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Supermodel`s Triumph Over Meds; Life-Size Barbie Highlights Eating Disorder Campaign; Your Worst & Best Holiday Gifts
Aired December 23, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Christmas right around the corner, guys, but how about taking a one hour breather right now. Sit back, put your feet up and join us for 60 minutes of give and take about the stories you care about most.
Let`s get started.
You guys know Paulina Porizkova as a supermodel and rock star`s wife, which you might not know is that behind her face beautiful face was another woman entirely. One who hid a secret that she candidly discussed with me recently. Watch.
PINSKY: Paulina Porizkova was a supermodel in the 1980s and graced the covers of "Sports Illustrated" famed swimsuit edition not once but twice. And she`s now a talented writer and currently blogs for the "Huffington Post."
She caught our attention when she recently wrote an article titled, "Ending a mid-life affair with meds," in which she talks about her severe anxiety attacks and some depressive symptoms, and how she turned to the antidepressant Lexapro for help.
So welcome, Paulina. Now, why -
PAULINA PORIZKOVA, HAD "AFFAIR" WITH ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Thank you.
PINSKY: Before I ask you questions about why publicize this, now, let me give my personal reveals (ph) out of the way -
PORIZKOVA: Please. I`ve been waiting for this (ph).
PINSKY: Well, I know I just told you (INAUDIBLE), but my daughter is named Paulina and it was actually a friend of ours that said, "You know, Paulina Porizkova is Czech, which my wife is Czech (ph) and that name is so pretty, and Paulina Pinsky and Paulina Porizkova and that`s just -
PINSKY: -- P.P. as we call her.
PORIZKOVA: You know, that would be a little scary if you didn`t clarify.
PINSKY: I know. It sounds like I`m just kind of a weird stalker. But it is in fact the case that we named her after you, so thank you for that. And that she`s heading up to New York for college.
PORIZKOVA: Oh, my God, I`m so proud. Thank you. Is she just beautiful and intelligent -
PINSKY: Yes. Just the same as you, exactly. Exactly.
PORIZKOVA: Yes, exactly.
PINSKY: So let`s go on with Lexapro - as I blush here. Let us - let us talk about Lexapro. Why publicize this issue now?
PORIZKOVA: Well, you know what, I never thought of it as publicizing initially to tell you the truth, because I write, you know I`m a writer, and I write a blog for HuffPo, and I sort of write things that come to my mind. You know, I just - things I notice, things that I think about.
And it seems that women my age sort of tend to, you know, we tend to think very much alike about aging and beauty and fame. And so I just thought, you know, this is something that I was dealing with and there was one point in my life when I was on Lexapro where I was - I went to a dinner party with eight women, beautiful, gorgeous women and we all sat around and I admitted to taking Lexapro. And every single one of them at the table admitted that they were also on an antidepressant, and that`s what really made me want to write this blog.
Because I thought - I thought that was odd. I thought what we - what we had in common were our ages. We were all happily married. We all had children that no longer needed us full time and we were all on antidepressants?
PINSKY: So is that - it sort of - that cuts both ways then. Is it that we are an excessive pill society or are we just not attending to women`s spiritual and emotional needs at a certain stage of life or both?
PORIZKOVA: That - that`s exactly - those were my questions. Obviously, as an ex-supermodel, I am really qualified to like tell you what is what.
PINSKY: Your spiritual life.
PORIZKOVA: Yes. I`m like totally like, you know, but it`s sort of - it gave me questions. I have no answers. I`m not, you know, I`m not - I can`t remember the word.
PINSKY: Spiritual adviser or philosopher.
PORIZKOVA: Or doctor.
PINSKY: There`s also that.
PORIZKOVA: There`s also that, yes. But it just - it made me wonder because it seemed like I started wondering is it sort of like a female midlife crisis? You know, the guys, they get the hot chicks and the sports cars and we get Botox and antidepressants?
PORIZKOVA: Not a fair tradeoff, don`t you think?
PINSKY: No, it isn`t. And, in fact, I have been advocating for quite some time that one of the things that`s poorly dealt with is the biological process of menopause and how that effects your mood and your sense of well- being. And there is a movement afoot again for people at home to replace not just the estrogens and the progesterone but also testosterone which gives people an increased sense of well-being.
And, again, that`s a complicated issue. Discuss it with your doctor. There are risks and benefits to any of these things, but that`s one issue. Then are we using too many pills?
PORIZKOVA: You know, this is exactly what I want to ask - what I wanted to ask you, because again, I`m not qualified to tell you that, but you are qualified to tell me. What do you think?
PINSKY: So the answer is a qualified yes and no. That yes, we are way overdone with the pills. All of us. We all anticipate - let me put it this way. When I - I grew up, my dad was a family practitioner. When I grew up he always said you don`t take medicine. Medicines are all bad. They will harm you, unless there`s a very compelling need.
So I grew up with that philosophy and I`ve always tried to practice medicine that way. Our society has shifted to thinking that all the answers are in a pill. And if a pill hurts us or has adversely affects us, we`re sort of surprised.
PINSKY: Now, we shouldn`t be surprised. There`s a price to taking medicine. I read your article and you said you felt sort of shut down emotionally, sort of unemotionally (ph).
