Van Nuys Valley News
July 31, 1975
Inside Bette Midler, who made her reputation as the brash, tough, bigger-than-life Divine Miss M, is “a vulnerable little person,” who is hurt by derogatory references to her appearance, the star revealed.
“I hate it when they call me ugly when they say I’m homely,” the orange-haired entertainer told a reporter for the current issue of Redbook magazine, confiding that she has considered having a nose job.
“But what’s the diff?” Ms. Midler observed. “It’s only the shell. I can’t have plastic surgery on my heart.”
Ms. Midler, who established her “tacky” image by wearing bizarre clothing to attract attention, said she would now “just as soon fade right into the woodwork” when she’s not performing. “I wouldn’t be caught dead with a sequin on my body when I’m not working” she exclaimed. “How tasteless!”
After gaining national prominence in 1973, Ms. Midler startled the industry by dropping out for a year. Her self-imposed silence was necessary, she, told Redbook because “I was afraid all the things that make me a human being would be lost.”
“I was tired and I was scared to death, afraid of having to puff myself up into something I’m not. I can pretend to be a star. IÂ can be as grand as the next lady. Listen, I’ve been grand since sixth grade. But to have to do it every day – that isolates you.”
Describing the Divine Miss M as “an exaggeration of all the things I never thought I wanted to be,” Ms. Midler said that after she started “doing her,” she became much more like her than she ever thought possible.
So she called a timeout to try’to learn how to have a good time, how to relax and to grow up.
Part of the year was spent in Paris. “It’s cutthroat there,” Ms. Midler told Redbook. “If you don’t look just so, they don’t want you on their streets. One of the things I learned is, never go to France unescorted. And try to learn the language, at least the essentials. ‘How much?’ ‘Where’s the John?’ ‘Please don’t touch me.'”
Ms. Midler, who says she is most at “.home” on stage, reported that her year’s “vacation” helped her “come to grips” with her life.
“Last year I was screaming inside but now I’m not really that unhappy. I mean, I laugh at least twice a day.”