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True Confessions: Lance Armstrong, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Phillips, Angelina Jolie, Tiger Woods; Women Writes Show about Maintaining Virginity in NYC; Former Executioner Tells All;

Aired August 29, 2013 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Tonight on the "SHOWBIZ Countdown," the top 5 "Biggest Celebrity Confessions" ever.


OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: Yes or no? Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?



HAMMER: From Lance Armstrong`s doping drama to Tiger Woods`s mistress mayhem. Star stunners are vying for No. 1. But which confession will grab the top 5?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to tell you the truth now. Are you ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am. But I didn`t...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did it one time and...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what? I have to say something about your manners. Now is not the time.


HAMMER: "Confessions of a Real Housewife." The drama we see on reality TV, it doesn`t even begin to capture the real story behind the scenes. Tonight, former "Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord blows the lid off the show. Sex, money and what happens when the cameras aren`t rolling.

A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special, "True Confessions" start right now.

Hello and thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight it is a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions." We are counting down our top 5 "Biggest Star Confessions" of all time. Let`s get to it.

No. 5, it`s Lance Armstrong. The seven-time Tour de France winner confessing, after years of denial, lies and tough talk, that yes, he was doping after all. He gave the long overdue confession on Oprah Winfrey`s OWN network back in January of 2013 after multiple former teammates implicated him and he was stripped of his Tour de France title. Still, Lance finally decided it was time to come clean and confess to Oprah.


WINFREY: In all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping? Seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


HAMMER: Well, forget that, by the time he did that interview, pretty much the entire world had already came out to say that he had doped. But it`s never too late to confess, right?

Let us talk confessions. Sheryl Lee Ralph joining me from Hollywood tonight. Of course, you can see her in the excellent Showtime drama, "Ray Donovan."

Here in New York, you know her from the "Real Housewives of New York City." Alex McCord is with us. She`s a correspondent for The Stir. So great to have you both here.

Sheryl, I`m beginning with you. When you saw Lance`s confession -- finally, he was telling all to Oprah -- what went through your mind?

SHERYL LEE RALPH, ACTRESS: Listen, at his very, very worst, he lied to us. He lied to himself and that was very disappointing. But what he did for millions people was he gave them incredible hope in their fight against cancer.

And if he gave my father one extra week of life during his fight with cancer, he was all right with me. I`m just so sorry that it had to be all built around so many lies.


RALPH: But the confession was good.

HAMMER: It really was such -- such a shame. Such a shame. I mean, Alex, I remember when he finally came through with that confession and one of the things that really made it so shocking, even though we had already suspected what was going on, was the fact that we did not want to believe it.


And he had already sued a London newspaper and won when they accused him of doping, and that just made my skin crawl. Because, you know, he covered up and covered up and covered up until he couldn`t do it anymore. And that doesn`t take away the good things that he did for cancer research, but the lying puts a pall on all of it.

HAMMER: Well, among, of course, as Sheryl referred to, that was so sad about Lance`s confession, is the fact that it did overshadowed all that good work that he had done for charity. As a cancer survivor, he had his Livestrong Foundation. They`ve raised $500 million to fight cancer. Of course, he had to leave it after this all broke out.

So Sheryl, here`s our countdown question: Sad as it may be, what do you think Lance Armstrong is better known for now, his cheating or his cancer charity?

RALPH: Oh, my God. That`s going to be hard. That`s going to be a hard one. We all remember the cheating, but a lot of us will never forget the hope that he gave millions in their fight against cancer. People ran. They walked. They talked. They cycled. They banded together against cancer because of this man. But the pall of the lying we will never forget.

HAMMER: Yes. Sadly, the lying, unfortunately will be, I believe, what his legacy will end up being in the end.

But next on our "SHOWBIZ Countdown," a true confession that really marked the "Twilight" of a famous Hollywood romance. Our No. 4 confession, Kristen Stewart says, "Yes, I fooled around on Robert Pattinson."


