more in being real and being honest and being your authentic self. My authentic self. And it's more about that.

MORGAN: I love this. This is 25 things you may want to know about me right now. Which is actually true because I don't know you that well. I know about you. I like this kind of --

RICHARDS: Well, you think you know about me.

MORGAN: Exactly. I like this. I mean I like -- it's very poignant when you say when was the last time when one my girls asked if her nana, your mother, could see her from heaven.

RICHARDS: Yes.

MORGAN: A sweet thing to say.

RICHARDS: Well, thank you. It's true.

MORGAN: How did you -- how did you answer that?

RICHARDS: I said yes. And actually, I have this in my book. Before my mom passed away three months before she had died she sent some books to her best friend in Chicago and said, when I pass away, give these to the grandkids, my kids. And my sister's kids. And my dad didn't even know she did this. I didn't know she did it.

So the morning that she died she pulled the book out, and my mom wrote a note to my children and said -- I actually have a picture of the note. That she's arrived in heaven and that she would be watching over them and forever be there.

MORGAN: Wow.

RICHARDS: So you know, so I answered yes, that she was in heaven.

MORGAN: That's an amazing thing to have done.

RICHARDS: Yes. And so courageous and brave, knowing that -- you know, she didn't have much time left and she was still taking care of us, even after she had left.

MORGAN: What did she make of your slightly crazy life, your mom?

(LAUGHTER)

RICHARDS: My mom was so great, so non-judgmental. And very fair, you know. And she -- she rolled with the punches. You know, there's times where it got really crazy, she would reassure me that I would get through that time. And she was my best friend and was there from -- as my rock and --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I've inflicted many things on my mother, but I've never gone back and said mom, good news, I'm marrying Charlie Sheen.

(LAUGHTER)

RICHARDS: She would probably wonder if you do that. But you know, my parents really loved Charlie.

MORGAN: Yes?

RICHARDS: Yes.

MORGAN: I love Charlie.

RICHARDS: Yes, I know. He -- and I did. And you know -- so my parents were actually, even though it was a whirlwind romance and we married very quickly, they were very happy. Whether they said something behind closed doors is another thing. But to me and to Charlie they were very happy and supportive.

MORGAN: Let's see what else we've got here. The one album I can't live without -- I loved this -- Guns and Roses, "Appetite for Destruction." talking of Charlie Sheen.

RICHARDS: I suppose.

MORGAN: You and Charlie hang out to that one?

RICHARDS: We actually did play a lot of Guns and Roses when we worked out together.

MORGAN: I loved Guns and Roses. They were my favorite rock band. You had a slight appetite yourself for self-destruction over the years, do you think?

RICHARDS: No, not self-destruction.

MORGAN: For destruction?

RICHARDS: No. I've always -- you know, even a lot of people like to say -- you know, have I think a different perception of my relationship with my ex-husband than what was really happening. And when we fell in love, he had been sober for three years. He was, you know, getting his life back together. He'd just gotten a job on "Spin City."

And I really admired his strength and courage for overcoming addiction and being so humble about it. And that's what attracted me to him. So the Charlie that some of you have seen over the last six months is not the person that I met and married.

MORGAN: I mean, he sat here. I interviewed him. Did you see that interview?

RICHARDS: I did.

MORGAN: What did you think of it?

RICHARDS: I really -- I thought it was a great interview. And I thought of that time, It was I think one of the more calmer interviews that he did.

MORGAN: I mean, I think because I had met him a few times over the years.

RICHARDS: He told me.

MORGAN: And I kind of understood where he was coming from to a certain degree. I suppose like everyone, you kind of look at him slightly aghast and think, I hope this doesn't end in a horrible way, what's going on.

RICHARDS: Right.

MORGAN: And yet, at the same time, I found him incredibly charismatic.

RICHARDS: Mm-hmm.

MORGAN: Very sharp. Very funny. And there's a certain kind of purity to the right of a man or a woman to lead their life how they want to lead it. Now, the exception, as I said to him when he sat there, was until it has an impact on those around you.

RICHARDS: Right.

MORGAN: And that I guess is where you come in.

RICHARDS: Yeah. And we've been split up now for six years. And you know, we'll always have a bond with our daughters. And I wish nothing but the best for him.

MORGAN: When you met him, presumably you knew what he was like to a certain degree.

RICHARDS: I knew what his past was like. And I'm -- one thing about myself and how I was raised and how my parents are, I don't pass judgment. I'm not -- at least for the most part, I like to think of myself as I'm not a judgmental person.

So I wasn't judging him for his past. The person that I met was who I met at that moment.

MORGAN: What was he like when you first got together with him?

RICHARDS: He was amazing. He was so humbled and sweet and charming and funny and had such a great heart, and very honest. And we just had a very deep connection that we had together.

