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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Naomi Judd
Aired January 8, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "NAOMI'S NEW MORNING," COURTESY THE HALLMARK CHANNEL)
NAOMI JUDD: I'm Naomi Judd and it's a brand new morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Naomi Judd, a superstar, super mom, super woman. She overcame domestic violence, panic attacks and a life-threatening disease to raise two mega star daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd.
Now she's here to tell us how you can live life to the fullest and add 15 years to your life.
Naomi Judd for the hour is next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
It is a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, always great to see her, a return visit with Naomi Judd, the Grammy award winning country music singer and "New York Times" best-selling author, host of "Naomi's New Morning" on the Hallmark Channel. And her new book is "Naomi's Guide To Aging Gratefully." There you see its cover.
She's the mother of actress Ashley Judd and country singing star Wynonna Judd.
First of all, congratulations are in order for a prestigious award that your show, "Naomi's New Morning" helped the Hallmark Channel win. The Parents Television Council's Integrity In Television Award. The Council president singled out your show as one of the reasons the award was given to the Hallmark Channel. That show airs every Sunday.
You must be pretty proud.
JUDD: Cheers! See, I think the word integrity, you don't hear that very often in conjunction with television.
KING: No. It's a contradiction in terms.
JUDD: Almost an oxymoron, isn't it?
KING: When did that show start? JUDD: About a year-and-a-half ago. We just got picked up for a second year. But, you know, I was eight years old when my daddy brought in a box and said honey, this is a television. And I said ooh, is it going to tell a vision?
And lo and behold, I've been pretty stinking disappointed all these years.
But, no, the PTC, do you know what it is? The Parents Television Council?
KING: I've heard of it but I don't -- I'm not...
JUDD: Well, Steve Allen -- you probably knew Steve.
KING: Very well.
JUDD: I'll bet.
What a good egg he was.
KING: Yes, Steve was very involved in that.
JUDD: Well, he started it. And the bottom line is we don't like censorship, but I mean get a grip on it, folks. Between 6:00 and 9:30 on network TV, during the family hour -- wink, wink -- they've just got such salacious stuff these days.
So when I get -- when something isn't right with me, I'm sort of a justice fighter, a culture warrior, if you will. And I like what Confucius said, you don't curse the darkness, you just light one candle.
So I raised my hand and said count me in, boys. I'm joining up. So...
KING: What happens on "Naomi's New Morning?" What kind of show is it?
JUDD: You know, you and I are so much alike. We have an insatiable curiosity and we love people's stories. I think really that's what connects us.
So I decided -- it's a show about ordinary people to whom something very extraordinary happens. That's what I do is I put people...
KING: Where do you do the show, Nashville?
JUDD: No, they built me a studio up in New York City. So I go up there for one week out of every month. But it's on Sunday morning.
KING: Let's get to the book, "Naomi's Guide To Aging Gratefully."
Why not Gracefully? JUDD: Because that's predictable. I'm not very predictable. Look at you with your purple shirt on.
KING: Don't rile me. Don't.
JUDD: That's one of my jobs. That's why you and I like each other.
KING: Why did you pick gratefully?
JUDD: Gratitude is a huge part of being able to age gracefully and it's really a way to flip the fact that all we get right now are the negative stereotypes about aging. And I'm a realist. I wanted to use my R.N. background, because I've been researching the topic with the latest cutting edge science and all this, the aging process, for 15 years now.
So I wanted to use my R.N. background. I certainly wanted to use my rare celebrity factor in there. They call me the anti-celebrity, which I love. Nowadays they're calling me the face of the baby boomers, which really makes me smile, because I'm proud to be their champion.
KING: So what inspired this book?
JUDD: The fact that I'm 60.
KING: In fact...
JUDD: Hey, hey...
KING: ... the magazine "Gram" named you one of the top 10 sexiest grandparents in the world. And you call yourself sexty-one years old.
KING: So that inspired you to do what here?
JUDD: Well, I want to expose -- because, like I said, any time something isn't right, my natural personality is to be a spokesman for average folks, standard issue folks, the folks that shop at Walgreen's and Wal-Mart, like me.
And I'm just so fed up with the preoccupation with youth and beauty and these cosmetically enhanced, perfectly surgically sculpted little skinny people running around out there. And so I call it facts because I give you all the -- all the great scientific and medical research on this, using my R.N. background. And I've gotten to hang out with some people that have pretty big prefrontal lobes and geniuses in a certain way.
