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Brigitte`s Public Recovery Battle
Aired August 9, 2012 - 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: Welcome to the program.
Tonight, people have been speaking about celebrities and addiction. Country music star Randy Travis arrested, intoxicated, naked.
Model and movie star Brigitte Nielsen rumored to have relapsed. She is talking to me right here live.
Bridgette, now, you came in --
BRIGITTE NIELSEN, ACTRESS: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Brigitte. How are you? Good to see you.
NIELSON: Thank you for having me.
Now, you came in because some photographs emerged that were disturbing.
NIELSEN: Not only disturbing. This happened last Saturday and basically, it`s a bad way of saying taking a walk in the park. It was a bad day for me and I tell everybody that I am a recovering alcoholic, working hard on my sobriety.
But again, a person full of complications, ups and downs, and it was that one day, Saturday afternoon, that I felt I had to be alone, do the wrong thing, didn`t call my sponsor, got a little something going and, of course, the worse thing happened. Someone obviously followed me and took some very, very nasty pictures.
PINSKY: And now you are sober again?
NIELSEN: I`m fine.
PINSKY: What do you want people to know about the chronic nature of alcoholism?
NIELSEN: Well, first of all, thank you for having me and I`d like to thank everybody for their e-mails their support. I am here to set the record straight that, yes, I`m a recovering alcoholic. This can happen. It did happen, but I`m fine.
And I look at it this way, you pick yourself back up and life goes on, and you just have to stay faithful to your meetings and go for it.
PINSKY: Well, the way I tell people it is like being a diabetic and have your blood sugar go out of control. You adjust the insulin, you get back on the insulin, you get to talk to your doctors and you get back going back under control again.
Now, I think people would be interested to know how Brigitte Nielsen, this sort to bigger than life person, this icon in the `80s, goes from a small town in Denmark --
NIELSEN: In Denmark, yes.
PINSKY: -- to movie stardom to the park last Sunday. Can you take me through that?
NIELSEN: Yes, I can. Come from very normal family, had my younger brother. I had a great dad. He unfortunately passed away 12 years ago and that`s probably where my first signs of addiction to alcohol started.
PINSKY: Your drinking escalated after your dad`s death?
NIELSEN: Yes, very bad for me. Just a very nice childhood, very difficult, because unfortunate, at 10 years old, I was already 6`1", I`m 6`6" if I stand up, I have my heels on, so like a very, very tall, big person.
And you know, modeling (ph) is probably the worst you can go through. So, for me, school was devastating and it made me do this -- you know, being taller than the teachers, being made fun of all the time. But then the strange thing happened, I just finished when office good student, very, very good student. If I had problem there, it was just not having friends, being laughed at.
A woman saw in Copenhagen and said you should be a model. I said me? I said, oh, it must mean porno or something weird, me this tall, skinny giraffe, who would want me? Instead, it was from a very, very big company in the United States, New York, elite, Johnny Casablanca at the time and I went for it. And it made me stand up straight.
I guess I`ve always been curious.
PINSKY: But it also must have taken you out of your family environment and thrown you into a world that`s known for instability.
NIELSEN: Well, the modeling world is a very, very bizarre world it is an exciting world to start with but a very lonely world. Yes, in my case, I was immediately sent to Germany, from Germany to Paris, Paris to Milan, Milan to New York.
PINSKY: Let`s remind people, this woman speaks five languages like a native. It`s ridiculous.
(SPEAKING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
PINSKY: I hope you didn`t say anything that we have to bleep. But it`s good.
NIELSEN: No, it`s all good.
So, yes, loneliness sets in. But you know what I did have, my dad always said, no matter what, let`s always be on the phone. But of course, you are lonely, but then again, everything is new, it`s exciting, it`s nice finally to hear someone is paying for you, you are actually beautiful when you have been hammered for 10 years of your life.
PINSKY: Then you come to Hollywood?
NIELSEN: Then I`m seen from a picture and a big producer, Dino De Laurentiis, who I say hi to up in the sky.
PINSKY: But I bet that affected your relationships, now you`re really in the public view, and you`re around a lot of people that --
NIELSEN: Well, I wasn`t ready. I guess I wasn`t ready, because coming from (INAUDIBLE) Copenhagen, small place, and get married to Sylvester Stallone, in a second, took me by storm and took everybody else by storm.
And I think a lot of the things that was created in me was why her? She is too young. She is too pretty. She`s definitely a gold digger.
No one ever really carried it further than that and I think a lot of people never really got know me. Of course, divorce after divorce, very difficult.
PINSKY: I think people would still look at you back then and go, oh, she had everything, she had it all.
