Though her husband was often away serving in the Navy, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York seemed to be settling into her new life. "The best part is being married to Andrew, because he's great," she told me in 1989, after she gave birth to their first daughter and was pregnant with their second.
Three years after our interview, the Duke and Duchess of York separated. Suddenly, there seemed to be no end to her troubles. She was photographed with another man, she piled up millions in debt, her taste in clothing was ridiculed, and she gained weight. The media, who once adored her, changed their tune.
"I didn't really want to get out of my room, I didn't want to get out of my bed," the duchess remembers now, adding that she felt as if she didn't have a friend in the world.
"I went about trying to survive. And in trying to survive, I started to understand more about myself. And I took myself under control," she says.
The duchess got a job as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, which she says helped her lose weight and pay off her debts. She has written five books about self-esteem and a series of children's stories, and she started two charities that help children in crisis.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to have your whole soul and your whole life on the front pages," she says. "You've just got to work at believing who you are and not be swept up with either the good bits or the bad bits. Just hold on to the core of you."
She has also gained some perspective and insight on her marriage. "I think I made innumerable mistakes from very early on by simply not understanding quite what I had taken on," she says. "I was 25 and I was very excited and I was in love."
She and Prince Andrew are still very close; in fact, they continue to live together, though she'll be moving into her own home soon. And, six years after her divorce, and 10 years after their separation, she continues to wear her wedding band.
"We are very irregular," she says, laughing.
Her family motto is "out of adversity comes happiness." But asked if she's found happiness, she says, "I think happiness is a fleeting moment. But I think inner contentment is what I'm aiming for."
What she most wants people to know about her, she says, "is that it's OK just to be me … I'd just like people to realize that I'm just me, doing the best job I can."
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Mariah Carey, who became a star with her debut single "Vision of Love" in 1990, didn't realize that she desperately needed to escape the glare — until it was nearly too late.
Last summer, the pop diva suffered what was described as an emotional breakdown after a two-week whirlwind tour to promote her first movie, Glitter. The movie, autobiographical in some ways, also broke down at the box office. Even more disastrous for Carey, the soundtrack album — her first under a milestone $80 million contract with Virgin Records — did poorly in stores. The record company bought its way out of the contract, and things looked bleak.
Carey even checked herself into a hospital at one point, saying she was exhausted. No wonder: In addition to starring in the movie and singing for the album, she was an executive producer of both.