HAMMER (voice-over): Kristen Stewart`s cheating confession to Robert Pattinson was even more dramatically than anything we ever saw on "Twilight."

In July of 2012, Stewart publically confessed to cheating on Pattinson, her real-life boyfriend at the time, with married director Rupert Sanders. A confession that showed her fans that love, unlike in fairytales, can be ugly.

But not as ugly as SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s No. 3 confession. Actress Mackenzie Phillips, confessing an incestuous relationship with her father, famous musician John Phillips.

MACKENZIE PHILLIPS, ACTRESS: I began waking up, after drug-fueled events, with my pants around my ankles.

HAMMER: In September 2009 Mackenzie told Oprah her father started raping her when she was a teenager, easily one of the more disturbing confessions ever.


HAMMER: Yes, so crazy. I will never forget how stunned we all were when Mackenzie Phillips confessed to that ten-year incestuous relationship with her father.

Alex, you know, you hear that, and I think we all believe confessions don`t get much more disturbing than that at all, do they?

MCCORD: That was horrifying and so saddening. And it started with her also admitting that she was doing drugs with her parents at age -- at the age of ten. And it`s a slippery slope. One doesn`t always lead to the other, but it began with the rape. I think there was probably some Stockholm Syndrome going on, where she began to fall in love and think to herself that it was consensual.

My take is thank goodness it stopped. It might have taken a pregnancy for her to wake up, but at least the cycle was broken and now she`s talking about it.

HAMMER: And it was so controversial at the time she made these confessions, because Mackenzie`s dad, John Phillips, had been dead for eight years at the point that she made that shocking confession. And a lot of people, including some members of Mackenzie`s own family, actually slammed her for going public with her claims.

Sheryl, take this countdown question: Should Mackenzie Phillips have kept her incest claims private?

RALPH: Listen, crack will make you do and say some crazy things. She had about doing drugs for a very long time. We have no idea what was real or fake or didn`t happen at all with her.

But, for her to confess and come out and say, "Something really awful happened to me," it was good for her. But did it hurt a lot of people, including her? Yes it did. Including the dead memory of her daddy.

HAMMER: Alex, I would have to believe, though, if it was all real, it had to have been incredibly cathartic for her.


MCCORD: I think that getting it off her chest is probably another step in her healing process. And I hope that she`s got some people around her to back her up.

HAMMER: Yes, she definitely does have some strong family members on her side.

Well, our "SHOWBIZ Countdown" is now down to our top 2 confessions ever. No. 2 is a totally different kind of confession.

Now this star wasn`t admitting to anything scandalous, unlike the other confessions, including our No. 1 on the countdown, by the way, but this confession was courageous. It was selfless and potentially life-saving.

Our No. 2 confession, Angelina Jolie`s personal health announcement.


HAMMER (voice-over): This is the one confession that may have helped save lives. In May of 2013, Angelina Jolie confessed in a "New York Times" op- ed that she carried the gene that increases her risk of developing cancer and that she`d had a preventive double mastectomy.

Doctors worldwide welcomed the attention Angelina brought to the cancer gene testing. Even Angelina`s partner, Brad Pitt, was impressed and proud.

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: I was surprised how -- what a tipping point it became.

HAMMER: And that brings us to our No. 1 confession.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated.

HAMMER: Tiger Woods confessing to multiple affairs with multiple women.

WOODS: I have let you down personally and professionally.

HAMMER: After this confession, Tiger went from a married golfing icon to a divorced dad who`s a pretty good golfer.


HAMMER: Yes, how can that possibly not top the countdown tonight? Tiger Woods`s cheating confession is our No. 1, so Sheryl, here we are all these years later, but I imagine the shock of Tiger Woods, our once beloved golfing icon, sleeping with just about everyone still has got to make you shake your head.

RALPH: Oh, my goodness. SMH. Look at this man: He is an incredible world-class athlete with an ego that is bigger than the universe. And a lot of these men have their ego attached to different parts of their anatomy, but this is no big confession.

