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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Kelsey Grammer
Aired December 27, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Everybody knows his name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELSEY GRAMMER, ACTOR/PRODUCER: Sometimes it's "Hey, Frasier." But more often than not, it's "Hey, Kelsey."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer is a star of not one but two of the most successful sitcoms of all time. Now, the man behind Dr. Frasier Crane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAMMER: Kelsey Grammer is a guy who cares about people, who's been trying to save the world because he couldn't save some things in his own life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer, his highs --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAMMER: With cocaine, it was too much for me. You know it brought me to my knees eventually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: His lows and what he really thinks of his ex-wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAMMER: "The Real Housewives" was my parting gift to her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer, an extraordinary revealing hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What a life you've had. Do you feel lucky to have ended up where you are --
GRAMMER: You know I felt lucky all through it. Plus in some way even in the darkest day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Kelsey Grammer is one of the most talked about, one of the most famous, one of the most beloved faces in American television history. And I'm pleasant to say he joins me now.
You are really, aren't you? You're sort of been part of the American television consciousness for so long. You must walk around the street and everyone goes, "Hey, Kelsey." Everyone must think they know you.
GRAMMER: Well, those things do happen. Those events do take place. Sometimes it's, "Hey, Frasier," but more often than not, it's "Hey, Kelsey."
MORGAN: Do you like it? Did you like the kind of mass attention you must still get? Or you, Jewish, you know, well, I've done it, I just want to just go and --
GRAMMER: It's always -- it's always pleasant. So it's always flattering. It's always -- it's always meant in an optimistic kind of affectionate way. So I take it that way and return the compliment actually.
MORGAN: Did you enjoy the status of television icon?
GRAMMER: I've be a fool to say I didn't.
MORGAN: I would.
MORGAN: Let's be honest with you. I would. It's better than the alternative, right?
GRAMMER: It certainly is, yes.
MORGAN: Some fleeting little career in TV.
MORGAN: I mean you just -- but to spend your time at the top for decades, very, very unusual to have that kind of length on any form of television in the world, isn't it? What do you think was your secret? Why you?
GRAMMER: Well, I think it's sort of like -- I'm not comparing myself to Dick Van Dyke, but I think there's a characteristic that can help you survive in television which is a kind of an affability, and a vulnerability. You allow yourself to be human.
MORGAN: The odd thing about you -- and I mean this in the best sense -- is that I don't think I've ever had an American television star sit here who openly admits to being a Republican.
GRAMMER: Oh, well, you know?
MORGAN: You're that guy.
GRAMMER: I'm that guy.
MORGAN: And I think musicians --
GRAMMER: There are a few, yes.
MORGAN: I don't think I've ever had a TV person. Normally the world of television is just infused with liberals -- and most movie stars, I'd say.
GRAMMER: Yes, I think you're right about that. I'm a bit of a rebel. I don't tend to warm too well to people that tell me how I'm supposed to think. So, my life in Hollywood, I'm afraid I was destined to be a Republican.
MORGAN: How does it go down with all your famous friends?
GRAMMER: Well, some of my --
MORGAN: Is it lonely out there?
GRAMMER: It's pretty lonely, but you know they seem to tolerate me somehow, because I can at least state myself eloquently and without actually kind of assuming what they -- the veneer of what they assume is what a Republican is, as some kind of nasty, strange villain that, you know, should be vilified and hated.
MORGAN: It's obvious that has become the way Republicanism is now perceived in this country. You know, you are either extremely with them, with all that appears to entail, or you're completely against them. But what they are -- they're very divisive. To say you're a Republican now divides people immediately.
MORGAN: It didn't used to be like that. You go back 30 years, it wasn't like that.
GRAMMER: Well, the tone of political assessment has changed. You know, and honestly, the battle for the hearts and the minds of the American people has taken on a bit more of a violent and narrow approach. I mean, you have to actually make sure that nobody swallows anything of what you are in order to ensure that you get their vote. So it's very easy to understand why you'd want to make somebody hateful. MORGAN: Are you -- are you sympathetic to the Tea Party element of the Republicans or is that a step too far?
GRAMMER: I'm sympathetic to some of the principles, but I'm not sure that the Tea Party has behavioral problem other than the ones that have been identified by people who are inimical to them. So you know. It's like, I'm not sure they say anything that I would object to. I'm just been told that they're lunatics.
MORGAN: Nothing they say be objectionable to you at all?
GRAMMER: I don't know. I think smaller government is a good idea. Always have. I think lower taxes are a good idea. Always have. So that's what I know they talk about.
MORGAN: Are you as violently opposed to, say, gay marriage as so many of the Tea Party candidates --
GRAMMER: I don't think the Tea Party is -- MORGAN: Most of them are, yes.
