June 1st, 2010
12:50 PM ET
A week has passed since news hit of a video that appears to show Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, sell access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew, but Ferguson still hadn’t watched the tape in its entirety, she told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that airs Tuesday.
“I haven’t faced the devil in the face,” Ferguson said. “I was in the gutter at that moment…I’m aware of the fact that I’d been drinking; I was not in my right place. I don’t know if I’m ready to see it.”
Ready or not, Winfrey played the tape for Ferguson, who made remarks like “I feel really sorry for her” (yes, that remark was made in the third person) as she watched the footage.
“I feel terrible,” she said after viewing the video. “There aren’t very many words to describe [such] an act…I’m stripped bare….It’s like when you get to the middle of the onion after you’ve pulled away everything.” Although Ferguson said she knew she’d been drinking, she can’t remember how much or what she’d consumed.
The story as to how Ferguson ended up in that room in the first place is a convoluted one. The mother of two explained to Winfrey that she’d been introduced to the journalist - who had, according to Ferguson, assumed the identity of a married businessman in India - through a friend. "He had come from a friend of mine, and he’d come very highly recommended from four different people...A friend of mine needed $38,000 urgently, and he said he’d give the money for my friend."
However, three weeks prior, Ferguson added, "this friend of mine rang me up and said, I have a really good friend who really likes you and really wants to help. He’s going through a divorce and he needs your advice."
Winfrey point-blank told Ferguson: “This doesn’t make any sense. Why would you meet with a stranger to talk about his problems?” Ferguson then responded that she “met with him because a friend introduced me to him saying that he would invest in your children’s books, animations…and he wants to help you.”
Eventually, after Ferguson describes meeting with the journalist for the first time and having the sneaking suspicion he wasn’t who he said he was, the story winds its way to the meeting seen on tape. Although Winfrey was doubtful that Ferguson, with her familial connections, couldn't procure the money her friend needed, Ferguson explained that she's "divorced from the Royal family," and although she said she “did Weight Watchers work for 12 years, and then I went into business,” Ferguson “didn’t build a strong financial house. I went into debt again. I’m substantially in debt…I think I’ve got a huge uphill battle.”
As a result, she found herself asking for half a million pounds – an amount she said she had no immediate plans for, since she “plucked” that number “out of the sky” as she sat in the meeting.
"I was so out of my mind. I have to say to you that this has been building up to a crescendo of such spiraling, that I’ve tried so hard to keep up the treadmill of life," she told Winfrey. “I’ve been living, trying to be the Duchess of York. [Living] beyond my means? Yes,” she told Winfrey.
At one point, Ferguson admits that she was "looking for the quick fix in places that I wouldn’t normally look." Ferguson said her debt had escalated to the point that she couldn’t afford rent on her home and had to live with Andrew, who’d given her a room in his home.
“We are divorced and I don’t want to keep being this burden on him,” Ferguson said. “I feel I can come back from this. It may take a long time, but I’m going to give it a shot.”
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