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Interview with Bristol Palin

Aired December 28, 2011 - 21:00   ET


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

My primetime special with Palin - no topic off limit, not her mom, not her virginity, not the drastic change in the way she looks, not even Levi Johnston. And that`s just our starter.

Let`s go figure this out.

Bristol Palin, one of the most famous single moms in America and a lightning rod. She`s also one of the most famous daughters. From small town Alaska girl to pregnant teen and primetime dancing star. It is all chronicled in her new book "Not Afraid of Life," and it is a life Bristol Palin had not imagined.


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

In 2006 when her mother Sarah Palin became governor of Alaska, Bristol experienced her first small taste of life in the spotlight. But nothing could compare to the summer glare of August 2008 when John McCain selected her mom as vice presidential running mate.

Just days later, McCain-Palin ticket would announce that 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant with the child of her then-boyfriend Levi Johnston. The announcement set-off a media firestorm. Bristol Palin was a sexually active teen while her mother built a political career based on conservative values including a no nonsense stance on abstinence.


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


PINSKY: Tell us about that. It`s in your book.

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

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


PINSKY: Tell us about that.

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

PINSKY: But one of them was intoxicated.

PALIN: Yes, underage drinking.

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

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

PINSKY: Did it feel like a rape?

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

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

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

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

PALIN: No, no.

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


PINSKY: Read right there.

PALIN: "Suddenly, I`d wondered why it was called losing your virginity because it felt more like it had been stolen and Levi wasn`t there to help me process or even confirm my greatly feared suspicions.

Instead of waking up in his arms, I awakened in a cold tent alone as he talked to this friend on the other side of the canvass (ph). I didn`t realize this is the sign of many things to come. But I did know one thing I was going to marry Levi. I had to now."

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

PALIN: Yes, it was.

PINSKY: I mean, sad.

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

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

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

PINSKY: And it must have made you angry?

PALIN: Yes, I was a little ticked off.

PINSKY: OK. Did you express that?

PALIN: Yes, and he knew that I was.

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

PALIN: Yes, definitely. Yes.

PINSKY: Do you guys disagree with me? My stage manager agrees with me. And he has proved himself to be not the best father and not the best boyfriend.


PINSKY: And it must have hurt and made you angry. It must have.

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

PINSKY: What was the next one?

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

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

PALIN: Yes. That Band-Aid on me was, oh, it`s going to be OK because eventually I`ll marry him.

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

PALIN: Oh, absolutely.

PINSKY: Oh, he was ready to get married.

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

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

PALIN: I`m saying that because I looked back on it now. And like many young women I`m like, gees, I was an - I was an idiot for believing that and thinking that. But, yes, he had me convinced that - that we were going to be together forever.

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


PINSKY: I see.

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


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

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


PINSKY: What do you think about that?

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

PINSKY: Was she trying to rescue you from something? She don`t like where the interview was going?

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

PINSKY: She just came on in?

PALIN: Yes, she just walked on in.

PINSKY: Do you think - you know, your mom is a huge part of your life.


PINSKY: Your family is a huge part of your life.


PINSKY: And your mom is the huge part of the American landscape which is got to be crazy making for you. Yes?

PALIN: Yes, definitely.

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

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

PINSKY: let`s - come on now. Your - I`m not going to let you get away with that because it has to have. I mean your mom is taken away by the national media and they`re vilifying her. That you`ve got to want to escape, I would imagine. Or have something - somebody who needed you to help you through that, no?

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

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


PINSKY: I see. So she hadn`t hit the national stage yet when this all happened?

PALIN: Yes. And my - my family is so grounded and so close that anything that we`ve gone through is never -

PINSKY: Why was - I thought your dad, Todd, was somebody I could hang out with. He just seems like one of those guys I can hang out with.

PALIN: Yes, he`s a cool guy.

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

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

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

PALIN: Well, showing him the first chapter of my book was -

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: Well, no you don`t want - you don`t want to know, but you report coming to your mom. I`m surprised she didn`t at least included him in that. And I have no judgment on your mom, I mean, every couple makes their own decision about this kind of thing.

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: And more an impact on other young women, I would hope.

PALIN: Yes, absolutely.

PINSKY: Well, that`s why I`m trying to get you to really connect to the feelings parts of this, too, because that what speaks to people. If they understand the feelings you`re having about it, how the impact it has in your life, you know, to young women. As you say, you look back now with adult eyes, it`s different when you`re younger.


PINSKY: You got to find a different way to shape behaviors. It`s not with words so much. It`s often feelings and experiences.


PINSKY: And your experience will hopefully have that impact, hopefully.

(voice-over): Levi Johnston, Bristol`s former fiance and the father of her child. The demise of their relationship ended with accusations of cheating, bad parenting and using their son Tripp as a pawn. What exactly ended this relationship and what role does Levi play in Tripp`s life today, we will find out when we come back.



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

America soon learned that 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant with Levi`s child. And as the media focused on their relationship, we learned more and more about Levi`s bad boy image and wonder how a good girl like Bristol could fall for guy like Levi.