MORGAN: Do you talk to him now?

RICHARDS: Do I talk to Charlie?

MORGAN: Yeah.

RICHARDS: I do. Today we're good.

MORGAN: Today? Today's a good day?

RICHARDS: Today's a good day.

MORGAN: Is that how it works?

RICHARDS: I take it day by day. One day at a time.

MORGAN: Do you know immediately if it's a good or bad day?

RICHARDS: We've had a good stretch now, which is nice.

MORGAN: Is he in a better place now?

RICHARDS: Yeah. We're in a better place. That's what I care about.

MORGAN: And how have you managed that, do you think?

RICHARDS: I think it's not about he and I truly. It's about the kids. And I've always -- you know, in the beginning it was difficult to -- of course there was a lot of different feelings there. But now I take it off of myself and put it on the kids.

His lifestyle's his lifestyle. And I've learned to accept it, even if I agree or don't agree with it. It doesn't matter. He's who he is. He's his own person. So times where things are very calm and cordial with us, I really relish those times, because it's so much better for our kids.

MORGAN: I mean, you don't have another man in your life as far as I'm aware. True?

RICHARDS: I have a lot of male friends. Am I technically -- unattached, yes.

MORGAN: Technically you're unattached, single.

RICHARDS: Technically I'm single.

MORGAN: And he's -- I can't remember the goddess count at the last count, but it seemed to me like they were disappearing quite fast. If Charlie was to sort his life out, could you ever imagine a scenario where you might one day get back together or not?

RICHARDS: No.

MORGAN: That door's closed?

RICHARDS: That door is closed. I think he and I are better as friends and having our daughters. I'm way too old for him now.

MORGAN: You know something, Denise? But you're way more of a goddess than those other two.

RICHARDS: Oh, well, you're very kind. But I'm way past his age range. So -- MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I wanted to come back and talk to you about your journey to Hollywood and also about the fact that you were a Bond girl, which I'd forgotten, which was very exciting.

RICHARDS: Most people have. It wasn't very memorable.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with Denise Richards. Now, you played a Bond girl in "The World Is Not Enough" in my hometown of London. And what I loved about this was you were criticized for being too sexy.

RICHARDS: Mm.

MORGAN: How can a Bond girl be too sexy? I mean, seriously.

RICHARDS: That's what I wanted to know. You know, it's very tongue in cheek. But a lot of people criticized me for playing a scientist running around in little shorts and a tank top. But --

MORGAN: That's the best way for a scientist to run around. I had no complaints watching it. I wish all scientists looked like that.

RICHARDS: I definitely got slaughtered in the reviews.

MORGAN: Did you care or not?

RICHARDS: At the time I did. Yeah, it was very hurtful because I had never up to that point gotten bad reviews like that. So yeah, it was tough.

MORGAN: What was it like being a Hollywood starlet?

RICHARDS: Well, it was -- it's very overwhelming. And at the time, I had done "Starship Troopers" and "Wild Things" and they all came out at the same year, and it's -- you know, it's a lot. But it's also great. It's afforded me a lot of wonderful opportunities.

And financially to be able to buy my parents a house and myself, that kind of stuff is wonderful. And to see the world. There's a lot of wonderful things that come along with the job, too.

MORGAN: Do you still love acting?

RICHARDS: I do. Very much.

MORGAN: Is there a huge pressure as a female actress? I mean, they often talk about this as you get a bit older -- and I don't actually know how old you are. But I know you're older than you look, which is always the best answer, right?

RICHARDS: I turned 40 this year.

MORGAN: Did you really? RICHARDS: I did.

MORGAN: You don't look anything like 40.

RICHARDS: Thank you.

MORGAN: How do you stay so youthful?

RICHARDS: Clean living.

MORGAN: Clean living?

RICHARDS: Clean living.

MORGAN: Really?

RICHARDS: Yeah. When you abuse your body, you know, things happen. I've always been pretty healthy and, you know -- but it's also, I have good genes. And I take care of myself, too.

MORGAN: Did you find it cathartic doing the book?

RICHARDS: In some ways, yeah. I didn't get into some of the nitty gritty details. But I got into more how I felt.

MORGAN: you're very honest in there, I think.

RICHARDS: I'm very honest with the feelings which is --

MORGAN: I can see just having spent the last 20 minutes with you, you're an honest person. You don't shy away from direct questions.

RICHARDS: No.

MORGAN: And you're not afraid to share your feelings.

RICHARDS: Right.

MORGAN: That's an admirable quality, I think.

RICHARDS: It can also be a bad quality, too, I guess.

MORGAN: Do you think?

RICHARDS: I don't know. It depends on the situation.