PORIZKOVA: Well, you know, it was interesting for me because I took the Lexapro not because of depression. I took it because of my super high anxiety. And now I have - I have been an anxious person since I was a small child. I`ve been suffering from panic attacks for my entire life.
PINSKY: Me, too.
PORIZKOVA: Yay. See, all the cool people have them.
PINSKY: That`s right. But I had it mostly in college. I went to therapy for a long time and that really helped with the anxiety. Have you thought about that?
PORIZKOVA: Talk therapy has been the best thing I`ve done for myself since I started, way better than the pills. But you know what? Therapy takes a long time and it`s painful.
PINSKY: Yes, it does.
PORIZKOVA: Painful and slow, or fast and cheap. What are you going to go for?
PINSKY: Well, in this society, fast and cheap. But like - like anything in life, you deal what you put into it and good things come, you know, with lot of work and time and stuff right (ph) and as you were doing that.
PORIZKOVA: Like what I would like to say is, you know, if you take a shortcut, shortcuts don`t actually work. I mean, they don`t actually -
PINSKY: They do, but there`s a price. Always a price.
PORIZKOVA: There`s always a price. You always end up paying a price and like - and I understand that, you know, that you can take a pill to go to sleep, you can take a pill to be slimmer, you can take a pill to be happy. You can probably take a pill for pretty much anything, but at what cost?
PINSKY: Yes. So let me - you may not be comfortable asking this. I`m only asking it because it might be helpful for people at home. What are the core issues you found working on really helped? And I`ll tell you what I think. Or let me - let me give my sense of what happens to a lot of people in therapy that`s missing in so many people`s lives is this sense of emptiness and disconnect is that people really don`t know how to have genuine intimate relationships anymore, real closeness. And for many people, therapy is about rebuilding the capacity for real closeness with another human. Would that fit for you or no?
PORIZKOVA: Oh, that`s - that`s really kind of sad. No, I actually don`t think that that particular one fits me because I got incredibly lucky in parts of my life. I met my husband when I was 19, and been married for - what - we`ve been together for 27 years, and he sort of, you know, he`s - he`s my life. I mean -
PINSKY: Ric Ocasek.
PORIZKOVA: Yes, the dude from The Cars.
PINSKY: The dude from The Cars.
PORIZKOVA: And so I have love and I have access to love, but I had some - I have childhood issues.
PINSKY: But that - a lot of those are ruptures of trust, those childhood issues.
PINSKY: OK. And that affects the ability to be close.
PORIZKOVA: Yes. But, you know what? How is it, and it`s true, because I do - I do tend to be a control freak. I do tend to -
PINSKY: Isn`t it crazy? But just think about this for a second. So for other women out here - that`s out there that watched you in the `80s, they thought you had everything.
PINSKY: And you had the same kind of stuff that all of us had, some ruptured experiences in childhood, some pain.
PORIZKOVA: My parents abandoned me when I was three. They didn`t - they kind of didn`t mean to, but they did.
PINSKY: That`s awful.
PORIZKOVA: You know, it`s not nice and you do kind of grow up for the rest of your life with a sense that you weren`t good enough.
PINSKY: Of course.
PORIZKOVA: You know, I don`t have to tell you.
PINSKY: No. But, of course, and the fact that you`re able to address it, you said it`s painful.
PORIZKOVA: That`s exactly it. And that`s what I have been sort of addressing in talk therapy is I knew it, logically I knew that my parents left me and that it - and that it hurt me. But I wasn`t really able to sort of emotionally connect to it. I put it as, you know - I dealt with it. Yes. My parents couldn`t help it. You put it away.
Well, they immigrated to Sweden when I was three years old. And my last memory actually of my parents was my mother getting on the back of my father`s motorcycle, and she kind of shoving me towards grandma and saying you take care of her if we`re not back tonight, and I never saw them again.
PORIZKOVA: No, no, no.
PORIZKOVA: They were just escaping the communist regime at the time.
PINSKY: Oh, my God.
PORIZKOVA: It`s 1968, so it was kind of a dangerous time in Europe. But for me that meant they left and they didn`t want to take me with them. And actually for a long time I had this idea that they left me because of my ears. Because my father always jokes when he put me a motorcycle, he would go, "I can`t go fast. Your ears are so big, they will blow off."
PINSKY: They`re not so big.
PORIZKOVA: No. But I thought my ears were big until like 10 years ago.
PINSKY: Paulina, I have to break. I could talk to you all day.
PORIZKOVA: I know. I`m really interesting.
PINSKY: You are really interesting. And appreciate all of the years of joy during the `80s and particularly meeting you now, too. It`s a pleasure.
PORIZKOVA: Ditto. Thank you.
PINSKY: And then for making people think about these issues it`s really important.
PINSKY: And when we come back, a Barbie doll unlike any other. She can help battle eating disorders. You`ll see how.
And later, a millionaire Hollywood big shot rethinks wealth and what it all means.
PINSKY: Lots of Barbies will be under Christmas trees everywhere on Sunday, but none like this one. A college student constructed this one. She joined us recently to talk about her controversial creation. You`ve got to see this. Take a look.
PINSKY: Get this now. Barbie is in the news tonight. Not just any Barbie, a life-sized Barbie.
