TODAY   |  September 29, 2012

Alana Stewart: My memoir is ‘brutally honest’

The former wife of George Hamilton and Rod Stewart spoke to TODAY’s Tamron Hall about the happiness and heartbreak she chronicles in her new memoir, “Rearview Mirror.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> at first glance, actress and former talk show host alana stewart 's life may have seemed like a hollywood fairytale. stewart was married to two iconic stars, first to actor george hamilton and then to rocker rod stewart , both ending in divorce. most recently, she documented the illness and subsequent death of her best friend , farrah fawcett . now in her memoir "rear-view mirror", she chronicles her journey through heartbreak and her path to finding her happily ever after. good morning, good to see you.

>> nice to see you.

>> i always love to hear why or when someone decided i want to put my entire life on paper. was it after farrah passed away or before?

>> i had thought about it for a long time because i've kept journals all my life. i thought that one day i wanted to write a book and share my experiences up and down. my life hasn't been the easiest one and people might not think that just by looking at me.

>> absolutely. and to your point, you started off like so many people in america, very poor. your family struggled to make ends meet. did that give you the drive? did you look out the window of your home and say i've got to make it, there's something bigger there?

>> well, i was very poor. we had an out house and i lived with my grandmother when i was very small. no indoor plumbing. i remember i used to look at the houses up in town that were the big houses then. they're not so big now. and i used to think oh, my god, those people must have these wonderful lives and i want to be like them. but, you know, we didn't look at those people with jealousy or any sense of gee, i should have what they have. it gave me a work ethic .

>> it was a motivation.

>> yeah, it was a motivation. i wanted to work and do something with my life. i started working when i was 14 behind the candy counter.

>> that has to be fond memories there.

>> i ate more than i sold, probably.

>> you end up in this glamorous world of modelling and hollywood. i mean, that is a tremendous jump in life.

>> well, even modelling isn't so glamorous in the beginning. i trudged around -- i wasn't one of these models that made it overnight and suddenly is on the cover of "vogue." i got there, they told me to lose five pounds and i had always thought i was the skinniest girl in school and was teased by all the boys and suddenly i thought i was overweight. because i had no good self-image or sense of self. so overnight, i was suddenly -- i must be fat. i have to lose five pounds.

>> but there had to be something pretty special about you because here you are, ended up married to two very famous men. you married george hamilton when he was the hottest guy in town. i mean, there was no one more famous and more good looking, and you're still friends today. but what happened with that marriage?

>> you know, he's one of my best friends .

>> that's incredible, by the way.

>> we call each other ma and pa. we were together ten years and i met him when i was very young. i was madly in love with him and it was all a fairytale romance. eventually we just came to our differences. i wasn't grown up. i would take 75% of the responsibility for the breakup of our marriage. it was unfortunate.

>> perhaps is why you were still friends because you were able to take accountability for your rool. ended up married to rod stewart . man oozes sex onstage. but it wasn't again a fairytale.

>> i would have never have thought it, but we did fall madly in love. we had two children in the course of two years and i had my son with george, and i take credit -- my book is very brutally honest. i said to rod before it came out, i said i hope you won't be upset with anything i've written because i've written an honest story about a portrait of a marriage .

>> and he said what in reply?

>> i said i've been very honest about myself, too.

>> what did he say?

>> well, i said i didn't talk about drugs and rock 'n' roll, and he said that's okay, i did in my book.

>> we reached out to him to get his comment, but you two are not as close as you and george.

>> i'm not as close to him.

>> what's the difference?

>> we just never had that closeness afterwards. our breakup was very traumatic. it was much more traumatic. for me, it was something that i kind of crashed emotionally and physically afterwards. it took me a long time to get over it.

>> well, you survived a lot. sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. quite a life there. thank you so much. the book is called "rear-view mirr