MORGAN: Well, you said a funny thing at the break. You said there are some times I should really just learn to shut my pie hole.

RICHARDS: That's true. I'm getting better. No, I am very honest. I think that it's a good quality to be honest.

MORGAN: With your relationship with men now, is it hard being Denise Richards from the tabloids, from the TV shows, you know, Charlie Sheen's ex? I mean, does it carry with it a tricky stigma, or have you been able to say no, this is me now?

RICHARDS: I think people that meet me see that I'm who I am. I think dating in general is hard when you're in the public eye and when you have children and trying to -- you know, I don't bring a lot of different men around my children. So it makes dating difficult. If you're out in public with someone for dinner, they -- the media will, oh, who's the mystery man or who are you dating.

So it does get tricky, but it is what it is.

MORGAN: What do you look for in a guy now? What have you learned to look for that suits you?

RICHARDS: Oh, I've learned to look for -- the qualities that I look for now are different than prior to getting married and having kids. And now I find myself very a attracted to men who have children. And I think one of the sexiest qualities in a man is seeing a man great with kids. And you know, I have three now, three children. And that's a very attractive quality.

MORGAN: Is motherhood, to you, your greatest achievement?

RICHARDS: I think so. Yeah. I'm very -- I love my kids so much. I love being a mother more than anything. And I get so much fulfillment and joy with my children.

MORGAN: Can you lead a relatively normal life now?

RICHARDS: Yeah. Definitely. You know, for me this is a job. And when I'm home, I'm mom. Taking my kids to school and gymnastics and planning their birthday parties and doing their homework and crafts. And I love all of that.

MORGAN: If they said, mom, we really want to go into acting, given all that you've been through, would you encourage them or would you be slightly reticent about that?

RICHARDS: I would definitely encourage them to do whatever they wanted. I would. I've gotten so much joy from this job and have been blessed with it. And there's a lot of ups and downs, but I think that comes with, you know, different jobs. So if our daughters really wanted to get into acting, I would -- I would wait till they're a little bit out of school.

MORGAN: If it got even worse and they said, you know, mom, I'm not just going to be an actress, but I really want to marry another actor.

RICHARDS: If he's a good man. I wouldn't want someone to judge me for what I do for a living.

MORGAN: Now, you've had some very exciting news recently, which is the adoption of another baby.

RICHARDS: Yes. MORGAN: Another little break and we'll cull back and talk to you about that. Because it seems to be putting a big smile on your face. Would that be fair?

RICHARDS: That would be fair.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with Denise Richards. Great news. You just adopted a baby girl, Eloise Joni Richards (ph). The Joni is obviously after your mother. Had you been thinking about this for a while? Is this something that's been on your mind?

RICHARDS: Yeah.

MORGAN: Why? You've already got kids. What was the driving --

RICHARDS: Why are you having another one? You've got two, right.

RICHARDS: I was just curious to your thinking. You're on your own. It's a big thing to take on. What was the motivation to you?

RICHARDS: I think it's a big about thing to take on even if you are with someone. You're having another child. I think it's all in each person, whatever works for them. And before my mom died, I had talked to her about possibly wanting to adopt.

And then I wanted to get through grieving her and some other things. And I started the process about two years ago. And it was something -- I love children. I love being a mom. And I had to make a decision. Do I wait until I meet the right partner, or do I keep moving forward with my life and do it on my own? And I chose to do it on my own.

MORGAN: And how is she?

RICHARDS: She's amazing.

MORGAN: How old is she now?

RICHARDS: She's a month.

MORGAN: A month old. So a very little baby.

RICHARDS: She's a newborn, yeah.

MORGAN: Really exciting.

RICHARDS: Very exciting.

MORGAN: What do your other kids make of her?

RICHARDS: They are so in love with her. They are very protective of her. We kept her quiet for a bit, and my daughters were very protective of her with that. And they love feeding her. They love making her smile. They're very -- they're great big sisters.

MORGAN: I mean, it's a gutsy thing to do. But that comes through in your book. You talk at the end here, you know, what better skill to teach than resiliency.

RICHARDS: Mm-hmm.

MORGAN: Adopting another child right now at your stage of your life with all that's gone on and the fact you're on your own, that's real resilience.

RICHARDS: Exactly.

MORGAN: And you won't be expecting this.

RICHARDS: Yeah. She's a blessing.

MORGAN: She really is. You also end the book with a message I want to leave with you is keep looking forward and stay real. I mean, part of the fact you've adopted, I think, is looking forward, isn't it? It's another stage in your life.

RICHARDS: Yeah. I think with the -- a lot of people have gone through a loss and losing a parent especially from your spouse. You really look at life. I looked at life differently and know that we have one life and it's very short. And I want to be a good role model for my kids and be a strong woman, even if it's on my own, you know?