GRAMMER: Against gay marriage?
MORGAN: Against it, yes.
GRAMMER: Well, then I wouldn't -- I wouldn't --
MORGAN: Actively against same-sex --
GRAMMER: I wouldn't sign on to that --
MORGAN: I mean there are issues there, but you wouldn't agree with?
GRAMMER: Absolutely yes.
MORGAN: You played a famous gay character?
GRAMMER: Yes, I've played several.
MORGAN: You'd be banning yourself.
GRAMMER: No, I've always believed -- I guess I'm more libertarian in that way. I think marriage is up to two people that love each other. And if you find a church that you want to get married then you go right ahead. Or if you don't believe in god, or you know -- in my mind the state of marriage is something that has been kind of endorsed by the idea that it's a sacrament within a context of a faith, of a religious faith.
The word marriage comes out of our religious side of our experience in our society and our history. So I tend to think the government shouldn't be involved in any way. MORGAN: Well, I'll come to your expertise in the world of marriage a little later. I would just say if only you'd married a good British girl earlier, Kelsey.
GRAMMER: I'd say it would have saved me a lot of trouble.
MORGAN: All this could have saved. This trouble you've had.
MORGAN: Just on politics, what do you think of Barack Obama? Were you -- despite your allegiances, were you excited to see the first black president? And did you buy into all the hope, the audacity, the stuff that he apparently came with?
GRAMMER: Well, OK, I think Barack Obama's election is a milestone for this country and a wonderful thing. The hope thing, I don't think hope can be given by a politician or by a vote. I think that comes from god. And it's not a policy. There's no -- there's no politic cachet in hope except it may get some votes, but there's no direction in it. And so I was --
MORGAN: Is that right? I mean --
GRAMMER: I would look at it with a little bit of a scam on the side.
MORGAN: Isn't it incumbent on politicians, clearly president, to inspire their people?
GRAMMER: Inspire, certainly.
MORGAN: Isn't that the same as hope in a way? If you inspire me, you're offering some --
GRAMMER: You're offering -- well, you're offering them something that's a contradiction to what you might think of the other guy.
GRAMMER: But hope itself is not a policy. It never has been. There's no policy in hope. We can all hope. We can hope for free.
MORGAN: What do you think has gone wrong with America in terms of its business model? Why is America tanking economically in the way that it is, do you think? What is the simple answer?
GRAMMER: Well, I would say greed. Greed that is at a profound level. I mean we vote -- we vote based upon what money will get for it. Democrats and Republicans.
MORGAN: What kind of politician do you gravitate to? Who do you like?
GRAMMER: Right now I'm not gravitating toward a lot of people right now. I wouldn't actually say I've thrown my hat in the ring with anybody else at this point.
MORGAN: Because the Republican ring is, you know, we're getting to the stage now where decisions have to be taken.
MORGAN: And the election year begins in a couple of months. And someone is going to take on Barack Obama. And there's a clear kind of split developing on the Republican side between the Tea Party element, whether it's, you know, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin or somebody and the moderates like Mitt Romney. You know, there's a choice to be made by the party, isn't there? Which -- which way they're going to go, which type of politician they think can best beat Obama? If you were --
MORGAN: If you were advising them, what do you think? Who do you think is more electable?
GRAMMER: If I were advising them, I would just tell them that they must inspire people to assume that they have a right to make their own decisions about what dreams they wish to dream. And to dream as big as they possibly can.
MORGAN: What was -- what was your dream when you started out?
GRAMMER: What was my dream?
GRAMMER: Just to be a working actor.
MORGAN: Nothing more glamorous than that?
GRAMMER: No, just wanted to be a working actor.
MORGAN: Have you fulfilled that?
GRAMMER: Yes, I got a few more extras than I counted on.
MORGAN: Yes. You got all -- you got all the superstardom and the money and so on but --
GRAMMER: I got some fame.
MORGAN: In terms of your acting aspirations, have you -- have you ticked all the boxes you wanted to tick?
GRAMMER: Not quite.
MORGAN: What's left? GRAMMER: There's certainly a lot left.
MORGAN: What's left on the acting block that you'd like to do?
GRAMMER: Well, I started out wanting to be a dramatic actor, ended up being a comedic actor, and now I've gone back to being a dramatic actor now. But I still have some Shakespeare stuff I want to play because of -- it was my first love. It's what got me involved.
MORGAN: What's the role? If you -- if you have one role left to play, what would it be?
GRAMMER: One role left to play.
MORGAN: Yes. If you could play one role.
MORGAN: I can award you any role and you can have any cast you like, the greatest performance of your life, what would it be?
GRAMMER: Isn't that funny?
MORGAN: What's the role?
