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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Jon Huntsman; Interview With Mario Andretti, Tony Kanaan; Interview With Kelsey Grammer

Aired October 17, 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: Thanks very much, Anderson. And I'll see you in Las Vegas tomorrow night. Well, with all the CNN anchors in Sin City at once, can I remind you what happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: OK.

MORGAN: And I'm going to bring you a Republican candidate tonight, one who won't be at the CNN debate, and that's Jon Huntsman. Jon will be right with us to explain why.

We'll also talk exclusively to Mario Andretti and Tony Kanaan about that terrible crash yesterday that killed their friend Dan Wheldon. And later my compelling interview with Kelsey Grammer who really does open up in a way I've never seen him before.

But for now Jon Huntsman joins me from New Hampshire. He says he's going to stay there instead of going to join all the fun and affair in Las Vegas.

Governor, what's all this about? Why are you avoiding the lure of Sin City?

(LAUGHTER)

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Piers, thank you for having me on. Let me just say that we have a very, very important issue playing out here, and that's the viability of the New Hampshire primary.

Why is that important? Because the primary here, the first in the nation, is the window through which the American public begin to understand the candidates, who they are, what they stand for and their vision for a better America.

And you begin to jeopardize that process by other states like Nevada most recently leapfrogging in the process, making New Hampshire virtually irrelevant as you move it forward. And I say that is totally nonsense. We're going to stand with the people of New Hampshire on this. We're going to speak out openly and vocally.

We've chosen to boycott Nevada. The caucus system. We know the people of Nevada are experiencing high unemployment, high foreclosure rates. They deserve a straight-up conversation with the candidates, but as of right now, we're standing with the people of New Hampshire and boycotting not only the caucus but the debate tomorrow night.

This is all about how candidates are introduced to the American people. And it's traditionally done through these early primary states. And New Hampshire has been critical for a hundred years now.

MORGAN: Let me put it to you, though, Jon Huntsman. Here's the issue for you. I've never seen any candidate who has got better press or had more people say he's a great guy, he'd be perfect, who was polling so low.

Why do you think that is? And what can you do about it? I mean for many people, this is -- and to use the gambling parlance in Vegas -- your last throw of the dice. You're putting all your chips on New Hampshire.

HUNTSMAN: Piers, this is a -- this is a Vegas move, you put it rightly. But this is also where you upend the traditional conventional wisdom politics. I like where we're going in New Hampshire. All the polls show that we're moving up. We're now in low double-digits.

This is exactly where we want to be. We want a steady gradual substantive rise because that's what the people of New Hampshire demand. And whoever makes it through the New Hampshire primary always bursts upon the political stage with viability down market.

So keep your eyes focused on New Hampshire. This is where artificiality does not -- does not play well. You must have a message. You must be able to sell your vision for a better America. And the people either take it or they don't. And so far after 80 town hall meetings and house parties we've had in New Hampshire, I can feel it on the streets.

We're beginning to connect with the people here in ways that I never would have imagined. So stay tuned to New Hampshire. The viability of New Hampshire as the first primary state in America must remain a tradition. This is good for the people of New Hampshire, good for candidates, a transparent process.

But most importantly, Piers, it's good for the American people. And we deserve what is likely to be the most important election cycle of my entire lifetime.

MORGAN: Finally, very briefly, Jon Huntsman, your father, also Jon Huntsman Sr., he used to work with Mitt Romney, had some pretty scathing words about him in "The New York Times" yesterday. He said if you need to win that badly, I guess you just kind of do what you have to do to get a vote.

What's your reaction to your father's pretty strident comment there?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I love the man. He's a man of great wisdom and insight. And I've rarely known him to be off the mark. And I think on this issue he's probably dead on the mark as well.

MORGAN: Well, it will be fascinating to see what happens. Jon Huntsman, thank you very much indeed.

HUNTSMAN: Piers, thanks for having me.

MORGAN: And you can see the CNN "Western Republican Debate" tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. And on Wednesday we'll talk to Herman Cain who is now leading GOP presidential contender and see what really makes him tick.

But for now to car racing and the terrible tragic accident yesterday that killed top racer Dan Wheldon. Need any proof of just how dangerous this sport is then this video will show you what we need to know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something happens in front of you, you can never have enough reaction time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's impossible. You have no time to do anything. What happens -- maybe it's just --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Fifteen cars in a terrible pile up there all colliding, coming apart, catching fire and costing Dan Wheldon his life. He was a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. He's just 33 years old. He leaves a wife and two young sons, one just 7 months old.

Joining me now for an exclusive interview, a former racing champion, now team owner, Mario Andretti. And driver Tony Kanaan who was in the race yesterday and in the lead when disaster struck.

Gentlemen, thank you both very much for joining me. I can imagine as a friend and indeed colleague of Dan Wheldon, this is an incredibly difficult day for you and everyone involved in this sport.