NIELSEN: Yes, I did, but I wasn`t happy. You know, I always say money can`t buy you your inner happiness and a smile on the face. And this is why all you young ladies out there -- of course, go for it, nothing wrong with taking chances, but if you want, listen to what I`m saying, don`t make the same mistakes I did, because I took too many changes, and I was living a lie for too long. And that`s probably in the very end what made me sick.
PINSKY: I want to make sure people hear that. What was the lie?
NIELSEN: The lie was not being honest with myself and living where I`m not happy. I was staying in a relationship that made me very, very unhappy and I was taken away from everything that I loved as a child. It was my family.
And, of course, my children, because at that time, I already had my first born, Jullian, fantastic being a mother, becoming a mother, 20 years old. Also very big responsibility.
But then the crazy kind of person I am, I never gave up. So, I finished one relationship and I would immediately search for what my parents represented to me, and that was security, happiness. We didn`t have much but what we had made it work for everybody, you know, it was safe.
And I feel I never found that at least for many, many years, I didn`t find it, but I was always struggling and I always went for it and I ended up taking, of course, making a lot of mistakes.
PINSKY: And you made some mistakes in relationships and then the alcohol kicked in. What was -- what was the lowest point? You have had a couple -- you scraped the bottom a couple of teens, I think?
NIELSEN: I would like to remind everybody, I was a pretty healthy person when it comes to no drugs, no alcohol, until I was probably 36, 37 years old. I was a woman that liked to take care of me and take care of my body.
I found myself again in a marriage, because of children, I said to myself, I can`t leave. You can`t every time there is a problem, pack your bags and go. You can`t be that person.
PINSKY: And people don`t know, one of your sons needed repeated brain surgery, something very stressful.
NIELSEN: Yes. So, I`m a mother of four, four boys, I`m very proud of them. OK, but my youngest son who is now 17, Paulino (ph), if he by any chance is watching, I love you very much.
It`s the second inter -- third intervention in his brain, he has a very rare form of brain tumors.
PINSKY: So you are dealing with that stress?
NIELSEN: Don`t get me too emotional now, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: But I know how much that has affected you.
PINSKY: And then Sylvester Stallone`s son died recently, he was somebody important in your life, you were important to him?
NIELSEN: You know, well, Sage, who I hope -- he was very young. We have to also be very careful here and keep the deepest respect for Sylvester, Jennifer, the girls.
NIELSEN: I want to keep it on you. That must have still --
NIELSEN: It`s devastating. It`s devastating. You still go as a mother, God, one way our the other could you have been there? I have often seen when I have been doubt out and down, I didn`t have that helping hand and this is why people should not be afraid to reach out, make that phone call, like you`ve always said, Dr. Drew, to me, call your sponsor.
PINSKY: Call me or call us.
NIELSEN: Whoever. Don`t get stuck. Don`t that walk in the park like I did.
PINSKY: Don`t isolate.
NIELSEN: Isolation is my biggest problem.
PINSKY: And I imagine you start isolating with all these recent stressors, your son`s surgery, Sage, and your mother was --
NIELSEN: My mother`s not well.
PINSKY: Brigitte, of course.
NIELSEN: You want people to think I`m this miserable person because I`ve had the best two years of my life, I`m doing really well in my business. I`m incredibly happy with my husband.
PINSKY: So things to be thankful for but you have got to go to meetings every day.
NIELSEN: I do though.
PINSKY: OK. I know that. We`re going to talk more about it.
NIELSEN: Not every day, three times a week.
PINSKY: I got to take a break. I got to take a break.
Maybe every day for a while. I`m going to bring out somebody who is going to maybe get on you a little bit about meeting attendance, you used to call Shelly the shark as I recall in "Celebrity Rehab" days.
NIELSEN: Oh, Shelly.
PINSKY: Shelly Sprague, she`s addiction counselor.
And we`re going to take your calls, if you wish, for Brigitte Nielson -- 855-DRDREW5. Do not go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: When did you start drinking? How old were you?
NIELSEN: The first drink, the first time I had a sip of beer was 16.
PINSKY: When did it get out of control?
NIELSEN: When it got really out of control, I was married for 14 years. The last four years of my marriage. I was hiding the drinking from my husband. I tried to stop. And it got more and more and more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Brigitte and I at the VH1 "Celebrity Rehab". Of course, speaking to Brigitte about her public recovery from alcoholism. You are crying. How come?
NIELSEN: Well, it`s just, you know, Dr. Drew, these are one of the moments I always look back and I go you really are one of the reasons why I`m still alive today and I would like the world to know this is not a kissy kissy ass kind of thing.
The truth is I didn`t want to speak to anyone after the pictures came out of me relapsing. The only one I truly trust and I have the deepest respect for is Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Well, thank you.
NIELSEN: You should just know that. Anyone that needs a hand, gift gentleman a call.
PINSKY: I brought another person, I know deep respect and affection for.
