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Playboy Interview: Whoopi Goldberg
  • February 26, 2012 : 20:02
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Playboy: You quit school in the ninth grade. Why?

Goldberg: Because it was boring. You couldn't ask questions. People would tell you what they thought you should know.

Playboy: How did your mother react?

Goldberg: She was not pleased. She was not pleased.

Playboy: What did you do afterward?

Goldberg: This and that.

Playboy: What does that mean?

Goldberg: It means this and that.

Playboy: Did you live at home?

Goldberg: Unh-unh.

Playboy: On the streets, then? What is life like out there when you're 14 years old?

Goldberg: I don't know. It's not the same now.

Playboy: What was it like for you?

Goldberg: Interesting.

Playboy: You don't want to----

Goldberg: No, I really don't.

Playboy: You've admitted doing drugs, heroin. What could be worse?

Goldberg: I have answered most every question you've asked.

Playboy: It's not as if you were in jail for three years.

Goldberg: No, I wasn't in jail.

Playboy: Well, we're still curious about those mystery years.

Goldberg: They're not a mystery. It's just something I don't want to talk about for public consumption, you know? I am a little gun-shy these days, for reasons I explained at the beginning. And so I just keep this stuff to myself. I lived, I survived, I grew up, I got married, I had a kid, I got a divorce, I moved to California, I lived, I got lucky in New York, got lucky in California, I'm making movies, I'm doing OK. People don't have to know everything about me. [Laughs]

Playboy: Let's finish with the subject of drugs--or as much as you feel you can say. Do you remember the moment you realized you had to stop?

Goldberg: Actually, no. Maybe I just got tired of it. I just knew it was necessary. I decided to go into a program. They took me--and yelled at me a lot and I yelled at them, and they put me through this Gestalt therapy and it straightened me out.

Playboy: What is that therapy like?

Goldberg: It's very military. You come in at a certain time, have certain chores. There's a group. You have confrontations, heavy talks, people going, "Fuck! What am I? Why am I? Drugs didn't work. What do you have to offer to make me feel better about myself as a person?" The therapists say, "Only assholes do drugs. Look in the mirror. What do you see? An asshole!" [Pauses] Drugs made me feel good about myself, only not for long. That's the pain-in-the-ass thing about them. After feeling great for three or four hours, you gotta turn around and do it again. So what's the worse evil: trying to make friends and keep them or trying to get high and keep the feeling? At some point, I had to decide what I really wanted. People in drug programs are often looking for some part of themselves. They're very shy. Drugs make it easier for them to talk. Or they feel small and drugs make them feel big. Sometimes it's a power trip. Sometimes it's just a miniroad to death. There are a million stories.

Playboy: Did you see friends O.D.?

Goldberg: A lot of people. It was just bad luck. The junkie's attitude is "I hope I don't." But if you do, you're on your own. No one wants to go to jail as an accessory to murder. But a lot of the drugs started doing that--killing people. [Mutters] Little mousetraps. Little mousetraps.

Playboy: How do you feel about the idea of drug testing?

Goldberg: I have to take tests all the time for movies. Honey, now they want blood. I hate it. I fight it. I say, "Are you asking me if I do drugs? Why don't you ask me? You think I'm not going to tell you? You think you won't be able to tell? Why do I have to give you blood? How do you know I'm not clean for X amount of time just to be clean for you?" I give urine. No blood. I don't like needles. I wouldn't give blood to anybody. I don't like anybody poking me. If you want to know if I'm into drugs, you'll just have to keep your eye on me.

Playboy: How old were you when you cleaned up?

Goldberg: Seventeen. And then I married my drug counselor. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. He was bored with what he was doing and wanted to try something else. I figured nobody was ever going to marry me, so I might as well do it just in case.

Playboy: Were you pregnant?

Goldberg: Oh, no. Good girls don't.

Playboy: How long did the marriage last?

Goldberg: Not long. It wasn't right. You get married because you love someone and for no other reason. It can only last if you're deeply in love, and we weren't. It was mutual. I split back to Manhattan with my kid. I stayed with my mother for about a month until a friend who had been working in the theater called to ask if I wanted to go to California. Bingo! We drove a barf-green car to San Diego via Lubbock, Texas. I was appalled. I thought we were going to Hollywood. But it was OK, because I was going to be acting.

Playboy: Are you still in touch with your ex-husband? Does he see his daughter?

Goldberg: No. His loss.

Playboy: However, when you got to San Diego, things were tough. You were a welfare mother, had lots of odd jobs.

Goldberg: Not odd jobs. Gigs. I went to beauty college and worked in salons, because I'd been a hair model. I worked in strip joints--but I never got my clothes off. People were screaming, "Don't do it!" I have great legs, but once you get up near my butt, it's not good. I also know how to lay brick, how to Sheetrock. And I worked in the morgue. Did their hair.

Playboy: You did hair on dead bodies?

Goldberg: Yeah. You play with the bodies. They're like big dolls. [Giggles] No one's around. You put them in a chair, paint their lips, do eye shadow. Make them look punk. Or very, very dead.

Playboy: They don't look dead enough?

Goldberg: [Laughs] You can powder their face totally white. Or make them look like a Raggedy Ann doll. And then you get to work. It's good work.

Playboy: Did you have any time for a social life or boyfriends in San Diego?

Goldberg: I had a boyfriend for a little while, but otherwise I kept pretty much to myself. I didn't want a lot of guys in my house when my kid woke up.

Playboy: But you had gained enough confidence to know you could get a guy.

Goldberg: Well, shit! All you got to do is open your legs and you can get a guy. Pussy talks, you know? But then, what do you do when you're finished? If it's just about getting a guy, that's very easy to do. But I was not so interested in that. I really wanted someone I could spend time with if I was going to choose to do that. But if you're a single parent and you're a woman, you get these lines from guys: "Oh, you know, I don't want to get involved." "Well, I don't want to be a father." It's like, Hey, we're only going to the movies. Jack! Cool the chill! What makes you think I want you to be a father to my kid? Cool out! They just assume you must be desperate.

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