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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Marlo Thomas; Interview with Gabrielle Douglas; Interview with Willie Nelson

Aired December 22, 2012 - 21:00   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, from "That Girl" to "Free to be You and Me," Marlo Thomas. Now she talks about the cause that's closest to her heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARLO THOMAS, ACTRESS: You save a child's life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And about her life with husband Phil Donohue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You still take baths together in a huge bathtub with wine?

THOMAS: Yeah. Well, what about that - where did you get that from?

MORGAN: My sources.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Also, the Olympic golden girl that America fell in love with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABRIELLE DOUGLAS, GOLD MEDALIST: Gabby, Gab, Gabinator, Gabster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Gabrielle Douglas.

Plus, a true American icon, Willie Nelson. Back on the road again and nearly 80 years. I'll ask him the big question, just how many girls has he loved before?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIE NELSON, MUSICIAN: The reason divorces are so expensive is they're worth it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The hits just keep on coming for Willie Nelson, and I don't just mean his songs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Did you wake up this morning and have a quick, you know?

NELSON: I probably did. I probably did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A very entertaining interview. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Marlo Thomas will always be "That Girl," a TV icon.

She's also making a mark as an activist and as an author and with her incredible work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

And she joins me now.

Welcome to you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: A veritable legend.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: How do you feel about being called a legend?

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: I don't relate to it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: How do you see yourself now? Do you see yourself still primarily as an entertainer, as a fundraiser, as an author? I know you've contributed over 100 pieces to the AOL site from -- from -- about women and so on every -- every month.

What do you see your role as these days?

THOMAS: Well, I'm a woman who's interested in a lot of things. I did a play on Broadway last year for Elaine May. I just did "The New Normal." I was playing Ellen Barkin's boss. I -- and I raise $800 million a year for St. Jude.

MORGAN: Which is unbelievable.

THOMAS: Yes, it is.

MORGAN: And we'll come to that in more detail. THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: I interviewed your husband, Phil Donohue.

THOMAS: Uh-huh.

MORGAN: And he was fantastic -- back in January.

THOMAS: Yes, he is.

MORGAN: He called you an impure thought.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Any response?

THOMAS: Yes, I like it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Yet he went further. You've been married for 32 years.

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: And he went further and said this about you.

Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL DONOHUE, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: She was just, obviously, a very exciting person. She was not only gorgeous, she had great facility with language and she had opinions and she was a feminist. She was somebody you could argue with. She really had something to say that you could push back or agree with or bounce off of. And here I am, 30 -- 32 years later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: He's the cutest, isn't he?

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: He really is.

MORGAN: He's a fascinating guy.

THOMAS: Yes, he is.

MORGAN: I loved meeting him. But what do you think the secret of longevity in a marriage is?

THOMAS: Listening is one of them. And, caring, you know, to -- that we -- you listen, you hear it and you don't always have to fix it. One of the great things I learned, because I'm a fixer, was that most of the time, what Phil really wanted was not me to tell him how to fix it, but just to listen so that he could get -- he could get it all out.

I think that's a big deal. And, of course, all the other things -- love and affection and sexual chemistry and interesting things...

MORGAN: Do you still take baths together in that huge bathtub with wine?

THOMAS: Yes, well, what about that?

Where'd you get that from?

MORGAN: My sources.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: Yes, I do.

MORGAN: How big is this bathtub?

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: Come on over.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: The other thing you were obviously legendary for was "Free to be You and Me."

THOMAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: And it was 40 years ago -- it seems amazing now...

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: -- but you talked of fairness and freedom, of racial harmony, sexual equality. It really was a trailblazer. There were so many things in its time.

THOMAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: How far do you feel America has now come since then?

THOMAS: Well, we've come pretty far. I think children who are bullied are not very free to be, and anti-bullying is something I think we should all be thinking about.

But one of the things that we felt was "Free to be you and me" was really part of the women's movement, you know. We were working very hard to have women heard. And it seemed, also, that you kind of had to start with one 5-year-old at a time and try to get them to start to see that boys and girls could play together, could share the world together. So I think we're getting there. I mean, there are only, what, about 20 women who are now heads of Fortune 500 companies. We have about, oh, I don't know, 20 women going to the Senate and (INAUDIBLE)...

MORGAN: We could have the first female president...

THOMAS: Yes...

MORGAN: -- of course, next time.

THOMAS: -- we certainly could. Of course, there are 20 women all over the world who are running countries, so we're late getting to having a leader of a country. But we'll -- but we're getting there.

MORGAN: When you see what's happened with gay rights in particular, that's moving very fast in America now.

THOMAS: Yes. Yes. But, it's a long time coming. People have been gay for a long time and had their rights taken from them. So it's -- the gay rights movement is an exciting movement, because to really see it, you know, going from here to there quite this quickly.

MORGAN: Are you pleased that President Obama got reelected?

THOMAS: Yes, very much so.

MORGAN: Why?

THOMAS: I think he's a good man. I think he cares about people. I -- as a health activist, I think he is trying very hard to help people get good access to care.

MORGAN: Your father said there were two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers.

THOMAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: The takers may eat better, the givers will sleep better.

THOMAS: Yes, I think that's true.

MORGAN: Do you sleep well?

THOMAS: I do.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: How about you?