NIELSEN: Shelly, sweetheart. This is like deja vu. How are you, honey?
SHELLY SPRAGUE, RECOVERING ADDICT: Good. I`m very good.
NIELSEN: You look great.
SPRAGUE: You look great, too.
NIELSEN: Thank you very much. Emotional to be here with the both of you, one on each side. It couldn`t be in a better place.
PINSKY: We are ganging up. I`m going to sic Shelly on you, I already have take you to meetings, get things going, to make sure things are on track squarely.
But you didn`t answer my question about rock bottom. What were the bottoms for you?
NIELSEN: Oh, yes, sorry. I think it was probably the year, `99, my dad passed away and in the circumstances he passed, and I couldn`t accept it. That`s where I -- I was already drinking but that`s where I said I`m just going to drink myself so I can`t remember.
And in the end, I said, I don`t want to live anymore. And that`s when I --
PINSKY: Let me slow you down. Did you say it was the circumstances in which he passed?
PINSKY: What happened?
NIELSEN: Something absolutely horrible and I can never, never forgive the father of two of my children and how it happened, because -- because I was working at the time, I was making a lot of money, he didn`t want to call me up, I was in Spain on a music tour around didn`t want to tell me that my father had died so I couldn`t make it for the funeral.
My mother was desperate, so I wouldn`t cancel the job.
NIELSEN: I still never got over it you just learn to accept it and life goes on. Of course, this is not an excuse and being an alcoholic. I was probably born this way. We have learned about the gene and it is a disease, and we should not forget about this.
But in that time, I gave up. And when you gave up and you drive whatever -- it doesn`t matter what you drink, just as long as you get numb from all of these horrible feelings and one day, I just said this is it, I want to be remembered like Marilyn Monroe, I am going to take some pills, I`m going to mix it with alcohol, it was the most obviously selfish thing ever because I have four boys. I didn`t have the courage to face the fact that I was very ill. I just wanted to die.
And that`s what I attempted to do. And God is with me and I have had a lot of help ever since. It didn`t work. It almost did. I was in the hospital for a long time.
But I there one day, I`m going to get better. And I also think one thing in America here, we have to be thankful for living in this great country because talking about addiction and alcoholism is almost OK.
I`m from Denmark. In Denmark, we have talked about this before, everybody drinks but no one is an alcoholic. If you tell an Italian person, take away his wine -- I mean, it just doesn`t exist. At least here it is less of a taboo than it is in Europe.
PINSKY: We hope. Let`s take a call.
Keegan in California -- Keegan.
KEEGAN, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew.
KEEGAN: I had a question. Is recovery only successful in the professional realm?
PINSKY: Do you mean do you need professional help to recover?
KEEGAN: Well, I mean, I know that AAs and whatnot, they are anonymous and so forth.
KEEGAN: But as far as going anything further, like therapies and anything of that nature?
PINSKY: Well, I`m going to -- Shelly, I was going to throw something like this to you, which is people have recovering from alcoholism for years with merely 12 step and putting their butt in a seat and taking the cotton out of their ears and putting the cotton in their mouth, they say, just following directions. But sometimes there can be major depressive episodes.
But I bet you were suicidal in your disease too at sometimes?
SPRAGUE: Absolutely. You also have to consider that there are other disorders going on at the same time and those things need to be treated to make sobriety successful. And it is really important to have other assessments if things aren`t going well and there`s other problems that are coming up.
PINSKY: My fear is that although Brigitte may -- her alcoholism may have been the story, why she was suicidal that`s a dangerous thing, suicidality. So, you want the doctor to examine that following that.
NIELSEN: That is now --
PINSKY: You are OK?
NIELSEN: Yes, 14 years ago and I like to also give -- don`t want to scare only people away here because after we had all the work we did together and Shelly, thank you very much.
SPRAGUE: You`re welcome.
NIELSEN: I had three fantastic years, never had a -- you know, keeping it up. I want people to know if you fall down, it`s still worth it. I mean, you can still get back on track. It`s going to take forever, because it`s never going to go away.
PINSKY: Here is all I know, I know that you`re sober now and you`re sober now. I have no idea what`s going to happen tomorrow. I have no idea. Even Shelly, I have no idea.
NIELSEN: Shelly --
PINSKY: But that`s the point.
NIELSEN: Why I gave this nickname on TV?
PINSKY: Yes, sure. Yes, yes.
NIELSEN: Because Shelly, when we were in rehab together, Shelley, of course, was taking care of a bunch of crazy people, you know, just feeling really sick at the time. And poor, Shelly, she`s like this big and so cute, dealing with 12 crazy people is not easy.
So, one of the guys was saying, OK, she might so small but she`s Shelly the shark, because she got us all lined up and got us to bed and got us to do what we had to do. It`s great.
