10 Questions for Sarah Ferguson

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Sally Ryan / New York Times / Redux

The last time many people heard about you, it seemed as if you were on tape, accepting cash for access to your husband. Would you like to explain how that came about?
Well, you're right to say it seemed like that. It wasn't for access to Andrew. That was tabloid journalism. It was total sensationalism, cruelty and a setup. I take responsibility for my actions, but I think the tabloids should take responsibility for theirs too. It was — as I've said many, many times now — a big lapse of judgment on my part. But it put me on a path to meet Oprah and some amazing people. It's been an extraordinary shift in my life, one which has caused me really to become aware and to grow and to really be able to understand more of life.

Anybody can have a massive lapse in judgment. But this did involve somebody giving you a suitcase full of money. Did alarm bells not go off?
It wasn't a suitcase full of money. And I think we're going to drop it right now.

Do you think you get a harder time from the tabloids than other famous people do?
I think that my press has consistently been negative for 20 years.

Why do you think that is?
"Bad Fergie" sells papers. It's a very interesting persona. I don't really know who she is most of the time.

In doing a book and a TV show, both called Finding Sarah, aren't you opening yourself up for more tabloid inspection?
It took me many months to make the decision because I knew that I would yet again put myself above a fire pit. But I was already open. I was already scrutinized. And I thought, If I can do it and be very candid and sincere and really go to the authentic Sarah, then hopefully there are many people who would watch it and not feel so alone.

Has it been more difficult for you to do fundraising work since your trouble?
It's more difficult personally, because I feel so sad. But for the charity work, it's not difficult, because people know me.

July 1 would have been Diana's 50th birthday. What kind of life do you think she would have if she were alive?
I don't know. She's not here. I wish she was. I wish she was. I'm the only ex-wife of a member of the royal family, and it's extremely hard.

The book and the show demonstrate the bond you have with your daughters and the affection and admiration you have for Andrew —
And he for me.

Absolutely. Have you ever considered getting remarried?
No. I think our fairy tale will end in the way we are now. He is the oak, and I am the cypress. We grow to the light and encourage each other to grow, like Kahlil [Gibran] said in The Prophet.

Do you regret that you are no longer married?
I think that one of the big lessons I have to learn is to live without regret. The day of [Kate and William's] wedding brought it all back to me. I was the bride up that aisle, and suddenly it's like waking up from a dream, and you suddenly go, "What happened?" And "Why did I make some of the wrong decisions I made?" But you can't go back. That's the most difficult thing.

Your daughter Beatrice got a taste of being in the tabloid eye with the hat she wore to that wedding. Did you give her advice about that?
No. I was in Thailand. The hat just arrived that morning. Philip Treacy is such a great milliner; he's brilliant. But I think he had quite a lot of hats on [display] that day. I'm proud of my daughter. That Beatrice turned disaster into triumph by selling it for $132,000 for UNICEF and Children in Crisis [a charity Ferguson founded] is the most extraordinary achievement. And it was all her idea.