KING: Why are we so cruel about aging? Why is everything about the young? Why are the aged invisible, in a sense? JUDD: They are invisible.
KING: Eighteen to 49, that's the only thing that counts.
JUDD: Exactly. That is so wrong, though, because there are 78 million of us. We're the largest demographic in the history of humankind, the largest single demographic ever. We own the marketplace. We have the deepest pockets and the U.S. government just said that we basically own the workplace because we control 75 percent -- three fourths of the population controls the country's wealth.
KING: So what are you -- are you guiding people into aging, how to age? Are you telling people what to do when they're 60? What is the book doing?
JUDD: The bottom line is I'm a guide through the journey. I'll use whatever I figured out because you guys have allowed me this awesome -- and I take it so responsibly -- this blessing to be mobile, to travel so extensively, to hang out with this encyclopedic range of folks who are brilliant in their fields and to look in all the nooks and crannies, because I travel all across America.
I do a lot of speaking engagements about the topics I'm passionate about. So I want to kind of use it on myself, this -- you know me, I'm not going to tell you anything. I'm not going to tell Shawn anything that I haven't figured out and personally gone through.
And being a baby boomer, having this rare perspective of being in the most vain of all professions, the entertainment world, I want to say OK, here's what the facts are, I got it from the horse's mouth, watched a lot of boring slide shows, placebo based, double-blind clinical trials of the experts.
And, also, anecdotes from my girlfriends who are in the business. And then hearing everybody come up to me out on life's highway saying we're fed up.
KING: Coming up, the aging issues our kids will face because of today's crop of young Hollywood stars.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "NAOMI'S NEW MORNING," COURTESY THE HALLMARK CHANNEL)
JUDD: And he told me congratulations on having my show. And as a mother, that means the world because, you know, kids tend to take their parents for granted. And I think you think that I am some sort of super woman.
I love you, Wynonna.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDD: (SINGING) I know why I'm singing, don't you want to sing too? Can't you hear the bells a ringing? Let the spirit move you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Naomi Judd, author of "Naomi's Guide To Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths & Good News For Boomers."
You say perception is everything.
KING: How do you change the perception of yourself?
JUDD: Ooh, I love your questions.
The first thing you do is you get quiet and you get still. And I figured out probably 20 years ago to start my morning with solitude, before -- because the world is screaming. In fact, I think we have collective ADHD out there. We have a collective culture of folks with ADHD. They're just hyper and they -- they have no idea who they are.
So I start my morning -- I get real quiet and I get my emotional allowance for the day. I figure out my read, so that I'm centered no matter what craziness hits me, like the tsunami way.
And then I started asking myself, sort of looking in the metaphorical mirror of truth, what are my own perceptions about it?
My mom -- hi, mommy -- is in National Kentucky -- my little hometown in Appalachia right now -- riding around in a canary yellow BMW convertible with the top down. The license plate says "giddy-up" and she's into Aretha Franklin's greatest hits.
So, what are your perceptions?
The first question to ask yourself -- you should become a detective.
And then how much media are you ingesting?
Right now Americans devour eight-and-a-half hours of media a day.
KING: And in that media, seven-and-a-half of it is spent on Britney Spears and the like.
KING: Are we overdoing -- or what can you do about this incredible emphasis on youth?
JUDD: Well, you and Shawn have two boys. But this is the deal. Not only are older folks invisible, but we are completely preoccupied with these gals who are behaving badly. And the sad part -- well, you know what? In psychology they call operant behavior? OK. This is pretty cool. You give a chick a little kernel of corn and train her to turn to the left. She's going to keep doing that. I don't believe these girls -- I wonder where their folks are in all this. Obviously not giving them a sense of self- responsibility, accountability...
KING: And how are they going to grow up?
JUDD: Yes, well...
KING: What are they going to be like?
JUDD: Yes. I think they're doomed, frankly, right now.
JUDD: Because if Lindsay Lohan goes out like she just did and flashes crotchless at the paparazzi at the Kids Choice Awards, she gets rewarded. She gets a kernel of corn because she gets the spotlight and attention. We all need the spotlight. We all need attention to be acknowledged, paid attention to and loved.
But -- and let alone Nicole Richie, god love her, going the wrong way on the freeway at midnight on drugs. She's got a heroin history. Right now she's anorexic. I spent time with anorexic and bulimic girls at Shades of Hope. And this is a life-threatening disease.