Mario Andretti, let me ask you, you've been in a race car. You've driven in all sorts of different types of races. What was your reaction when you saw what happened yesterday? It seemed, even by racing standards, to be a particularly horrific accident.

MARIO ANDRETTI, CHAMPION RACE CAR DRIVER: Yes, obviously, all you have to do is look at the replays. It was surreal. I had just come in -- I was pretty much the first one to go to see the car at the start of the race. So I was just getting out of my car, and I was hearing the gasps from the crowd and knowing that, you know, that something was happening, obviously.

And it kept on and on. It kept going and going. So I knew that, you know, it was going to be, you know, a serious situation, then you know once we looked at the film, obviously, it tells the story. But it's incredible, you know, that no more than just one driver, you know, was actually hurt.

And you know, with Dan, the situation was very freakish thing where his car just flew right up into the catch fencing. Because the track is very well equipped with the, you know, safety walls all the way around. It's one of the few tracks that have safety walls all the way around. But he just missed the top of it. And it was just -- just so unfortunate.

MORGAN: And Tony, let me bring you in. You were leading the race at the time. You knew Dan very well as a friend and competitor. When did you realize just how bad this was?

TONY KANAAN, RACE CAR DRIVER: Well, Piers, when, you know, I was leading the race, obviously, like you said, and you know, it goes yellow. My radio guy, my spotter said, it's yellow flag, crash in turn one. At this time I was in turn four. But being racing for a while, when I went through the wreck, which was probably 30 seconds later, I realized it was a mess.

It looks like it was a war. Pieces everywhere. I couldn't avoid not to get any pieces on my tires underneath my car. It was pieces of cars on fire, cars flipped. It was -- in 27 years of racing, I've never seen such a big mess like that. And I was pretty touched by it. At that time I had to hold myself just because, obviously, I didn't know what happened.

And I was leading the race. You know this is part of our job. I mean, we get exposed to those kind of things every weekend that we race. It's part of racing, but it's never nice to see something like that.

MORGAN: And I've got to ask you, I mean, does this make you reassess your career as a driver? You're a father yourself. There hasn't been a fatality in a race like this for a number of years in America. And indeed in Formula 1 which is the sort of European equivalent in many ways, hasn't been one since Ed Serna's tragic death a long time ago.

So safety standards appear to be getting better and then you see something like this and you know just watching it, it seemed so awful, so kind of cataclysmic, that inevitably there are now questions about the safety of the sport and whether things should be drastically changed.

What do you feel about that and about your own participation in such a sport now?

KANAAN: Well, as far as safety, you said it. I think we're getting better every time. The track is very well equipped. The cars as well. Racing, it's dangerous. I mean it's just -- it's been like that for a hundred years. And to me, the day that I start thinking that this is too dangerous I think will be time to stop.

I lost one of my best friends yesterday, and I know it's going to be very hard to forget. I don't think I will. It's going to be really hard to swallow. I will remember him every time. But as a race car driver, this is one of the things that you have to have, you've got to think that it's never going to happen to you and you got to keep going. If it ever crossed my mind that this is too dangerous, I should actually go do something else, and right now I think if Dan Wheldon was here and I was going to announce that I was going to retire, he's probably going to be the first guy to call my team owner and to take my job. So we'll try to honor him as best as we can on the racetrack.

MORGAN: And Mario, you've lost friends to racing. You've seen the devastating impact this can have. You've also heard the debate about racing generally for the last four or five decades. Does anything change because of what happened yesterday?

ANDRETTI: Well, I don't think so. And I think we have to realize that the sanctioning bodies have been very, very responsible in dealing with the safety of -- as Tony said, the cars, the racetracks. And I think it's a testament of drivers coming out of the car, you know, unscathed through, you know, horrible accidents.

Unfortunately, we're not totally -- you know, it's never going to be 100 percent safe, but we're not 100 percent safe just by going to work every day, you know, or flying somewhere. So there's always the spectrum, you know, the freakish situation that will (INAUDIBLE) you. But on the plus side is that the sport with every incident will analyze every aspect of it as to, you know, what can we do better, what can we do different.

This is not something that you forget and go on to the next -- you know, to the next race and then don't do anything about it. It's going to be very well investigated by all of us. All of us will have an opinion about it. And maybe some things will have to be done differently, but again, everyone is very responsible, and I must say again that looking at the amount of exposure that we have, week in and week out, and the amount of -- thousands and thousands of miles that have been run on the track, racing and testing, I think we're very proud of our safety record.

Again, you know, I wish we could be 100 percent shielded from danger, but nothing is in life. And when you lose somebody that's really close to home like we do, it hits you in a very special way. You know, but again, you know, Dan was a racer. And if he -- you know, if he --

MORGAN: He was. And Mario, I'm sorry to have to jump in. We're going to have to leave it there. But I just thank you both very much. I think everybody who does the sport understands the dangers. It is thankfully not very often we have to deal with this kind of tragedy. And Dan was a hero. You know he was a remarkable sportsman. And his legacy should be of his fantastic racing, I think, rather than anything that happened yesterday.