PINSKY: Quick call. Bob in Pennsylvania -- Bob.
BOB, CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hey, how is it going?
PINSKY: Hey, Bob.
BOB: The question I got is how did Brigitte know that she was hitting her bottom? Or was it like a bottomless pit? I know with the type of excess that she deals with, had to be like she was a cancer to herself?
PINSKY: So it`s an interesting question. Do you get what he is asking?
NIELSEN: How did I know that day?
PINSKY: You were just in a pit and you knew you were bottom or just falling, falling?
NIELSEN: No. In my case, I had been thinking about how to commit suicide for such a long time but I didn`t have the courage or I didn`t have enough alcohol to get me there.
PINSKY: Do you think people would be surprised to hear that about you? You had everything. You were a super model? You were --
PINSKY: Two things. Someone who is as beautiful as you was bullied and attacked as a kid.
PINSKY: And it affected your self-esteem, you felt worthless and you were suicidal. I think people would be shocked to hear that.
NIELSEN: Yes. And it`s unfortunate to say, you know, I often say I`m just human. And again, I`ve had the pleasure, because now here we are talking about disease and addiction, but there`s a lot of great stories to my life, too, and it just goes to show you, we are just who we are and I know more people now, thanks to alcoholism, that we basically all rowing the same boat. If you`re not addicted to alcohol it might be pills, if not sex it might be money, if not this, gambling or somebody is beating up the kids. I mean --
PINSKY: Before we go to break, I want you to stand up and I want Shelly to a sudden.
NIELSEN: Oh, poor Shelly.
PINSKY: I`m going to show what and Shelly was bossing this girl -- this woman around quite a bit, quite a bit back in the day. So, just want to point out -- where she got the nickname Shelly the shark. So, there you go.
PINSKY: We are going to stay with Brigitte. We got a whole lot of stuff to cover tonight. But I want to do a little more with Brigitte and again more of your calls after the break. Stay with us.
PINSKY: I`m back with Brigitte Nielsen and Shelly Sprague.
And Brigitte had some photos taken of her last weekend that created international news. Why, I don`t quite know. And yes, two things I want to point out. One is your alcoholism didn`t really begin until your late 30s.
So, it`s a point if somebody has a history of this they have to be vigilant. It can strike any age if you have this potential, number one. But number two, you said world was parked outside of your house because of these pictures.
PINSKY: Tell me that and the effect it had on your kids.
NIELSEN: Absolutely devastating. Of course, you can`t get them away and you can`t go out and explain to them, this happened in half an hour, I`m OK. So -- and of course you can the first thing that happens, my mom is calling and my kids are calling and my 22-year-old, he goes, mum, mum, mum, you got to get back to me. This message I get in the middle of the night because we have nine hours` time difference. You can`t reach out and call people the middle of the night.
And they were just so worried about how I felt. Said, mum, who cares what the world thinks. We love you no matter what. We were there with Dr. Drew, by the way, and Shelly. You got to meet them.
And I never thought, I was hoping for, this incredible support of my own children, with the slip that happened (ph), that they were so supportive.
PINSKY: Are they OK?
NIELSEN: Yes, they are fine.
PINSKY: What do you do with the whole world parked out in front trying to shame you?
NIELSEN: What I have done is I have made a statement and I`ve chosen to come to you and thank you very much for allowing me to be here and thank you, Shelly.
And that`s it. My life goes on. I`m back in my sobriety. I`m going to meetings. I`m concentrating on who I love the most, which is my family and I love my job, too, and I have great opportunities. So, you know, you go on. This is all you can do.
I guess what I learned from you don`t blame yourself too much if I get into denial and get too upset, I will be back in the park and I don`t want to go back there ever again.
PINSKY: That`s right. Let`s take a call with just limited time.
Laurie in Ohio -- Laurie.
LAURIE, CALLER FROM OHIO: Yes. Brigitte, how do you start fresh after all the relapses?
PINSKY: Are you a relapser, Laurie?
LAURIE: Sure am.
PINSKY: You are? How often? What`s your longest period of sobriety?
LAURIE: Well, I had like a year and a half at one point and it seems like I get healthy and once I start feeling healthy is like I feel like, oh, I can have one.
PINSKY: Right. You know what?
LAURIE: One turns into --
PINSKY: Sound familiar?
NIELSEN: Hi. That`s so familiar to me. I think the longest I have had is four years. You really think I`ve got it now.
PINSKY: I`m normal. I`m cured.
NIELSEN: But back to your question -- the only thing you can do is maybe forgive yourself, call your sponsor or your friend or whoever might be there and take it from right there. You were there but you are not anymore, and you move on. And if this is what I have been telling the people that I know. I don`t want to be a recovering alcoholic, but I am.