MORGAN: Probably not as well as you. But I don't raise $800 million a year.

THOMAS: No.

MORGAN: It is extraordinary. I mean, some of these statistics, there are 7,800 children are treated there completely free of charge every year.

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: You've raised an average $800 million a year...

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: -- which finances this. But what's extraordinary, between Thanksgiving and New Year, I think, in the -- since 2004, you've raised $312 million just in that period.

THOMAS: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: Which is amazing. But it shows me, also, that America, for a lot of the faults that it has right now -- and they get well talked about -- very -- it's a very giving...

THOMAS: Very.

MORGAN: -- big-hearted country.

THOMAS: Absolutely. And also, a lot of people know about St. Jude firsthand. It's amazing. There's no place that I go to speak is that there's someone that doesn't stand up and say, my cousin went there, my neighbor went there, we're using the protocols in our city. You know, our children are -- are laboratories. They may not be in every community, but our discoveries are.

So everything that we're doing is being sent out worldwide, all of our discoveries.

What's in -- what's -- what distinguishes St. Jude from all the other hospitals, all the other children's hospitals, is that we're a research center and a treatment center.

MORGAN: Yes.

THOMAS: So every child has a scientist and a doctor working on their case. And every child is getting a customized treatment. That's why we've been able to raise these survival rates, like with ALL, the most common form of cancer in kids, is leukemia, from 4 percent when my dad opened the hospital, to 94 percent today.

But what's exciting is working on that 6 percent, you know, to -- to find the -- the customized treatment that is going to bring every single one of those kids.

MORGAN: It's amazing the breakthroughs that come...

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: -- with all these treatments.

THOMAS: Right.

MORGAN: I know somebody who is involved with bone cancers, in -- in Los Angeles, actually, who said that just very recently, they had a new breakthrough...

THOMAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: -- which meant that women who had -- before have had to have a leg amputated...

THOMAS: Yes.

MORGAN: -- for a particular type of bone cancer, can now walk out. And that's happened in the last year.

THOMAS: Well, we...

MORGAN: And that must be replicated in all sorts of areas.

THOMAS: Well, we do that with osteosarcoma with children. We cut out the piece of bone that isn't -- that has the cancer. We put in a titanium rod. And then every couple of months, as the child grows, we will have a magnet that's -- that makes that rod grow with the child. I mean, that system -- and years ago, you'd amputate the leg.

MORGAN: Yes, amazing.

Now, I want to hire you as my chief booker, because I just realized that you've managed to get Cecilia Vergara, Jennifer Aniston...

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: -- Robin Williams, and others all to do these commercials with you. I can't get any of those on my show.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: How are you doing this?

THOMAS: The bathtub is one of the ways.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: There's a lot of ways.

MORGAN: Because, I mean Jennifer has been the you for a long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Some girls wish to grow up and be a princess. Other girls wish to simply grow up. Mae (ph) and Bailey (ph) are friends battling kidney cancer at St. Jude's Children Research Hospital. We developed a treatment for their cancer that's helping kids like them across America.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You know what I wish for?

ANISTON: What's that, honey?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My hair back. And no more cancer.

ANISTON: Girls, St. Jude is working on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Is it hard to persuade the big stars or...

THOMAS: Well, you know, I try to get them down there. The real secret is going to St. Jude and seeing the children. You know, I was never really expected to do this. I was never going to take this on. My father died 21 years ago, and he made it very clear to my sister and brother and I that it was not going to be our burden to carry, which was actually psychologically brilliant, because we all came about it our own way.

But when you go there and you walk through the hall and you meet a father who tells you that he's already picked the funeral music for his child, or you meet a mother who I just -- just a few days ago, said to me that the doctors at another hospital told her to take her child home into hospice, and now she came to St. Jude and we've saved her child's life.

MORGAN: Wow!

THOMAS: And it's not that these other hospitals are bad. They're good hospitals.

MORGAN: No.

THOMAS: They're hospitals that we collaborate with...

MORGAN: It's that St. Jude is a -- is amazingly good.

THOMAS: Well, it's that we're -- it's that we're working -- they're working with what they know and we're working with what they don't know, because we're a research center.

My dad wanted to build a place to study disease. It's a completely different math for a hospital. You know, there's a completely different mission, is to say we don't just want to make kids better, we want to find out what makes them sick, and we want to get a hold of that disease, find a -- the marker for that disease and -- and -- and put a drug on that marker.

MORGAN: He'd be very proud of you, your father, I think, from...

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: -- from what you've done...

THOMAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: -- in his legacy.

THOMAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: You're unbelievably, despite all this, still finding time to act. I don't know how you find the time, but you're -- you're a guest star on "The New Normal."

Let's watch a clip from this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to give up what I had in Ohio for something better here.

THOMAS: What you need to give up is that 1980s Mervyn's (ph) power suit and the staggering jewel tone. Ug. You know, Jane, when I look at you, I see myself 10 years ago when I lost my husband and my way. I see a lot of the old me in you. And I don't like it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: It's great to be acting with those great actors, huh?

THOMAS: Oh, she is great. Yes. And Ryan Murphy, who writes and created that show, is great. Yes.

MORGAN: So you're enjoying the acting still?

THOMAS: Oh, I love it. I especially love the stage.

