A duchess, a race-car driver, a comedian, a boxer and a model reveal that their success did not grant them immunity from adversity. But all are making their way back from misfortune and mistakes.
After being imprisoned for rape and banned for biting Evander Holyfield's ear, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson says he is turning over a new leaf. He wants his children to look up to him. "I want them to be people of dignity. I want them to have respect. I always show them the right thing to do. I tell them daddy is a monster on television but that is not who he is at home." Tyson, who dropped out of school in the 9th grade, has become an enthusiastic reader.
Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, earned contempt from the royal family and was humiliated by the press for her troubled marriage, financial problems and weight gain. "They wanted me to be a certain way and I wouldn't fit into that," she says now. Exiled from the palace, Ferguson pulled herself up by her bootstraps, fought back and launched a lucrative career in America, as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers and other companies.
Kyle Petty is a key member of a famous auto-racing family. Last May, Petty lost his 19-year-old son, Adam, in a race-car crash. Adam, who was just hitting his stride as a driver, died just a month after Kyle lost his grandfather, Lee, the family patriarch who helped build auto racing into the biggest spectator sport in the world today. Kyle and his family were devastated by the loss of Adam but were able to work through their grief. "I hope I never get over it," Kyle says. "I pray every night that it hurts as bad tomorrow as it hurts today because that way, then I know that I'm as close to him as I always have been."
Taunted as "overweight Kate" when she was 12, Kate Dillon did what many self-conscious young girls do: She starved herself thin. She became so attractive that a talent agent discovered her and when she was 16, she became a famous model, working in New York, Paris and Los Angeles. But after three years, she went into a depression and gained weight. Eventually, she went back into modeling as a plus-size model, and now at 26, she has achieved greater success than most skinny models she knows. She was recently named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. She now uses her career as a platform to persuade young women to accept their imperfections.
Like many comedians, Richard Lewis says that his material comes from his disappointments and anxieties. Lewis, who has appeared more than 50 times on "Late Night with David Letterman," says that his insecurities drove him into depression, fueled by alcohol and drugs. Twice, his friends launched interventions to get Lewis to seek help. Today, though, he is clean"I'm choosing life over death," he says. He talks about his struggle to stay sober, and his new book, "The Other Great Depression," which he calls a "self-hurt book."
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