So the best thing I can do is to read about it, to be a part of the meetings and accept who you are and don`t be ashamed. It`s people that should be ashamed of you. If they are giving you a hard time, they should be ashamed. It`s their ickiness and people not knowing this is a disease. So, God bless you really.
PINSKY: And God bless you for joining us today. Shelly --
NIELSEN: Thank you so much. Shelly, thank you.
PINSKY: We are thankful to you to clarify this and tell the story. I think it will have a big impact on other people who are struggling.
NIELSEN: Thank you, everybody, for listening. Thank you, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Thank you, Brigitte. Again, Shelly, thank you as well.
Now, we are changing gears as we often do on this show, two women murdered, the suspects, their husbands. The victims` sisters saw the danger. The sisters are here to talk about that after the break.
PINSKY: Lynn Jackenheimer, found murdered after a vacation with her boyfriend. Her sister, Tasha, warn her about his abusive behavior but Lynn did not listen.
Monica Beresford-Redman, killed and left in a gutter in Mexico. The prime suspect, her husband. Once again, Monica`s sister warned her about his dark side.
And who can forget the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson? Her sister had no idea that O.J. was a threat and she will share her thoughts tonight.
Two women who warned their sisters of dangerous men yet were ignored, one who didn`t know. Why couldn`t these women themselves see the danger?
Right now, a TV producer is sitting in a Mexican jail, accused of having murdered his wife. Joining me, Carla Burgos, is that correct, whose sister, Monica, was killed. And from New York, Attorney Alison Triessl who is representing Carla. Carla, thanks for being here.
Now, you warned your sister not to go to Mexico with her husband. Is that right? What did she say to you? What were you thinking?
CARLA BURGOS, SISTER WAS ALLEGEDLY MURDERED BY HUSBAND: Well, one day before the travel, you know, her husband came to my house looking for this box of documents that she took from the house when they were fighting. And I don`t think it`s a good thing to look for documents when they are going to go back together, right?
PINSKY: You had a weird sense?
BURGOS: Well, he came, like, really spanking my door and I was really -- what? Who is in there? You know, he`s like, Bruce. And I opened the door, and he was totally out of control. Where is the document? You know, and I never see him like that. I was like that --
PINSKY: You were shaking?
BURGOS: I was shaking, you know? And I said, Monica took the documents. And he left like banging my door. And then, I was trying to -- I called her. I called her and said, Monica, don`t be around this guy. He`s totally out of control. He`s like an animal in a cage, you know? Don`t be around this person. Don`t be with him.
PINSKY: what did she say?
BURGOS: But when I finally got to talk to her, he was beside her saying, like, more, I love you, I could hear him. I love you, I love you, blah, blah, blah, you know, and she`s like, no, he`s fine. I said, Monica, please, listen to me, you know --
PINSKY: Something is not right.
BURGOS: I never see him like that. He`s not what you think he is right now, and she is like, no he`s OK, you know? He`ll apologize to you, blah, blah, blah.
PINSKY: Well, it`s sort of the domestic violence cycle. Had they been in domestic -- let me go to your attorney. Allison, had there been a history of domestic violence? Is this that cycle, and I guess, on the heels of that question, why don`t people listen to their family members when these guys get in their lives?
ALISON TRIESSL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, interestingly, in this case, there was no physical abuse, but he was very anti-social. He had nothing to do with her side of the family, and they would -- and there was also an extramarital affair that her sister, Jess, was fixated on and wanted their marriage to work.
They had a couple children together. And even though, repeatedly, she would see signs that he was still continuing the affair, she really wanted the marriage to work. And the event that Carla has talked about the night before was really his dark side. I mean, he was out of control.
These were documents about their life insurance and the will and these were documents that, of course, anybody would say, well, why is he so interested in keeping them? And, you know, unfortunately, we see this whole time, Dr. Drew, where it was an abusive relationship, but the woman cannot -- she wants to stay with this man because when he`s good, he`s really good.
Unfortunately, her sisters warned her, you really need to go to counseling. Isn`t that correct, Carla?
PINSKY: And Carla, no counseling, though?
BURGOS: Well, they tried. They tried to go to counsel, but it didn`t work. You know, he didn`t want to go. And she was trying to be with him.
PINSKY: She was adamant about being --
BURGOS: Because of the family, the kids.
PINSKY: Which is a lot of women -- I think that`s going to be a sort of characteristic thread here tonight. Now, we received a statement from the attorney for Bruce Beresford Redmon (ph). Here it is, quote, "It is my belief that Monica`s sisters have made a criminal case a media case that has profoundly affected my client in a negative way."
That is from his attorney. Now, Carla, why have you gone public with this story? Why tell the public? What`s the goal?
