Barbra Streisand Talks ‘Partners,’ the Downside of Fame and Being ‘Mad’ for Beyoncé

PHOTO: Robin Roberts talks to Barbra Streisand about her new "Partner" album and other projects that she is working on.Ida Mae Astute/ABC
Robin Roberts talks to Barbra Streisand about her new "Partner" album and other projects that she is working on.

Barbra's Streisand's voice is unmistakable.

She's been in the business for 50 years, but if anyone thinks she's slowing down now, they'd better think again.

The legendary singer has had a number one album in each of the past five decades and she's hoping to keep up the streak, telling "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts, "I'd like six … you know, it's an even number."

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In her newest album, "Partners," Streisand sings duets with some of the biggest names in the music world, including John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Michael Bublé and Blake Shelton.

The most surprising pairing was the virtual duet with Elvis Presley. The song? Presley's 1956 hit, "Love Me Tender."

Streisand, 72, told Roberts that she met the singer in 1969.

"It was quite an experience you know? … He had two body guards with him. And I remember him going 'out!' to someone. And now I was left alone with him. And so I started to polish my nails, 'cause I just couldn't look up. Kind of funny," she said, laughing. "God, when I think of it!"

The most meaningful and emotional duet from "Partners" had to be the one with Jason Gould, Streisand's son.

"My pride and joy!" Streisand said of Gould.

When Gould was 15, Streisand said, she heard him humming through a closed door. She said she thought it was "the most beautiful sound I ever heard."

A few years ago when the now-adult Gould told her "'I think I'd like to sing,' it was like a shock," Streisand said.

The other man in Streisand's life is, of course, her husband, actor James Brolin. Their marriage is now going on 16 years despite perpetual tabloid rumors claiming they're on the brink of divorce.

She described an encounter she had while she was in the supermarket with her husband one day.

"We were holding hands … and a guy behind us said 'Oh, you're back together?' And I went -- well my husband knew about this but he didn't tell me -- I said 'When were we apart?' to this guy. And he says, 'Oh, I think, hmm hmmm something or other,' and I said, 'Jim, why, what are they talking about?' He said, 'Well you know, the rags print this stuff.' It's like -- why do they have to make up stories? I don't get it."

That's the downside of life in the spotlight. The upside is being able to use her celebrity to shine a light on causes including women's heart health, a mission that recently took her to Capitol Hill.

"What feels great is not having my name in lights, as I thought as a child. 'Oh, my name in lights, as an actress, you know -- so great.' Now it's having my name on a building center that says the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center. That's like, 'Whoa - I've arrived.' Know what I mean?"

Asked why she did an album with only men, Streisand replied that there were female artists with whom she'd like to collaborate. On that list is Beyoncé.

"I would love to sing with her ... I'm mad for her, I think she's a spectacular performer," Streisand said, adding: "I'd love to sing with Rihanna, Adele. But I don't know all the other girls."

Streisand never plays her records again after she makes them "because then I start getting critical. 'Oh, huh -- when did I do that? That's not good. That could be better,'" she said.

But there are exceptions.

"Then there are songs that I hear and go, 'She wasn't bad. She wasn't bad,'" Streisand said.

"Partners" will be released today.