Britain’s Fergie blames booze, cash woes

LOS ANGELES – Sarah Ferguson told US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday that alcohol and cash woes had pushed her to tell a reporter in a sting that she could “open any door you want” to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. In an exclusive interview, the now purportedly cash-strapped Duchess of York, 50, said she had not seen the damning footage that has triggered the latest scandal to rattle her personal life. “I haven’t faced the devil in the face because I was in the gutter at that moment,” the former British royal told Winfrey. “So I’m aware of the fact that I’ve been drinking, you know, that I was not in my right place.” Ferguson then agreed to watch the three-minute video clip, after which she alternately lamented her intoxication and insisted that she could not remember whether or not she was drunk when it was filmed. “Thank you for showing me because, actually, I felt really sorry for her,” Sarah said, referring to herself in the third person. “What do you mean by that?” Oprah asked. “Well, because she’s complete — she looks exhausted,” she said. “I think clearly I’ve been (having) too much to drink.” She then said she could not recall what she was drinking that evening. “It’s really painful, so I can’t remember whether it was orange juice or wine,” she says. Ferguson spoke to Winfrey in Los Angeles on Friday for the interview that aired in the United States Tuesday. Ferguson said she agreed to a second meeting with the British tabloid News of the World reporter, even though he failed to sign a confidentiality agreement. She said she wept when he handed her $40,000 which she said she needed to give to a friend in need. “I think I was so out of control with desperation to the point where I’d reached no return of helping my friend with the $40,000,” she told Winfrey. When Oprah asked why Ferguson could not ask her husband or the Queen for monetary assistance, she replied: “Absolutely not, because I am divorced from the royal family and I would never dream of doing that.” Ferguson said she had a “substantial” amount of debt and that her spending was out of control. “I’ve got a huge uphill battle, but that’s why I must look at bankruptcy,” she said. “Before, [I was] spiraling so out of control I was looking for the quick fixes in places I wouldn’t normally look,” she said. “Like anybody that goes through an addiction to food, and addiction to goodness knows what … it’s just out of control behavior.” Some US entertainment media have reported that Ferguson is interested in moving to the United States, and that she might be keen to pad her bank account with an appearance on a reality television show. Last week, Ferguson apologized for a “serious lapse in judgment” after the tabloid published the story. Ferguson also admitted having financial problems after she appeared to agree to be paid by a journalist posing as a businessman, in the video that was secretly filmed by the News of the World. In return for the money, the paper said she promised to introduce the undercover reporter to the prince, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s second son and Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment. As well as making the deal for half a million pounds the footage also showed Ferguson sitting in front of a pile of cash apparently handed to her as an advance payment. After the publication of the report last week, the duchess issued an apology for her actions and said the prince had not been aware of the meetings. In the video, Ferguson had suggested the prince knew about the discussions.

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