BURGOS: Well, someone who had to do something for my sister, you know? And we knew everything that was happening. It wasn`t something like about a fight in Mexico. This was coming from a long way, a long way.
And I knew everything, because I used to talk to my sister like five times a day and a lot of things were happening that I say, Monica, why are you keeping this going, you know? Get out. Get out. You know, this not going to work.
PINSKY: So, when this really came to light, it must have been just devastating for you.
BURGOS: It was horrible.
PINSKY: Just horrible.
BURGOS: It was really horrible. Yes. But, you know, I think she had, you know, she was looking forward to get a divorce and everything, but he was always like confusing her.
PINSKY: Who has the kids?
BURGOS: His parents for now.
PINSKY: My goodness. Let`s take a call. Sheila in California -- Sheila.
SHEILA, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Sheila.
SHEILA: Main thing I believe, I`ve been in an abusive marriage for 16 years, and my husband put guns to my head, beat me when I was pregnant.
PINSKY: Oh, my God.
SHEILA: Yes. And my mother was the one and my sister also told me to get away from him, but what they do is they separate you from your foundation, your family, and your friends.
SHEILA: And they lie and they say, they`re jealous of us or you don`t need them. You know, I love you. So, that`s how they charm you. A woman is so caught up and they want their family to stay together that they don`t realize this man is abusive to them when they`re beating them.
I was there for 16 years. We`ve got -- she told me I was afraid I was going to go see your funeral one day.
PINSKY: But Sheila, why didn`t you listen? Can we sort of cut through -- I understand they`re manipulative and they tell you what you want to hear and whatnot, but is there something that we can sort of -- anyone else who`s struggling with this out there we can say that`ll help breakthrough that denial?
SHEILA: I believe when you have children, I think that`s one of the anchors that keeps you involved in the relationship. They watch pretty much. (inaudible) relationship where I see it. They brainwash and tell you, oh, I love you. They`re jealous of us, you know? They`re trying to break our family up, you know?
PINSKY: I get it. Alison, I think that kind of what we call splitting is a pretty classic maneuver in these guys, right?
TRIESSL: Right. I mean, this was a classic example where, when the family got together, he had very little interchange with them. He really tried to pull her away from her sisters, and Carla has said to me repeatedly that she tried talk to her sister, but it was the children, and it was the "I don`t want him to be with the other woman. I want him to choose me."
And that was so, so difficult. And even when she went away, she left him and kicked him out of the house, he would then be the wonderful guy who was apologetic and remorseful and things will be different. So, this was so classic, unfortunately, and we see this so often where you have a really abusive person who then turns around, and he`s the best guy, so remorseful and she bought into it.
And it`s just awful. And in terms of his case, you know, he is on trial in Mexico, and the reason that the Burgos sisters got involved the way they did is because Mexico had taken no action.
They weren`t going to do anything with the case, and it was Carla and Gianni`s steadfast efforts to get -- to have the voice of their sister heard that really moved this case to where there`s a trial in Mexico where he`s being prosecuted for her murder.
Next up, we`re going to keep this conversation going with a woman whose sister was found murdered, and she`s going to talk about the hunt for the killer, after this.
PINSKY: Tonight, women whose sisters were murdered, and they say it was the husband or boyfriend who did it. The question is, could they have prevented their sister`s death? Is there some way to breakthrough their denial?
Tasha Holland`s sister, Lynn, went missing over the Fourth of July weekend. Ten days later, her body was discovered by a jogger. It sounds awful. Tasha is convinced that the killer is -- was Lynn`s boyfriend who was allegedly on the run.
And Tasha, you told your sister that her boyfriend was trouble. What did she say and how did she react?
TASHA HOLLAND, SAYS MURDERED SISTER IGNORED HER WARNINGS: Yes, I did tell her boyfriend was trouble. You know, at the very beginning of this whole relationship, it was great. This was the guy for her. Well, then things started getting out of control. And the very last time that he had strangled her and --
PINSKY: Whoa, whoa, slow down. Slow down, Tasha. You throw that out there like we`re going to let that one just fall off your lips. The last time she strangled her? What does that mean even?
HOLLAND: Well, it started off with -- he was all right, you know? Really good guy. We all liked him. And then, it got to where controlling was a problem. He had put spyware on the computer, getting all her passwords to anything, whether it`d be Facebook, MySpace, checking accounts, and she found that out.
So, she had to keep changing her passwords to that couldn`t log into her computer at home. So, he didn`t get her passwords. And then, after that, it went to tracking her on the GPS on her cell phone.
