Alec Baldwin on Divorce, Children and Reconciliation

Ireland is unquestionably the love of Baldwin's life. He won joint legal and physical custody of her in 2004 and has racked up tens of thousands of frequent flier miles traveling between New York and Los Angeles to satisfy his custody visitation schedule. He sees himself as a good father and says he has met every court requirement that Basinger's side has thrown at him, including anger management classes.

"When I'm with her, I'm happy," he said. "It's one of the only times in my life that I'm happy."

In some ways, though, Baldwin believes that the separation with his daughter began before she was born.

"I think when my daughter becomes an adult, she'll be fully cognizant of the fact that she's estranged," he said.

At the time this story was published neither Kim Basinger nor her representative could be reached for comment.

Baldwin Describes 'Parental Alienation Syndrome'

In his book Baldwin recounts standing in the bathroom of Basinger's home in Los Angeles with Basinger and her assistant: "Kim said she was pregnant. A moment that one would have imagined, during all your lifetime leading up until now, would be a cause for unprecedented joy was more like someone telling you that they had wrecked your car. We all just stood there while Kim talked of her doubts about me and our marriage."

Baldwin wrote that Basinger's assistant "managed to sneak glances at me that seemed pitying, as if to say 'How sad to have this moment in your life play out this way.' I suppose that, in hindsight, the alienation from my daughter began that afternoon, before she was even born."

When he and Basinger separated, Baldwin said she moved from their home in New York back to California, reportedly for Ireland's health. At the time, a court-sponsored mediator was making custody arrangements with agonizing slowness, claims Baldwin.

At one point, Baldwin said Ireland told him, "Mommy says we can all be together again if you go and get help. Mommy says you're sick." Baldwin told Sawyer that he told his lawyer because he said it was another of Basinger's attempts to turn Ireland against him.

In "A Promise to Ourselves" Baldwin urges the courts to recognize parental alienation syndrome, which he says is real.

"There are women who get divorced in order to punish, out of this bitter, bitter hatred that some of these women have for their ex-husbands, they turn their children against them. Everybody knows that's real. We know that there are gangs in East L.A. We don't need to say there's East L.A. Gang syndrome, do we?"

Baldwin also suggests that if there is no evidence of abuse by the father, with school-age kids, "he gets meaningful custody of his child right away."

Joan Meier, a law professor at George Washington University, strongly disagrees with Baldwin. Meier, who helps women battle custody in court, says that allegations of parental alienation syndrome can endanger women. "Parental alienation is being misused and distorted simply to defeat abuse claims," she said.

The American Psychiatric Association also doesn't recognize the term. A former APA president, Dr. Paul Fink, referred to parental alienation syndrome as "junk science at its worst."

But what of Ireland's reaction to this book? "I said to her, I've written this book and this book is coming out and I want you to know that I tried to be as fair as I could in the book," Baldwin said. "And what's important is ... what I left out of the book."

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