Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lips Unsealed: Chatting with Belinda Carlisle

by: Anne M. Raso

Belinda Carlisle recently made a special appearance to promote her autobiography Lips Unsealed: A Memoir (Crown Publishers, $26) at the Barnes & Noble at 150 East 86th Street in Manhattan, and to make things super-special for fans, she let longtime gal-pal Sandra Bernhard grill her with issues covered (and not covered) in her book in front of over 400 fans! We here at were lucky enough to get a few minutes of alone time with Belinda while she signed about 100 copies of the book to be sold in the store and for promotional purposes. (She is the only author we have ever seen sign ON THE COVER, with the exception of RuPaul, so she's in good company!)

Belinda was very forthright when we interviewed her. She says, "I had to leave certain things out of the book not to hurt family and friends" and she wrote it at this time not only as a "catharsis" but to help woman feel better about themselves. As gorgeous as Carlisle is (and she is one of the few people who actually gets better looking with age), she has felt totally "slayed" by the focus the media has had on her weight. She told us, "I always thought I was normal but it seems like the press always wrote that I was 'pretty and chunky' and things like that. I never knew why the focus had to be on a number on the scale. In Europe it is not so much this way."

The book focuses on her battle with cocaine which lasted nearly 30 years (she admits she had a problem until as late as 2005) and her feeling of abandoned when her dad left his family of seven kids when Belinda was only five. She discusses him trying to catch up with her after the Go-Gos hit pay dirt, and she was not exactly thrilled to get to know him and his new family (at one show, she made plans to meet up with Mr. Carlisle and then had security dismiss him). Cocaine also created some crazy behavior (nor surprisingly), including going into dangerous territory abroad to get a stash and spending money recklessly. At the time Belinda met her husband Mason Morgan (former assistant to the President and son of legendary actor James Mason) a little over 25 years ago, she admits she only had $20K in her bank account and a useless racehorse that only placed once and had very expensive upkeep. She told us with a smile, "I was totally out of my mind on blow when I bought that racehorse." In general, Carlisle seems to be dealing with poor self-image, depression and generally feeling undeserving of her fame...and it took over 25 years to overcome.
Carlisle signing Lips Unsealed

Belinda seems happy and adjusted these days, and her book is definitely worth picking up. She lives in both the South of France and India and seems like she is light years away from that punk girl who helped put together an all-girl band while sitting on a curb in Hollywood and lived in a West Hollywood crash pad called Disgraceland. The Go-Gos farewell tour for this summer has gone by the wayside since bassist Jane Wiedlin got an ACL injury in early June and on the slate next (besides promoting Lips Unsealed) is a spell playing Thelma Von Tussle in the West End version of Hairspray. She also has a commercial enterprise called, which sells beautiful handmade goods from India that she personally selects. To stay unstressed, she chants everyday, and explains that the key to a happy marriage is "to give each other a lot of space." She seems to have taken bouts of poor solo album sales and getting kicked off Dancing With The Stars after one week in stride. (In the book, the singer/actress seems to think going on the show was a mistake.) Carlisle is the mother of 18-year-old Duke Mason (named after her stepfather), who is openly gay and seems to be following in his dad's political footsteps already.
Carlisle's longtime friend Sandra Bernhard with a fan

We plowed through Lips Unsealed in about four hours one night, and couldn't put it down. We were also happy about the positive ending (we got worried there for a while). Belinda's still on the go (or should we say go-go)?! Expect "the beat" to continue with a positive attitude.

[photos: Anne M. Raso]

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