PINSKY: Before we talk about Levi Johnston, I want to read something that you wrote in your book about him.

So here it goes, quote, "Levi`s bad behavior wasn`t a deal breaker for me. I found him exciting. Like many women throughout history, I went for the, quote, "bad boy," unquote, who didn`t care about the authority. After all, he was my opposite. I was a rule follower, a teacher`s pet, a straight A student. Levi could barely get through a week without getting into trouble."

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

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

PINSKY: How`d that work out?

PALIN: It didn`t work out at all.

PINSKY: We call that codependency in my world where you need to have kind of a project that you fix.


PINSKY: You think most young girls who go for those bad boys are doing that?

PALIN: I think lots of girls do, definitely.

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


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


PINSKY: Have you moved out?

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

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

PALIN: Yes, absolutely. I write in my book about it, too. We were walking into a gas station one time and I`ll never forget it. He was walking with his chest out like "I`m so big and I`m so tough." And I just felt so protected in that which I think is kind of weird because I did have a big, protective father.

PINSKY: What do you think that was all about?

PALIN: I`m not sure.

PINSKY: Go for different kinds of guys now?

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

PINSKY: How`s it different?

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

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


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


BANKS: Even when the baby was conceived?

JOHNSTON: We were.

BANKS: And so there were just wardrobe malfunctions?

JOHNSTON: I guess.



BANKS: Really?

JOHNSTON: Yes, I guess so.

BANKS: Every time you practiced safe sex?


BANKS: Every time?

JOHNSTON: Every time.

BANKS: Levi?

JOHNSTON: Most of the time.

BANKS: Most of the time, there you go.


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


PINSKY: In your book you say it`s more than - you did - you practice safe sex after while. You`ve gone on the pill, though, if I get it right?

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

PINSKY: You left it out in the book?

PALIN: No, that`s in the book.

PINSKY: I didn`t see that.

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

PINSKY: Because if - if you missed a pill, you`re not taking it all the way you were supposed to.

PALIN: Yes. It wasn`t used effectively but I was in birth control and it wasn`t used effectively at all. But, yes, it bugs me to see stuff like that on TV because it`s like - first of all, why Tyra jumping like she won the lottery or something when she got that out of him and he said it initially that, yes, we were practicing safe sex.

PINSKY: You shared some of your feelings about the Tyra episode in the book. Let`s - let`s read one of those excerpts shall we. There we go.

PALIN: "This was my life: Balancing a baby on my hip while the most intimate details on my life were shared on national television. Almost everything Levi said was false. But the facts didn`t stop him. Later in the year, he posed completely naked in "Playgirl Magazine."

PINSKY: What`s he doing now?

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

PINSKY: Is he getting into trouble?

PALIN: Not that I know of.

PINSKY: Is he being a father to Tripp?

PALIN: No, definitely not.

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

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

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


PINSKY: It`s OK to be angry.

Well, after Bristol gave birth to her son Tripp in December 2008, she talked about life as a single mom. Watch this.


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

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

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


PINSKY: Still tough?

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

PINSKY: Oh, absolutely.

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

PINSKY: It`s hard - for any young people out there watching the show, try to articulate what that is because they don`t appreciate what it is to be a mom.


PINSKY: It`s depleting. It`s intense. Isn`t that what you`re talking about?

PALIN: It`s exhausting.


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

PINSKY: Who has Tripp right now?

PALIN: He`s with my family right now.

PINSKY: With your mom and dad?

PALIN: Yes, for the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: OK. I understand. And I`m not trying to out you in any way. I want you to be as comfortable with what you`re talking about.


PINSKY: But you`re talking about things that are very painful -


PINSKY: -- and very infuriating. And I could see kind of behind your eyes what`s there and then it gets covered up with this delightful smile.

I`d like to know really what Bristol is feeling about these horrible, horrible things that happened to her. You know they turn out great and thank God you have a great family and everything is going great and you`ve got this beautiful child and you made - you made quite a bit of this. But if you don`t talk about the reality, not just of the difficulty it is to be a mom, which is intense in itself -


PINSKY: -- but the reality of what was taken from you and the pain with that, you know? It`s hard for people to relate unless they really understand that.

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

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

PALIN: With my mom`s career?

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: You`re OK with that?



PINSKY (voice-over): Up next, the summer of 2008 and the McCain-Palin ticket reveals that Sarah Palin`s 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant. As the national spotlight focuses on Bristol`s pregnancy, it`s a very private and personal conversation with John McCain`s wife Cindy that truly stuns her. Bristol shares the details when we come back.




PINSKY (voice-over): In September 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin became John McCain`s running mate as the Republican nominee for vice president. It was a day that would change the life of Sarah Palin and her family forever.

It would also put Bristol Palin face to face with the McCain`s, then the most powerful Republican family in the country.


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


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

PALIN: OK. This is her talking to me.

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

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

PALIN: I think that was about like the third, maybe the fourth day that I met her.