GRAMMER: What's the role?
MORGAN: Because they say your character in "Boss" is very King Lear-esque.
GRAMMER: Well, yes, it's based loosely on King Lear.
MORGAN: You look a bit like how I imagined King Lear should have looked.
MORGAN: With the beard and everything. It Lear-esque.
GRAMMER: It's actually the good character. He doesn't have a beard. At least not this season. But I just go for the beard because Kate likes it, so.
GRAMMER: What one role? Gosh, I don't know. You know, but it'd probably be a villain. I mean an Iago.
GRAMMER: Iago is an interesting character because it's -- you know, it's the character that has the most words of any character in all the Shakespeare and it's almost every sentence is not iambic pentameter, it's iambic pentameter and a half. So it's very dense. Very full language. He -- what is most appealing about playing the role is for -- as evil as he is he is so well-liked by the audience. MORGAN: All actors in the end quite fancy playing evil. Is it just more fun being evil?
MORGAN: It is, isn't it?
GRAMMER: Yes -- no, it's a ball. But you always wanted to be in context because honestly virtue should win.
GRAMMER: Eventually, yes.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break and come back, and I want to take you right back to when the acting all started. And then get into the phenomenon of "Frasier." There's no other way to describe it. You were phenomenon, Kelsey. You are.
GRAMMER: Thank you, Piers.
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GRAMMER: If I didn't know better, I'd say that you've been (INAUDIBLE) face-to-face even before me. That's the only thing you're missing is heft. Here I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want from me?
GRAMMER: You'll know when it comes up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer's new series "Boss."
MORGAN: And quite interesting, Kelsey, because as you say, people I guess see you as a comic actor. You were born in the Virgin Islands. You grew up in Florida. At 18, you leave the family in Florida and you come to New York. You go to the Juilliard School, very prestigious acting school.
So, you did do the hard yards of theatrical trainings, didn't you, to be a serious actor?
GRAMMER: Yes. For a couple of years and then they kicked me out.
MORGAN: Who was your inspiration then? Who were the actors you looked up to?
GRAMMER: Gosh, Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck. And Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne.
MORGAN: The greats.
GRAMMER: The greats.
MORGAN: Did you ever imagine at that stage, at Juilliard, you're looking around, all these talented people presumably -- did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams or maybe nightmares the level of fame that you would one day get through acting?
GRAMMER: No. It's funny. There was something -- I did believe that I was going to be successful as an actor. And I did realize that if you're successful as an actor, it might come along with, you know, fringe benefits, I guess, or you know peripheral anxieties.
GRAMMER: But that it was possible that I would have a very rewarding, successful and fulfilling life creatively. And if I just stuck to it and worked really hard and didn't doubt myself, which, of course, I did doubt myself.
MORGAN: Don't all actors doubt themselves?
GRAMMER: And didn't always work really hard.
MORGAN: Almost every actor I've met.
GRAMMER: I think you have to.
MORGAN: Every actor I've met. They tend to suffer -- everyone says they have big egos. My experience is most actors have chronic insecurity paranoia bouts throughout their career.
GRAMMER: Right. Well, that's -- that's sort of the flip side of narcissism, isn't it?
MORGAN: It is.
MORGAN: Ego is actually driven by fear most of the time.
GRAMMER: Despair. Right.
MORGAN: Yes. I was almost in fear because it's such a precarious business.
GRAMMER: Well, I think what's interesting is -- I read this off of the bulletin board when I was going to Juilliard actually. And someone had said that it requires a resilient ego to survive as an actor. And I thought boy, that's really a great way of putting it because in the end the best work has no ego.
So it's very, very hard to live that kind of a tightrope and walk that kind of a life because in order to put yourself in front of somebody every day and be rejected or approved of, it requires extraordinary resilience. And you must show up for that kind of thing and be willing to risk being told you're no good.
MORGAN: And stage acting is kind of great because you go out every night and you get instant reaction from an audience. I mean it's normally pretty good. A good play or whatever it may be, a good musical, they're cheering you, and you go off and you feel fantastic.
The worst thing about television I would think is the terrible wait. You know you make all this stuff. I've made shows and they take months to make.
MORGAN: And then there's this terrible buildup. In the back of your mind all you're thinking of is this could tank, and then what?
GRAMMER: Yes. Well, I've had that experience, too.
MORGAN: We'll talk about shows that went well. Let's have a look at a clip from a certain show that did do rather well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From where we turn up the highway. We're right down from there is the bed and baths hotel.
GRAMMER: Bed and Baths. Yes, one of the finer fish-themed hotels. Do we go to a hole in the ice with this little corks filthy and then just start fishing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called an auger.