PINSKY: But I get that he was paranoid and jealous, but when did the choking begin? I mean, the last time he choked her. That was a pretty dramatic statement. Was he physically, repeatedly abusive to her? Did he nearly try to nearly kill her before she ended up --
HOLLAND: Yes. It was getting physical, not necessarily strangling at the beginning, but there would be push/shoves. He dragged her out of the house with her shirt over top of her head, pretty much naked. After that is when he did strangle her. He choked her and dragged her from the kitchen headed to the bedroom with her.
Back the hallway is where she stopped right over top of a vent where she actually urinated herself and didn`t realize it until after she caught her breath. She was spitting down the vent trying to catch her breath, just slobbering non-stop. That is when I had told her. I had to explain to her that on her way out, she was on her way out at that point.
She didn`t understand why she urinated herself. She didn`t understand why she was slobbering uncontrollably. I sat down, and that`s when I actually bluntly told her, he is going to kill you. It`s time to get out. It`s time to make a stop. I called the police department, and I made the charges.
I made her press charges. She wasn`t going to, because it was near Christmas, and it was her son`s first real Christmas, to open presents and stuff. So -- and I also made her --
PINSKY: I have to say --
HOLLAND: I also made --
PINSKY: I have to say, Tasha, I have to point out that we can`t -- that we can`t corroborate these stories, that this is your version and we have no independent confirmation of what`s being described here, but it`s a pretty dramatic story. Does this sound familiar to you, trying to get through to a sister?
BURGOS: Well, in my sister`s case, you know, he was very verbally abuse to her.
PINSKY: But did you have the same kind of struggle trying to get --
BURGOS: Never. Never.
PINSKY: Did you try to -- did you report it to the police the way Tasha did at any point?
BURGOS: No. I wish I would go to her house after he, you know, was knocking my door like --
PINSKY: The way she got it (ph). OK. I want to take a quick call. Patti in Wisconsin -- Patti.
PATTI, WISCONSIN: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PATTI: Yes. I had a good friend who was the same kind of situation. She was being abused by this guy. She had broken ribs. It was completely out of control.
PINSKY: These are common stories, Patti. These are common stories.
PATTI: Yes, I know. And I said to her, what are you doing? What are you thinking? And she said, I wish everyone would stop saying that. And I said, well, if everyone is saying that, we can`t all be wrong.
PINSKY: Well, the other thing to keep in mind for anyone who`s struggling with this kind of thing out there watching is that when people and professionals and organizations do try to intervene on women in these kinds of situations, job number one is separating the couple, separating the woman from this situation.
And believe me, once there has been physical violence, there will be more physical violence. Now, one of the most infamous murders of our time you, of course, was Nicole Brown Simpson. Her sister is here next to describe her struggles, and she didn`t know the potential was there. We`ll try to figure out why that was the case after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, in the above-entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187 A, a felony upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being, as charged in count one of the information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson was brutally murdered. Ten years later, Nicole`s youngest sister, Tanya, says she had a breakdown as a result of that loss. Tanya, tell me how that affected you and how you`ve gotten through it?
TANYA BROWN, SISTER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON: Coping skills. You know, the first and foremost information that I want to share with everybody, any type of a tragedy, whether -- whether it`s a loss of a loved one, a cat, a job, whatever it is, a stress from a job, face your stuff. I didn`t face my stuff. I kept burying it. I buried it with food, I buried it with pills and alcohol.
BROWN: And, you know, 10 years later, I found myself in a psyche ward. And thank God, because it`s brought me here today to share with people openly and candidly that if you don`t face your stuff, whatever stuff that is, nobody is immune to this. Nobody is immune to addiction.
PINSKY: Speaking of not facing your stuff, did Nicole go to lengths to hide what was going on from the rest of the family?
BROWN: Oh, yes.
BROWN: Yes. Just like victims of domestic violence, there`s three things --
PINSKY: Fear, shame, and guilt.
BROWN: Yes, fear, shame and guilt, you know? And they always hope that the person that they married will come out again. Hopefully, the bad guy will go away. And unfortunately --
PINSKY: It doesn`t work like that.
BROWN: Yes. It doesn`t work that way.
PINSKY: Yes. People need to know that. Now, I want to talk to a guy, here, Rase, is that your name, in New Jersey?
RASE, NEW JERSEY: Rase.
PINSKY: Rase. Rase. I understand -- now, they just told me in my ear that you are someone who was a perpetrator and is now in recovery. Is that right?
RASE: Yes, sir.
PINSKY: Tell me your perspective. I`m fascinated to know what you think about this topic tonight.
RASE: Well, what happened with me most times, the women, you know, after the initial niceness, was the usual idiot and abuser. But it seemed like after two or three years, the woman I was with would go away on a symposium or go with her girlfriend and when she would come back, she would break it off, because it seemed like as long as she was in the insanity, it seemed like normal.
PINSKY: When she pulled herself out -- right.
RASE: -- then she was better.