College student Galia Slayen made this life-sized version to highlight eating disorders. Oh, yes. There she is. She`s here to talk about her own problems which may have stemmed from unrealistic messages she had been receiving about what she would look like from things in our culture like Barbie.
Also here is actress Elisa Donovan, a star of "Clueless." She, too, had a problem with eating and body image. And celebrity chef Devin Alexander, she is with us. She is the author of "The Biggest Losers: Flavors of the World Cookbook."
All right, Galia. How did you get the idea for this life-sized Barbie?
GALIA SLAYEN, BROUGHT LIFE-SIZE BARBIE TO CAMPUS: Well, Barbie is actually part of the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. She`s part of the Get Real Barbie campaign.
And so when I was in high school, I saw this piece of paper that - or this Get Real Barbie campaign, and they basically had all these statistics about Barbie, just these kind of mind-blowing statistics. And so I saw that her bust would be 39 inches, her waist 18 inches, and her hips, 33.
And I was just, like, what would happen if she were real, like if you could actually see her? It would really create attention. It would really grab people just walking down the halls in my high school. They would actually turn around and look, because, I mean, as you can see, you can`t miss her.
So that was kind of how the idea stemmed. It was part of this larger Eating Disorder Awareness Week to really create discussion about eating disorders and body image issues.
PINSKY: How have other women reacted to this?
SLAYEN: Most people are shocked. I think the general reaction among women and men is just shock. And then there`s sort of - I guess you think back to when you`re a little kid, it sort of makes you think back to, well, what was my relationship with Barbie? Or, more so, what the deeper image - or the deeper goal really is, is to think about, well, what are these images as a child, the role models that you have as a child? It`s really questioning that. That`s what Barbie is here to do.
And so I think a lot of people have seen Barbie just on the surface as, oh, this crazy image, but hopefully what I hope people can gain is that to really be a critical viewer of the media and really question the things that are given to you as a young person, and also just as you grow up just questioning the media.
PINSKY: I love that kind of thinking.
And let me just, in all fairness, read something from the makers of Barbie. It`s Mattel Corporation. They had this e-mail response to "The Today Show" when asked about Barbie`s influence: "As a pop-cultural icon, Barbie is often used as art to express one`s own personal opinions and views. Girls see female body images everywhere today, and it`s critical that parents and caregivers provide perspective on what they`re seeing. It`s important to remember that Barbie is a doll who stands 11.5 inches tall and weights 7.25 ounces - she was never modeled on the proportions of a real person."
And Galia, I think you brought that point home in a very vivid way.
PINSKY: Ladies, how do you react to this?
ELISA DONOVAN, ACTRESS, BATTLED ANOREXIA: I think I just want to say, first of all, I commend you and applaud you for being so empowered and verbal and doing this in such a demonstrative way, because it not only is so important to - to create positive images, but to hear young people and women actually talking about it and being not lighthearted that it`s a joke, but that it`s something that really needs to be blown open. And so many women I think keep these secrets, particularly with eating disorders and the way they feel about themselves.
PINSKY: Speaking about secrets, you had eating issues. You had something.
DONOVAN: Yes. And I was anorexic and I recovered - have been in recovery 16 years.
PINSKY: And I`ve known you for 15 years, and I didn`t even know this about you.
DONOVAN: Yes. I was probably just really in the very beginning of my recovery. So, as I`m sure you know, it`s an extraordinarily long journey. And there were process - really, for five or six years I don`t think I was really quite functioning.
PINSKY: Well, you`re very fragile and you weren`t all the way in yet. It takes a while.
DONOVAN: Yes, yes. And you really have to commit to making that the most important thing and see -- but the thing that really - that for me helped me get well was I saw how small my life had become. And I think the real tragedy of what`s going on is that women - not women - and young girls, little kids, are getting the message that the most important thing is what your body looks like. And it`s not.
PINSKY: To me, it makes me crazy that women always take stuff on that is so - it makes - it makes me sad that they take on -
DONOVAN: But that`s what we do, right? We just take it all in. We can`t help it.
PINSKY: Maybe you can, is my point. Galia (sic), you had an issue, too, with food, right?
DEVIN ALEXANDER, AUTHOR, "THE BIGGEST LOSER": Yes, I did.
PINSKY: I said - Devin, I beg your pardon. I`m thinking about Galia and her Barbie. Devin, you had an issue with this.
ALEXANDER: I weighed close to 200 pounds by the time I was 15. And I was one of those people, I was trying to diet, but I just couldn`t do it. I couldn`t get my mind around never having a brownie again, versus getting picked on, versus, you know, all of that. And I find it so sad.
Like, today -
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you. You got - this is this beautiful woman now. And think about her at age, what, 14, 15, getting picked on. And, you know, the research shows very clearly kids that get picked on have real difficult time recovering their self-esteem. Is that still an issue for you?
ALEXANDER: You know, it`s not really - I mean, I have those moments. I can`t say that I never, but, like, last week, I saw this fashion show, and it was for a group of empowered women. And then you see these stick girls, and then you go and try on the dresses and you`re like, seriously? Like I just - like I got dressed and left, because I`m like, this sucks.
But for the most part I don`t. What gets me is I literally got a tweet last week where a woman wrote, "I spend 80 percent of my day hating myself."