GRAMMER: Well, imagine my embarrassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was of course "Frasier" from Paramount Television. And "Frasier" like "Cheers," I mean they were just phenomenal shows.
GRAMMER: Very good shows.
MORGAN: Hysterically popular, global shows.
When you first started making them, did you get an inkling early on, OK, this is going to be huge, it's going to change my life? Or did it just happen?
GRAMMER: I'll tell you a story that David Hyde Pierce has repeated. After we shot the pilot, we got a standing ovation and everything went away. And we all felt pretty good about it.
And he said to me, "So what do you think? What does this mean?" And I said, "For you? It means you're going to buy a really nice house." And then he said, "Well, what does it mean for you?" I said, "It means I'm probably going to buy a couple." (LAUGHTER)
GRAMMER: You do have a sense -- you know when you know. You can tell. And there's a beauty about releasing it to the public, to just saying, OK, here it is. Love it or hate it. We did our best. And you know honestly, that's all I've done my whole life in my career. I've just done my best. Sometimes it felt short. And sometimes I've been really happy with it so.
MORGAN: Are you -- are you good at analyzing yourself? You play this famous psychologist. Probably the most famous in the world. Are you any good at doing that yourself?
GRAMMER: I'm probably OK at it.
MORGAN: What have you worked out about Kelsey Grammer?
GRAMMER: Kelsey Grammer is a guy who cares about people that has been trying to save the world because he couldn't save some things in his own life. And I've now actually gotten to a point -- and this is a very good time in my life, where I've forgiven myself for my shortcomings and for things I used to look on as failures. And I am really luxuriating in a kind of sense of approbation about my whole life and my love and where my days are.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. I don't want to, you know, take you out of this utopian thing. I want to go back to --
GRAMMER: It's all right.
MORGAN: -- some of the slightly darker times. And seen where you've come from.
MORGAN: Back with my special guest Kelsey Grammer.
Kelsey, when I researched your life for this interview, I could almost at times barely believe what I was reading about the stuff that's happened to you, the really bad stuff. I mean most people go through life and they have, you know, a bit of trauma along the way.
And I'd apologize in advance for going through this in almost like a list form, but when I read that your parents divorced when you were 2, your father, who you had barely seen since then, was shot and killed.
In 1975 your younger sister Karen was abducted, raped and murdered. She was 18. In 1980 your younger twin half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident. In 2001, a close friend, a producer of "Frasier," David Angelo, died in the 9/11 attacks.
You know, I got to the end of this, and I didn't know, to be honest with you, how you had even come through that. I don't know how any human being comes through that kind of thing. I mean, put it in some kind of overall context for me, to be hit by so much tragedy. GRAMMER: Yes, well, we touched on it a little bit before, though, I was being general. And one that's really important is my granddad died, too, when I was 12. That was -- he raised me. That was the -- that was the big impact until my sister was killed, of course. That one just seemed like an absurd topping on the situation that I thought was just impossible.
And it was that incident that sort of propelled me into a -- at least a phase. I mean, I lost faith. I lost myself. When I was a boy I had this -- it's sort of like that old Walt Whitman poem, about, you know, everything a boy saw he became. I had a love affair with the universe. With a blade of grass, with a rising sun, went surfing, and I used to surf all the time when I was a kid.
And my life was a joy. It was a joyful experience. It was -- it was full of sort of affirmation and encouragement, and I loved being alive. And I was consciously in love with being alive. And then these deaths took place. You know, these deaths occurred. And when I lost Gordon, I went very quiet for a long time. That's my granddad. And I didn't really speak to anybody for a couple of months.
MORGAN: He'd been the father figure.
GRAMMER: He was my father, yes, basically. And when I finally sat one night -- this is in Ft. Lauderdale where we had moved. And I got this overwhelming sense that I was just going to be alone for the rest of my life which made me kind of sad. And when I was 18, I packed it all up and went up to Juilliard to, you know, find my fortune, whatever.
But it was that year, two years later actually, when Karen was killed, that you know, sent me into kind of a tailspin. And it was -- it was a horrible nightmare for her. I mean, it was. The three young men that abducted her, raped her repeatedly, said that she would, you know, maybe they'd let her go.
You know, this -- there's some more documentation about what happened. And I being the big brother I'd always been thought that I had some responsibility for that. And that haunted me for, well, at least 20 years, that notion.
MORGAN: It makes so much more sense to me, the kind of slightly chaotic relationships that you had and the kind of -- the descent into drugs and alcohol and so on, it all makes much more sense when you understand what you've been through.
GRAMMER: Sure. Yes. I think --
MORGAN: It doesn't surprise me.
GRAMMER: Yes. I think after the success came -- you know, Robin Williams had that great saying about saying, you know, cocaine is god's way of telling you you're making too much money.