KING: What do you think of this whole plastic surgery, cosmetic fillers, erasing lines, good or bad? Botox?
JUDD: I would never do botox because then I couldn't do this to Wynonna and Ashley. Come on, boy!
KING: We are -- all of this is an anti-aging craze.
JUDD: Well, wait. Let's back up.
KING: All of it is.
JUDD: I've had a facelift. And that's -- I probably wouldn't have done it if I was still Naomi Judd, R.N. But I think it's OK if you really are defined from within first and you have a really strong self-concept. These girls who are doing all this pathological behavior, all the bad girls, what we need to do for them -- because they're very troubled -- and if -- if we feel any kind of love, because I think, unfortunately, we have a very loveless society right now, we would step back and -- it's like I said, just do one thing.
We can use our purse power and not buy all the products that they endorse or the publications that they're on so that maybe they'll start their healing journey. But, also, we can start acknowledging the good stuff that's out there.
But that's what the book does. I'm a bullhorn to expose the negative stereotypes. Because you know and I know what good care you take of yourself. But people are dying seven-and-a-half years younger than they should, seven-and-a-half years earlier, because they're buying into all this negative stereotype and they're programming their bodies to die early.
KING: You talk about brain plasticity, the fact that our brains are better than our grandparents' brains.
Do you know that for sure?
JUDD: I absolutely do.
KING: I mean they know more, but are they -- they're better brains?
JUDD: Oh, yes. We're in a completely -- we're in a much more stimulating environment than my mom was. I mean, god bless her, she was a stay at home mom. But now that we actually use all the different, you know, temporal, frontal, upper cerebral cortex in our brains, that we have developed more dense neural nets. And you actually continue to develop nerve cells as you age.
But if you -- and this is what the book points out. It's got all the latest scientific data, but it's also got anecdotes and real stories in it. If you will continue -- and I give you the exercises -- to stimulate your brain, then you develop the hippocampus, which is memory and learning. And that's why you don't get dementia, Alzheimer's and all of that.
We're living 15 years longer if we'll understand we've got to get away from all this negative stereotyping and prejudices.
KING: When we come back, more on how to age gratefully.
Naomi will catch us up on how her two daughters are doing, the full Judd family report.
And we're going to give you a quiz. You can take it home and see how you're doing.
That's when LARRY KING LIVE continues.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDD: (SINGING)... the middle of your care and waiting to follow you (ph).
The future isn't what it used to be.
I'll be a man, because I am wearing a pointed hat.
Love is alive and it's made a happy woman out of me. Oh, love is alive.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUDD: (SINGING) And this chance to be loved, it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You can do anything if you keep believing (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: (SINGING) Between your heart and mine (ph).
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Naomi Judd.
The book is "Naomi's Guide To Aging Gratefully."
How do you know if you're aging gracefully or gratefully? Isn't it really in the eye of the beholder?
JUDD: I can tell you I'm the happiest that I've ever been. I have no aches and pains. And it's really about perspective. I'm aware and grateful for the gifts of perspective. I was hanging out with Oprah and Diane Sawyer last month. We were doing that Martin Luther King Foundation thing. Wynonna and I sang. And I was telling Diane that we're the same age. In fact, there's a whole slew of us that are also 60.
And I told her that she's one of my role models because she's so elegant. She takes care of her spirit and her mind and her body. But I really feel if we can start being defined from within instead of by that crazy, ever changing culture out there that just wants us to be convinced that we're wrong, that we're not right, so they'll buy -- we'll buy their products.
KING: We're going to do a quiz. You include this little quiz in the first chapter of the book, that says you can help determine if a person is aging gracefully or not. You have three choices.
When someone starts talking about the latest hot 24-year-old TV star, A, I can get an exact time line on all her major hookups and break-ups; B, I might have an opinion on her new beau, hairstyle or project; C, I could care less.
JUDD: What would you say?
KING: Oh, me, C.
Are you kidding me?
JUDD: That was a rhetorical statement.
Yes, what we have to do is realize that we're hard-wired for human inaction. We are literally -- our emotional architecture is that we have to have -- we crave human connection. And right now, the latest research says that Americans say they're more lonely and isolated than ever before in history.
So if we're not getting it with our -- with Chase and Canon and Shawn and...
