20/20 Exclusive: Barbra Streisand

ByABC News

Nov. 3, 2000 -- They have, as Barbra Streisand says, grown up together.

Since she first interviewed Streisand while at the Today show, Barbara Walters has consistently obtained exclusive opportunities to talk with the elusive entertainer. Now, for her first televised interview since her marriage, Streisand sits down for the sixth time with Walters to discuss her future plans, her politics, and the changes in her personal life. The interview airs on 20/20 this Friday, Nov. 3, at 10 p.m. ET.

Streisand discusses her decision to retire from performing live and the farewell concerts she gave in New York and Los Angeles. She tells Walters the demands of performing in front of a live audience — the necessary voice pampering and the public’s high expectations — have proven to be too much. “Why should I do something that I don’t enjoy doing at this stage in my life?”

Still, Streisand stresses this is not retirement. Her musical career, she insists, will continue — mostly in the recording studio. “I like recording,” she says, “It’s very private and I love being with an orchestra … love being with musicians.” She also plans to continue acting, directing and producing films.

At Peace With Herself

Born in New York, Streisand’s father died when she was 15 months old, leaving her to be raised by her mother, who Streisand says never had much faith in her. Struggling with a lifelong sense of loss and abandonment, Streisand shares several instances in her life where she says she has been able to connect with her late father, Emanuel. Those moments, she adds, have helped her come to terms with her loss. “I will always miss that part that I didn’t have,” she says. “But … I’m doing well … with all that I have.”

And what she has is a new life, and a happy marriage, to actor James Brolin, whom she wed in July 1998. She tells Walters marriage agrees with her.

“You get older and you accept yourself for who you are … your flaws and your attributes,” she says. “It’s easier to live in your skin.”

Future PlansFor years, Streisand has been a staunch Democratic Party powerhouse, raising funds for the party and being very vocal about her political opinions. She discusses in detail the roots of her involvement, asserting that her beliefs stem from a desire to help those who have endured injustice. “I guess I’ve always been for the underdog, the minority, the person who is less fortunate,” she adds.

She acknowledges her friendly relationship with Bill Clinton, calling him a “wonderful president.”

Having more time to cultivate her interests, including a passion for trading stocks — which she’s done with extraordinary success — is one of the reasons Streisand says she’s giving up performing.

These days, she says she’s content to let time go by. “Time slips away,” she concedes, “but it gets richer.”

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