MORGAN: You trained with him at the Juilliard, didn't you? GRAMMER: Yes, we were together in school. But once success came -- I think what really compounded my difficulties in dealing with some of that was simply that I didn't feel like I was worth it. Like I didn't deserve that kind of success, that kind of reward, that kind of -- well, what you say about me, you know, this popular face on television. I'm OK with it now.
GRAMMER: I really am.
MORGAN: But it's probably -- it's part of that because you managed to deal with so many of the demons?
GRAMMER: Yes. There was a self-loathing about it that, you know, came into play and it was easier to run away from it. And -- but there was also the intoxicating enervating, you know, charge of getting high and having fun. And actually -- and there was even the kind of mythology of being a Hollywood actor. You know, there's -- you know, Errol Flynn and you know some of the big drinkers of the past.
MORGAN: Is it mythological or it's actually -- you know if you think about it, is there actually a reality to this? I mean you were earning squillions, you did have the big houses, you have the fast cars, you have the beautiful women. I mean for a while, it must be fun, isn't it, despite everything else?
MORGAN: It's only when eventually --
GRAMMER: I would be a fool to tell you I wasn't having a good time.
MORGAN: Yes. I always think when people go through this, they say it was all terrible. I think, no, it wasn't.
GRAMMER: No, not at all.
MORGAN: If it was that bad, you wouldn't be doing it.
GRAMMER: Cocaine, it was too much for me. Brought me to my knees eventually. Honestly that's really what happened and --
MORGAN: What was the -- what was the wake-up moment for you?
GRAMMER: Well, there were -- there were several along the way. Where I'd just -- you know, I'd sit there and say, you got to stop. This has got to stop. But it's hard to do that with cocaine. It's really -- it's insidious and it's wonderful, that's the problem.
MORGAN: How did you manage to stop in the end?
GRAMMER: Well, actually, I did go to Betty Ford and that helped. You know it was a -- and the best thing that they said, actually, was how's it been working for you? That's what I thought. And then they said, well, you know, you spend a month here and maybe you'll figure a way to do things a little differently. And honestly that's really what was the turning point in terms of me being able to take charge of my life again. Because I mean I do -- I do all kinds of things. I mean I still have a wonderful, fun kind of approach to life. I do not -- I don't do cocaine any more.
MORGAN: Do you drink alcohol?
GRAMMER: I have a drink sometimes, yes.
MORGAN: You can drink in moderation?
GRAMMER: Yes, yes. But you have to be every mindful that, you know, you had a relationship with it in the past that did cause some trouble, so you have, you know, to be careful.
MORGAN: We're going to have another break. Come back and talk about how you got back on your feet. And also just dabble slightly in marriage and divorce.
MORGAN: Because you are something of an expert in this area, Kelsey.
MORGAN: Back with Kelsey Grammer.
Kelsey, let's talk -- let's talk love, marriage, and divorce.
GRAMMER: All right.
MORGAN: I don't really mind what order you do it in, but -- but you already I think explained in a very, I think, profound way, why you think you drifted into -- I guess what turned out to be inappropriate relationships. But at the time maybe didn't seem so inappropriate.
Did you struggle for a long time to have any meaningful relationship because of all the drugs, the partying, and everything else? Was it all inconsequential at the time? How did it feel to you?
GRAMMER: It's interesting. I spent, oh, maybe about eight years not really settling down with anybody, kind of having, you know, peripheral relationship with people. I was mostly focused on acting, trying to get a job, doing some work.
And then, when I came to New York, I met a girl. I was 28 years old, and I thought, you know, I'm tired of this. I actually want to settle down and I want to have a child. I thought, I'd like to start a family. So, I met my first wife.
GRAMMER: Doreen. And it went -- it went pretty poorly.
MORGAN: Yes. And this lasted -- well, it last a while.
GRAMMER: About a year.
GRAMMER: But it -- well, this -- it took a long time to get divorced, which is interesting. I was in a five-year divorce, I think.
MORGAN: You had a great daughter, Spencer.
GRAMMER: We had a fantastic child, Spencer.
MORGAN: So, that was a --
GRAMMER: It was wonderful, yes.
MORGAN: Now, it's your second marriage that really starts -- this starts to really deteriorate.
MORGAN: So, you married the stripper --
MORGAN: Leigh-Anne Csuhany.
GRAMMER: Csuhany, yes.
MORGAN: In 1992. And that lasted a year.
GRAMMER: That was a year.
MORGAN: Lots of allegations of abuse, she fired a gun at you, there was talk of divorce, she attempted suicide. This was "The National Enquirer" for real.
GRAMMER: Oh, it was horrible, yes. It was horrible.