The confession is that his wife kicked his "A-double-dollar sign." She kicked his butt; his bank account, too. That`s the confession.

HAMMER: Alex, though, remember when this story first broke? It was certainly one of those, "Huh? This can`t be possible" kind of a deal. And I think that`s why it is so shocking and very well-suited for our No. 1 spot.

MCCORD: Oh, yes. It`s -- it became another day, another porn star. Another woman.

You know, the question is, is he going to confess that he`s a sex addict. And if so, he needs to stay single and get treatment and stop sleeping with people. He needs to concentrate on his golf game and not what`s between his legs.

HAMMER: People often wonder if he shouldn`t have even opened up his mouth. Sheryl, I`m throwing our No. 1 countdown question at you tonight: Should Tiger Woods have not confessed publically at all?

RALPH: Listen, if he didn`t confess, his wife was going to tell you something. You saw what the car looked like after she took those golf clubs and beat that car up as she was beating him. We were all going to know something sooner or later. So you are right, Tiger, I`m glad you told us.

HAMMER: Allegedly on all those counts, Sheryl Lee. I`m here to protect you tonight.

All right. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Alex, thank you both so much.

RALPH: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: Hey, I`m doing everybody`s job.

All right. We`ve got "True Confessions" now from the woman who had no sex in the city.


NISCHELLE TURNER, HLN CORRESPONDENT: So, I`m going to be a little nosy here, but bear with me and tell me, because you kind of put it all out there, are you still a virgin?


HAMMER: Tonight, the 27-year-old woman virgin who kept her virginity while dating in New York City. Who knew that was possible? She`s right here tonight to reveal about how she did it and if she`s still hanging onto her vow of super chastity.

Confessions of a teen pop star. Leif Garrett, an absolute sensation back in the 1970s, he had tons of screaming fans and the world at his fingertips. But he also hit some pretty big rough patches. So, what are his secrets behind the ups and downs of that big life as a major pop star? Leif is right here tonight. He will reveal his "True Confessions."

You`re watching a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a virgin?

STEVE CARRELL, ACTOR: You are hilarious. Mmm, this is good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a virgin!


HAMMER: It`s such a funny movie. Steve Carrell, of course, in "The 40- Year-Old Virgin." And while he made that movie a cult hit, a 20-something New Yorker actually created her own show on the taboo topic.

Welcome back to the SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions," and right now, confessions of a virgin. You heard me right. Now, would you confess to being a 27-year-old virgin? And not just confess, but actually also write and perform a show about it in New York City?

Well, that is exactly what Alexis Lambright just did. "The Alexis Lambright Telethon, Combatting Adult Virginity," that is what Alexis calls her honest and hilarious show. Nischelle Turner just spoke with her and got the naked truth about this bold onstage confession.

Here`s what we wanted to do know. In a world of sexy selfies and tantalizing tweets, why did she actually want to do a comedy about being a 27-year-old virgin?


ALEXIS LAMBRIGHT, WROTE SHOW ABOUT VIRGINITY: When I realized how awkward my love life had been for so long, I thought, OK, maybe there`s some comedy in this, and I would tell my roommates and my friends the stories, and they thought it was funny, too. So, I was like, all right, let`s turn this crap into gold.

TURNER: But did people believe you? I mean, you got to be 21, 22, 23 and so on, into your 20s. When you told them you were a virgin, what did they say?

LAMBRIGHT: A lot of times people were in disbelief, which is rightfully so. But then there are people who, like especially when I was going on dates, if they found out I was a virgin, it would be one end where they would be like, "OK, I want to be the first," or there would be the people who would just kind of disappear.

TURNER: Yes. Well their loss, let me say that, first of all.

LAMBRIGHT: Right. Right.

TURNER: OK. So I`m going to be a little nosy here. Just bear with me, and tell me, because you kind of put it all out there: Are you still a virgin?

LAMBRIGHT: I am not.


LAMBRIGHT: As of recently.

TURNER: Wow, I expected you to say yes. OK. So you have no regrets about losing your virginity? Am I correct?