PINSKY: That`s what I mentioned during the break, before the last break was that the job one is separating the two of them. But how did you get better? I mean, by the way, how should we believe that you`re better.
RASE: I`m 30 years sober. I mean, I went to AA and I got sober, but I was -- I`m certainly wasn`t better immediately.
PINSKY: Yes. So, this part of your abusing is part of your alcoholism. Is that right?
PINSKY: The alcoholism was part of what was fueling your abusiveness?
RASE: No, I was abusive before that.
RASE: I was just nastier when I was drunk.
PINSKY: And again. How do we trust that you`re better? How would anybody know that?
RASE: How would they know? Like anything, I guess, someone would have to take a chance.
RASE: Observe me in other situation, and then, maybe take a chance.
PINSKY: All right.
RASE: I was married for 15 years. My wife passed away but I certainly never touched her angrily, and actually, we really didn`t argue that much.
PINSKY: All right. So, there`s a good track record there. So, what would you, you know, suggest to family members out there trying to reach someone who has been split off from the family, has been isolated, who doesn`t want to hear it? What do you tell them?
BROWN: Listen. Listen. Don`t judge, because women will leave on an average six to eight times before they leave for sure.
PINSKY: That`s an important thing for people to hear, because it takes multiple attempts before they ever do it. When people first hear that data, I`ve heard that many times.
PINSKY: They`re surprised or they don`t know what to make of it. You got to keep trying.
BROWN: Keep trying. Don`t you know -- and even when I speak to the police officers, Dr. Drew, I say, I don`t care if you have to go there ten times, 11 times, 20 times. However long it takes, you`ve got to keep showing up, because you know what, if you don`t, this woman can end up like my sister and her sister, you know?
This is for real. This is not a rocky relationship. This is not passionate relationships that we`re speaking of. These are potential murder cases that we are talking about. This is very serious.
PINSKY: Yes. And again, women, remember, if you are trying to get in there to get their attention, they`re often feeling guilty about the kids, they`re feeling - they`re believing the partner`s manipulative nonsense.
BROWN: I don`t want to leave the house and leave the kid -- you know, leave all of this for the kids. It`s -- yes, it`s emotional.
PINSKY: Thank you, Tanya. I really appreciate you coming in.
BROWN: Yes. You`re welcome.
PINSKY: And thank you, Carla, as well. And we`ll take more of your calls after the break. Don`t go away.
PINSKY: I`m here with Carla Burgos and Tanya Brown, the little sister, youngest sister of Nicole Brown Simpson. And during the break, you and I were talking about your attempts, your sister`s attempts of getting Nicole out of the house, and she just blow it off and she leave (ph). And what can you do was sort of where we left that conversation. What can you do?
BROWN: You can`t do anything. You know, you and I, we work with people who are in treatment and in mental health. You can`t make somebody get help if they don`t want help. So, the best thing that you can do is be an ear for them.
When they come to you and they talk to you about a situation that they are in and they may be scared, be that conversation, be there, be present with that person.
PINSKY: Don`t shame. Don`t judge. Yes.
BROWN: Yes, don`t judge, because they`re being judged at home.
PINSKY: Well, they`re judging themselves, too, by the way.
BROWN: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
PINSKY: Margaret in Florida -- Margaret.
MARGARET, FLORIDA: Yes, Dr. Drew. I have a question for you. I see so many young women don`t do their homework with these men that they`re dating prior to going out and getting serious with them. Why is that -- why aren`t more family members, you know, getting these girls that are in their 20s, why aren`t they educating them to do their homework? Find out the background. Find out where they`ve been, who they`ve been with.
PINSKY: It`s a really interesting question. Yes. It`s a really interesting question. What were their previous relationships like? Why did they break out? They always say what`s in the medicine cabinet? What`s in the police reports? I mean, you should be checking these things, right?
BROWN: You know what, do a background check. We live in a time where we have to be safe now.
PINSKY: You can do it online. No problem.
BROWN: Do it online. Everything is public, you know? Just be courageous enough and take ownership in your relationship or if you want to pursue a relationship with someone. Don`t be afraid. This is your life.
PINSKY: Carla, do you agree with that?
BURGOS: Yes, but I would say that you have to be aware also that people that you know for a long time, maybe you don`t know them really well.
PINSKY: Well, maybe they get sick. They can get sick, too.
BURGOS: Or, you know, like you know, like my sister, you know, the person was always in the room, reading. He was not ever there, you know, for her and everything. He was not part of her life really.
PINSKY: I think bottom line, we`re saying, pay attention, trust your instincts, be present, be vigilant, don`t give up. We put an 800 number up there, abuse hotline. I got to say thank you, you guys, for joining us. Thank you to all my guests. Of course, thank you to my callers and viewers. And a reminder that "Nancy Grace" starts right now.