MORGAN: Did she fire a gun at you?
GRAMMER: That was another night. That was before I married her.
(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: You married her after she shot at you?
GRAMMER: Yes, no, this is the -- this is what --
MORGAN: Wasn't that a warning sign, get off it?
GRAMMER: I tell you, it was absurdly across -- a shot across the bow.
MORGAN: A woman shoots at me, I'm thinking twice about the marriage, you know?
GRAMMER: So that fell apart pretty quickly. And then I met my third wife. And what's funny is, I didn't see the -- I didn't see the similarities at first, but all the same impulses came up about, oh, I could really help her. I can -- you know, I can --
MORGAN: This is Camille.
GRAMMER: Yes. I can -- I can save her, give her some sort of refuge. And I think, in the long run -- I mean, it's difficult to have anybody hear this, but I think -- it wasn't really a relationship based upon love. It was a relationship based upon appearances.
And it was good for me to basically -- you know, at least try to settle down and have a normal relationship. And so I -- I sort of dedicated myself to that without realizing that I -- I needed to have a profound love to really pull that off. And so --
MORGAN: And what was bizarre about the whole thing was it was all being played out on television sometimes.
GRAMMER: Everything was playing out on television.
MORGAN: She was in the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and so you would pop in and out. And the whole kind of unraveling of that marriage --
MORGAN: -- was laid -- there was, I would imagine for you, who's always run away from that kind of attention --
MORGAN: -- on your private life. This must have been like hell, wasn't it?
GRAMMER: Well, I have to -- I mean, I have to tell you, my -- "The Real Housewives" was my parting gift to her. Now, whether or not it worked well for her doesn't matter. It was my way of saying, "Look, you always wanted to be famous. Here you go."
Everybody knows that reality shows are not particularly a great way to be famous, I mean -- but, you know what? You still get attention. You still get all those things that come along for the ride, which I think is what she was most interested in.
And that was the gift. And I knew that when it came up, we'd be saying good-bye. I mean, I remember having one conversation where I said, "Well, don't worry about it. After the first season, you can do the 'Divorced Wives of Beverly Hills' next season."
MORGAN: You weren't really joking.
GRAMMER: No, I wasn't.
MORGAN: I mean, the strange thing is at one stage quite early on in the marriage, you said this. You said that Camille was the most profound, the most rewarding, the most honest relationship of your life. That it was love at first sight for you.
I guess the obvious question is, were you -- throughout that whole period, were you a bit of a spontaneous, incurable romantic? Were you just charging around looking for true love and constantly believing you quickly found it?
GRAMMER: No, I think -- I think what I was trying to do was sell it to myself. You know? Knowing that I didn't really have many more chances at something like that, in my mind. And I thought that this was the -- this was the kind of relationship I should try to have.
And it just -- there was the still, small voice in the back of my head saying, this isn't going to work. But I stuck to it.
MORGAN: How are things between you now? Because you've got two children. It's been, to put it mildly, messy. And you've pretty well-kept your dignified counsel. But -- I mean, how are things?
GRAMMER: Well, they're not good.
MORGAN: Do you have any kind of dialogue with her?
GRAMMER: We have no contact, no. There have been some very unfortunate incidents, public incidents, with the -- in front of the children. Stuff like that we'd like to -- I'd like to avoid. There're been some -- some attacks on Kayte, which aren't particularly interesting.
But I guess -- you know, people say all kinds of things. But none of those are true, and we've had some -- some difficult moments. The only thing that I've ever really wanted was to try to work out something that would be nice for the kids. But --
MORGAN: How is your relationship with them?
GRAMMER: Oh, it's great.
MORGAN: Do you get --
GRAMMER: The kids are fantastic.
MORGAN: You get plenty of access? GRAMMER: Well, they're trying to -- they're doing their best to actually kind of make that difficult for me right now. Well, here's the thing. Listen, Camille asked for a divorce really almost the first day we were married. And it stayed that way for a long time.
And I'd give a piece of advice to women who say, "I want a divorce," as some sort of tactic. Because if you say, "I want a divorce" enough times, you're going to get one.
MORGAN: Do you think she married you because you were Kelsey Grammer, TV icon?
GRAMMER: No, I think she married me because I was Frasier.
GRAMMER: I think it was Frasier. He had this great, wonderful life. He was stylish and --
MORGAN: Great personality.
GRAMMER: -- all that stuff, just a little gay, who knew, you know?
GRAMMER: And he was -- he was famous. You know, Kelsey Grammer was a different story. You got home, and Kelsey Grammer was somebody different. And been a lot of -- she said quite a few ugly things, and -- it's not so bad that she says them publicly, but I know that what happens is, she's actually saying them in front of the kids at home.