Thank you both very much. And our thoughts obviously to all his friends and in particular, his wife and his two sons.

ANDRETTI: Thank you.

KANAAN: Thank you. MORGAN: When we come back, a very emotional interview with sitcom star Kelsey Grammer. His history of drug use, his divorce. What he really thinks of his ex-wife and how he's found love again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer is one of the most talked about, one of the most famous, one of the most beloved faces in American television history. And (INAUDIBLE) he joins me now.

You are really, aren't you? You're sort of been part of the American television consciousness for so long. You must walk around the street and everyone goes, hey, Kelsey. Everyone must think they know you.

KELSEY GRAMMER, ACTOR, PRODUCER: Well, those things do happen. Those events do take place. Sometimes it's, hey, Frasier, but more often than not, it's, hey, Kelsey.

MORGAN: Do you like it? Did you like the kind of mass attention you must still get? Or Jewish, you know, I've done it, I just want to just go and --

GRAMMER: It's always -- it's always pleasant. It's always flattering. It's always meant in an optimistic kind of affectionate way. So I take it that way and return the compliment actually.

MORGAN: You enjoy the status of television icon?

GRAMMER: Sure.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: I've be a fool to say I didn't.

MORGAN: I would.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: Let's be honest with you. Odd thing about you -- and I mean this in the best sense -- is that I don't think I've ever had an American television star sit here who openly admits to being a Republican.

GRAMMER: Oh, well, you know.

MORGAN: You're that guy.

GRAMMER: I'm that guy.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: And I think musicians --

GRAMMER: There are a few, yes. MORGAN: I don't think I've ever had a TV person. Normally the world of television is just infused with liberals. And most movie star, I'd say.

GRAMMER: Yes, I think you're right about that. I'm a bit of a rebel. I don't tend to warm too well to people that tell me how I'm supposed to think. So my life in Hollywood, I'm afraid I was destined to be a Republican.

MORGAN: How does it go down with all your famous friends?

GRAMMER: Well, some of my --

MORGAN: Is it lonely out there?

GRAMMER: It's pretty lonely, but you know they seem to tolerate me somehow, because I can at least state myself eloquently and without actually kind of assuming the veneer of what they assume is what a Republican is, as some kind of nasty, strange villain that, you know, should be vilified and hated.

MORGAN: It's obvious that has become the way Republicanism is now perceived in this country. You know, you are either extremely with them, with all that appears to entail, or you're completely against them. What they are -- they're very divisive. To say you're a Republican now divides people immediately.

GRAMMER: Right.

MORGAN: It didn't used to be like that. You go back 30 years, it wasn't like that.

GRAMMER: Well, the tone of political assessment has changed. You know, and honestly, the battle for the hearts and the minds of the American people has taken on a bit more of a violent and narrow approach. I mean, you have to actually make sure that nobody swallows anything of what you are in order to ensure that you get their vote. So it's very easy to understand why you'd want to make somebody hateful.

MORGAN: Are you -- are you sympathetic to the Tea Party element of the Republicans? Or is that a step too far?

GRAMMER: I'm sympathetic to some of the principles, but I'm not sure that the Tea Party has behavioral problems other than the ones that have been identified by people who are inimical to them. So, you know? Like, I'm not sure they say anything that I would object to, I've just been told that they're lunatics.

MORGAN: There's nothing they say be objective to them at all?

GRAMMER: I think smaller government is a good idea. Always have. I think lower taxes are a good idea. Always have. So that's what I know they talk about.

MORGAN: Are you as violently opposed to, say, gay marriage as so many of the Tea Party candidates?

GRAMMER: I don't think the Tea Party is --

MORGAN: Most of them are, yes.

GRAMMER: Against gay marriage?

MORGAN: Against it, yes.

GRAMMER: Well, then I wouldn't -- I wouldn't --

MORGAN: Actively against same-sex marriage.

GRAMMER: I wouldn't sign on to that.

MORGAN: No, I mean, there are issues there that you wouldn't agree with.

GRAMMER: Absolutely, yes.

MORGAN: Because you played a famous gay character.

GRAMMER: Yes, I'm afraid so.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You'd effectively be banning yourself?

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: No, I've always believed -- I guess I'm more libertarian in that way. I think marriage is up to two people that love each other. And if you find a church that you want to get married in, then you go right ahead.

MORGAN: I want to come to your expertise in the world of marriage a little later. I would just say if only you'd married a good British girl earlier, Kelsey --

GRAMMER: It would have saved me a lot of trouble.

MORGAN: All this could have been saved.

GRAMMER: Exactly.

MORGAN: These problems you've had.