JUDD: Chance, I mean -- and our friends, we're going to be getting it through the Internet and the media. And the people tell me, they literally say that they know more about the Judds than they do their own family.
KING: We'll get to that in a while.
When I'm sick...
KING: Question two.
When I'm sick, A, I usually take care of myself, I'm very independent, don't believe in bothering others, especially when I'm unwell; B, I recruit my husband or close friends to bring me soup and romantic comedies; C, I pop some Vitamin C and get on with my day -- sick is as sick does.
My answer is A, because I really get sick, but when I do, I don't want anybody around. That's kind of weird, but leave me alone.
JUDD: Well, as close as you and your wife are, though, isn't there some empathy and some inaction going on there?
KING: It's nice, but I generally like to -- I haven't been sick in so long. But when I'm sick, I want to just get under the covers, have a book and dwell in my own misery.
JUDD: And I used to be C. I would just -- because I came out of that Appalachian work ethic that just -- you just put on a brave face and you just do it.
But you know what?
We really need to honor ourselves. We really need to say uh-oh. And I believe in taking well days so you don't have sickness days. And in the book, I talk about the importance of -- for instance, one of the things -- and I'm just A, B, C, D, I talk about real easy, practical, everyday stuff -- one of the things that you can start doing now is to walk three times a day for 30 minutes. You'll add three years to your life. And it's never too late.
KING: Yes, I walk every day like that.
JUDD: I know you do.
KING: One more question.
When I think of my own death, A, I have it all mapped out from my will to my do not resuscitate orders to the bible readings of my funeral; B, I am terrified; C, I don't think much about death, I think about today. I'm B. I'm scared.
JUDD: I know you are.
KING: Because I don't know -- I don't know anything about what's happening...
JUDD: I know.
KING: So I'd rather be around.
JUDD: I know.
And that's one of the reasons I love you is that you, after being in this business and doing all these interviews for 50 years, you're still so vulnerable and you're still -- you have an open mind, not so much the brain -- that your brains fall out, but you're still very open-minded. And you have asked me on the street one day -- I'll never forget it, in front of the Peninsula Hotel, you literally came over and you said, "Nay, why are you so darned happy? What's your secret?"
And I told you? You forgot.
KING: No, you -- you believe.
JUDD: I believe, yes.
KING: I know.
JUDD: I believe. I -- I'm a believer. Now...
KING: Well, that's...
JUDD: ... that makes all the difference in the world.
KING: That helps you.
JUDD: Yes. Yes. And one time I interviewed you and I asked you what would be the first question you would ask god.
Do you remember what you said?
KING: Did you have a son?
JUDD: Yes. I thought that was the greatest answer ever. Or a daughter.
KING: Of course you could show the world into chaos, depending on the answer. I mean...
JUDD: That's the next show.
KING: It could affect a lot of...
JUDD: OK. Getting back to that question, I think that you have to acknowledge that death is inevitable. I've given -- I've been there to help most -- I've caught babies as a midwife. I've also had the exquisite privilege of being with people when they made the passage. So I've been at both ends of the spectrum.
And I can tell you that you should start thinking about your passing just like you're planning a wedding or getting ready for Christmas. You absolutely need to do that.
KING: All right...
JUDD: Death is our last taboo. You tell me, why is it that -- we talk about stuff we shouldn't talk about...
KING: Because it's the unknown.
JUDD: But you can sort of start wrapping your mind around it and it really helps you live better.
KING: When we come back, all three of them are big stars.
So how does that affect the way Naomi, Wynonna and Ashley Judd celebrated the holidays?
Naomi gives us some surprising holiday details. And we'll talk about how the kids are doing, when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THE JUDDS: Well, good night. The lord's coming. Good night, the lord's coming. Good night, the lord's coming, knocking at the door, the door flew open and the love comes streaming down.
Lord, down. Lord, down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with the acclaimed Naomi Judd, one of my favorite people, the Grammy Award-winning country music star, author of "Naomi's Guide to Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths and Good News for Boomers."
Can't go an hour without talking about the kids. How is Wynonna doing?
JUDD: Miss Sprungoffs (ph) is so out and about right now. She's very popular. She had a fabulous Christmas album.
KING: How is she doing with the weight? The emotional -- she was telling us about it.
JUDD: Yes. The other night we were sitting at the kitchen table and she said, "Mommy, I'm not where I want to be. But I sure am better than I was."