MORGAN: Yes.

THOMAS: Yes. It's -- it's so much fun to hear the audience laugh. It's so exciting. And to hear them open up their little purses and cry, too.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: I like that.

MORGAN: Well, look, it's been lovely to meet you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: Send Phil my very best.

THOMAS: I will.

MORGAN: For more information on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Thanks and Giving Campaign, you can go to StJude.org. It couldn't be easier than that.

THOMAS: That's right.

MORGAN: Best of luck with it, not that you need it. You do an amazing job with it... THOMAS: We need it. Are you kidding?

MORGAN: You do.

That's quite right. I'll say that again, then. StJude.org. Please contribute generously.

Lovely to see you.

THOMAS: Thank you. Thanks.

MORGAN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGLAS: To the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's two time Olympic gold medalist, Gabrielle Douglas, who led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention.

She is known as the flying squirrel. She shares the title of "Essence" magazine's Woman of the Year with Michelle Obama and Robin Roberts.

And she's here with me now.

Welcome to you.

DOUGLAS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: So this book you've written, "Grace, God and Glory: My Leap of Faith" - has an amazing set of pictures, by the way, how has your life been since this extraordinary summer you had in my home city?

DOUGLAS: It's been a whirlwind, but I'm having so much fun. And I've gotten to do amazing opportunities, and I met -- I'm meeting people. So I'm just enjoying it.

MORGAN: What's been the best moment?

DOUGLAS: I would say going to the White House and meeting the president.

MORGAN: What were his first words to you?

DOUGLAS: Well, we had talked to him prior any of the Games, when we won team finals. And he said he was proud of me. He (INAUDIBLE) too. And he was just proud. And when we went in the White House, we all were standing like, really, like serious and he was walking in and he was like, you know what, don't do that.

(LAUGHTER)

DOUGLAS: Just like calm down. We were like oh, OK. So he's a really cool guy.

MORGAN: So you had an amazing achievement. You were the first African-American ever to win this all around gymnastics gold, could -- quite a moment for you, for America, for your family, for everyone, and for the president. He was the first African-American president.

Did he say anything to you about -- about that part of this, that you also had achieved this extraordinary milestone?

DOUGLAS: Yes, I mean he was telling me that he was so proud of me, and, you know, all hard work pays off. So it was really nice hearing that from the president.

MORGAN: How much do you have to work out a day?

DOUGLAS: Every day. Except for...

(CROSSTALK)

DOUGLAS: -- except for Sundays.

MORGAN: I would imagine your routine is agonizing, right?

DOUGLAS: Some days.

MORGAN: I mean, I couldn't get into that position literally if somebody paid me a billion dollars.

DOUGLAS: I mean, I could teach you. It's really easy.

MORGAN: No, you couldn't teach me.

DOUGLAS: Are you -- are you sure?

MORGAN: I used to be a top gymnast, actually.

DOUGLAS: Oh, really?

MORGAN: No, I lied.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Literally, I have never been able to do this. It -- it makes my eyes water even looking at it.

What do you have to do...

DOUGLAS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: -- you wake up in the morning, what is it -- talk me through your routine. DOUGLAS: I wake up, depending on the day, Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday I have practice in the morning, but Monday I don't. I get up at 9:00, do school, eat breakfast, do some more school, then eat lunch, do some more school, go to the gym around 2:00. At 2:30, we start, warm up, condition. We finish about 6:30 and go home, Twitter and dance (ph) school, go to bed...

MORGAN: What does it...

DOUGLAS: -- and all over again.

MORGAN: -- what does it take to be a winner, winner, like a big winner?

DOUGLAS: It takes a lot, not only the talent, but you have to be consistent and you have to dedicate your heart into the sport, and you have to work very hard and give 100 percent.

MORGAN: And you've got some boys in your life, Gabrielle?

DOUGLAS: No.

MORGAN: You sound...

DOUGLAS: No room.

MORGAN: You sound quite sad about that.

DOUGLAS: I kind of am.

(LAUGHTER)

DOUGLAS: Yes (INAUDIBLE)...

MORGAN: Do you ever say to your mom -- I met both your moms in London. We had a lovely interview with them and they're lovely people. But your mom is here with you here. Do you ever say, you know what, mom, I'm fed up with this?

I just want to go to a nightclub, meet a nice boy, give up gymnastics?

DOUGLAS: I don't think that -- I don't -- no, no.

MORGAN: So gymnastics is your real love, isn't it?

DOUGLAS: Yes. Nightclub, I'm not sure about that.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You've been -- I've read the book. It's fascinating. You're very God-fearing. You're a big Christian. You've had quite a life. I mean, your father wasn't around when you were young.

DOUGLAS: Um-hmm. MORGAN: And you talk quite openly about that in the book, but you say, "In one way, I know my dad. Another way, I never had him. He was there, he was gone, then back again. In my heart, I've always carried a secret hope my dad would change, that he would suddenly become the father I craved, and maybe one day he will, but I've chosen to free myself of accepting the way things are for now."

DOUGLAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: It was quite sad when I read that.

DOUGLAS: Yes, I mean...

MORGAN: Did you feel sad when you wrote it?