And quite interesting, Kelsey, because as you say, people I guess see you as a comic actor. You were born in the Virgin Island, you grew up in Florida, and at 18 you leave the family in Florida and come to New York. You go to the Juilliard School. Very prestigious acting school. So you did do the hard yards of theatrical training, didn't you?

GRAMMER: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: To be a serious actor.

GRAMMER: Yes. For a couple of years, and then they kicked me out.

MORGAN: Who was your inspiration then, right? Who was the actors you look up to?

GRAMMER: Oh, gosh, Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne.

MORGAN: The greats.

GRAMMER: The greats.

MORGAN: Did you ever imagine at that stage when you were at the Juilliard, you were looking around all these talented people, presumably -- did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams or maybe nightmares the level of fame that you would one day get through acting?

GRAMMER: No. It's funny. There was something -- I did believe that I was going to be successful as an actor. And I did realize that if you're successful as an actor, it might come along with, you know, fringe benefits, I guess, or you know peripheral anxieties.

MORGAN: Stage acting is kind of great because you go out every night and you get instant reaction from an audience. It's normally pretty good. If you're in a good play or whatever it may be, a good musical, they're cheering you, and you go off and you feel fantastic.

The worst thing about television, I think, is the terrible wait. You know you make all this stuff, I've made shows and they take months to make.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: And then there's this terrible buildup. And in the back of your mind all you're thinking of is this could tank, and then what?

GRAMMER: Yes. Well, I've had that experience, too.

MORGAN: I mean "Frasier" like "Cheers," I mean they were just phenomenal shows.

GRAMMER: Very good shows.

MORGAN: Hysterically popular, global shows. When you first started making them, did you get an inkling early on, OK, this is going to be huge, it's going to change my life, or did it just happen?

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: I'll tell you a story that David Hyde Pierce has repeated. After we shot the pilot, we got a standing ovation and everything went away. And we all felt pretty good about it. And he said to me, so what do you think? What does this mean? And I said, for you? It means you're going to buy a really nice house.

And then he said, well, what does it mean for you? He says, it means I'm probably going to buy a couple.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: You do have a sense -- you know when you know. You can tell. And there's a beauty about releasing it to the public to just saying, OK, here it is. Love it or hate it. We did our best. And you know, honestly, that's all I've done my whole life in my career, is just done my best. Sometimes it fell short. And sometimes I've been really happy with it so.

MORGAN: Let's take another break. I don't want to, you know, take you out of this utopian thing. But I want to go back to --

GRAMMER: It's all right.

MORGAN: -- some of the slightly darker times and see where you've come from.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Kelsey Grammer.

Kelsey, when I researched your life for this interview, I could almost at times barely believe what I was reading about the stuff that's happened to you, the really bad stuff. I mean most people go through life and they have, you know, a bit of trauma along the way. And I've apologized in advance for going through this in almost like a list form, but when I read that your parents divorced when you were 2, your father who you had barely seen since then was shot and killed.

In 1975 your younger sister Karen was abducted, raped and murdered, she was 18. In 1980 your younger twin half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident. In 2001 a close friend, the producer of "Frasier," David Angell, he died in the 9/11 attacks.

You know I got to the end of this and I didn't know, to be honest with you, how you had even come through that. I don't know how any human being comes through that kind of thing. I mean, put it in some kind of overall context for me, to be hit by so much tragedy.

GRAMMER: Yes. Well, you know, we touched on it a little bit before, though I was being general. And one that's really important is my granddad died, too, when I was 12. That was -- he raised me. That was the -- that was the big impact until my sister was killed, of course. That one just seemed like an absurd topping on the situation that I thought was just impossible.

And it was that incident that sort of propelled me into a -- at least a phase. I mean, I lost faith. I lost my -- when I was a boy I had this -- it's sort of like that old Walt Whitman poem about, you know, everything a boy saw he became.

I had a love affair with the universe. With a blade of grass, with a rising sun, I went surfing, I mean I used to surf all the time when I was a kid. And my life was a joy. It was a joyful experience. It was -- it was full of sort of affirmation and encouragement, and I loved being alive. And I was consciously in love with being alive.

And then these deaths took place. You know, these deaths occurred. And when I lost Gordon I went very quiet for a long time. That's my granddad. And I didn't really speak to anybody for a couple of months.

MORGAN: He'd been the father figure.

GRAMMER: He was my father, yes, basically. And when I finally sat one night -- this is in Ft Lauderdale where we had moved. And I got this overwhelming sense that I was just going to be alone for the rest of my life which made me kind of sad. And when I was 18, I packed it all up and went up to Julliard to, you know, find my fortune, whatever.

But it was that year, two years later, actually, when Karen was killed, that, you know, sent me into kind of a tailspin. And it was a horrible nightmare for her. I mean, it was. The three young men that abducted her, raped her repeatedly, said that she would, you know, maybe they'd let her go. You know there some more documentation about what happened.