And it's her core issue. And one of the things that I think she's starting to really wrap her mind around is it's all emotion. It's all emotion. I don't care how smart you are. There's a great book by Daniel Goldman, one of the most powerful books I ever read called "Emotional Intelligence". And it's about how our emotions drive our behavior. You know, you have to realize that...
KING: It does.
JUDD: I mean, and all addiction is about easing the pain of living. So she's still struggling with some core issues and she knows that I'm her biggest supporter.
KING: And how is our dear Ashley doing? She revealed that she did a 47-day stint at the same Texas facility in February after a family visit with Wynonna. How is Ashley doing?
JUDD: She's definitely on a healing journey. You know...
KING: She has depression?
JUDD: Yes. And all three of us are just so willing -- it's kind of like all three of us know that there's nothing different or special about us. We just -- we're very passionate girls. We -- we love each other but something -- we can go from nothing to something just like that so we kind of scare people.
KING: It boggles peoples' mind that people with such terrific talent -- and Ashley is a terrific actress and Wynonna -- have problems.
JUDD: Lord have mercy, come spend a day in our house. It's weird. We all share this valley. We have these pristine thousand acres of wilderness but we've all got ave separate residences. We call it Peaceful Valley.
KING: Anything but, right? What did you do for the holidays?
JUDD: Well, this is really kind of a snapshot of how typical we are. Saturday I always take Elijah (ph), Grace (ph) and the grandkids. And I'm big on rituals, traditions. We do ceramics that we give to family members, create their own gifts. Went to Wyatt's (ph) house and we all cooked and did the bent-over double belly laugh.
And then Sunday we ate, went to our church service. Of course, it's Christmas. And then -- this is so neat -- we all showed up with these goodies, things that we'd made, for the little rescue squad out in Leaper's Ford (ph). It was like the Three Wise Men showing up at the midnight hour for these guys just to say, "We want to honor you because we know if anything happened to us living out in the wilderness..." And then Christmas, they came -- all came over to mom's house and Wynonna was in her bathrobe. I don't think Ashley brushed her hair but we just sat in the nit kitchen and made cheeseburgers. And Ashley had heard me say on my show that -- and you take your mom for granted -- but I wouldn't own a diamond. I've never had jewels. I'm not into designer clothes or materialism. And she gave me an oak tree -- not that I don't have enough trees but I needed one in a specific place, my beloved front porch. So Ashley gave me an oak tree and Wynonna gave me a family Bible.
KING: You can say, "Do as I say, not as I do." And you write great books and you advise people. Do you have a problem, though, raising kids?
JUDD: Yes. They're the biggest contributors to my emotional repertoire. They're my greatest teachers on the one hand...
KING: And greatest pain?
JUDD: Absolutely, the agony and ecstasy. And when they're in pain, I just -- it's just intolerable for me...
KING: Yes. Me, too.
JUDD: Yes. Yes. I know how much you love your two boys. You would jump in front the of a truck for them, wouldn't you?
KING: The older ones, too.
But, yes, it would kill me if something happened. Yes, I get it.
JUDD: And when you know what you know -- and the biggest thing I've learned -- Thank you, Ted Clauns (ph), our therapist who's taught me -- he actually said the first time I met him and started working with him two years ago to improve our relationships, he said, "Girl, I've been doing this 30 years or whatever." He said, "I've never seen a mother who loved and cared more about the well-being of her children than you. But your technique sucks."
So it's really about understanding that you can have videotape, you can have witnesses to something to bolster your case -- you got to understand and think like them.
KING: Do you ever blame yourself for anything wrong with them?
JUDD: I went through that.
JUDD: Yes. And I would be willing to bet my farm every mother does. But you reach a point where you understand I did absolutely the best I could with what I knew and the way I was raised and with what I had. We were penniless, a week away from the streets every paycheck. And just to keep them safe and literally shoes -- I remember there were times that their toes would poke out of their old shoes. It was so hard and I had no emotional skills. And they will never know that and that's OK. They will never understand because they were both born rich and famous.
KING: Just ahead, genetic destiny: how it affects the way we age. Are we all slaves to heredity? Can we overcome it? That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDD: Some many years when I was a screamer -- because I was this neurotic mom on the edge trying to just keep a jar of peanut butter on the table for us, I screamed at you all. And you told me one day that that -- that I changed when you explained to me that when I screamed -- do you remember what you said when I screamed? It scares you because I was all you had.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went through it with my daughter. So paybacks are hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are back with Naomi Judd. "Naomi's Guide to Aging Gratefully" is her newest book. It's a guaranteed best seller. All of her books have been. OK, how much is the way we are raised and how much is what we inherited?