MORGAN: What's been worst thing, the most hurtful thing she said about you?
GRAMMER: Well, you know, I haven't been keeping track of everything, so there might be something that would surprise me.
MORGAN: But if there's one that you think about now, what is the thing that really stung you? What do you hate being called the most? What's the most unfair labeling?
GRAMMER: She once said that I didn't want my daughter. That pissed me off.
MORGAN: Yes, well, it would, wouldn't it?
GRAMMER: Yes. And --
MORGAN: Because the one thing --
GRAMMER: -- not true.
MORGAN: -- that I can sense with you is, you're a very committed father.
MORGAN: You know, you've been a fairly hopeless husband --
MORGAN: -- from time to time with the various wives, and some of them have been pretty useless wives. But you've, throughout it, been a very conscientious --
MORGAN: -- loving father.
MORGAN: So, that kind of thing must really hurt you.
GRAMMER: Yes. The thing that she said that hurt me the most that I think hurt both Kayte and me, actually, was the thing about our lost -- the child we lost. And --
MORGAN: Because Kayte was pregnant --
GRAMMER: Something about it --
MORGAN: -- earlier this year.
GRAMMER: Yes, something about it being karma. And --
MORGAN: Because that's just a vicious thing to say.
GRAMMER: It's just disgusting. So I guess that's all I have to say.
MORGAN: Let's have a break. Let's just make things happier, here. Let's bring things up to current day and to your new wife, Kayte. You finally went British. As I said at the start of this interview, if you'd just gone British earlier, Kelsey --
MORGAN: -- you could've saved yourself a lot of aggravation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAMMER AS FRASIER CRANE, "CHEERS": You all think I'm just an old slipper? Well? Am a good boy? Would a good boy do this?
GRAMMER AS FRASIER: I am running with scissors!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The brilliant "Cheers," of course, from Paramount again.
"Cheers" is appropriate, really, because we've come to that moment in the interview where things take a happy turn.
You're on a flight to New York -- from England? Where are you flying?
When you meet Kayte?
GRAMMER: When I met Kayte? I was on a flight to England.
MORGAN: To England from New York?
GRAMMER: From Los Angeles.
MORGAN: From Los Angeles?
MORGAN: And it's a Virgin Atlantic flight. She's --
GRAMMER: Virgin Atlantic flight.
MORGAN: She's a stewardess -- one of Richard Branson's beautiful stewardesses.
MORGAN: Now, I've been on many flights, and there're been many beautiful stewardesses, particularly with Virgin Atlantic. None of them has given me a second look.
MORGAN: What was it about you on this flight? What magic did you weave?
GRAMMER: Well, you know what?
MORGAN: Because Kayte is a very beautiful young lady, as we can see here.
GRAMMER: I'm going to need to set the stage just a little bit. I'd had a heart attack three years ago. It was after the heart attack, about a month after the heart attack, my mother died, and I had a just a horrible day with the ex -- threatening divorce again and screaming about how it was all over, and I thought my mother just died. What's wrong with you?
And I suddenly realized -- and I've said this before to a press person, and they actually said -- I'll say it first. I said -- I said to myself in my head, I looked at my life, and I thought, is this the last story you want your life to tell? And I said no.
Now, granted, it took me another two years. But about a year and a half after that moment, Camille started seeing somebody, and I even encouraged it. I thought, you know what? Go find your happiness, because you are not happy with me. And that's where I was.
And I was doing that show. I got this phone call, "Are you interested in playing George in 'La Cage Aux Folles'? Come to England and see what you think of the production."
And I knew the minute I got that phone call that my life was going to change completely, and that I was -- that something else was happening.
And when I walked through LAX, I spotted a girl --
MORGAN: It's like a movie script.
GRAMMER: It was amazing. I spotted a girl who just looked to me to be magnificent. And it wasn't just that she was attractive or that she had, you know, obvious assets.
GRAMMER: There was a warmth, a glow about her that I was drawn to. And I thought, Boy, I hope she's on my flight. And when we got on the plane, she sort of walked down the other aisle, and I went, Oh, she's there. I hope she's, like, working on my side of the plane. And then there was this one moment when we sort of smiled at each other. And I thought, I've got to talk to her. And so we started talking...
MORGAN: Did she know who you were?
GRAMMER: Oh, I think she knew who I was, but she didn't know who I am.
GRAMMER: I found her so charming and warm and interesting and lovely, and I guess there was a sort of freshness about my persona at the time that was attractive enough to her to think it would be worth meeting for a cup of coffee.
