TODAY   |  April 30, 2013

Martha Stewart on prison: ‘It’s terrible’

The entrepreneur talks with TODAY’s Matt Lauer about what she learned from the time she spent in prison in 2004, dealing with the criticism and negativity that comes with being in the public eye, and her two beloved grandchildren.

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

>>> we are back now at 8:11 with more of our interview with martha stewart . monday we discussed her personal life and set her up with to find a date. this morning we talk to martha about her new book "living the good, long life" and some of the ups and downs she's faced over the years. martha stewart came from modest beginnings, one of six children in suburban new jersey. as a home maker she created an empire based on her own image. along with the highs, incredible lows including prison time. in 2004 for obstruction of justice and making false statements regarding her stock. after you reached mega success you had a period where you watched it almost all come tumbling down.

>> well, i knew it wouldn't.

>> you may have been more confident than other people.

>> i was. i was very confident. some of my friends who didn't have that confidence unfortunately missed out on the comeback. so when you know inside that you're good, that you have done well, and that you are an honest, good person then you know you can live through disaster. i don't want to be defined by a moment in time. that was a moment. it's passed. i don't think about it anymore. but i am -- and i just got all excited last week -- i am going to start my autobiography. that's going to be a good story.

>> well, how many chapters will be related or dedicated to that difficult chapter in your life?

>> i think it will be a big fat interesting chapter. big, fat.

>> i would think if you spend time in prison there's got to be time for self-reflection. what good came out of that time?

>> it's hard to say good comes out of a bad time.

>> really?

>> yeah. that's saying that it only makes you better? oh, my gosh.

>> bull?

>> bull! it's terrible.

>> but you didn't learn anything about yourself during that time? did you learn you're tougher than you thought you were?

>> no. i'm a tough person from start. i have always been a tough person. tough meaning i can survive. i'm a survivor.

>> you're a magnet for praise and sometimes criticism.

>> oh, it's sort of equally.

>> do you think it's 50/50.

>> i think it's sometimes much worse. i don't understand it. it write books. i have published beautiful magazines. i have done television shows devoted how to and good living.

>> why do you think people criticize you?

>> i don't know. maybe because i'm confident. i think -- maybe i'm too confident. maybe i should have failed. maybe i should have just gone away and dug a hole and jumped in. you know, who knows?

>> do you take the criticism to heart? do you pay attention to negativity?

>> not the unfair negativity, no.

>> while many criticize, others can't get enough of her. stewart is in the mid odle of a legal battle between macy's and jc penney over the right to carry her products.

>> it's hard to discuss now. we are in litigation. i don't really want to talk about it. hopefully it will turn out favorably. it is a contract case, matt. so i think a lot of information will finally come to light that will put us in a more favorable light.

>> macy's who currently sells the martha stewart brand say they had an exclusive deal with her. yet stewart and jc penney disagree. what drives you?

>> two new kbragrandchildren.

>> is that really one of the driving forces?

>> oh, yes. i adore them. my article is due soon for making little dresses for girls out of old dish towels. see?

>> that's not true. it sounds like a "saturday night live" skit.

>> it's true. i mean vintage dish towels and anybody can make these dresses.

>> what's your best piece of advice you were ever given, martha ?

>> my dad said to me when i was maybe 12. he said, martha , you are a bright young woman . you can do anything you set your mind to. because you're a hard worker.

>> our conversation with martha stewart .