LAMBRIGHT: Yes, no regrets. I was -- at the point when I had written this show, I was kind of like, I need to get rid of this thing, this virginity thing. And I even called it chronic virginity, because at that point, I felt like it was pretty severe, and I needed to get laid.

TURNER: Well, there you go. You said it, so I`m going to go there. Was it OK? Was it everything you thought it would be? Are you now like, "Oh, God, why did I do that?"

LAMBRIGHT: My first time was -- I expected it to be pretty bad. And like, everyone I spoke with was like, "Oh, yes, your first time is going to be horrible." So, it definitely was. It was pretty bad.


LAMBRIGHT: It`s fine. I mean, that`s what everybody said it was going to be. So...

TURNER: All right, Alexis Lambright, thank you very much. Very, very funny.


HAMMER: I actually think that story line would be great for the next "Sex and the City" movie. Just putting it out there.

All right. Now we move on to confessions of a "Real Housewife."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me, Sonja (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night. Have a good night. Have a good night.


HAMMER: The fights, the money madness, all those sexy (UNINTELLIGIBLE). How does the drama that we see play out on "The Real Housewives" compare to the fireworks that may be happening off camera? Former "Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord is right here to tell all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was involved in numerous aggravated assaults where I shot people. I threatened people. I told them I was going to kill them and made an attempt on their life.


HAMMER: So fascinating. Confessions from a former gangsta who became a role model. It`s the secrets of thug life from a one-time gang member who`s now saving others from the brutal life of the street.

You`re watching a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve always believed that a portrait captures a person far better than a photograph. It truly takes a human being to really see a human being.


HAMMER: Sean "Diddy" Combs plays a Death Row inmate about to face his execution in the award-winning film "Monsters Ball." But just how close was this Hollywood story to reality?

Welcome back to the SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."

Right now, confessions of a former executioner. Tonight, we`ve got a man who made a career out of putting criminals to death, making chilling revelations about the past that still haunts him to this day. These are the confessions of Dr. Allen Ault, a former executioner.


DR. ALLEN AULT, FORMER EXECUTIONER: Will I be judged because I committed these executions? I think I already have. I mean, on occasion I live in hell right here on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Allen Ault oversaw five executions as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections from 1992 to 1995.

AULT: The first executions I did were in the `90s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His first two executions were in 1993. Thomas Dean Stevens and Christopher Berker (ph) were to be executed within months of each other for the same crime committed 17 years earlier. While teenagers, the two robbed and sodomized a cab driver before locking him in the trunk of his car and driving it into a pond.

AULT: I had met with these inmates previous to this time, and so I got to know them fairly well. They weren`t monsters or, you know, a lot of people think that everybody on Death Row are monsters who commit egregious crimes without a conscience.

They didn`t even have good frontal lobe development where they could make good decisions. And here they were, both of them, mature men of 34 who clearly had lots of regret about what they had done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But regret would not be enough to stop their executions.

AULT: The institutional electrician was there. And he never looked at the condemned. And he treated it, for his own sanity, as if it was some electrical exercise.

And I gave him the word to throw the switch. You could observe the jolt of electricity going through his body. And he slumped in the chair. And I still see their faces. I don`t -- I don`t remember their names, but I still see their faces. And I still, on occasion, have nightmares about them. It`s a difficult thing to deal with for people of conscience.


HAMMER: Truly haunting.

All right. We move on now to the rocky road to fame for a former teen sensation. Now, back in the 70s, Leif Garrett had fame and fortune as one of the biggest pop stars anywhere. But what was life really like back in his heyday? And after all his ups and downs, would he do it again? Well, Leif is right here to reveal his "True Confessions" of a pop star.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you not me, Sonja (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Good night. Have a good night. Have a good night.


HAMMER: Tonight, confessions of a "Real Housewife." The fights, the money, the secrets. What`s really happening when the cameras aren`t rolling? Former "Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord is telling all.

You`re watching a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."


