Duchess Sarah Ferguson's Weird, Cringe-Inducing Performance On Oprah

Illustration for article titled Duchess Sarah Fergusons Weird, Cringe-Inducing Performance On iOprah/i

If you want to feel really, really uncomfortable and really, really confused, and yet simultaneously stultified, we recommend you devote an hour to the most baffling, metaphor-larded and least enlightening coming-clean, ever, Sarah Ferguson's discussion of her recent bribery scandal:

At first, you think it can't get worse, because the interview starts with us watching Sarah and Oprah, at the Beverly Wilshire, watching the video of Sarah accepting a bribe. "I sound completely drunk, don't I?" she says repeatedly.


But then it does get worse, because then Ferguson "explains," using both the third-person singular and metaphors ranging from devils to hurricanes, how she happened to take a $500,000 bribe in the first place. Sarah, you see, needed some money urgently "for a friend," and some other friends and that friend's parents put her in touch with a friend of theirs, who really wanted to help Sarah because he loves her and he was a businessman. But in fact this guy had taken on the identity of a friend of a friend in India who was a big businessman and wanted to help finance her animation, or whatever, and had claimed he was going through a divorce and he needed her advice about his kids — "and you know me I'm all about children" — but he wasn't.

Got that?

Oprah tries to get things back on track a few times by asking direct questions, like,


How deep in debt are you?
"Substantially...I haven't counted it up because iIve been so grief-stricken. Sort of. Of course, that would be even more irresponsible."

Have you tried to sell information for money before?
"No, i don't think so...of course not! No!"

Was the money for "your friend" actually for you?
"This interview is not about whether it was for the friend, or whether I was drunk...it is about how I have through my actions hurt millions of people."

When Ferguson returns to message, which she does, repeatedly and desperately, it's to assert that she'd "hit rock bottom," and that in fact this is a blessing that forces her to face her demons: "I believe from this it's almost like I've freed Sarah from the treadmill of her life," she says. Some other gems:

"I haven't faced the devil in the face, because I was in the gutter in that moment."


"Of course i know it, because I'm very honest and real and authentic to it, but...whatever."

"You pull away the onion skin, and you've sort of merged the dark and the light of Sarah."


"I suppose I've tried to be perfect for 25 years...little Sarah got lost along the way."

"I'm a tiny little newborn chick."

In what might be called the interminable hour's third act, she throws herself upon Oprah's mercy, invoking their shared passion for charity ("When little Mohammed comes up and says, a guy cut my leg off with a machete, what can Mohammed teach me?") Oprah says that what she saw on that tape was "a spiritually morally bankrupt person." Ferguson pronounces this "genius." Oprah asks her sternly if she's learned from her mistakes. Ferguson says "1000% percent." And "They can take your country but they can't take your soul." And, "I think I'm authentically myself sitting her right now, and I'm going to give it a good shot." Oprah asks if she has anything to add. "Just...thank you," says Fergie. They clasp hands.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I feel like People works way too hard to keep us Americans interested in the British Royals, but I'm just not. I love good celeb gossip, but the Windsors just don't interest me.

So when I heard Oprah was doing this interview, it seemed like a weird place for it. Did she do a similar mea culpa on a UK show?

I watched Di's wedding and I cried during her funeral, but since 1997...blah.