ALEXANDER: And that -
DONOVAN: Yes. We were talking about this earlier. That`s why I think there has to be a colossal shift culturally and socially, just what we focus on, because whether you`re starving yourself or overeating or cutting or whatever it is you`re doing, it`s all about I don`t love myself. And why not? Because you don`t - you can`t live up to these irrational, impossible standards.
PINSKY: Devin, you were overweight as a child. How much did you weigh?
ALEXANDER: Close to 200 pounds.
PINSKY: And then you lost the weight by learning how to eat correctly?
ALEXANDER: Yes. I basically changed the "I`m bad, I can`t, I can`t, I can`t" into a happy obsession. Like, I figured out how to cook the foods I love in a way that I can enjoy them and eat them.
PINSKY: Is it self-nurturing? Is that what you learned how to do, how do take care of yourself?
ALEXANDER: I think so. It was - first of all, I found passion. Like, I had something that I was good at.
PINSKY: That`s good. What? What?
DONOVAN: Honestly, I didn`t - I think that cooking is exactly what you`re saying. It`s a self-nurturing thing.
PINSKY: Yes. And I don`t think women care for themselves. They`re so busy caring about everybody else and what other people think.
DONOVAN: Yes. And also, again, changing the value system. You know, a bazillion years ago, it was - women were in the home and cooking and providing in that way for their family. And, you know, maybe there was some shift in women`s lib and now we can do everything. I don`t know where it happens, but -
PINSKY: After the break I`m going to tell you a personal story about this very issue.
Galia, do you agree with what the ladies are saying in the studio here?
SLAYEN: Yes, I definitely agree. I think it`s really important for people to realize just more so with eating disorders that they really are an internal issue, and to really just, as I said before, question the media, question what`s going on around you, and just be cognizant, especially if you have friends who are struggling with eating disorders. Realize that it`s not just an issue with food. It`s a much larger issue, internal issue.
PINSKY: Yes, yes.
SLAYEN: So you can`t just say, you know, why aren`t you eating more, that type of thing. So it`s so much more.
PINSKY: That`s right. That`s right. So, two or three issues - you`re absolutely right.
So, eating disorder is one disorder that evolves in this cultural context where there`s something empty on the inside and eating disorders emerge. But there`s this bigger issue here of women taking care of themselves, feeling good about themselves, and being cognizant and smart about how they consume media.
PINSKY: "On Call" is next. What are you thankful for as the clock ticks towards Christmas day?
And coming up, teen moms, meet the girls who are forced to grow up very fast. You can learn - all of us, we can learn something from that. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Welcome back. So many of you have been writing in, telling us you received gifts that have changed and in some cases saved your life. We`ll get to your calls just in a second.
But first there were some Facebook posts we couldn`t pass up concerning the worst gifts ever received.
We go to Roger first. He writes, "I received a few lottery tickets, both were worth $10,000. Shortly found out they were fakes." Nice. Who was that friend?
Phillip writes, "I got nose hair clippers." Listen, I wouldn`t mind that. I have people who actually asked me to get those for them for Christmas. I have.
Jill writes "Sadly, I got vibrating slippers." Again, I don`t understand the downside of that.
Marcy writes, "I`m still trying to figure out why my husband got me cleaning supplies. Whatever!" Gentlemen, I learned this the hard way, no kitchen utensils, no cleaning supplies, your wife, a Christmas - or birthdays, don`t do that.
Samantha writes, "I received a tattooed Santa doll." That goes under know your audience. Some really think that`s cool.
Sarah writes, "I got pajama bottoms and my sister got the top." Brutal.
Lakisha writes, "I got a scale. That ain`t right, Dr. Drew." Well, someone is giving a message about your health. Maybe it is OK.
Along the same lines, Tim writes, "I got deodorant in my stocking. How offensive." Dude, I`ve got to wonder, Tim, who was being the offensive one? I`m just saying.
Roger writes, "I got divorce papers. At the time it was my worst present." Oh, brutal.
And then it quickly became my favorite. Interesting, careful what you ask for.
Thank you for sharing those with us. Let`s get on to the phones. Nikol in Florida, go ahead.
NIKOL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Nikol.
NIKOL: Thank you for taking my call.
NIKOL: Two days before Christmas in 2008, I was told that I had cancer because of a long time battle to an addiction to diet pills. Thyroid cancer is due to my thyroid being burned out. I didn`t know then but it was the best and worst at the time gift I could have ever received. I am now four years clean, four years cancer-free and I`m living my life like I`m supposed to, healthy and happy. The best intangible gift I was given was the gift of getting a second chance of life.
PINSKY: Yes, I mean, which is what recovery is meant to be. It`s to go ahead and flourish. There`s not actually a connection between diet pills and causational cause of thyroid cancer, but I`m glad you thought perhaps there was a link there that motivated you to get sober and that`s fantastic. Cancer sometimes can really be a mixed blessing.
Therese in Wisconsin, go ahead.
THERESE, KENOSHA, WISCONSIN (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Therese.
THERESE: I wanted to say that I received a kidney transplant.
THERESE: Last December.
THERESE: That saved my life and you just couldn`t ask for a better gift than that.
