Sarah Ferguson Reveals Her Road to Recovery in Documentary on OWN, Oprah Winfrey Network

Sarah Ferguson opens up about letting cameras into her life.

May 11, 2011, 11:14 AM

June 7, 2011 — -- Sarah Ferguson fled the U.K. earlier this year for the jungles of Thailand to soothe the sting of her royal wedding snub.

But the Duchess of York is hiding no more.

Ferguson is instead baring her soul in a six-part documentary series called "Finding Sarah" set to premiere Sunday on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

"To have gone through total disaster and then to come back and have this opportunity from Oprah, Ferguson said today on "Good Morning America." "I've been so lucky."

And she's not holding anything back.

Cameras follow the 51-year-old royal's every move as she tries to rebuild her life, career and reputation after a scandal in May 2010 when she was caught on camera accepting money in exchange for a promise of business access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We're a wonderful unit. We still live together," Ferguson told "GMA" of her current relationship with her ex and their two daughters, Princess Beatrice, 22, and Princess Eugenie, 21.

"I did not sell access to Andrew. I want to be clear about that."

But the scandal did signal the end of a long tailspin for the duchess, one, she says, she can't believe to this day.

"I got into a self-sabotage swirl of nonsense that had been building up for years," Ferguson said. "When I look back I think, 'You just didn't think it through.'"

After the incident occurred, Ferguson issued a statement apologizing for causing embarrassment and a "serious lapse in judgment" and said Andrew "was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred."

The headline-grabbing scandal was a likely reason the royal family rejected Ferguson, and her feelings of regret from that incident welled up during the wedding.

It was "difficult" not to be invited to last month's wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Ferguson told Winfrey herself in an interview that aired last month on one of the talk show host's final episodes.

"I felt that I ostracized myself by my behavior, by the past, by living with all the regrets of my mistakes, that I sort of wore a hair shirt and beat myself up most of the day thinking and regretting why did I make such a mistake? Why have I made so many mistakes? So I did spend a good three hours on that," she said.

Ferguson's entry into the royal family began in a fairy-tale way after she was introduced to Prince Andrew by Princess Diana and married him in a lavish royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1986.

She moved with her prince into Buckingham Palace but two weeks into their marriage, Andrew was sent to sea and she only saw him for 40 days a year for the first five years.

When the couple divorced in 1996, Ferguson was stripped of her "royal highness title," and the headlines and scandals grew.

Even during the divorce, British tabloids were abuzz with the news that she owed more than $4 million to British bankers Coutts and Co. and that the royal family, specifically Queen Elizabeth II, was fed up with Ferguson's free-spending ways and refused to pay her bills.

After the divorce, Ferguson moved to New York in an attempt to escape the British media and regain her financial footing. She wrote a successful series of children's books, started the charity Children in Crisis, and signed a lucrative and high-profile deal to be the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers International.

Yet her personal and financial life remained in turmoil, something Ferguson attributes to what she calls her "need to please."

Access to Suze Orman and Dr. Phil

"Why do I want love from being over generous," was a question Ferguson said she has had to ask herself many times.

"There were self-worth issues," Ferguson explained on "GMA." "Instead of me spending money, it was me feeding my people-pleaser addictions."

Doing the documentary on OWN gave Ferguson access to stars from "The Oprah Winfrey Show" such as financial expert Suze Orman and life expert Dr. Phil, neither of whom treated the duchess with royal gloves.

"I see him as a big gentle giant," Ferguson said of Dr. Phil. "But you have to be careful because at any moment he'll say, 'Sarah, is that really what want?'"

Orman, likewise, took a no-holds barred approach to working with the duchess and reigning in her free-spending ways.

"The best news is that I'm now debt free," Ferguson of the happy ending to her year-long struggle to regain her footing, with OWN cameras in tow.

"Moving forward, it's positive," she said. "This time when I start again, it [debt] won't slip through. I have the tools."

Next up for Ferguson: more projects, with more royal secrets to share.

The duchess has created a hard-copy documentary of her OWN documentary in the form of her latest book, "Finding Sarah: A Duchess's Journey to Find Herself," to be released June 28.

The book includes her personal diaries and emails from the last year as she struggled to rebuild her life.

"Can you imagine seeing how I got through it, how I survived Dr. Phil?" Ferguson said of the book's personal and emotional contents.

The duchess also has her latest series of children's books, the "Helping Hand Books" series, in bookstores now.

The books, with titles such as "Matthew and the Bullies," "Emily's First Day of School," "Ashley Learns About Strangers" and "Michael and His New Baby Brother," include tips and resources for parents too.

And it's just those kinds of resources, in her case Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and Oprah, that make the duchess appreciative of the opportunity "Finding Sarah" on OWN gave her.

"How lucky am I," Ferguson said of her yearlong journey to recovery.

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