DOUGLAS: Yes, I mean just (INAUDIBLE). And he wasn't really in the picture and really didn't live up to my expectations. I mean, every girl dreams about having a father figure in their life and dream about the perfect dad. But I hope that in the future, we can build a better relationship and a stronger one, you know, when he reads this book. I hope he'll relate and know how I feel so that way, in the future, we can build a stronger and better relationship.

MORGAN: Do you talk to him much?

DOUGLAS: No. I -- unfortunately, our relationship is not the best right now.

MORGAN: Is it non-existent?

DOUGLAS: It's pretty distant.

MORGAN: What do you -- why is this non-existent, do you think?

DOUGLAS: Well, first of all, I've been traveling everywhere. And, I -- I just -- I haven't really found the time to just down and talk to him, you know, about how I felt.

MORGAN: You've been pretty hurt.

DOUGLAS: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: Do you think he knows that?

DOUGLAS: I -- I think he knows that. I definitely do.

MORGAN: And although your dad has not been around, you've had these two moms. So tell me about that.

DOUGLAS: I have these two moms, one in Iowa, one in Virginia. And they've been so supportive of me. And they are awesome. I couldn't have better mom number one and mom number two.

MORGAN: And we've got one mom, she's here. But your other mom is not yours -- I mean the picture is of me interviewing them there. The other one just looked after you when you were training and everything. You have this -- this wonderful relationship with her, too.

And so, in a way, two for one.

DOUGLAS: It is.

(LAUGHTER)

DOUGLAS: It's just (INAUDIBLE). I am so -- I am so blessed to have Missy, a mom like her. I mean, her and Travis have been taking me in and treating me as their own. And they have four girls, so I help them and play this big sister and help them with school gymnastics and anything they need help with.

MORGAN: Let's just see what they told me about you.

DOUGLAS: Oh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was about 11, and she was started saying, mom, I think that I can do this. You know when your child is 11, you think they don't know what they're talking about, wishful thinking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She glows when she smiles, and she's just a doll to be around. And so it did not take long for us to completely fall in love with her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Ahhh.

DOUGLAS: Oh, that's sweet. Thanks, Missy.

MORGAN: I'm told that the greatest moment for you wasn't necessarily winning the gold medals, it was when you appeared in "Vampire Diaries."

Is that right?

DOUGLAS: I love "The Vampire Diaries."

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: As good as winning gold?

DOUGLAS: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

DOUGLAS: A different -- a different atmosphere. "The Vampire Diaries" was fun. I mean, I got to do my little cameo shot on it, and the cast was very nice, very sweet, down to earth.

MORGAN: Now, let's turn to your endorsement deals -- $3 million this year. Apparently, you may make $100 million in your lifetime from Kellogg's, Procter & Gamble, all sorts of stuff.

DOUGLAS: Oh, yes. I -- I bought these shoes. I splurged on them.

MORGAN: Wow! Look at those.

DOUGLAS: Yes. They're Louis Vuitton.

MORGAN: How tall are you without those?

DOUGLAS: I'm five foot. I grew an inch after the Olympics.

MORGAN: I'll bet you're 4'11."

DOUGLAS: No.

MORGAN: You are. You're just pretending to be five foot.

DOUGLAS: Don't burst my bubble.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Are you spending all the money as fast as it's coming in?

DOUGLAS: No, I am like very frugal, so I save my money.

(LAUGHTER)

DOUGLAS: I really splurged on like a couple of things here and there, but other than that, I'm a good girl.

MORGAN: What's your big ambition now, Rio, presumably?

DOUGLAS: Yes.

MORGAN: Are you going to go there and kick butt and win more gold?

DOUGLAS: I hope so. I mean, I think it would be so fun to attend two Olympic Games, and I love my gymnastics (INAUDIBLE). It will be fun. I'm excited to get like a new floor team and new skills. So I'm ready to take on the challenges.

MORGAN: Who's your hero?

DOUGLAS: Well, my hero is definitely my mom. I mean, she's a fighter and always told me to never give up and to always push through no matter what you're going through (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: And who's your sporting hero?

DOUGLAS: Dominique Dawes. She was my role model growing up.

MORGAN: Oh, yes? I interviewed her, too.

DOUGLAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: She's a lovely lady.

DOUGLAS: Oh, she is.

MORGAN: And I'm told you have a great admiration and respect for Martin Luther King.

DOUGLAS: I do.

MORGAN: Why?

DOUGLAS: I really respect what he set for us. And I'm living his dream, I mean being the first African-American to win the individual all around. And for everyone to come together united, no matter what color of your skin is. I mean, I'm going to take me as an example.

Living with a white host family, I mean they've come in and opened their hearts, opened their homes and taken me in and treated me as their own. And I respect what he stood up for and what he believed in.

MORGAN: Well, you're a fantastic talent.

DOUGLAS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: It was an amazing sight watching you kill it in London.

And good luck in Rio.

DOUGLAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: And with your terrible training, which would kill me if I did one day of it.

DOUGLAS: Thank you (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: Lovely to meet you.

DOUGLAS: You, too.

MORGAN: "Grace, God and Glory: My Leap of Faith" by Gabrielle Douglas. A very good read, very inspiring.

DOUGLAS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: You're a little Amer -- American treasure.

DOUGLAS: Thank you. Thank you very much.