HAMMER: Right now a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions," including secrets of a teen icon. Leif Garrett was one of the biggest pop stars on the planet back in the `70s. He had girls, money and fame. But tonight he`s revealing the dark side of teen stardom. Was the celebrity worth the price he paid?

Plus, secrets of a "Real Housewife."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you not me, Sonja (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Good night. Have a good night. Have a good night.


HAMMER: Tonight, we are getting the low-down, dirty true confessions about what really goes on behind the scenes of TV`s hottest reality franchise. It`s the true confessions of "The Real Housewives." Former "Real Housewives of New York City" star Alex McCord is in the SHOWBIZ confession booth tonight. A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special: "True Confessions" continues right now.

Hello and thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer. Welcome back to our SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions." Right now we have the incredible confessions of a teen superstar. I`m one on one with one of the biggest former teen idols on the planet.

Back in the `70s, no one got more magazine covers or more TV time than this guy, Leif Garrett. He truly was the Justin Bieber of his day. But all that fame came with a dark side. And Leif has been through it all. Addiction, arrests, obscurity. He really went from the top to the bottom.

But now, at 51, he has cleaned up his act, and this elder statesman of pop is finally revealing all the surprising secrets of his teen stardom. And he started by confessing how he got all the girls.


HAMMER: What a life you have lived, Leif, and continue to live. You have obviously been through a great deal in your life. When you were a teen, at least from the outside looking in, looking at you as a teen idol, it seemed like you had everything. Back in the `70s, you were on the cover of every teen magazine, you are all over TV, and I am thinking you made more girls scream than the Beatles ever did.


So let me ask you about that, because we really hear it all the time, but we need to know, teen idols, you guys really get all the girls?

LEIF GARRETT, POP STAR: If we wanted, yes. Did I want? Yes.

HAMMER: And it was that simple, wasn`t it?

GARRETT: Pretty much. Yes.

HAMMER: OK. Fair enough. I, you know, we have heard those stories of guys up on stage, telling the security guard, you know, pointing at this girl in the audience, that girl in the audience. Was there a method to your madness, anything like that?

GARRETT: Not really, there was no method to the madness, it was just madness.

HAMMER: It was just madness. And of course, there was a dark side to all that madness and all the attention that you got. You`ve been very candid over the years about spending decades struggling with addiction and legal troubles. What is the toughest thing about the fame?

GARRETT: The fame is -- the privacy thing, and everyone wanting just a piece of you. You know? And literally grabbing at you and pulling, and you know, just wanting a piece of you.

HAMMER: And you really sort of start to lose yourself in all of that, I imagine, over the years.

GARRETT: Yes. It`s a weird thing, because you know, you don`t, you have it when it`s going on, but you like it. It`s a double-edged sword, you know what I mean?

HAMMER: Kind of another addiction, in a lot of ways. We hear about a lot of people being addicted to fame in that way.

GARRETT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

HAMMER: You were certainly one of the biggest teen idols on the planet and making a whole lot of money at a very young age, and people always wonder about the reality of that life. So our next question, how much money would you guess you made back then?

GARRETT: You know, it`s ridiculous amounts. And I was also unfortunately taken for quite a lot as well. But, you know, I used to spend money like crazy too, I mean, you know, the Concord and the Terrace (ph) suite at the Dorchester and stuff like that.

HAMMER: Did not have anybody keeping you in line and watching your back as far as the money was concerned?

GARRETT: Unfortunately, no. The person I thought was my business manager was actually somewhat in cahoots, if you will, with my management, so.

HAMMER: Such a sad story that we hear unfortunately all too often, and particularly with young stars. So you made a fortune, you lost a fortune, you have been on the top, you have been on the bottom, but I`ve always wondered, would you do it all over again if you had the chance?

GARRETT: Yes. Because this is something that very few people ever get to go through. I feel lucky and fortunate. And at this -- I would hopefully make some better decisions, but I would definitely do it all again.