PINSKY: Four days and she wants to be your godparent? Did that strike you as strange?

PALIN: Yes, I thought it was really strange and I kind of just like laughed it off. Just like - oh, ha-ha.

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

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

PINSKY: What do you think she was up to?

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

PINSKY: Did anything come with that? Did she develop a relationship with you? Did she become the godchild - the godparent?

PALIN: No, no.

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

PALIN: Yes. Yes, I think so, too.

PINSKY: Did you? Did you feel supported?

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

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

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

PINSKY: The older - what`s her name?

PALIN: Meghan.

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

PALIN: Yes, it`s in the book.

PINSKY: What happened there?

PALIN: We just come from two completely different worlds. When my mom was governor, she sold the Governor`s jet. We never rode first class on a regular airplane. She got rid of the Governor`s chef, just all those types of things. And, yes, I think that defined her by being a politician`s daughter where it didn`t define me and it doesn`t define me today.

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

PALIN: Two younger sisters.

PINSKY: Two younger sisters and then Trig.

PALIN: Trigg, my youngest brother.

PINSKY: How are their lives going?

PALIN: Good.

PINSKY: Are they involved in your life, too?

PALIN: Yes. We all live in Alaska together.

PINSKY: Do you live - do you live in the same home?

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

PINSKY: Now, last time I talked to you it was about a year ago.


PINSKY: You were planning to move out and live completely independently.


PINSKY: What happened to that plan?

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

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

PALIN: Yes. And just like the life -

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

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

PINSKY: Did you get sad being here alone?

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


PINSKY (voice-over): Sarah Palin arguably one of the most talked about and vilified women in politics. From "Saturday Night Live" skits to left-leaning pundits, everyone seems to have something to say about Sarah Palin. Not much of it is very good.

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



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


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



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


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


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

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

PINSKY: Do you like that?

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

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

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

PINSKY: So, those things are young women?


PINSKY: And teen pregnancy?

BRISTOL PALIN: Teen pregnancy prevention and young women, yes.

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


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






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


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

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

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



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

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

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


PINSKY: A good pair.

BRISTOL PALIN: Yes, they are.

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

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


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

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


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

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

PINSKY: Doesn`t get it at all?

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

PINSKY: Isn`t that interesting?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PINSKY: Isn`t it funny?

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

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

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

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


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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. And I can see Russia from my house.



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


PINSKY: Does it bother you?

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

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


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

BRISTOL PALIN: No, it doesn`t.

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

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

PINSKY: Own up to being?

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

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


PINSKY: Doesn`t that bother you?

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

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: What is your primary message to young women?

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

PINSKY: Labeled?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: It`s a big deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRISTOL PALIN: Yes, definitely.

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


PINSKY: I hope they wouldn`t.

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

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

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

PINSKY: Like a reality show?


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


PINSKY: How is it filming that?

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

PINSKY: Oh-oh.

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

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


PINSKY: Did you cling to that fantasy --

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

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


PINSKY: Nothing bad, just wasn`t working.

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

PINSKY: Oh, he was cheating?

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

PINSKY: But you already knew he was cheating.


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

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

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

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

PINSKY: Oh by the way?

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

PINSKY: What do you want for lunch?

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

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

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


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






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


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

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

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


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

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

PINSKY: Do you think that`s what happened?

BRISTOL PALIN: I think so. Yes.

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


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


PINSKY: Hate you?

BRISTOL PALIN: Yes, I definitely do.

PINSKY: Really? They hate you?

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

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


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


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


PINSKY: How do you think that happened?

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

PINSKY: Clearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: Why not?

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

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


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


PINSKY: Do you feel like a powerful person?

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

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


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

BRISTOL PALIN: I think I do to a degree.

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

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

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


PINSKY: Want to put that to rest?

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

PINSKY: They cut the mandible and move it forward?


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


PINSKY: So, it`s just --

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRISTOL PALIN: It was something an oral surgeon did.

PINSKY: How long ago?

BRISTOL PALIN: This was in December.

PINSKY: December. You happy with it?

BRISTOL PALIN: Yes. I`m happy with it.

PINSKY: Any more surgeries planned?




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

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

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

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

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

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

PINSKY: I don`t believe that.

BRISTOL PALIN: I promise I`m single now.

PINSKY: You don`t date at all?

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

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

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


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


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





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


PINSKY (on-camera): Earlier this year, as Bristol was scheduled to speak about abstinence at Washington University, Wash U in St. Louis, great school, but students complained about Bristol`s so-called lack of expertise on the subject.

Then actress, Kate Walsh, got involved in the controversy and even tweeted this. "Please join students at Wash U to boycott Bristol Palin`s speech on abstinence. What does she know about college or abstaining? How do you respond to those critics?

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

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

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

PINSKY: So, what is your message to teenagers?

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

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


PINSKY: What do you tell those people?

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

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

BRISTOL PALIN: Yes, definitely.

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

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

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


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

BRISTOL PALIN: I`m trying to.

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


PINSKY: Not just what you say about it.


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

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

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