PINSKY: You`ve got that somebody - somebody sadly gave you a wonderful gift and a chance at life.
Stacey in New Hampshire, go ahead.
STACEY, ROCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew. The greatest gift, tangible or intangible that I have ever received in my lifetime was the gift of sobriety. I have lost everything when I walked through the doors of A.A. in Louisiana 16 years ago, and one of the best sponsors I ever had was that of a lady named Sandy. I have not drunk since, and has since became a homeowner, which is a gift in and of itself.
PINSKY: Stacey, congratulations. I hear these stories all the time. Cautionary tale here, though, sponsors are supposed to be same sex, glad it worked for you the way it did. But for those of you out there, same sex sponsor.
Maria on Facebook writes, "As simple as this may sound, I consistently receive unconditional love from my parents, I see no greater gift." This family is a great gift.
When we come back, a successful Hollywood director rich by anyone`s measure tells us how he found true wealth. Of course, guess what, not about the money. More in a minute.
PINSKY: "Ace Ventura," "Liar, Liar," and "The Nutty Professor" are just some of the films brought to you by Tom Shadyac. He got rich. He got famous from doing his job very well, but an accident forced him to think about what`s really important. It inspired him to change his life in ways even he couldn`t predict. Watch.
PINSKY: So, I have a successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac. He was living the dream, at least, as he thought it was at the time, expensive houses, cars, private jets, but some thing was missing.
Tom Shadyac says he was living a lie, and he finally decided to do something about it. Watch this, and then, we`re going to talk to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): If you know Ace Ventura, you know Tom Shadyac. Shadyac was winning at the game of life with that blockbuster and many more. Ten years ago, he rode a wave of success in meteoric fashion.
TOM SHADYAC, DIRECTOR, "I AM": There I was, standing in the house of my culture that taught me was the measure of the good life.
PINSKY: Then, at his career zenith, a strange emptiness.
SHADYAC: I was no happier.
PINSKY: He started a personal journey for deeper meaning in life, but it was violently interrupted by a debilitating accident. Shadyac survived. He endured agony, faced death, and rose from the ashes with an inspiring message. The one he`s about to deliver right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): And I want to welcome Tom. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.
SHADYAC: Thank you. Good to be here.
PINSKY: Good to see you.
SHADYAC: Thanks, doc.
PINSKY: Now, I`ve got a bunch of questions. I watched your movie and stuff. So, let`s just start back at the beginning. You were a successful television producer.
SHADYAC: I was actually film director. Ace Ventura was my first film.
PINSKY: And had you lived your dream at that point? Was that what you always wanted to do kind of thing?
SHADYAC: Well, I lived the dream I think the culture had taught me, you know, to be successful. As an artist, that was a dream. It was a beautiful dream, you know, as an artist to be able to tell a story, to make somebody laugh, to make somebody think, but what came with that dream, I think, was toxic, which is the more success you have, let that success be reflected in your lifestyle, red carpet lifestyle with a jets and the homes and the things.
And I found those things absolutely neutral. They weren`t bad, and they certainly weren`t good. They were neutral. And the problem was my culture had taught me that once you get there, there will be a there there, and there was no there there. I found my happiness level absolutely didn`t improve, and I --
PINSKY: That`s what did you do?
SHADYAC: Well, I began to question my life. For a while, I kind of just got co-opted into the dream, and I bought more stuff, and you know, got little further down that path, but eventually, I realized that I was being a bit hypocritical, because on my moral side, I believed in the moral teachings, not in the dogmatically of the Jesuses and Gandhis who say don`t store up treasures on earth.
We`re more -- and yet, I found myself storing up plenty of treasures on earth. And they say, you have to be empty to be full, but I was quite full.
PINSKY: Did you know that about yourself before you accumulate all the stuff? Or was the accumulation what sort of brought that understandably out?
SHADYAC: No, I certainly didn`t know that. Maybe at a very deep level I knew that, but I wasn`t operating on that deep level, but I felt something. When all of this stuff came at me after "Liar, Liar" is basically -- I did "Ace" then "Nutty Professor" and then "Liar, Liar" and then it all came, and I thought, this isn`t right, you know? I`m an artist. I have a gift.
I`ve been given a gift, and I should serve with that gift, and yet, what I was doing was taking advantage of that and saying I own it, and I`m more valuable, and I built an economic life around that which I think many of us are encouraged to do.
PINSKY: One thing -- it was all for yourself. For you. I guess, what I`m asking, behind that question is, did you have a wife? Did you have children? Were there other people you were building on behalf of?
SHADYAC: I`ve got a large family not in the traditional sense. There have been people that I`ve sort of adopted informally along the way, but I had far too much. The question we don`t ask ourselves is how much is enough? What do you need to make you happy?
PINSKY: I love the question, but before we go unto it, because I think when you think about it as a solitary person, it`s different than when you think about it as a father. In other words, I`m worrying about paying for college education, paying for graduate school. I mean, consumed with that.
SHADYAC: But to me, the fundamental question is the same. It`s how much do you need? Now, I`m a father. That is part of my needs. I have to take care of my child. I have to feed them. But how much do I need to feed them? The problem is for us is we want to do the things that are very moral teachings tell us not to do which is store up into barns.