HAMMER: If only you knew then what you know now. So I want you to think very carefully about what I`m about to ask you, because you are definitely somebody who knows more about being a teen idol than I figured Justin Bieber and all the boys in One Direction combined. What is the one burning, true teen idol confession that you have been dying to make all these years, now is your opportunity?

GARRETT: Oh, man. You know, you get -- be artful in the art of business. You know, it`s just as important, you have got to really be aware of -- not being taken advantage of, as well as don`t believe your own publicity.

HAMMER: Something really hard to do at a young age. Leif, I really appreciate your great insight into all this, thank you so much for being in our confession booth tonight.

GARRETT: Nameste (ph).


DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: Let me ask you this, do you really think that putting me behind bars is going to change anything on the streets? Them dope fiends are going to shoot, they`re going to steal for it, they`re going to die for it. Putting me in or out ain`t going to change one thing.

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR: And that`s the way it is?

WASHINGTON: That`s just the way it is.


HAMMER: Denzel Washington breaking down life on the streets as Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas. The crime classic "American Gangster." Tonight, our next true confession comes from a former gang member. He is revealing in absolutely chilling detail how he lived his life outside the law. We`re talking kidnapping, drug slinging, real-life drive-bys, and most fascinating of all, how he managed to pull himself out of it all.


ART POWELL, FORMER GANG MEMBER: Hi, I`m Art Powell. I`m a former gang member. With this culture and this lifestyle, your life is on the line every day. Every day. It`s like a form of suicide.

The name of the game was I refuse posse. And I was probably the third in command. I took care of all of our enemies confrontations. Mainly, I was called when there were issues with our rivals or with people that were -- that were looking to cause disruption to what we were trying to build.

I was involved in numerous aggravated assaults where I have shot people. Terroristic threat, because I threatened people, I told them I was going to kill them, and I made an attempt on their life. Kidnapping. Armed robbery. I was responsible for younger guys that were under me, you know, providing them with drugs, providing them with weapons, you know, for any means. I wanted to spend all my time with them. I actually started to spend more time with them than I did my family.

I went to prison because I was in a shootout with the Roswell Police Department, robbery went bad and we were engaged in a shootout with them, so I was convicted of armed robbery, aggravated assault on a police officer, and kidnapping.

It was, you know, seeing people get stabbed and hearing people get raped and all the things that was going on every day. It was real uncomfortable, and it was, you know, and dealing with correctional officers that didn`t like me, or they treated me like I was nothing, like I was a slave.

I basically made my mind up when I knew I was going to do a lot of time, that I was not going to come out the same guy that I was when I went in. I would not be the man that I am today if I had not went through what I went through. I would not be able to be a person to help young people the way I have been helping them today if I had not went through what I went through in my life. The same hustle and grind they apply to being a criminal on the streets, they can apply that to being entrepreneurs and basically becoming successful. I can help them address those issues and give them tools to deal with those issues, just try to encourage them and be a model to show them, that they can come out of that situation, because I did.


HAMMER: So cool to see him making such a difference. You know, sometimes it feels like no one is more gangster than the "Real Housewives." I mean, think about it, with all the table flipping and the hair pulling and the wild drinking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was you, not me, Sonja (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night. Have a good night.


HAMMER: So how does the drama that we are always seeing playing out on the "Real Housewives" shows actually compare to the fireworks that may or may not be happening off camera? There she is, former "Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord, she is going to tell all. Plus, dirty tactics, straight up lies. SHOWBIZ revealing the secrets car dealers really don`t want you to know. Stick around, these revealing confessions will pay off. You are watching a SHOWBIZ special: "True Confessions."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to tell you the truth now, you you ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, I am, but--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say something about your manners, now is not the time.


HAMMER: Confessions of a "Real Housewife." All right, we all want to know what is really going on behind the scenes of reality TV`s biggest series. Welcome back to the SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions." And next, to go into our SHOWBIZ confession booth, we have a former "Real Housewife" star, and she is bringing you the lowdown on the dirty details of what it`s really like to be a "Real Housewife." We`re talking about the money, the sex, the drinking. What is the real deal? I put former "Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord in the hot seat, and what she revealed was incredible.


