"I looked like a sex bomb, but I was not," she laughed. "I was very much tortured inside. I was a woman 100 percent with problems."
With her place in movie history firmly anchored in cement, Loren seems liberated. Two years ago, she was confident enough to be showcased in a calendar for Pirelli tires alongside women decades younger.
"I would have never done it [before]," she told Axelrod. "But it was fun, it was fun . . . surrounded by a very young generation."
When asked if she wanted to promote the idea that people in their 70s can look sexy, she replied, "That's good, no?"
In the candid interview, to be broadcast on CBS News' "Sunday Morning" December 20 at 9:00-10:30 a.m. ET/PT, the 75-year-old Oscar winner speaks candidly about her insecurities, losing her husband Carlo Ponti, and the liberation that comes with growing older.
On, Loren said, "It's very, very difficult. I met my husband when I was 15 1/2 years old. So I spent my life always with him. And I had my two children. And when he died, it was not a strong ache for me, because I still did not realize that he was gone forever. But now, sometimes I'm faced with things that I have to solve and in life and in my career. So many things. And it's now that I feel that he's gone."
Loren is featured in the new musical film "Nine," appearing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis.
Axelrod asked if work is a means for her to reduce the pain of loss: "Do you find comfort there?"
"Yes, because then you distract yourself from your own problems," she said, "and think about the difficulties in saying your line and giving emotions and looking through the camera. Yes. It's a kind of vacation, I'd say."
"If this were 40 years ago and you were up for one of those two roles [in "Nine"], which one would you have rather played - the mistress or the wife?"
"I would play the wife," she said. "That is a role that I would have been very familiar with. Yeah. Even though at that time I didn't look at all like a wife!"
She also set the record straight on the most famous quote attributed to her: "Everything I am I owe to spaghetti."
"It's not true!" she laughed. ""I never said it. 'I owe everything to the spaghetti?' It's not true. They put it in my mouth and it still goes on. It's not true. So silly. Can you imagine?"
"Sunday Morning" is anchored by Charles Osgood. The executive producer is Rand Morrison.