And I being the big brother I'd always been thought that I had some responsibility for that. And that haunted me for, well, at least 20 years, that notion.

MORGAN: It makes so much more sense to me, the kind of slightly chaotic relationships that you had and the kind of -- the dissent into drugs and alcohol and so on. It all makes much more sense when you understand --

GRAMMER: Sure.

MORGAN: -- what you've been through.

GRAMMER: Yes. I think --

MORGAN: I -- it doesn't surprise me.

GRAMMER: Yes. I think after the success came, Robin -- Robin Williams had that great saying about saying cocaine is God's way of telling you you're making too much money.

MORGAN: You trained with him at the Julliard, didn't he?

GRAMMER: Yes, we were together in school. But once success came, I think what really compounded my difficulties in dealing with some of that was simply that I didn't feel like I was worth it. Like I didn't deserve that kind of success, that kind of reward, that kind of -- well, what you say about me. This popular face on television.

I'm OK with it now.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: If you think about it, is there actually a reality to this? I mean, you were earning squillions. You did have the big houses, you had the fast cars, you had the beautiful women.

I mean, for a while, it must be fun, isn't it? Despite everything else.

GRAMMER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: It's only when it eventually --

GRAMMER: I would be a fool to tell you I wasn't having a good time.

MORGAN: Yes, I always think when people go through all this and they say, oh, it was all terrible.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: I think, no it wasn't!

GRAMMER: No, not at all.

MORGAN: If it was that bad, you wouldn't have been doing it.

GRAMMER: Cocaine -- it was too much for me. It brought me to my knees, eventually. And honestly, that's really what happened and --

MORGAN: What was the -- what was the wake up moment for you?

GRAMMER: Well, there were -- there were several along the way, where I just -- you know, I'd sit there and say, I've got to stop. This has got to stop. But it's hard to do that with cocaine, it's really -- it's insidious and it's wonderful. That's the problem.

MORGAN: How did you manage to stop in the end?

GRAMMER: Well, actually, I did go to Betty Ford, and that helped. It was a -- and the best thing that they said, actually, was -- "How's it been working for you?" That's what I thought. And then, they said, "Well, he spent a month here, and maybe you'll figure out a way to do things a little differently."

And honestly, that's really what was a turning point in terms of me being able to take charge of my life again. Because I mean, I do -- I do all kinds of things. I still have a wonderful, fun kind of approach to life. I do not -- I don't do cocaine any more.

MORGAN: Do you drink alcohol?

GRAMMER: I have a drink sometimes, yes.

MORGAN: You can drink in moderation? GRAMMER: Yes, yes. But you have to be every mindful that, you know, you had a relationship with it in the past that did cause some trouble, so you have to be careful.

MORGAN: We're going to have another break. Come back and talk about how you got back on your feet. And also just dabble slightly in marriage and divorce.

GRAMMER: OK.

MORGAN: Because you are something of an expert in this area, Kelsey.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with Kelsey Grammer. Kelsey, let's talk -- let's talk love, marriage, and divorce.

GRAMMER: All right.

MORGAN: I don't really mind what order you do it in, but -- but you already I think explained in a very, I think, profound way, why you think you drifted into -- I guess what turned out to be inappropriate relationships. But at the time maybe didn't seem so inappropriate.

Did you struggle for a long time to have any meaningful relationship because of all the drugs, the partying, and everything else? Was it all inconsequential at the time? How did it feel to you?

GRAMMER: It's interesting. I spent, oh, maybe about eight years not really settling down with anybody, kind of having, you know, peripheral relationship with people. I was mostly focused on acting, trying to get a job, doing some work.

And then, when I came to New York, I met a girl. I was 28 years old, and I thought, you know, I'm tired of this. I actually want to settle down and I want to have a child. I thought, I'd like to start a family.

So, I met my first wife.

MORGAN: Doreen.

GRAMMER: Doreen. And it went -- it went pretty poorly.

MORGAN: Yes. And this lasted -- well, it last a while.

GRAMMER: About a year.

MORGAN: Yes.

GRAMMER: But it -- well, this -- it took a long time to get divorced, which is interesting. I was in a five-year divorce, I think.

MORGAN: You had a great daughter, Spencer.

GRAMMER: We had a fantastic child, Spencer.

MORGAN: So, that was a --

GRAMMER: It was wonderful, yes.

MORGAN: Now, it's your second marriage that really starts -- this starts to really deteriorate.

GRAMMER: Right.

MORGAN: So, you married the stripper --

GRAMMER: Leigh-Anne.

MORGAN: Leigh-Anne Csuhany.

GRAMMER: Csuhany.

MORGAN: Csuhany.

GRAMMER: Csuhany, yes.

MORGAN: In 1992. And that lasted a year.

GRAMMER: That was a year.

