Sarah Ferguson Opens Up to Oprah Winfrey
"I sound completely drunk," Ferguson says of hidden-camera video.
June 1, 2010 — -- Weeks after a British tabloid captured Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, in a hidden-camera sting trying to sell access to her former husband, Ferguson talked with Oprah Winfrey in a hour-long interview about her debilitating life-long quest for perfection, struggles with self-hatred, self-sabotage and personal debt.
Britain's News of the World tabloid posted a video of Ferguson last month meeting with a reporter pretending to be an Indian businessman, cash–at-the-ready to buy access to Prince Andrew, duke of York, who serves as the U.K.'s special representative for trade and investment.
In the video, Ferguson said 500,000 British pounds (or more than $700,000) would "open the doors" to the duke and his connections. The meeting ended when Ferguson left the reporter's apartment with the equivalent of $40,000 cash in a computer bag, a down payment that she later returned, and the promise of an additional 500,000 pounds to be wired into her HSBC account.
As Ferguson sat with Winfrey watching three minutes of the video of herself speaking with the undercover reporter in a hotel room, cigarette in hand, a bottle of wine nearby, Ferguson spoke over the tape, referring to herself in the third person. "I feel sorry for her," she told Winfrey in an interview to be aired this afternoon. "Bless her. I feel really sorry.
"I sound completely drunk."
She was captured on video shaking hands with the reporter to cement the deal, then making a "gimme" motion with her hands for the cash. Acknowledging the feeling of "terrible sorrow," Ferguson told Winfrey, "There aren't really many words to describe an act of such grave stupidity."
While refusing to excuse her behavior, Ferguson, 50, said she'd been exhausted, having been on the road for months, and said she was desperate to help a friend in the United States who needed $38,000. She told Winfrey that once she had a willing mark in the supposed businessman, she asked for 500,000 pounds more, with no forethought or plan for what she'd do with the money.