That`s the greatest, you know, arguably one of the greatest moral teachings is the Sermon on the Mount. Don`t even store up into barns. Consider the birds of the air. But we want to be safe for the rest of our lives, which is unheard of a nature. And so, we got to take more and more and more.
We make ourselves sick to lay up something for a sick day. That`s what Derow (ph) said. And I don`t want to reflect that kind of life. I want to have a relationship with you so that if I`m in need someday, because I didn`t store up forever, maybe you`ll meet my need because I`ve helped to meet your need.
PINSKY: Got it. And so, what have you done? What did you do?
SHADYAC: Well, I just started moving away from that kind of life but found something much more powerful. And so, I don`t think about this moving away. I gave up -- you know, the first thing I gave up, the jet allowance, and so, I was able to give a fair amount of money, you know, the studio universe was very gracious to allow me to do that. I gave that away, and I sold the houses.
I begin to downsizing and got rid most of my stuff and gave away larger and larger sums of money. And now, I retooled the way I do economy in my life. I don`t want to stand on top of a picture and say, I`m more valuable than you pay me more.
PINSKY: But how much -- I`m trying -- I think people at home want to know exactly what -- you gave it away to charities and how much did you give away?
SHADYAC: I don`t have a figure, to be honest.
SHADYAC: It`s in the millions, but that`s looking at things in sort of a linear way, and I want the person at home to know, whatever they do, even if it`s bake a meal or share a smile or give someone dignity for a moment, it`s the same thing.
PINSKY: Is it?
PINSKY: Because that`s a really interesting point. We got a couple of minutes here in this segment. We`re going to talk more, but, to me, this whole thing turns around that point.
SHADYAC: Let`s talk about it.
PINSKY: OK. Which is that there are people out there, become the U.N. ambassador for whatever and doing all these grandiose things for people. I`m not sure that is the same thing as putting your arm around somebody and taking them to a homeless shelter. Simple selfless acts of service.
PINSKY: They can be on a large scale, but oftentimes, they`re not.
SHADYAC: I agree, but it depends. I can`t necessarily judge that ambassador because that may be his journey and his truth. But I think we, as a culture, tend to see those big things as the good things.
SHADYAC: And the person who puts their arm around a homeless person and says, I want to know your story. We don`t elevate that like we elevate the multibillion dollar gifts that people in my industry give away, and they`re the same thing.
PINSKY: They can be the same thing. Often, they`re not. Often, they`re sort of grandiose gestures, but let -- you got a new documentary. It`s kind of -- we`re talking about here.
PINSKY: It`s called "I Am." It explores this notion that our way of life is based on selfish materialism, and that we need to wake up as a culture. So, let`s take a look at this first. Here, he is talking about his first house in Beverly Hills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHADYAC (voice-over): When more success came my way, I bought a bigger house and more stuff. I was flying privately everywhere, vacationing, looking for properties. But something odd happened to me when I move into my first Beverly Hills house that kind of took the edge off my buzz. I was standing alone in the entrance foyer after the movers had just left, and I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling. I was no happier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Right? In your documentary, I notice you point out that if you`re cold in the woods and unhappy and miserable, somebody brings you into a cabin and gives you a warm meal and a blanket, that`s an increase in happiness.
SHADYAC (on-camera): Yes.
PINSKY: But to go from that cabin to your Beverly Hills house, need (ph) necessarily create any happiness.
SHADYAC: That`s right. And we`ve studied that now through positive psychology, and we know kind of the monetary levels where happiness is increased. That was around $50,000 to $75,000.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHADYAC (voice-over): My symptoms were brutal and intense sensitivity to light and sounds, severe mood swings, and a constant ringing in my head. Traditional medicine was no help, so I turned to alternative therapy. Nothing seemed to work. After several months of what I can only describe as torture, I welcomed death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Makes you think about your own views on money, doesn`t it?
Next now, teen moms, they, too, have acquired wisdom from difficult circumstances. We will talk to them about having children at such a young age. Stay with us.
PINSKY: The teen pregnancy rate is the lowest it has been in this country in decades. They`re calling it the 16 and pregnant effect. The courage of the girls you`re going to meet now that may be contributing to that. There course is still some shame and stigma attached to teen pregnancies. Here, I want you to meet these teen moms who are sharing their stories and lives on television, the good and the bad of being such a young parent.
Now, recognize this. The U.S. has twice the teen pregnancy rate as Canada. Germany and France have a teen pregnancy rate that is four times lower than the U.S. Japan`s pregnancy rate is eight times lower than the United States. We have got a serious problem in our country. We`ve had it for some time, and we need to do something about this.
To not talk about it, to not take risks with say doing shows where we portray what this actually is, teen pregnancy. I think by sitting in our hands and playing it safe, we`re going to continue to have a problem. So, for me, the fact that MTV chose to do a show like this I thought was very courageous and worth the risk, and for people that say maybe MTV is not the place to be doing something like this, there are so many teens there, where else are you going to do it?
Where do you want to do the show? Do you want to do it on the -- I don`t know -- do it on the cooking network or somewhere? I mean, we have to do it where the kids are that are likely to be at risk for this. And believe me, kids aren`t stupid. Hear me say this over and over again tonight. You give them a relatable source, and they understand the message.
