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
L.A. WEEKLY: What would you like readers to take away from your memoir?
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?
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?
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?
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
What causes substance abuse?
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?
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?
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”?
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.”
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
Deepak Chopra told you, “Happy thoughts make happy molecules…” Please explain.
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.