The Divine Miss M spills the beans on life, death and hangovers
What are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of my daughter. I raised a bright, engaged, sensible, kind human being. You never know! It could have gone either way. But she stayed on the tracks.
How do you think others describe you?
I hope I never find out!
What’s the worst thing/best thing about being Bette?
Anxiety and doubt is the worst. I have terrible panic attacks, especially if I haven’t worked in a while, or if I have an appearance to do where I’m shaky. Then the panic attacks are terrible, terrible, terrible. I think the best thing is that I’m kind. I’m a big believer in â€“ and a big promoter of â€“ human kindness.
What’s the one characteristic all your exes share?
When were you happiest?
On a mountain top in Montreux, Switzerland. I went out for a walk by myself. I walked up the mountain â€“ which I hardly ever do â€“ and on the way down I looked at this glorious lake and this beautiful village. I was just overwhelmed with joy. That’s when you know what it feels like. You’re like, “That’s what it is! That’s what I’m searching for!” It was great.
What are you most scared of?
That’s a good question… I don’t really fear death. I can’t really think of anything.
What do you look for in a friend?
A sense of humour. They’ve got to be funny. I’ll put up with a lot as long as they’re funny!
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
I’m not going to tell you! But it didn’t crush me, it infuriated me. People often say awful things to me. People often say awful things to other people, too. Right to your face. Sometimes they think they’re doing you a favour but they’re so out of it, so without self-awareness, what can you say?
If you could edit one person from your past, who would that be?
No doubt â€“ Hitler. Oh, from my past? I wouldn’t tell that!
Who is the love of your life?
The love of my life is my girl, and my husband, and then Queen Puddles, who passed. She was a pooch, one of the great creatures of the planet. I have to put my daughter above my husband because he puts my daughter above me.
What do you think happens when you die?
I think the light goes out. I think it’s probably reassuring. I mean, what’s the difference? Nobody’s ever come back to tell us it was anything else than a light going out.
When was the last time you cried?
I don’t cry very much anymore. I used to be a real crier. I kind of miss it because I really enjoyed a good weep. Not hysteria, but just the welling up â€“ I enjoy that.
Tell us a secret?
Tell you a secret? Who is this girl? I don’t have any secrets; I’m totally transparent.
When have you felt most ashamed?
Oh, I have so many things to feel ashamed about. My life has just been one long cringe. The most ashamed you can possibly feel is after a hangover. I hardly do it anymore because I can’t stand having to apologise, having to make the phone calls saying: “I really am so terribly sorry.”
What one lesson has life taught you?
Adapt or die. I think I’ve become better at that, and I think I care less.
If you could apologise to one person, who would it be, and what would you say?
Everyone that I’ve met in my entire life. “I’m sorry I wore those shoes.” “I’m sorry my hair wasn’t combed.” “I’m sorry for the socks I’m wearing.” I have so many people to apologise to, and yet, there are many people who have things to apologise to me for. That’s the way of the world.
Bette Midler’s album, Memories Of You, is out now.