Rod Stewart’s response to my question, “Do you have regrets about women’s lives, drinking, and drug use?” was one of my best interview moments
One of my favorite interview moments was when I once asked Sir Rod Stewart during our Life Stories encounter, “Do you have any regrets over the years of harlotry, drinking, drug use and hotel room vandalism?”
“I do,” he replied solemnly, his face seeming to be lined with sincere, thoughtful remorse.
“YES, REALLY?” I exclaimed, stunned and incredulous.
The tall man paused for maximum effect and nodded slowly and very seriously.
Then a big grin appeared on his “tormented” face and he cackled loudly, “Fuck me!! I loved everything!”
And we both fell out laughing.
Those few seconds perfectly embodied the character of the man I am fortunate to call a friend and I believe to be Britain’s most genuine, down to earth and fun star.
But as we were reminded a few days ago, Rod has a lot more to offer than just a great raspy voice, an iconic spiky beard and a witty sense of humor.
He is also an incredibly big hearted and generous guy who is passionate about taking care of his country.
So I wasn’t surprised when I happened to call him on Sky News last Thursday (although I emailed him immediately afterwards and suggested that the next time he felt the urge to do something like that, please in could call MY shipment!). to express his raw anger at the appalling state of the NHS.
In an emotional exchange, Rod said he’s “never seen it that bad,” and raged, “There are people who die because they can’t get scans.”
He then offered to pay for “ten or 20 scans” for people who can’t go private like he can — something that may have saved his life when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago, but survived because it was thankfully early was detected.
“I don’t need the publicity,” he said. “I just want to do some good things and I think that’s a good thing.
“If other people follow me, I would love that.”
Watch Piers Morgan Uncensored weekdays on Sky 526, Virgin Media 606, Freeview 237, Freesat 217 or on Fox Nation in the US
The next day he emailed me: “I have no idea how to organize and pay for 20 scans for desperate people. . . any ideas?”
I am sure there will be a way for Rod, who turned 78 two weeks ago, to fulfill his extraordinary promise and I will help him in any way I can.
But more importantly, his unexpected public intervention into the mounting crisis of NHS waiting times has fueled days of newspaper headlines and TV and radio debate, possibly embarrassing the Government to do more, and more quickly, to give people life-or-death treatment get what they urgently need.
It’s not the first time Rod has put his money where his mouth is.
Three months ago, it emerged he had rented and decorated a house in Berkshire for a family of seven Ukrainian refugees, including five children aged between two and 17, after he and his wife Penny were moved to tears at the horrors of the Russian invasion were unfold on TV.
“Words cannot describe what we saw,” he said.
“The bombing of innocent children, hospitals and playgrounds. Like everyone else, we were completely beside ourselves. This is pure evil.”
Once again, he spoke out publicly about his act of compassion because he wanted others to follow his example.
“I am a knight now,” he said. “I should use my power to do something for the people. I’m sure if there are people out there who see what I’m doing, they’ll slack off a bit too.”
Rod also hired three trucks loaded with refugee aid and had them driven to Ukraine, then safely transported 16 people from the war-torn country to Germany.
None of this surprised me.
Despite long-running rumors of his supposed meanness (Ronnie Wood branded him “tight as a fiddle” and George Michael tells me he and Elton John were convinced Rod would once serve them Dairylea cheese triangles as an appetizer at a fancy dinner in served at his Beverly Hills home, claiming it was rare imported cheese), I have always found him extraordinarily generous, both with his money and his time.
Three years ago my father Glynne suddenly announced that he had bought four high priced tickets (£250 each) to see Rod perform at the Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove.
He had never done anything like this before. In fact, after he dropped the bombshell, my shocked mother revealed that they hadn’t attended a single concert in their entire five-decade marriage.
But Dad, who used to play drums in a jazz band, explained: “I’m 78, Rod is 74, and I want to see him play live before either of us die.”
When I emailed Rod with this chilling news, he replied, “Brilliant Piers! I would like to meet you!”
He then arranged for me, my parents and my sister to park our car backstage next to his chauffeur-driven Bentley – and invited us all to a meal in the Green Room with some of his own lovely family, including his 90-year-old old sister Mary and brother Don, 89.
Later, after a brilliant show, he invited us over for a few bottles of good wine in front of his trailer, where he chatted forever with Mum and Dad like they were old friends.
(When she got home, my mom posted a Facebook photo of herself happily hugging Rod, with the caption, “Died and gone to heaven!”
Still, Dad proclaimed it was “a wonderful evening – worth every penny.”)
Those who know Rod well all have stories like this, especially when it comes to family, which is the most important thing in his life.
Honest and hilarious
He’s a rarity for a popular celebrity: someone who’s as charming off-camera as he is on-camera.
There’s no scary dark side to him and no angry narcissistic ego lurking beneath the cheeky grin.
Rod is just a really good guy who loves his wife, kids, siblings (Don and his other brother Bob both sadly passed away in the last few months), country and football.
When we met at a party in LA just before the 2015 Champions League final and I said I’d go see it alone, he exclaimed, “You can’t! Come see it with me at my mate Eddie Kerkhofs house.”
Eddie is an acclaimed restaurateur who ran LA’s hottest eatery, Le Dome, for 25 years.
We had a great afternoon including a long, soggy lunch during which Eddie revealed he once banned Rod from his restaurant.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Dudley Moore threw a pork chop at him and Rod threw back a piece of calf’s liver. . . then all hell broke loose.”
As for the unsubstantiated Hollywood folklore that he once had sex in Le Dome’s bathroom between courses, Rod chuckled, “No comment. Some things are best left to the imagination, old boy.”
I’ve interviewed him many times and he’s always refreshingly candid, honest, and hilarious.
After I replaced talk show legend Larry King at CNN, the network ran promos in which I described myself as “a little dangerous.”
So when I showed up at Rod’s Beverly Hills home to interview him during freshman week, he greeted me at the door by hurling a very convincing toy hand grenade at me and shouted, “I heard you were DANGEROUS so thought I, I would be prepared !”
As we walked in, Rod clenched my butt for the CNN cameras, which made me scream.
“This is going to kill your female audience,” he chuckled.
Too often these days the words “national treasure” are used to describe luminaries, whom I would consider more as comedian Jack Whitehall once described me – “a regional jewel”.
But Sir Rod really IS a national treasure; he is one of Britain’s greatest musical talents, a fun-loving, thoroughly decent family man and, as we saw again last week, an extremely proud patriot who wants to help those less fortunate than himself.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/21204596/piers-morgan-rod-stewart-drug-taking-boozing-regrets/ Rod Stewart’s response to my question, “Do you have regrets about women’s lives, drinking, and drug use?” was one of my best interview moments