MORGAN: A pleasure.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC)

MORGAN: Even at the age of nearly 80 years old, Willie Nelson is a force to be reckoned with. He's recorded well over 100 albums. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the CMAs early this month. And he tells his own extraordinary story in the aptly named "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," a book that, frankly, no one but Willie Nelson could have written.

And he joins me now.

Willie, I've always wanted to meet you.

NELSON: Well, same here.

MORGAN: You're one of those great American icons.

NELSON: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: How do you feel about that?

NELSON: Well, I don't think about that.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: No, but (INAUDIBLE)...

NELSON: I'm not sure what that means. I'd have to go look it up and see...

MORGAN: You don't look in the mirror some mornings and think, I'm an icon?

NELSON: No.

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: I don't think I've ever done that.

MORGAN: Obviously, (INAUDIBLE)...

NELSON: In the morning, maybe I will, now that I've been here, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I always imagine, though, that when you walk around, you must be one of those entertainers that just everybody likes.

NELSON: Oh, well, I'm not sure...

MORGAN: Do you ever get anyone have a go at you?

NELSON: There's the old saying of, of all the people who don't like me, just think of the millions who've never heard of me. So...

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Now, you've written this brilliant book, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road." And it -- what a hell of a journey it's been for you, isn't it?

When you finished the book, what did you think of your life?

NELSON: Well, actually, it was a really easy book to write. I was just more or less riding down the highway, looking out the window and writing down what I was thinking and really off the top of my head.

And when I'd get bored with what I was thinking, I would throw a song in here. So that's about all there is to this book.

It's not heavy.

MORGAN: No, no, it's got a nice sort of whimsical tone to it.

But what I meant was, you know, you're nearly 80 years old. You've had this extraordinary career, incredible life, four wives, seven children, all sorts of fist fights and drinking and your well known love of marijuana and so on.

What do you -- what do you make of what's happened to you in those 80 years?

NELSON: Well, it's kind of -- you can't think about all of that at once. You know, it was -- it wouldn't be healthy, I don't figure.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Well, have you ended up in a happy place?

Are you a happy guy?

NELSON: Oh, I'm very happy right now, yes.

MORGAN: Is this the happiest you've ever been?

NELSON: This -- yes, as happy as I ever hope to be right now.

MORGAN: Sinatra is said to have named you as his favorite singer. What a moment that must have been.

NELSON: That was. That was. And, of course, he was a great singer. And to have him say that is a great compliment.

MORGAN: Did you ever meet him?

NELSON: Yes, I did. I played a couple of shows with him and we got to hang out a little bit and a couple of times.

MORGAN: You went drinking together?

NELSON: We had a drink together, yes. MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) Jack Daniels?

NELSON: I didn't check the label.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Now, when you last did an interview with this show, Larry King was the host.

NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: And you admitted to him halfway through that you were actually high at the time, you had infused yourself of some...

NELSON: Did -- did I do that...

MORGAN: -- marijuana. Yes.

So I've got to ask you the question, have you come similarly infused today?

NELSON: What's today?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: It could be any day you like.

NELSON: No. Yes, OK.

MORGAN: But did you wake up this morning and have a quick, you know, a puff?

NELSON: I probably did. I probably did. If I were -- if I remember. It's, you know, that short-term stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Do you take a lot of it now?

NELSON: I think some people have more tolerance, you know, for smoking pot than others. And I -- I know people who can take one hit and just go to sleep completely and other guys that can smoke a lot. You know, me and Snoop smoke a lot. And in every country we've been in, I guess, you know, I was in Amsterdam one time and Snoop called me and wanted me to sing on his record.

And I said, OK.

He said, where are you?

And I said, I'm in Amsterdam.

So he caught the next plane and come over. And we recorded a song together.

MORGAN: You and Snoop... NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: -- go to Amsterdam, the -- the mecca of dope, really, and you both have a load of it and then write some music together.

NELSON: Now, we can go to Colorado.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Yes, what do you make of that?

NELSON: Oh, I think it's progress, and I think it's, you know, a great step forward, and people are finally growing up and looking around the room and checking things out. And it seems ridiculous, I think, have and thought for years, to let all the illegal drug dealers make all the money and the gun buyers trading guns for dope and getting people killed all over the border down there, when it's a simple thing to legalize it, tax it, regulate it and, fortunately, Colorado and Washington saw that.

MORGAN: Are you planning any vacation there soon?

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: Maybe they'll have a coffeehouse over there.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You could have the Willie Nelson coffee chain, couldn't you?

NELSON: Why not? Why not?

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) very well.

Let's take a break.

I want to come back and talk a bit of politics with you.

NELSON: Sure.

MORGAN: A lot of stuff going on in the Middle East, juts had the election.

NELSON: Sure.

MORGAN: Just to -- to get your take on that one.

(music)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(music)

MORGAN: Willie Nelson's classic, "Always On My Mind." He's also the author of two "New York Times" best-sellers, the latest, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road."

And he's here with me, along with the album.

Here it is.

I love that song.

NELSON: "Always On My Mind?"

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE).

NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: It's one of my favorite ever songs. If you were consigned to a desert island and you could only listen to one song endlessly, on a permanent replay, what would you choose?

NELSON: That would be really hard to say, because, you know, this is -- I've just recorded a song with Dolly Parton that I think is the best song that I ever -- she wrote it and...