These ladies tonight are going to help you understand what their message is. Now, you`ve heard about teen moms, the show "Teen Mom." It`s, you know, it`s -- you particularly heard about it after one of the stars was shown in jail after a violent backyard brawl. This was all caught on camera. We`re going to show you that. It went viral. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re such a stupid --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) inside the house. Get inside the house.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: "Teen Mom" paid to fight? Unbelievable explosive reports today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The star of "16 and Pregnant."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Teen Mom" star faces the music after getting arrested on drug charges.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bombshell tonight.
PINSKY: God knows the networks make money off it. Reality program is intended to be a cautionary tale.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: There`s somebody talking some sense about this. So -- and I, you know, I`m sympathetic to my peers on HLN who were reporting this. I mean, it was a big story, but I want to get people to focus on what the issue is. They`ve been looking at the wrong issue which is, oh my goodness, this reality show created a problem.
No, teen pregnancy unravels young lives, and you just happened to catch one, unraveling. That`s the issue. Now, you need to also know that since this show has been airing, teen pregnancy in the U.S. is actually down.
According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, but it is down. We`ll talk more about that data as we go along. Tonight, three of the stars of MTV`s "Teen Mom" is here, the original three, and we`re going to talk to them uncensored and uncut. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): MTV started following Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham and Catelynn Lowell on the show, "16 and Pregnant." They were young, naive, and pregnant. They all faced different trials, absent, and unsupportive partners, death of a loved one, and a struggle of choosing adoption. The show was a runaway hit, and the girls not only became new mothers, they became instant celebrities.
They`re here tonight to get real. Teen pregnancy isn`t glamorous. It`s been an uphill battle for each and every one of these young women. I know them personally. I`ve worked with them on their struggles. Now, they are sharing their painful and hopeful stories with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): You know them as Maci, Farrah and Catelynn. This is Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, and Catelynn Lowell. They`re three of the four original "16 and Pregnant" girls and original "Teen Moms." They join us tonight. Ladies, it is good to see you again.
Thank you for coming out here and being a part of this. You know, you and I, we just did some reunion shows together. I know people, my viewers know this that I have participated in this show since the beginning, meeting with these girls at the end of their seasons and sort of recapping what`s going on.
And let me just ask you, first, how did you experience those reunion shows? And what did you think of me when I got involved with them? Was I scary guy that was going to --
CATELYNN LOWELL, STAR, MTV`S "TEEN MOM": You weren`t scary.
PINSKY: No. Maci thought I was scary.
MACI BOOKOUT, STAR, MTV`S "TEEN MOM": No. At first, I`m not one to like really let my guard down that easy.
PINSKY: I noticed that.
BOOKOUT: And I could feel you, like, looking right through me. So, I was just like, dang. He knows exactly what I`m thinking right now, and I`m going to have to tell him. That was little hard for me to get used to, but now, I know you`re good for me. So, it`s much easier for me to talk to you.
PINSKY: Farrah, you too?
FARRAH ABRAHAM, STAR, MTV`S "TEEN MOM": I thought that you helped us confront some of our, I guess, fears of growing up. So, with my mom`s relationship, I think you`ve helped that become stronger. So, I don`t know if you`ve helped some of the other girls, but you`ve helped me confront some things I needed to change.
PINSKY: Good, nice. And you know, I have great admiration for your mom. I know that you, guys, have been through a very tough situation, but she has been hanging in through all this. How are the babies? How`s Bentley?
BOOKOUT: He`s good.
PINSKY: I`m so disappointed he wasn`t here.
PINSKY: As you know, I wanted to see Bentley.
BOOKOUT: I know. He is so cool.
PINSKY: He is where now?
BOOKOUT: He is with Kyle at home.
PINSKY: And Sophia, where is she?
ABRAHAM: With my mom.
PINSKY: And what is the latest on Baby Carly?
LOWELL: Oh, wow! She`s starting to talk a lot, and Theresa told me she`s starting to get a little bit aggressive. So, I think that`s a little bit of Tyler. Yes, she`s about to turn two on the --
PINSKY: You have to listen carefully to what Catelynn said. It`s the terrible 2s, but she`s blaming Tyler for how she`s behaving. And for people who don`t know, Catelynn gave her child up for adoption. It was a very difficult struggle. Something that she`s still contends with to this day, and it`s been a very illustrative story for young people that are contemplating that.
I want to go to some Facebook questions here. This is Jen W. and she asks, "What do you think your kids will say when they look back one day and view the "Teen Mom" video series? Catelynn has something to say.
LOWELL: OK. Well, I think my number one thing is, is I really look forward to sitting down all my children and showing them the whole show, because I feel like it will make them feel a little bit more comfortable to talk to me about having sex. And I think it will just all around help us talk to each other and --
PINSKY: And what will your message to be them when you have this conversation?
LOWELL: Well, I`m going to really stress on, you know, helping them find -- use condoms, talk about how to use them, birth control if I have a girl. You know, take her to go get birth control --
PINSKY: Will you encourage them to delay?
LOWELL: Yes. I will definitely encourage them to delay, but if they don`t --
ABRAHAM: You need to educate them.
LOWELL: Yes, then I need to educate them and let them know what to use if you are going to have sex.
PINSKY: Farrah, Maci, do you have answer to that question?