And as I walked down through the lobby of the hotel I was in, I turned and looked at the bar, and I thought, You know what? That's just a pickup joint. That's not the right place for us to have this moment. And so I walked to the middle of the street. It was Christmas. It was magnificent. There were lights everywhere. There was a nip in the air. And this vision comes up from the tube stop in front of Harvey Nichols (ph) and puts on a little lipstick. And I thought, Oh, my God, she's the cutest thing I've ever seen! (LAUGHTER)
GRAMMER: And I said, Listen, I want to just go take a walk. It doesn't feel right to be in there. So we took a walk over to Hyde Park. And they had this Christmas fair thing going on and there was a Ferris wheel and...
MORGAN: I know exactly what you're talking about. I know that fair!
GRAMMER: We got on the Ferris wheel. And I looked at her and I thought -- I have to go back for one second. For the last several years, I had been saying to one particular friend of mine, I said, You know what? I don't care if I ever have sex again. I just want to be kissed. I want somebody to kiss me just once again in my life and mean it. And I looked at her in that moment, and I thought, I'm going to try.
MORGAN: Well, don't leave it there!
GRAMMER: I told you I wouldn't cry! She's going, like -- so I leaned in and kissed her, and we've been together ever since.
MORGAN: It's one of the most romantic things I've ever heard! You're making me...
GRAMMER: Listen, the snow started to fall as we walked across the street together. It was insane. It was like all the planets had danced together into a segregated charm on our behalf. And it was messy. It's been difficult since then.
Kayte was uncertain about -- you know, I was trying to do something, some noble gesture to make the destruction of the marriage, the previous marriage, go easier somehow. And that was a mistake. That was just a mistake. I should have walked home and said, We're done. You can finally have everything you wanted, and I've found a new life.
MORGAN: I mean, it takes a strong woman to put up with all the mess that was around your life at the time.
MORGAN: ... and to stick with it and to end up marrying you, fourth wife. You know, you're not like an easy sell to a family, you know? What is it about her you think that enabled her to deal with all this?
GRAMMER: She believes in love.
MORGAN: I hope you still fly Virgin Atlantic because if Richard Branson hears this story, he's going to want to make a movie out of this! GRAMMER: We just went to England to visit her family and visit our new niece who was just born to Kayte's brother and sister-in-law. I love this new family I'm part of. I lament the fact that I'm not being allowed to see my children as much as I'd like to, but you know what? We're going to iron that out. And it's onward and upward.
MORGAN: You know what they say, Kelsey, true love will conquer all. And I think you've found true love.
GRAMMER: I have.
MORGAN: Let's have a little break. Let's come back for a last segment and just talk about "Boss" for a moment. I can't take much more of this romance. It's going to finish me off.
MORGAN: Kelsey Grammer. I think we've recovered now, Kelsey.
MORGAN: Needed a break there!
MORGAN: Let's talk about "Boss" for a moment. It's a great role for you, isn't it.
MORGAN: It's a proper, serious, meaty acting role. Are you really enjoying it?
GRAMMER: It's been -- it was a presumptive joy to go to work every day. The stuff that Farhad Safinia, the fellow that wrote it, has been given me to say has been extraordinary. I mean, I think people will be quite startled by it. I hope they don't go through some kind of emotional upset because it's not "Frasier," I mean, because, I mean, it's so clearly not. It's just a completely different adventure. And he is a violent, vile, fascinating --
GRAMMER: -- loving, charismatic creature.
GRAMMER: He's fantastic.
MORGAN: Do you like him or not?
GRAMMER: I love him. I love his fight. He's a fighter. He's a courageous son of a bitch.
MORGAN: But isn't that you...
GRAMMER: He won't quit.
MORGAN: Isn't that you, in the end?
MORGAN: You're a fighter really. You've been through stuff that would have finished off lots of people.
MORGAN: Here you are, as happy as I've certainly ever seen you, and you've done it because, in the end, you just -- you fought your way to where you got to.
GRAMMER: Yes. You don't quit. You don't quit. I mean, listen, you quit some things when you realize that that path is done. I just think that's prudent. But you give it your best shot always, and if things don't turn out in your favor, something else will.
MORGAN: What a life you've had.
MORGAN: Do you feel lucky to have ended up where you are.
GRAMMER: Incredibly lucky. You know, I've felt lucky all through it, blessed in some way, even in the darkest days. A friend of mine had a great phrase for it. He said -- he was a chronic, horrible, awful relationship with booze and women and all kinds of things. And he said, In one moment, I cried out to the God of my childhood. That always inspired me because when you cry out, there is an answer. And that's been my experience.
MORGAN: Do you feel for the first you've gone back to the joy of life you had as a young boy?
GRAMMER: Yes. It is remarkably the same.
MORGAN: Kelsey, it's been a real pleasure.
GRAMMER: Thank you, my friend.
MORGAN: Thank you very much.