MORGAN: Really?

NELSON: -- I told her, I think this is the best song I've heard in a long time.

MORGAN: Let's turn to politics. You've always been political, but in quite an interesting way. For a guy brought up in Texas, you have, I wouldn't say massively liberal views, but certainly more liberal than most Texans would have about issues from guns to drugs to so on.

Let's just go through a few of these.

You started the Teapot Party after you were arrested in -- in November of 2010. You said we should bring home all of our troops from around the world, put them on our borders, legalize drugs and in doing so, we will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars.

And we touched on that a little bit before the break.

Do you really believe that's...

NELSON: Oh, I believe that.

MORGAN: -- that could be a strategy that works?

NELSON: Oh, I know it would work, because it would be better than the one we have, where there's still drugs available to anybody who wants them. I haven't had any problems buying marijuana -- excuse me -- any time that I can remember in my -- ever since I've been smoking it. So it's a shame to let other people, illegal drug dealers, make all that money. There's plenty of money being lost there. And I think eventually the grown-up in the room is going to see it. MORGAN: When you look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, what do you think about America's position in the world, its foreign policy in particular in the last 12 years or so?

NELSON: Well, as you probably know and have read, I'm completely against war. I believe in self-defense. I believe if you get hit, you hit back.

But preemptive wars, I don't believe in them. I don't think they're necessary.

I think wars are started to make money. And they make money for the people who start a war over here and a war over there and sell bombs to both sides.

MORGAN: When you look at what's happening in the Middle East, and it's been a crisis most of my lifetime that I can remember, pretty much most of yours, do you see any hope there? Do you see any chance of actual peace in the Middle East?

NELSON: Well, if you believe in the Bible, which, of course, it says two things. It says that there will always be wars and rumors of wars. And it also says that for a thousand years, somewhere there in the future, we're going to have peace.

So, hopefully those 1,000 years are coming up on us.

MORGAN: You (INAUDIBLE) of Barack Obama? Were you -- were you pleased he got reelected?

NELSON: Yes, I'm glad he got reelected. I think he has a -- a lot of things in his favor, the things that he has ran on. The -- the women all believe in the things that he's talking about. The -- the blacks and the Hispanics and the women. And if you've got those three things on your side, you're going to win.

MORGAN: Would you categorize -- are -- are you a Democrat? I mean how would you describe yourself?

NELSON: I'm not really, you know, what was -- what was his name that said I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me in there?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Well, the (INAUDIBLE) Groucho Marx.

NELSON: Groucho Marx...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Groucho Marx...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Yes. You never voted for anybody?

NELSON: Oh, I have voted, yes.

MORGAN: Did you -- did you this time?

NELSON: No, I didn't.

MORGAN: Why not?

NELSON: Well, I had all kinds of excuses. I was traveling and I had to do an absentee, and I couldn't do it and all that. But there's, you know, there was really no excuse. I just didn't do it.

MORGAN: You didn't feel passionately enough about either candidate?

NELSON: I really felt like Obama was going to win, that he did -- he didn't really need one more vote, that he had already had it sewn up.

MORGAN: You grew up around guns. What do you make of the gun debate in America?

NELSON: Well, you know, I've hunted all my life and (INAUDIBLE) when I was young, I had a bee-bee gun. I had a rubber gun. I had shotguns and rifles and all those things.

And I went deer hunting, bear hunting. And I have no problems at all with that. But, you know, I don't know what I would do with a gun that would shoot 100 times. I'm not--

MORGAN: I mean I found it just staggering that this -- you can just walk into stores in America and buy, you know, high-powered assault weapons, and on the Internet get 6,000, 7,000 rounds of ammunition, and go out and blow up a movie theater if you want to.

NELSON: I don't -- you know, I don't agree with that. I think it should be more regulated. I think a lot of guns, there's no need for civilians to own those. Those are for military.

MORGAN: Let's take another break, Willie.

Let's come back and talk music and also all the girls you've loved before.

NELSON: Good.

MORGAN: Which could take some time, don't you think? If even half the stories I've heard are true.

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: How much time have we got?

(LAUGHTER) (music)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(music)

MORGAN: "Every Time He Drinks, He Thinks of Her." Willie's son, Lucas Nelson, wrote it, and it's from Willie's (INAUDIBLE) album, "Heroes."

And he's back with me.

Talented guys, your sons.

NELSON: Yes, they are.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: One of them (INAUDIBLE) did the illustrations for the book.

NELSON: Very proud.

MORGAN: And the other one is writing for the album.

NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: Are you proud of them?

NELSON: Oh, very much, yes.

MORGAN: You've got seven children.

NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: From four wives. Your -- your (INAUDIBLE) latest wife is the wife that you've had for over 20 years...

NELSON: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: -- is here, also, in the audience.

NELSON: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: Was it just practice, the first three, Willie?

NELSON: Is what?

MORGAN: Practice, the first three marriages?

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: Well, I'm not sure practice is the right word.

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: I think if I was practicing, I should have learned. But--

MORGAN: Well it's either that or you're an incurable romantic.

NELSON: Yes, you can say that. Yes.

MORGAN: Do you think you've become a better husband?

NELSON: Well, yes. I think age has a lot to do with that. You know, you get older. You get wiser, I guess.