BOOKOUT: Well, for me, it`s kind of hard, because, you know, my struggle with Ryan, Bentley`s dad is, you know, back and forth. And I don`t want Bentley to see that and judge either one of us from what we did when we were 16, 17 years old, but I do know he`s going to see it, and I would much rather him see it with me and Ryan than see it somewhere else so that we can talk through the show.
PINSKY: That is a theme I want to get to tonight, maybe not at this moment, but as we go through the evening, which is you, guys, were kids when I first met you. Literally. Yes. And now, you`re young women and not just how would your perspective change looking back on it with your kids much later but how has your perspective changed now.
First, I want to go to another Facebook question. This is Tracy W. She asked, "What would you have been doing with your life had you not become pregnant at such a young age?" Farrah, I think you would have a lot to say about that one.
ABRAHAM: Well, I would have been moved away, you know, having my go away experience at college and, you know, come home and visit my parents and tell them what`s new with me and just focus on my education and that`s what I really missed. I mean, I missed that opportunity when I wasn`t thinking about myself and my education. So, I`m getting back on track, but it`s been a big delay. And I think we can all agree on that.
BOOKOUT: It`s a very big delay. I think for teenagers, yourself should be most important, because that`s what being a teenager is about. And for us, it all change. We`re no longer (INAUDIBLE) education has been put on hold. Our careers have been put on hold. Our relationships have gone to pieces, and you know, now, our child -- children`s lives are, you know, at stake. Like, they`re the ones paying for our mistake.
ABRAHAM: That`s what -- when you`re a parent and you`re growing into that responsibility. And they didn`t ask for any of it.
PINSKY: More with the teen moms after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sophia, quit crying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe this. Look, mommy will turn out the lights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not effective and I am not going to give you any attention.
PINSKY: Now, as any parent knows, it is tough enough to raise children when you say an adult, have a job and support from a spouse, but what if your situation is far from ideal. Our teen moms tell us how they`re doing it, and in some cases, pretty much alone.
PINSKY: We`re back here with Maci, Farrah, and Catelynn, not to be confused with an imam, a priest, and a rabbi. They are teen moms who know first hand the hardships of having a baby at such a young age. Now, I want to ask each of them to give me and my viewers some important information, but before I do, I want to pay out something I talked about earlier, which was Farrah`s issue with a dark secret that she didn`t have a chance to really reveal to her biological father of the baby before he died and how you dealt with that grief.
ABRAHAM: By going through grief.
PINSKY: Did you do it with grief management or grief therapy?
ABRAHAM: Therapy and just holding it in. And that`s what led to me, you know, going into depression and other things. And so, now, I deal with it by counseling.
PINSKY: OK. So, the message there is, even though, you`ve had grief and shame and ambivalence because you held this thing in, walking through the grief was so important and you got help to do that.
ABRAHAM: Yes, I did.
PINSKY: All right. Now, I want to go to each of my guest. First of all, I want to thank you guys for being here and participating. I really do appreciate it. I want you to give, direct to camera, to each of my viewers the single most important piece of advice about being a teen mom, this is for teenagers or moms, and what you learned from that and what they can learn from you. Maci, I`ll start with you.
BOOKOUT: I think that mothers should -- I think that mothers should use our program for -- to open the conversation about sex, because it`s going to be much easier to have the hard conversation of sex than to have a very, very hard conversation in nine months.
PINSKY: Excellent. Farrah.
ABRAHAM: I`m urging mothers and dads who have teen parents right now or teens parents, teens, before they become parents to watch this show, our "16 and Pregnant" and our "Teen Mom" shows to help open up the conversation so that they can prevent their teens, you know, getting in relationships and then ending up with a child while they`re still a child. I can`t even talk.
PINSKY: Well said, though. Catelynn.
LOWELL: My number one thing would be for parents also is to teach your kids how to use protection if they are having sex and just try to be open with them and talk about everything. You know, if they`re having sex, if they`re using protection, and, you know, if they`re not having sex, I also feel like you should still teach your kids about condoms and birth control, even if they`re not having sex.
PINSKY: And by the way, let`s make this clear to parents out there. It is OK to tell your kids not to have sex.
PINSKY: And I would encourage you to do so. Delaying is the goal here. That one of the big problems here, kids are having sexual relations before they are biologically, emotionally ready to manage this both from standpoint of planning the consequences and from dealing with all that ensues. You guys agree with me on that?
LOWELL: Yes, I agree.
PINSKY: All right. Listen, I just want to wrap up with a couple of points. First of all, thank you, Maci, Farrah, and Catelynn for joining us. Great to see you guys as always. Take care of those kids. Sophia and Bentley. I need to see that Bentley boy soon, too.
Now, my intention is not to demonize teen mothers rather present the realities of children having children. It`s tough, and it will be for a long time. Having a child is a life altering event for anyone, especially a teenager. Parents, as we`ve said, please talk to your children about having babies and about physical relationships. It`s a conversation you will not regret. Kids, stop and think hard about what you`re doing. That`s the purpose of this day.
It`s not just your life that will be impacted. Another person, a child`s, will too.
Thanks you for watching and be sure to tune in on Christmas night for our holiday special. I hope Santa bring what you want this year. See you then.