MORGAN: Lots of allegations of abuse, she fired a gun at you, there was talk of divorce, she attempted suicide. This was "The National Enquirer" for real.

GRAMMER: Oh, it was horrible, yes. It was horrible.

MORGAN: Did she fire a gun at you?

GRAMMER: That was another night. That was before I married her.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You married her after she shot at you?

GRAMMER: Yes, no, this is the -- this is what --

MORGAN: Wasn't that a warning sign, get off it?

GRAMMER: I tell you, it was absurdly across -- a shot across the bow.

MORGAN: A woman shoots at me, I'm thinking twice about the marriage, you know?

GRAMMER: So that fell apart pretty quickly. And then I met my third wife. And what's funny is, I didn't see the -- I didn't see the similarities at first, but all the same impulses came up about, oh, I could really help her. I can -- you know, I can --

MORGAN: This is Camille.

GRAMMER: Yes. I can -- I can save her, give her some sort of refuge. And I think, in the long run -- I mean, it's difficult to have anybody hear this, but I think -- it wasn't really a relationship based upon love. It was a relationship based upon appearances.

And it was good for me to basically -- at least try to settle down and have a normal relationship. And so I -- I sort of dedicated myself to that without realizing that I -- I needed to have a profound love to really pull that off. And so --

MORGAN: And what was bizarre about the whole thing was it was all being played out on television sometimes.

GRAMMER: Everything was playing out on television.

MORGAN: She was in the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and so you would pop in and out. And the whole kind of unraveling of that marriage --

GRAMMER: Right.

MORGAN: -- was laid -- there was, I would imagine for you, who's always run away from that kind of attention --

GRAMMER: Right.

MORGAN: -- on your private life. This must have been like hell, wasn't it?

GRAMMER: Well, I have to -- I mean, I have to tell you, my -- "The Real Housewives" was my parting gift to her. Now, whether or not it worked well for her doesn't matter. It was my way of saying, "Look, you always wanted to be famous. Here you go."

Everybody knows that reality shows are not particularly a great way to be famous, I mean -- but, you know what? You still get attention. You still get all those things that come along for the ride, which I think is what she was most interested in.

And that was the gift. And I knew that when it came up, we'd be saying good-bye. I mean, I remember having one conversation where I said, "Well, don't worry about it. After the first season, you can do the Divorced Wives of Beverly Hills next season."

MORGAN: You weren't really joking.

GRAMMER: No, I wasn't.

MORGAN: I mean, the strange thing is at one stage quite early on in the marriage, you said this. You said that Camille was the most profound, the most rewarding, the most honest relationship of your life. That it was love at first sight for you. GRAMMER: No, I think -- I think what I was trying to do was sell it to myself. You know? Knowing that I didn't really have many more chances at something like that, in my mind. And I thought that this was the -- this was the kind of relationship I should try to have.

And it just -- there was the still, small voice in the back of my head saying, this isn't going to work. But I stuck to it.

MORGAN: How are things between you now? Because you've got two children. It's been, to put it mildly, messy. And you've pretty well kept your dignified counsel. But how are things?

GRAMMER: Well, they're not good.

MORGAN: Do you have any kind of dialogue with her?

GRAMMER: We have no contact, no. There have been some very unfortunate incidents, public incidents, with the -- in front of the children. Stuff like that we'd like to -- I'd like to avoid. There're been some -- some attacks on Kayte, which aren't particularly interesting.

But I guess -- people say all kinds of things. But none of those are true, and we've had some -- some difficult moments. The only thing that I've ever really wanted was to try to work out something that would be nice for the kids. But --

MORGAN: How is your relationship with them?

GRAMMER: Oh, it's great.

MORGAN: Do you get --

GRAMMER: The kids are fantastic.

MORGAN: You get plenty of access?

GRAMMER: Well, they're trying to -- they're doing their best to actually kind of make that difficult for me right now. Well, here's the thing. Listen, Camille asked for a divorce really almost the first day we were married. And it stayed that way for a long time.

And I'd give a piece of advice to women who say "I want a divorce" as some sort of tactic. Because if you say, "I want a divorce" enough times, you're going to get one.

MORGAN: Do you think she married you because you were Kelsey Grammer, TV icon.

GRAMMER: No, I think she married me because I was Frasier.

MORGAN: Really?

GRAMMER: I think it was Frasier. He had this great, wonderful life. He was stylish and --

MORGAN: Great personality.

GRAMMER: -- all that stuff, just a little gay, who knew, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: And he was -- he was famous. Kelsey Grammer was a different story. You got home, and Kelsey Grammer was somebody different. And been a lot of -- she said quite a few ugly things, and -- it's not so bad that she says them publicly, but I know that what happens is, she's actually saying them in front of the kids at home.

MORGAN: What's been worst thing, the most hurtful thing she said about you?

GRAMMER: Well, you know, I haven't been keeping track of everything, so there might be something that would surprise me.

