CHUNG: Carmen Electra has a lot more going on than just her new "Baywatch" reunion, the "Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding" special. She's hosting a new version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" called "Livin' Large." And she's been starring in "The Pussycat Dolls," a burlesque show. Of course, she's gone through some choppy waters too. You know that, not just in "Baywatch," but in her well-publicized personal life. We talked about that and more.
CHUNG: Carmen Electra, I'm so happy to have you with us.
ELECTRA: Thank you, I'm happy to be here.
Now, you're in a very good place in your life right now. Things are going pretty well. You're engaged, right?
CHUNG: And why don't you tell everybody who you're engaged to?
ELECTRA: His name is Dave Navarro. And he's just the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. He's really changed my life. I'm really happy to have him in my life.
CHUNG: Good for you.
OK, so let's roll back. You were born and raised in a suburb in Ohio.
ELECTRA: Cincinnati, Ohio, yes.
CHUNG: There you go.
CHUNG: I don't know if a lot of people know that. Your real name is?
ELECTRA: Tara Patrick.
CHUNG: Now, one of the biggest surprises in reading about you was that, when you auditioned for Prince, you actually sang a song from "The Sound of Music."
CHUNG: I can't imagine Prince playing the music on the piano and you singing. What did you sing?
ELECTRA: "Do Re Mi" from "The Sound of Music."
And you know what? It was so shocking, because I was only 18 years old. And here I am at his house and I'm auditioning for this all-girls band that he's putting together. And he asked me to sing something. So he go over to the piano and he starts playing "Do Re Mi." And I was in "The Sound of Music."
CHUNG: Oh, so you knew it?
ELECTRA: So I knew it. So, I was like, OK, this is perfect, but very odd.
CHUNG: Very strange.
Let's go back, then. I was also surprised to learn that you came from a family of six kids.
ELECTRA: Yes. CHUNG: Yes. You had a very rough year in 1998.
ELECTRA: I did. I had a really hard time. My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She lived for about a year with the tumor, but then she passed away. And a week before my mother passed away, my sister died in her sleep.
CHUNG: Oh, my gosh. And she had a heart attack.
ELECTRA: She had a heart attack in her sleep.
CHUNG: How old -- she was young?
ELECTRA: Yes. She was only 40 years old. And I really didn't know how to deal with that, because my grandparents are really old. They're in their 90s. And they've lived a long life. And so, just to have my mom and sister pass away so sudden, I just really didn't know how to handle it.
So I kind of pretended like everything was OK. And because they lived in Ohio, to me, they were still there.
ELECTRA: So I wasn't really dealing with the pain. And I made a lot of really bad decisions and got in a little bit of trouble.
CHUNG: Well, OK, so we'll tell them about one little thing that they already know about, right?
ELECTRA: One little thing? OK. OK.
CHUNG: You were married to Dennis Rodman for 30 seconds, right?
ELECTRA: We were actually married for about five months.
ELECTRA: But we had dated for two years.
You know, I was just -- I can't really explain why I did that. It was just, I think, not wanting to deal with the pain. And I think it was a distraction. And it was a lot of excitement, too, because it was a lot of fun. There was a lot of fun nights out on the town and traveling. But then there was a lot of pain. And, finally, I woke up and I decided that, in order to heal, you have to feel. And I needed to get away from everything that was preventing me from feeling the loss of my family.
CHUNG: And once you were able to feel, you actually -- you were able to grieve?
ELECTRA: Absolutely. I started to cry. And the more that I would cry and allow myself to feel it, the stronger I got. And it was just -- it was such an amazing growth period. And I don't know how I figured it all out, but I did. And I spent about a year alone and I didn't date. I didn't want to date anybody, because I had gone on a few dates and it was just a disaster. And it was always in the tabloids.
And you would go on a couple of dates with a guy and they're saying that -- they make it into so much more. And so I just needed to be alone. And then I met Dave, who's been amazing. And my career and everything changed. My whole life turned around. So I'm really happy now.
CHUNG: Good for you.
So, you really are doing well. You have the new version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," right?
ELECTRA: Yes. Yes.
CHUNG: And then you have this "Baywatch" special that's coming up.
Another thing I read about you that just sort of was, "Huh?" you auditioned for "Baywatch" knowing full well you were going to play a lifeguard, and yet you couldn't swim very well. You could swim a little, but you weren't a swimmer.
ELECTRA: Well, the thing is, I wanted the job so bad because I just -- I thought it was such a great, fun show. And I would watch it all the time. And so when the producers of "Baywatch" called me to audition, I was so excited. And I was sort of caught on the spot. During the audition, they said, so, can you swim? And I said, yes. And they, well, we have this water tank downstairs.
And so I had to go down and do a swim test. But there's a complete difference from swimming in a pool, opposed to swimming in the ocean.
CHUNG: Oh, I think so.
ELECTRA: It's really hard to swim in the ocean. So, I figured that I could take some lessons and by that time, I'd be fine. And it was hard. It was really hard. I pulled it off OK, but it was tough.
CHUNG: Well, now everybody's bringing all their kids back, right?
ELECTRA: I know. Everyone has children. It's so sweet. The reunion was so much fun. And I'm pretty much like the only one that doesn't have a baby. So I need to get started right away.
CHUNG: Well, go.
CHUNG: Go ahead. Get on it. Thank you for coming.
ELECTRA: I enjoyed it. Thank you very much.
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