MORGAN: What have you learned about marriage?

NELSON: Nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You had a great line about divorce.

NELSON: Oh, yes, the reason divorces are so expensive is they're worth it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: And yet, although you say that, you also always stayed fond of your exes, am I right?

NELSON: Oh, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: You always thought that was important.

NELSON: I do think it's important, because, you know, especially if you have the children, which we do, you know, just to stay friends and -- with your ex-wives.

MORGAN: I always ask guests, how many times have you been properly in love. And I can't think of a better person to ask, because you actually sang "To All the Girls I've Loved Before."

NELSON: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: So if I were to ask you how many, of all the girls you've loved before, we would reach, how many would it be?

NELSON: Well, you said properly and...

MORGAN: Properly in love.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Yes.

NELSON: We'll have to define properly.

MORGAN: Well, how would you define properly? NELSON: Well, that was not what I said. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't have put it in there, but...

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: But given that I've now thrown it out there, Willie, come on. You know, well, actually, like, proper love.

NELSON: Well, I don't think there's anything improper. I think love is love is love is love because God is love is love is love.

MORGAN: How many times have you been in love in your life?

NELSON: Oh, I don't know. You mean today?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I'm hoping only once today, Willie...

NELSON: No, I just...

MORGAN: -- I mean...

NELSON: -- I just signed 300 books a while ago, and I met a lot of pretty girls.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Does your wife put up with this kind of humor? She obviously does. She's laughing.

NELSON: Well, yes, she knows me.

MORGAN: She obviously knows you. Well, you -- you get on extremely well. I can tell just from the short time I've spent with you both.

Is she the -- is she the real love of your life, would you say?

NELSON: Well, for the moment, she is.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: She's just quite relieved (INAUDIBLE)...

NELSON: Yes.

MORGAN: -- at the thought that it may come to a crashing end.

NELSON: No, we get along fine. And that's, you know, unusual for people, you know, who are as independent as we both are. I mean, she's had a career of her own before, you know, her and I met. She was a makeup artist in a movie. In fact, that's where I met her was a movie.

MORGAN: Do you ever sing your songs to her? NELSON: Do I ever sing songs to her?

MORGAN: Yes.

NELSON: Oh, I guess I have. I play a lot of records for her, you know.

MORGAN: You -- are you a romantic at heart?

NELSON: Oh, 100 percent. Yes.

MORGAN: If I were to say to you, come on, Willie, tell me the greatest moment of your life, and it can't involve women or children, it can't involve marriage or children, what would you choose?

(LAUGHTER)

NELSON: The greatest moment in my life...

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE)...

NELSON: -- that doesn't involve children or women.

MORGAN: Yes. If I could let you relive a moment, what would you choose?

NELSON: I don't know, that's a -- that's a difficult one. I'm -- I've had a whole lot of really good moments so, you know...

MORGAN: What's the one, though? What's the great light (ph) for you, personally, for whatever reason?

NELSON: Every time I go do a show where I show up and they show up and they come and clap and pay good money to hear, you know, hear me sing songs, it doesn't get any better than that. And the last show I had was too far ago. I need another show. I'm ready to go play, you know.

MORGAN: Willie, I could talk to you all day...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: -- but unfortunately, we've run out of time.

But your new album is "Heroes." The book, which is a terrific read, it's very entertaining, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die."

It's been a real pleasure.

NELSON: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: It's nice to see you.

NELSON: You, too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: My next guest is a teenage whiz kid who is taking the tech world and Wall Street by storm. Nick D'Aloisio is the founder of Summly, an app that is changing the way that news is delivered on mobile devices, and the boy genius behind it is just 17. Yes. You heard me, he is 17. And he looks about 15. How does somebody who looks as young as you and is young as you take the tech world by storm? Explain yourself.

NICK D'ALOISIO, FOUNDER, SUMMLY: Sure. I started programming when I was 12, and I have been doing apps for a few years. And the way I thought of this idea, though, is I was revising some history exams. And I was using Google and Bing and had all these search results, and there is so much content in the world, and I thought if I could build a piece of technology that could take pre-existent content and summarize it and condense it, it would really help people my age and everyone else consume it.

MORGAN: And to make it simple for viewers -- if you have got an iPhone or something, you will take any kind of news story in the world and you'll cut it to 400 characters, about three times the length of an average Tweet, say, and that appears in a very readable form on the iPhone. It is kind of aggregated, condensed news for everybody.

D'ALOISIO: Exactly. It's in a beautiful form. We wanted to work very hard on the visuals of the app, and combine it with this automated process so we have no human intervention, and we can take any news article and summarize it down into its core essence.

MORGAN: It was extraordinary. At the age of 15, a Hong Kong billionaire called Li Ka-shing invested $300,000 into this. As did many other people then, donating cash. You then got also to (INAUDIBLE) Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono, Mark Vincent, Lady Gaga, business manager Troy Carter. Really, it took on big time. Were you surprised? I know you are this kid, really. And you have got all these hugely famous people rushing to support you.

D'ALOISIO: Yeah, I thought at first why do these people want to help me? And then I realized that there is something in the idea itself. It is the idea of taking any piece of content in the world and summarizing it. And there are so many people in the world who haven't got time for -- they don't have enough time, and what we are doing with Summly is we are making it a lot easier to consume all of this content on the Web.