HAMMER: The first confession we have to hear from you tonight is this, everyone wants to know how much does a "Real Housewife" really make? Tell all.

ALEX MCCORD, FORMER STAR OF "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK": Very little. They justify by paying so little by telling you, you can start your own brand. You know? The first season, I think we started out at about $7,500. I did end up starting a brand, I have got a kitchen line now, but while you are working on the show, it`s hard not to go into the red. Because it`s so little and they expect you to spend so much to have this lavish lifestyle.

HAMMER: Wait a second, you are talking about $7,500 an episode?

MCCORD: Oh, no.

HAMMER: For the season?

MCCORD: The season.

HAMMER: Are you kidding me?


HAMMER: And you have to go out and buy those fancy shoes that cost half that?

MCCORD: Well, if you are smart, you don`t do that. But then again, you don`t stay on the show long. I mean, it`s tough.

HAMMER: You know how you guarantee you stay on the show long is if you participate in what have really become some of the most memorable "Housewives" moments from coast to coast. That of course happens when cocktails are involved. Shall we (inaudible) one right now? It is a fantastic fight, one of the many we see on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." This particular fight went down in a restaurant, and yes, of course, people coming in were stopping and staring.

MCCORD: Uh, oh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I swear to God, I`m going to pull your --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you look at me and lie!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you look at me and lie!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys want to stay here and concoct [ EXPLETIVE DELETED]--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why she is behaving in this manner. I don`t know what her motives are.


HAMMER: OK, now, Alex, I know you hear this all the time. People wonder what is real and what is not real. I have always contended that you all do really get drunk during the tapings, don`t you?

MCCORD: I think those girls were all hammered down in Atlanta. I`ll tell you what, there`s booze available in just about every scene. I will never forget the season two reunion, I walked into my dressing room at 7:00 a.m., and there was an open bottle of champagne waiting for me.

HAMMER: So perhaps they are encouraging you to drink? Is that what you are suggesting here?

MCCORD: I think they don`t push it, because that would be wrong. But they offer it.

HAMMER: Hey, good morning everybody, shots all around, line them up.

I found this particularly interesting. The Huffington Post did a little bit of research and discovered what I thought was a staggering statistic, the fact that one of the four "Real Housewives" have ended their marriage during or after their show was on the air.

So let`s talk about your marriage. How did being a housewife affect it?

MCCORD: The smartest thing we did, no joke, A.J., was to go to couples therapy after doing "The Housewives." It`s rough. I mean, one of the things that was lucky for us is that we chose each other. There were so many times where people wanted me to choose one of the other cast members over my husband, and I always said, no, Simon is the one I go home to. And that`s not the same for all the other housewives. We are lucky we are together.

HAMMER: How smart are you, that is so terrific to hear that is what you did. All right, I have been easy on you so far, genuinely, but I am going to turn up the heat just a couple of notches for this next "Real Housewives" true confession. I hope you are ready, here it comes. How did being a housewife affect your sex life?

MCCORD: OK, that is a very easy question to answer. If you are coming off well on the show, you get more. I guarantee you every night after those "Housewives" episodes air, if any couple came across badly, they are not having sex that night.

HAMMER: OK, so, it was while the show was actually airing, that determined how the sex was going to go.

MCCORD: Right.

HAMMER: You were on "The Real Housewives of New York" for four seasons, obviously you saw a lot, you went through a lot. You know the realities of reality TV, of which there are few, so tell us what was the biggest sham or lie that might surprise people?

MCCORD: You mean I have to pick one? Wow. I am going to say for New York, it was billed as a show about socialites, and anyone who actually goes out in New York City knows that those cast members really are not socialites, or on the very fringe.

HAMMER: Very good. All right, bravo, and I`m not saying it as a pun, you survived, Alex. Thank you for joining us in SHOWBIZ confession booth tonight.