JUDD: What do you think?
KING: I don't know. It's an ageless -- it's the most-asked question by scientists, chemists, psychologists and others.
KING: That's right. Is it what we were given or is it what we've been applied learning?
JUDD: Well, I believe in going to the top. So a dear friend of mine is Dr. Francis Collins. He's had to have been on your show.
KING: I don't think so.
JUDD: He was on the cover of "Time" magazine. He decoded the human genome sequence.
KING: Unfortunately, we didn't get him.
JUDD: It's 30 percent genetics responsible for longevity for how long we live. That's astonishing. That means, that's the good news. The book is called the facts and myth and the good news. The good news is that we're 70 percent in charge of our daily choices.
So for instance, we know that if you will start eliminating the negative stereotypes from the media -- again, they are just trying to make you feel bad about yourself, subliminally so that you will buy their products. If you eliminate all these negative stereotypes, because we're spending eight and a half hours today becoming what we see, you're going to live seven and a half years longer.
How you feel about aging, this is a geneticist taught me this -- how you feel about yourself, your self-image and aging is more important to how long you live than smoking, cholesterol, weight, the amount of exercise.
KING: And also, improvements in the whole medical concept. We have pharmaceutical -- my father died at 47 of a heart attack. I had an heart attack. I've outlived him 27 years because I have medications he did not have access to.
JUDD: You were nine.
JUDD: When your daddy died. And you still think about him every day, don't you?
KING: Every day.
JUDD: What was weird for me was when you told me that C. Everett Coop was on your show, when he was surgeon general and he's the one that said...
KING: ... You don't look good.
JUDD: Yes. I think it was 24 hours later you had quintuple bypass. Nothing is a coincidence. There's a coincidence -- it's no coincidence I'm sitting right here that I decided very organically that I had to do this book.
Then Colin Powell tells me -- who is one of my favorite people -- touched me and said, I want to say it exactly. I can hear his words. "A good idea will not become a reality until it has a champion." And then the head of the International Longevity Association said, and I can quote him, "We need a Martin Luther King figure to free us from the stereotyping and prejudice of aging."
Yes. We haven't had anybody to say this stuff is not only irritating, all of this preoccupation with youth and beauty, but we control 75 percent of the country's wealth. There's 78 million of us, the largest demographic in the history of the planet. The implications are staggering. We can completely cause a paradigm shift.
KING: Naomi Judd's new book is "Naomi's Guide to Aging Gracefully." We've got more to talk about and we'll do that right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I have is a very serious illness and I was going to retire. I've got to quit. But I kind of had my day in the sun, and I'm going to take some time in the shade.
JUDD: We will be touring for the life of the album and it will give mom a chance to retire as heavyweight champion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You also write about some of the joys of inactivity. One of the chapter titles is "Don't Just Do Something: Sit There." What's the joy of inactivity?
JUDD: Boy, I wouldn't have known 20 years ago, but when I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1990, I'm pinned and I can't get out of bed, I can't brush my teeth or change my nightgown. I was a sick puppy for a long time.
I had to do emotional house cleaning, which means you figure out what doesn't work for you and you start shedding. Like I got rid of energy vampires, people that were sucking all of my life force. Now I just send them a Christmas card. I had to get over the disease to please. Repeat after me, gals, no. It's a wonderful world and it's also a complete sentence.
KING: It's also the hardest word in the English language to say.
JUDD: Not for me anymore. And I'm trying to teach it to Wynonna and Ashley. I had to figure out that -- I'm now a recovering perfectionist. I would be straightening this -- I'm a recovering perfectionist because I had this need to fix things and make things right.
And what I learned is that I'm in charge of myself and I'm the biggest project I will ever have. Wynonna and I were sitting around the other night -- I'm telling on her. We love these quizzes. And all of my friends -- or a lot of my friends. Yes, I still hang out with Dolly Parton and all that.
A lot of my friends now are neuroscientists, psychologists. And I have all their books and we were doing this quiz and it said, what do you do if you have spare time? I will ask you, what do you do?
KING: When I what?
JUDD: When you have spare time.
KING: I read.
