You had also been in a relationship with Rob Fraboni that fell apart around the same time all this was taking place.
Well, when Green Light wasn’t promoted, it was kind of heartbreaking for me and Rob and the band, who had worked so hard on it. And then to make the next record and then be dropped. … We had spent a lot of time on that record, and then we had no album. I just went out on the road anyway and went through my savings because I felt responsible to my career and to them. But it can really eat into a relationship when you are involved with someone you work with and the world is not reinforcing your work together.
So by ’85, he was working on a film and got an offer to work for [Island Records founder] Chris Blackwell, and he wanted to move to New York. And that was not something that I saw in my life. And to put it mildly, there were a couple of painful aspects of the split-up that coupled with the fact that I was not in the best state emotionally and physically, and it just broke me down. I mean, I stayed on the road, playing acoustic shows, but I was broken emotionally and physically, spiritually and financially.
You’ve had a series of long-term relationships with men, but in the interviews you did after Nick of Time was released, it sounded like you weren’t ready for another one soon. How did you and Michael get together?
I was single for three years. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t dating people. I was enjoying dating them. I just meant that I was enjoying not belonging to someone. And I still am enjoying it. But this relationship kind of snuck up on me. I was in Los Angeles for a while in the fall, and I made a video about the homeless called “Wake Up America.” It didn’t get on MTV, because it was only me and Bonnie Bramlett and Rita Coolidge and a few other celebrities, none of whom was famous enough for MTV. But it was a kind of “We Are the World” thing, filmed in MacArthur Park, and Michael sang on the record and was directing us. And I gave somebody my number to give to him, and I went back out on the road. He called, and when I got back, we went out and have been hanging out ever since. But it’s not like we’re joined at the hip. He lives in New York, and I live here, so we see each other occasionally.
But now I have some time off, and he just finished three movies and doesn’t have to be anywhere right now, so there’s time to nurture the relationship. And he’s sober and so am I, so it’s the first time on a long-term basis that I can check this process out. But right now I can’t say where it’s going.
What about kids? Do you see yourself having them?
In the middle of the Eighties, when I was in my thirties, it was out of the question, because I was so unhealthy and so miserable, and I knew I’d have to clean up before I had kids. And now that I cleaned up, I feel like I’m my own kid.
I do know that if I wait too long, I may not be able to have children. But as Michael says, we’ll drive off that bridge when we come to it.
Since we’re talking about families, I wanted to ask you about your mother. You rarely seem to mention her.
I always mention her in interviews, but the writers very rarely put her in, which is a source of great consternation. I have a really good relationship with my mom now. I had a rough time with her when I was a teenager. She wasn’t that happy, and I wasn’t that happy. She was a very talented pianist and, in fact, was my dad’s accompanist and supported him when he was taking singing lessons. Then she stopped her career to work as a receptionist so he could continue to study singing. And then she had us kids, and there was always this feeling that maybe she could have been a star if she hadn’t — I mean, this is me projecting all this stuff. And I competed with her for my dad’s attention, and my dad and her weren’t getting along all the time.
Was all this aggravated by the fact that he was out on the road a lot?
Yeah. And so she had to be both mother and dad and be the disciplinarian. And it’s a love-hate thing, where you want to emulate your mom, and on the other hand, you see her getting the short end of the stick, as it were, in the marriage and as a parent. And it was a confusing time to raise kids in Southern California, where there are so many other kids who are overly spoiled and whose parents would just leave for Vegas and give them a bunch of money and let them run riot. My parents had old-time values and wouldn’t let us run around. And we were pretty mad at them for not letting us be like other kids.
Are your parents still together?
No, they divorced when I was 19. My mom lives in Stamford, Connecticut, and is remarried to a doctor who’s retired but who gives expert testimony in trials. And my dad’s remarried to a woman who was his high-school sweetheart. He hadn’t seen her in 40 years. He lives in the Pacific Palisades, and I see him more because I live out here.