Alana Stewart Chats About Her New Memoir and Her Marriages to Rod Stewart and George Hamilton
Alana Stewart has been an international model, actress and talk-show host. She added filmmaker (Farrah's Story) and bestselling author (My Journey With Farrah) to her résumé when she set out to document best friend Farrah Fawcett's battle with cancer, which Fawcett eventually lost.
Stewart's life sounds like a Hollywood fairy tale, but the reality, as detailed in her memoir, Rearview Mirror, is more like a morality tale. She grew up in a shotgun shack in rural Texas with only a couple of chickens and her beloved cat for companionship, raised mostly by her grandmother because her mother was a pill-popping mess and her father had abandoned the family. She became an airline stewardess and decided to seek a better life in New York. Next stop: modeling, and a glamorous, bicoastal life.
Within a few years she was married to B-list film star George Hamilton. When that high-profile marriage ended after three years, she dated all kinds of rich and famous men before she married hard-drinking A-list rock star Rod Stewart, a union that lasted five years.
Three themes are woven throughout her narrative: the disastrous effects of substance abuse by everyone around her, from her mother to her three children, her self-destructive search for a magical Daddy who will solve all her problems, and her more recent search for spiritual salvation and inner peace.
L.A. WEEKLY: What would you like readers to take away from your memoir?
ALANA STEWART: People might have the impression I had an easy life, but it's been anything but that. Someone else going through similar challenges might relate to it.
Critics accuse you of exploiting your 30-year friendship with Farrah. Were you?
I had nothing to do with making the deal for the documentary. She handed me her little handheld camera and we started filming everything for her personal use. After a year she was in remission, and the networks started offering her money to make it into a documentary. She made the deal on her own.
And the book?
I was going to write a memoir that mentioned Farrah, but when I started looking at my diaries, those three years were so important that I felt it shouldn't be just a chapter. I talked to [Fawcett's longtime love, Ryan O'Neal] about it, and I talked to my minister and to Marianne Williamson, a spiritual teacher. They all said you have to do it because there are going to be other books, and yours is the truth.
What is your biggest regret?
I wish I had been a better mother and a more compassionate and understanding wife in both of my marriages.
What are you most proud of?
That I have three incredible children. And that I've done a lot of spiritual work on myself, trying every day in every way I can to be a better person.
What causes substance abuse?
Experts say it's hereditary, that it's genetic. And it can be exacerbated by circumstances. Both my sons had abuse issues, and I used to blame myself by saying, "If I had stayed with my first husband and never got divorced, it probably would have been much better for them." But I know families that have stayed together forever and have children who have had terrible substance-abuse problems.
Have you ever had a substance-abuse problem?
Somehow it skipped me, but I had a binging and purging problem. When I was young, I used food instead of liquor or drugs to stuff down my feelings.
How do you think Rod Stewart will react to your revelations?
I never call Rod an alcoholic, but there were times in our marriage when there was a lot of drinking and drug use. I think he will talk about it more in his book, which is coming out a couple of weeks after mine.
Are you still searching for that "magical Daddy"?
I'm not searching for that magical Daddy, but I would like to find a partner in life, because I feel like finally I know what love is and what love isn't.
Were you in a codependent relationship with Rod?
Yes, I'm certain I was.
Define "codependent relationship."
It's when you feel like that other person is such a part of your life that you're not two separate people. It's when your happiness depends on another person.
Deepak Chopra told you, "Happy thoughts make happy molecules..." Please explain.
Our thoughts really do create our lives. They've done a lot of research showing if you're an optimistic, positive person you will be a healthier person than if you're a sad, depressed, negative person.
How does Rod get that rooster look?
His hair just kind of grew that way. I know he used to dry his hair upside down. I don't know if he still does it.