JUDD: Ashley said, "Well, I like to go over the scripts that have been pitched to me. I like to do my research on youth AIDS."
And I said, "Well, I like to read. I'm always endorsing friends' books."
And Wynonna just sort of, "Huh, when I have spare time I like to waste it."
Right answer. KING: Yes. That's a great answer.
JUDD: Americans have more leisure time but they're completely dissatisfied with their life because they don't know...
KING: We have to do something.
JUDD: We have to understand -- I'm shedding now. I've learned it's not about accumulating. It's really about getting rid of. It's like what Michelangelo answered when they asked him how in the world he created this magnificent sculpture of David, "I cut away everything that wasn't David."
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Naomi Judd right after this.
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JUDD: Now they're telling me I have to get a teleprompter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Up next...
JUDD: Is it over?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE No, no. Honey, it ain't even getting started. So call a friend. Tell Oprah.
JUDD: that is so attractive when you do that. That's so feminine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
JUDD: Why don't you read it to me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't you make me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our remaining moments with the delightful Naomi Judd. Her new book, "Naomi's Guide to Aging Gratefully." Are there things that you should do you don't do? Things you tell me to do that you don't do? Well, what's the hardest part of this for you?
JUDD: I suppose making absolutely sure that every day I have time for myself because it's just implicit in my character to want to help and fix others. I was doing an interview with the "L.A. Times" before I came here. And my hairdresser, Maxine (ph) -- I'll go ahead and say your name -- is going through some real stuff. And I literally delayed the interview so that I could be with her because I'm a one-on-one person and I try to be very authentic. And I call it the exquisite reality. I will stop whatever I'm doing if somebody needs me in that moment. And...
KING: You believe in positive thinking? Do you believe you can think your way out of bad health?
JUDD: You want to see my medical records? Open them up. I actually did that on Capitol Hill with Dr. Bill Frist and a whole bunch of doctors from all over the world where they're -- I'm a medically documented miracle.
Yes. We know for a fact that people who have a positive attitude about aging, your belief becomes your biology. You can't...
JUDD: Yes. One of the things I do want to talk about is this anti-aging craze. Don't fall for it. Don't believe it. You can't reverse aging. Any scientist will tell you that. You cannot reverse aging.
What can you do -- and I'm very practical about this. I have all the latest research. What you can do is you can delay cellular decay in your DNA. And you can start doing that immediately by flipping a switch in your brain and realizing that this negative crap is -- it's really sending you to an early grave. Instead of premature disease and death, you can literally delay cardiac, diabetes, Alzheimer's, all of this whole panoply...
KING: Through your mind?
KING: Are you always up?
JUDD: Always up. The thing that gets me down -- and I have to allow myself to do that because anger and sadness are both appropriate emotions. It was Aristotle who said "To be angry at the right time, at the right person in the right way is absolutely healthy and appropriate. And that's an art."
The thing that upsets me and gets to me is when -- other when Wynonna and Ashley are not balanced or healthy or happy or whole.
KING: Does your belief hurt a lot when bad things happen to good people?
JUDD: I'm getting better about that. But one reason I'm involved in causes is that's how I get rid of -- I remember the first time, because I used to be head nurse in ICU, I remember when I had to go out and tell parents that their child had been killed. That wrecked me. And I said, "OK, I became a spokesperson for MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. So if you just -- and that's why I joined PTC, because if I get really dismayed and just -- it's so irrelevant, the stuff that we see with lascivious immorality and stuff, programs like "Nip & Tuck" and I won't go into it all, but all those shows and these people who are rewarded so -- celebrities that are rewarded for bad behavior. Don't get me started. I'm the anti- celebrity.
KING: You're a great broad, Naomi.
JUDD: Hey, let's live to be 120.
KING: I'll take it.
And someone said, "Would you want to live forever?"
I said yes.
"But all of your friends will be gone."
"I'll make new ones."
JUDD: Yes. And you can hang out with your sons.
KING: I can meet new people. "Naomi's Guide to Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths and Good News for Boomers."
Before we go, remember tomorrow night, Keifer Sutherland and the entire cast of the smash hit show "24" will take you inside the CTU to show how they keep millions glued to their sets. That's tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern on LARRY KING LIVE, Keifer Sutherland and the cast of "24".
Next on CNN, Anderson Cooper, an "AC 360" with Oprah Winfrey in South Africa starting right now.
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