If it's not in the cards right now for me to have a good partner, then that's OK.

MORGAN: Are you enduringly romantic? Do you believe you're going to fall in love again?

RICHARDS: I've had many loves. And I'm not bitter about marriage or have anything negative about men. I love men. I've had a lot of great loves. And I've had a love -- loves.

RICHARDS: How many times have you been properly in love?

MORGAN: Properly in love?

MORGAN: Yeah.

RICHARDS: I don't know. Probably four times, five times.

MORGAN: And do you think that that could happen again? You remain optimistic?

RICHARDS: Absolutely, yes. I love love.

MORGAN: Are you quite excited about that prospect?

RICHARDS: I am. I think things happen for a reason. Obviously, I had to get through so much stuff. During the ugliness of my custody and my mom and some other stuff, I wasn't in a place to be with someone. And I need to be in a good place and feel good about myself and pick myself back up before I would ever be able to give to a partner.

And the last couple years, I feel really good and in a great place. And when it happens, it happens.

MORGAN: In terms of your career, what's next on the horizon for you? The book obviously has taken a lot of time for you to do. What next for you in terms of maybe acting?

RICHARDS: Yeah. I love doing movies. So I hope to start working back in film.

MORGAN: What sort of -- dream role --.

What is it?

RICHARDS: With Quentin Tarantino.

MORGAN: That's right.

RICHARDS: He brings something out of actors.

MORGAN: He's got an almost incredible energy. It's almost contagious. I saw him the other night -- a couple weeks ago at the big royal dinner, the BAFTA thing. He was there. He's like this whirlwind of energy. You feel it if you're around him. I can't even imagine what he's like on a movie set.

RICHARDS: Well, I hope to one day. So that's my dream.

MORGAN: Do you enjoy the interview process or not?

RICHARDS: I have to say, the last few years it's like something always happens right before my interviews that's in the headlines. So I'm glad today was a calm day. It was like everything hits the fan.

MORGAN: No breaking news at all.

RICHARDS: No. So, you know, yes. There's times where it's challenging doing interviews when there's a lot of chaos in my life.

MORGAN: Do you feel sometimes -- when you see all the magazines and stuff, do you feel like you're a soap opera character, not a real person?

RICHARDS: There were times I did, yeah. There were times where it was just absolutely insane. And it's hard. It's hard when -- if you're going through a difficult time and things are public, and it's embarrassing and humiliating and having it all out there, and some of the stories are true, some aren't. And that's really -- that was hard for me.

MORGAN: What was the worst story that you've had to -- that you've seen that's just completely untrue, but most hurtful to you?

RICHARDS: This isn't that hurtful, but it's weird, that I used to be a hooker, I used to be a Heidi Fleiss girl. I heard that rumor. If anyone would know, it would be Charlie. Honest to God. And he would say, she was not. I would know.

MORGAN: He would know.

RICHARDS: But that's like a weird rumor. I don't know where it started. But I've never been a hooker.

MORGAN: Well, good we clarified that.

RICHARDS: But once I heard how much these chicks make, I'm like, wow.

MORGAN: My God, tell me about it. Most of it came from Charlie.

RICHARDS: Exactly

MORGAN: See, I like the fact you can laugh about all that.

RICHARDS: You've got to. I have a sense of humor about all of that.

MORGAN: I think you have to. It's the only way, isn't it?

RICHARDS: Yeah. Otherwise, why be miserable and be pissy about everything.

MORGAN: Given the way you've been able to rebuild your life very successfully, I think, and you seem happy to me, probably the way you haven't been for quite awhile, I would think, not to be impertinent that I would know how you've been. But just from what I can gather. What would you wish for Charlie?

RICHARDS: I just want him to be a very healthy person. I want him to be there healthy for his kids and for himself.

MORGAN: Do you have an optimism that he might sort himself out a bit?

RICHARDS: I do. He's a survivor. If anyone can pick themselves up, make a huge comeback, it's Charlie.

MORGAN: I think you're right. It would be nice to see that.

RICHARDS: He will.

MORGAN: It would be nice to se him make a success of rebuilding himself in the way that you have, I think.

RICHARDS: Oh, well, thank you.

MORGAN: Been a pleasure to meet you.

RICHARDS: Thank you. Nice to meet you too.

MORGAN: Good luck with the book. It's a great read. Very honest and very fascinating. So thank you very much.

RICHARDS: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tomorrow, the woman who may be the most dangerous interview in the whole of television. She'll be here live. So watch out, America, because there's nothing that Kathy Griffin won't say. She's always outrageous, always hilarious. She'll be here for the hour, live tomorrow night. That's Kathy Griffin.

That's it for us tonight. Now here's Anderson Cooper with "AC 360.