MORGAN: But if there's one that you think about now, what is the thing that really stung you? What do you hate being called the most? What's the most unfair labeling?

GRAMMER: She once said that I didn't want my daughter. That pissed me off.

MORGAN: Yes, well it would, wouldn't it?

GRAMMER: Yes. And --

MORGAN: Because the one thing --

GRAMMER: -- not true.

MORGAN: -- that I can sense with you is, you're a very committed father.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: You know, you've been a fairly hopeless husband --

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: -- from time to time with the various wives, and some of them have been pretty useless wives. But you've, throughout it, been a very conscientious --

GRAMMER: Always.

MORGAN: -- loving father.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: So, that kind of thing must really hurt you.

GRAMMER: Yes. The thing that she said that hurt me the most that I think hurt both Kayte and me, actually, was the thing about our lost -- the child we lost. And --

MORGAN: Because Kayte was pregnant --

GRAMMER: Something about it --

MORGAN: -- earlier this year.

GRAMMER: Yes, something about it being karma. And --

MORGAN: Because that's just a vicious thing to say.

GRAMMER: It's just disgusting. So I guess that's all I have to say.

MORGAN: Let's have a break. Let's just make things happier, here. Let's bring things up to current day and to your new wife, Kayte. You finally went British. As I said at the start of this interview, if you'd just gone British earlier, Kelsey --

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: -- you could've saved yourself a lot of aggravation.

GRAMMER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAMMER AS FRASIER CRANE, "CHEERS": You all think I'm just an old slipper? Well? Am a good boy? Would a good boy do this?

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER AS FRASIER: I am running with scissors!

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The brilliant "Cheers," of course, from Paramount again. "Cheers" is appropriate, really, because we've come to that moment in the interview where things take a happy turn.

You're on a flight to New York -- from England? Where are you flying?

GRAMMER: Um --

MORGAN: When you meet Kayte?

GRAMMER: When I met Kayte? I was on a flight to England.

MORGAN: To England from New York.

GRAMMER: From Los Angeles.

MORGAN: From Los Angeles.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: And it's a Virgin Atlantic flight, she's --

GRAMMER: Virgin Atlantic flight.

MORGAN: She's a stewardess -- one of Richard Branson's beautiful stewardesses.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: Now, I've been on many flights, and there've been many beautiful stewardesses, particularly with Virgin Atlantic. None of them has given me a second look.

GRAMMER: Right.

MORGAN: What was it about you on this flight? What magic did you weave?

GRAMMER: Well, you know what?

MORGAN: Because Kayte is a very beautiful young lady, as we can see here.

GRAMMER: I'm going to need to set the stage just a little bit. I'd had a heart attack three years ago. It was after the heart attack, about a month after the heart attack, my mother died, and I had a just a horrible day with the ex. Threatening divorce again and screaming about how it was all over, and I thought my mother just died. What's wrong with you?

And I suddenly realized -- and I've said this before to a press person, and they actually said -- I'll say it first. I said -- I said to myself in my head, I looked at my life, and I thought, is this the last story you want your life to tell? And I said no.

Now, granted, it took me another two years. But about a year and a half after that moment, Camille started seeing somebody, and I even encouraged it. I thought, you know what? Go find your happiness, because you are not happy with me. And that's where I was.

And I was doing that show. I got this phone call, "Are you interested in playing George in 'La Cage Aux Folles'? Come to England and see what you think of the production."

And I knew the minute I got that phone call that my life was going to change completely, and that I was -- that something else was happening.

And when I walked through LAX, I spotted a girl -- MORGAN: It's like a movie script.

GRAMMER: It was amazing. I spotted a girl who just looked to me to be magnificent. And it wasn't just that she was attractive or that she had obvious assets.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: There was a warmth, a glow about her that I was drawn to. And I thought, boy, I hope she's on my flight.

And when we got on the plane, she sort of walked down the other aisle, and I went -- she's there, I hope she's working on my side of the plane.

And then there was this one moment when we sort of smiled at each other, and I thought, I've got to -- I've got to talk to her. And so, we started talking.

MORGAN: Did she know who you were?

GRAMMER: Oh, I think she knew who I was, but she didn't know who I am.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: So I found her so charming and warm and interesting and lovely. And I guess there was a sort of freshness about my persona at the time that was attractive enough to her to make her think that it would be worth meeting for a cup of coffee.

As I walked down through the lobby of the hotel I was in, I turned and looked at the bar, and I thought, you know what? That's just a pickup joint. That's not the right place for us to have this moment.

And so, I walked to the middle of the street. It was Christmas. It was magnificent. There were lights everywhere. There was a nip in the air. And this vision comes up from the Tube stop in front of the Harvey Nichols and puts on a little lipstick, and I thought, oh, my God, she's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAMMER: And I said, "Listen, I want to just go take a walk. It doesn't feel right to be in there."

