And then as soon as you were in the publiceye…
Well, that just continued. Because then I was in the public arena of “Why?” Because then it was like, “Oh, you’re dressing like a slut or a whore, so you must be stupid.” Or “You’re promoting sexuality, so you’re a whore and you’re just doing this for attention. You have no talent.” Again, I was like, “Why? Why can I not be sexual and be intelligent? Why can’t I strut around onstage like Mick Jagger and not be pigeonholed as a bimbo? Why?” Again.
Or Prince, at the same time.
Exactly. Thank you, yes.
You responded the same way you did in high school: “You don’t like how I’m dressing – how about this? How about this book ?
Same thing. Yeah. My nature is to provoke, that’s true. I can’t help myself. But it’s always with good intentions.
In your 2005 documentary “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret,” you called your old self “an idiot,” which seems pretty harsh.
Well, there’s a lot of idiotic things about my old self and my new self. I mean, one’s always being an idiot, let’s face it.
Have you embraced your old self a little more since then?
Yeah, maybe. Now I don’t even remember why I called myself an idiot. I can be very harshly critical of myself. It depends on my mood, and obviously it depends on where I am in my life. Yes, embracing myself – I’m working on that [laughs].
Aren’t we all?
Aren’t we all. Exactly. Well, some people aren’t. Yeah. Some people are medicating themselves all the time so that they don’t have to embrace themselves. If you can’t feel, you can’t embrace.
Do you still enjoy provocation? Even now?
Um, yeah [laughs]. Would you like me to provoke you? I mean, you’re not asking that question because you don’t know the answer, right?
Well, there was a time when you were talking as if you’d left that in the past.
Really? Did I say that? I think there probably was a time when I was less provocative. That’s when I was married. Yeah.
I didn’t make that linkage.
Yeah, make that linkage [laughs].
What was it about that marriage that made you feel that way?
Well, I don’t think my ex-husband approved of it. Or maybe he didn’t understand it. I don’t think he understood my provocation. He was not a fan of me kissing Britney Spears onstage, for instance. Was that provocative? I think it was. I mean, now it wouldn’t be.
On some level, he must have known whom he was marrying.
Yeah, but I think all of us make the mistake of thinking we’re going to change people when we get together. But we’re not. People are who they are. And people change in their own time, you know?
During that marriage, you were drinking beer for a while, which is hard to picture.
[Laughs] I was, because, you know, when in Rome. And when I lived in England I was embracing all things English, and I went to pubs a lot. If you go to a pub, you better learn to appreciate ale.
How do you balance your own rebelliousness with being a mother who’s trying to get kids…
To do their homework? Well, I say, “You want to change the world? You want to be somebody?” Rocco looks up to people like Bob Marley. My son David looks up to Michael Jackson. And I say, “Being educated is a big part of being a rebel.” And also discipline, starting a project and finishing through to the end, is key to making something out of your life.