And I`m sitting here listening to her confessions, thinking, I knew it. I knew it. All right now, you have to get ready for a true confession you actually cannot afford to miss. Secrets from an undercover car salesman.


PHILIP REED, EDMUNDS.COM: The whole thing was tainted by the idea that I was essentially there to keep the profit for the dealership as high as possible and to never really reveal the true cost of the vehicle and the true cost of what the customer was going to be paying.


HAMMER: The true confessions that will reveal how not to get ripped off the next time you are on the car lot. You are watching a SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want the car sold, we will be there. We have got a dealership in the ICU, 211 cars getting sun tans on the lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t mean to complain, but it`s been a year and a half since I`ve been home, and I`m 90 percent sure I left my front door open.


HAMMER: Jeremy Piven leading the car salesmen army. That`s in "The Goods." And you really get the feeling these guys are going to sell all 211 of those cars getting suntans on the lot, as they put it. But the question is, how close is this comical take to what happens in real life? Welcome back to this SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions."

Right now, this is pretty amazing. We are revealing the secrets that car dealers do not want you to know. Tonight, you are meeting Philip Reed. He`s the senior editor for This guy worked undercover as a car salesman for three months, and you will be absolutely stunned by what he discovered on the car lot.


REED: I`m Philip Reed, and for three months, I worked as an undercover car salesman.

The whole structure of the dealership was such that it was almost like a paramilitary organization. I knew that if they found out who I was, I could have potentially been in physical danger. Often I felt like the enemy when I was approaching the customers. Very often, I was aware that the customer was not getting a good deal.

We were taught a process which is generally known in the industry as payment packing. Or packing the payments. And essentially what you do is, you try to get the customer to agree to a very high monthly payment on a car, so high that it creates a lot of room, and other products and services can be then added into there, at very -- what seems to be very little cost.

The whole thing was tainted by the idea that I was essentially there to keep the profit for the dealership as high as possible and to never really reveal the true cost of the vehicle and the true cost of what the customer was going to be paying.

In order to get a customer to switch from a finance agreement to a lease agreement, very often the customer was not even aware of that. So they would say, you know, these prices are too high, we cannot afford this car. So the sales manager would say, well, what if I could actually lower your payments and also lower your down payment? Would you be willing to buy the car then? And they would use buy or they would use other terms, but they were actually talking about a lease agreement, which is something very different. And this is not uncommon that there are people that sign contracts and wind up leasing cars at a much higher rate than they could actually, in the long run, finance it for.

When I was being trained, they taught me a tactic that they called stealing the trade-in. And they would pretend to call the used car manager and they would say, could you tell me the last six figures that you got on the Nissan Versa at auction? And then you would write down fictitious but very, very low numbers, as if you were getting this from a real source, but you were not actually even talking to anybody. And the customer, you would not even have to present it to the customer, because they are sitting there, watching you write it down and they are thinking oh, my gosh, I thought my car was worth a lot more than that.

There was a manager that I heard about who actually undervalued the value of a trade-in by $6,000. And that is bad enough, but what was really bad, was that he was called out in one of the general dealership meetings and treated like a hero, because he essentially took $6,000 of value away from this customer, but they treated him like a hero for doing that.

Over the years, occasionally it has been revealed that I was the author of this, which has kind of shaken up the industry. The No. 1 negative response that I get is you are taking food away from me and my family. This is my living, and you have no business telling people these things. And I have also heard from some dealers that thought that I did a service, because I represented the industry accurately, but I also kind of sent out a warning shot, in terms of, you know, customers don`t like it. If you want to sell more cars, don`t treat them this way. Even though I did this project several years ago, I can tell you that that most of these games are alive and well in a lot of dealerships around the country.


HAMMER: You do not want to believe that stuff actually happens, but as we just saw, it actually does. Be careful next time you`re out there buying a car.

Thank you so much for watching this SHOWBIZ special, "True Confessions." I am AJ Hammer. You can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT every Monday through Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, right here on HLN.