|Martha Stewart's Daughter:Life Was 'Hell'|
|By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES (@SusanDJames)||Sep 30, 2011, 4:15 PM|
Alexis Stewart, the "salty" daughter of homemaking goddess Martha Stewart, in a new book, writes that her mother strived for television perfection but was not a perfect parent.
"If I didn't do something perfectly, I had to do it again," writes Stewart, 46. "I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head."
"Martha does everything better. You can't win!" she writes in "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here," a comical guide for those who "hate how-to manuals," slated for bookstore shelves Oct. 18.
The sassy daughter lambasts her busy mother for everything from not having much food in the refrigerator to bringing home lederhosen from Switzerland: "You want me to be stoned to death at school?" her daughter writes.
Alexis Stewart also writes that despite her mother's public image, she was a humbug at holiday time, making Alexis wrap her own presents. And at Halloween, there was no trick or treating.
"Martha was not interested in being kid-friendly," her daughter writes. "She would hand me things right before Christmas and say, 'Now wrap these but don't look inside."
"Halloween was also a grim affair: There were no costumes," she writes. "There was no anything. We turned off all the lights and pretended we weren't home."
Both Martha and Alexis Stewart were not available to comment on the book, according to their respective publicists.
Martha Stewart, 70, has a reputation as being a "control freak" and making her employees cry, according to Forbes, which lists her net worth at $638 million. The media empire tied to her superhostess persona includes publishing, broadcasting and merchandising.
In 2004, Stewart was charged with four counts of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale, but never missed a beat of popularity on her various cooking and decorating shows.
She had a tempestuous relationship with her daughter, but they got closer during her mother's time in a Virginia federal prison, according to press reports.
In 2005, mother and daughter worked together on television's "Apprentice," and Alexis Stewart has advanced her own career through Martha Stewart Omnimedia.
Martha Stewart's culinary capability was apparently a television creation, according to her daughter.
"There was never anything to eat at my house," writes Alexis Stewart. "Other people had food. I had no food. ... There were ingredients but no prepared food of any kind."
Alexis "Lexie" Stewart is the only child of Martha and Andrew Stewart and was raised in New York City. She was the co-host of "Whatever With Alexis and Jennifer" on Sirius Satellite Radio with her book co-author Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, the daughter of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia executive Charles Koppelman.
Their topics ranged from pop culture to parodies of Martha Stewart's homemaking in a mock show called "Whatever, Martha." This year, the duo took their radio show to the Hallmark Channel. Some online critics have called Alexis Stewart a "gutter mouth" who "drops the F bomb" in the blog she wrote for the channel until last June.Martha Stewart Slammed by Daughter
Alexis Stewart writes that her mother also has bad manners. "My mother will occasionally complain that I don't invite her over for dinner," she writes. "But can you blame me? Because, sometimes this is what will happen: Whatever I serve, she'll sip it, taste it, make a face and push it away."
She also says she took the opposite advice of her mother's when choosing a man and didn't seek out someone with money.
"A woman lived near us when I was little, had married someone very wealthy and very unattractive, and my mother actually told me when I was a small child, 'Now Alexis, if this ever happens, you make sure you have sex with somebody else to have their baby. Don't have his baby,'" she writes.
Now divorced from her husband, New York lawyer John R. Cuti, Alexis Stewart writes that her mother was "very practical about it. It was a survival skill -- you have someone rich and ugly who takes care of you, and you have someone who's hot and makes attractive babies."
Martha Stewart was one of six children, her daughter notes, and her family struggled economically. Her daughter also claims her mother was a chronic hoarder.
One highly personal anecdote was particularly venomous. Alexis Stewart charged that her mother embarrassed her in front of friends by routinely leaving the bathroom door ajar.
"Mother always peed with the door open," she writes. "I remember saying, 'You know, now I have friends over! You can't do that anymore! It's gotta stop! My friends' parents don't do it! Give me a break here! I don't feel like being embarrassed! It's exhausting! I'm a kid! Stop!"'
Even the dog apparently let loose in the house, according to her daughter.
"My mother has a sign on all of her doors to take your shoes off," writes Alexis Stewart. "For god's sake! My mother's dogs p*** and s*** on her rugs and she's telling people to take their shoes off?"
Stuart Fischoff, a media psychologist from Carbondale, Ill., who has an expertise in celebrity behavior, said children of high-profile mothers seldom make up the "Mommy Dearest" stories.
"My guess is that you really have someone as a mother who made the life of the daughter difficult," he said. "It's rare to write a book about your parents just to make money."
"We know about the perfectionism of Martha Stewart and her drive," he said. The bathroom anecdote "flies in the face of what we have come to believe about Martha Stewart. It leads you to believe there's a lot to Martha Stewart we don't know about."
"Generally, celebrity kids hang out with other celebrity kids because they are the only ones with empathy about what's going on," said Fischoff. "For a child to struggle embarrassment and pressure of being a celebrity child, suggests lines have not been carefully drawn."
Fischoff suggests the celebrity mother may have "thrown the child under the bus."
Alexis Stewart does admit her mother had a "very hands-off approach to child rearing."
Still, the mother-daughter bonds seem to be intact, and she is quick to defend family against other critics. "I am, like, fisticuffs, you know, I'm ready," she writes.
The book, is, afterall, dedicated to Martha Stewart, with this foreword: "Thanks in advance to my mother for not getting angry about anything written in this book."