MORGAN: How do the people that supply the original content feel about you nicking their stuff?

D'ALOISIO: Well, we are not substituting it, we still allow you to read the full story. The whole point of Summly is you can use the summary to evaluate exactly what you want to read. And so, for example, we signed a deal with News Corp, so we have some of their properties that are traditionally behind the paywall, we give the summary for free. And then if you want to read further, that's where the paywall mechanism kicks in and you pay for that full--

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: That is a very smart thing, which I'm sure they wish they would have thought of to start with, right? What's in it for you? How do you make money out of this? Now you have the investment. But where is the money?

D'ALOISIO: So we're kind of just taking it out (ph) by the user response. We've had, you know, 500,000 downloads, over 35 million summaries have been read on the service. There's a lot of users now reading the content. We could show advertising, we could kind of turn Summly into a service, a subscription model, because we provide content that you can't get anywhere else on the Web. And so if we keep the summaries on Summly, that's the only place on the Web you are going to get this beautiful and summarized content.

MORGAN: When you look at things like television and sort of conventional forms of media, does your heart sink? You think you guys just don't get it anymore, you should be doing XYZ?

D'ALOISIO: I think the problem is with kind of the digital space is yes, the kind of publishers that have been around with print form for 50, 60, 70, 100 years, and now, I mean in the last five or six years, it's the mobile device has come into play. And so, even on the Web, taking a news article that was on the newspaper and showing it on the Web is fine, because the screen really stays the same, right, it's a thirteen inch desktop.

When you take it down to a phone size, unless you can build the technology like we have that can automatically summarize it or make it fit the screen, it's going to be very hard for these publishers to make their content easily read.

MORGAN: See, I use a BlackBerry still. I haven't quite migrated to the iPhone, because I find it too hard to tap on them. But I get annoyed even on the good BlackBerry at the ways the stories come out. It's never that easy to read. So I actually, I like your app, it's very user friendly, and it makes perfect sense to me.

My question is, have we missed the boat with this one with you? What's your next great idea?

D'ALOISIO: I was thinking about this. I mean, I think there is a few more years definitely left in Summly, like we've had this amazing consumer response. Apple, like, featured us as the app of the week, you know, in over 50 countries. We are about to go build this over the next two or three years, and, you know, we don't want to just stop at the iPhone. We are going to be on every device, and the great thing is about tech, is it's language independent.

MORGAN: You are going to be (INAUDIBLE)?

D'ALOISIO: Yeah, very soon. And we can actually adjust the summary to fit your screen, so even though the screen is smaller than the iPhone, you'll have a summary that fits the screen. There is no scroll bar, there is no kind of trying to find the fit on the page--

MORGAN: This is why I wanted you on, because I like this. I think this is the future. How are you going to deal with becoming stinking rich if that is what happens?

D'ALOISIO: Well, that will be a great day, but I don't think -- look, to be honest, the thing at the moment I'm really focused on is just these users, you know, we have hundreds of thousands users rating it 5 stars in the app store. As the founder, I'm kind of proud to see that. And I think we've kind of awoken in the industry to this new opportunity, and now I just want to work with our team of people. We have a great team of people, and really build this out.

MORGAN: What about school, Nicholas?

D'ALOISIO: Yeah, I know.

MORGAN: What do you mean by "I know?" What about it? Are you at school?

D'ALOISIO: I'm on a sabbatical leave at the moment. You know, I had a scholarship to my school. They've been very supportive (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: Are you going to go back? Realistically?

D'ALOISIO: Realistically I think I can find a way of doing both.

MORGAN: You want to?

D'ALOISIO: Yeah, I do. I like the education.

MORGAN: What on earth are they going to teach you? Given that you created this world-beating app?

D'ALOISIO: There is a lot of stuff beyond technology I want to do. I enjoy philosophy and history, and it's things like that I've already kind of been doing some personal studying alongside with Summly, and I think, actually, the thing that helped me build Summly was my interest in kind of other subjects beyond computer science, because it gives you a different perspective on the industry.

MORGAN: Who are you heroes in the tech game?

D'ALOISIO: You know, Steve Jobs was actually the reason why I taught myself to program. I read one of his unofficial biographies years ago, and then kind of got into teaching myself programming. I think kind of current day heroes, people like, you know, founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, so you know, that's kind of the ideal of where you want to take an app, right, to that level of value. And so I think with Summly, what we are trying to do as well is go for the big idea, right, how can we make people's time more efficient.

MORGAN: What has been the single biggest pinch-me moment you've had so far?

D'ALOISIO: Probably when I visited Yoko Ono in the Dakota building.

MORGAN: Really? D'ALOISIO: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

D'ALOISIO: I know -- that was -- she had been one of the investors and very helpful, her team of people, but that was a pretty crazy -- kind of ...

MORGAN: She play "Imagine" for you while you were there?

D'ALOISIO: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Good to meet you, Nick. I'm impressed a lot with that. I wanted you on because I think a lot of people who haven't heard of you are probably watching this show, they are going to hear about you, and it is an amazingly smart thing to have done, which for anyone like me, that's in the news game, is invaluable. So I congratulate you.

D'ALOISIO: Thank you.

MORGAN: Best of luck with it.