So, we took a walk over to Hyde Park, and they were -- they had this Christmas fair thing going on, and there was a Ferris Wheel, and --

MORGAN: I know exactly what you're talking about.

GRAMMER: Right. We got --

MORGAN: I know that fair. GRAMMER: We got on the Ferris Wheel, and I looked at her and I thought -- I have to go back for one second.

For the last several years, I'd been saying to one particular friend of mine, I said, you know what? I don't care if I ever have sex again. I just want to be kissed. I want somebody to kiss me just once again in my life and mean it.

And I looked at her in that moment, and I thought, I'm going to try.

MORGAN: Well, don't leave it there!

GRAMMER: I told you -- I told you I wouldn't cry. Just go on, like --

So, I leaned in and kissed her. And we've been together ever since.

MORGAN: That's one of the most romantic things I've ever heard.

GRAMMER: It was amazing.

MORGAN: You're making me go, now.

GRAMMER: Listen. The snow started to fall as we walked across the street together. It was insane. It was like all the planets had danced together into a segregated charm on our behalf

And it was messy. It's been difficult since then. Kayte was uncertain about -- I was trying to do something, some noble gesture to make the destruction of the marriage -- the previous marriage go easier somehow.

And that was a mistake. That was just a mistake. I should have walked home and said, "We're done. You can finally have everything you wanted. And I've found a new life."

MORGAN: I mean, it takes a strong woman to put up with all the mess that was around your life at the time --

GRAMMER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: And to stick with it and to end up marrying you, the fourth wife. Because you know, you're not like an easy sell to a family.

GRAMMER: No.

MORGAN: What is it about her, do you think, that enabled her to deal with all this?

GRAMMER: She believes in love.

MORGAN: I hope you still fly Virgin Atlantic, because if Richard Branson hears this story, he's going to -- he's going to make a movie out of this.

GRAMMER: Well, we -- we just did. We just went to England to visit her family and visit our new niece, who was just born to Kayte's brother and sister-in-law. I love this new family I'm part of.

I'm -- I lament the fact that I'm not being allowed to see my children as much as I'd like to. But you know what? We're going to iron that out. And it's onward and upward.

MORGAN: Well, you know what they say, Kelsey. True love will conquer all. And I think you've found true love.

GRAMMER: I have.

MORGAN: Let's have a little break. Let's come back for our last segment. Let's talk about "Boss" for a moment. I can't take much more of this romance. It's going to finish me off.

GRAMMER: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAMMER: If I didn't know better, I'd say that you'd been contriving this face to face even before me, because the only thing you're missing is heft. Here I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want from me?

GRAMMER: You'll know when it comes up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's a clip from Kelsey Grammer's new series "Boss." Let's talk about -- about "Boss" for a moment. It's a great role for you, isn't it?

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: It's a proper, serious, meaty acting role. Are you really enjoying it?

GRAMMER: It's been a -- it was a presumptive joy to go to work every day. The stuff that Farhad Safinia, the fellow that wrote it, has given me to say has been extraordinary. I mean, I think people will be quite -- quite startled by it.

I hope they don't go through some kind of emotional upset because it's not "Frasier." I mean, because it's so clearly not, that -- it's just a completely different adventure. And he is a violent, vile, fascinating --

MORGAN: Charismatic. GRAMMER: -- loving, charismatic --

MORGAN: Yes.

GRAMMER: -- creature.

MORGAN: Yes.

GRAMMER: It's fantastic to --

MORGAN: Do you like him, or not?

GRAMMER: I love him. I love -- I love his fight. He's a fighter. He's a courageous son of a bitch who just -- he won't quit.

MORGAN: Isn't that you? Isn't that you in the end?

GRAMMER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: You're a fighter, really.

GRAMMER: I really am.

MORGAN: Because you've been through stuff that would've finished off lots of people.

GRAMMER: Yes.

MORGAN: And yet, here you are, as happy as I've certainly ever seen you, and you've done it because, in the end, you just -- you fought your way to where you got to.

GRAMMER: Yes. You don't quit.

MORGAN: Quite a life you've had. Do you feel lucky to have ended up where you are?

GRAMMER: Incredibly lucky. You know, I felt lucky all through it. Blessed in some way, even in the darkest days.

A friend of mine had a great phrase for it. He said -- he was a chronic, horrible, awful relationship with booze and women and all kinds of things. And he said, "In one moment, I cried out to the God of my childhood."

That always inspired me. Because when you cry out, there is an answer. And that's been my experience.

MORGAN: Do you feel, for the first time, you've gone back to the joy of life you had as a young boy?

GRAMMER: Yes. It is -- it's remarkably the same.

MORGAN: Kelsey, it's been a real pleasure.

GRAMMER: Thank you, my pleasure. MORGAN: Thank you very much.

GRAMMER: Thanks.

MORGAN: Remarkable interview. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.