The Days Of Tammy

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Then in March , Bakker resigned, admitting he had a tryst with Jessica Hahn, a year-old former church secretary. Tammy Faye Bakker stuck with her disgraced husband through five stormy years of tabloid headlines as the ministry unraveled. Jim Bakker was convicted in of 24 fraud and conspiracy counts and sentenced to 45 years. The sentence was later reduced, and he was freed in There was even a popular T-shirt satirizing her image. Her biological father walked out.

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She was reticent about her age, but a profile of her in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said she was born in March Then she thought again. Bullock, lasted just six weeks in early Shortly after it went off the air, she underwent surgery for colon cancer. She said afterward that she endured bleeding for a year because she was embarrassed to go to a male doctor. And she wore her makeup even in surgery. I went in fully made up and came out fully made up. Spotts said that the family is considering a public memorial service for the coming weeks, but that nothing had been finalized Saturday.

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Andis Grooming College Master Series presents: A Day of Grooming with Tammy...

Expand Collapse. It seemed like a great idea at the time. I arranged to meet the Queen of Eyeliner at the makeup counter in the bowels of Bergdorf Goodman in the midst of her promotional trip to New York for her new self-help tome, "I Will Survive And You Will, Too! In her book, Tammy Faye Messner she's remarried and no longer a "Bakker" proves herself to be a font of advice such as "I think almost everyone should own a wig.

It makes every day a good hair day" and asks big questions like "Who made the rule that you don't put mascara on false eyelashes, anyway? Tammy Faye has certainly survived a lot.

The good, Surreal Life of Tammy Faye

They owned lavish properties as well as his-and-hers Rolls Royces. But in , Bakker was forced out of his PTL post when certain irregularities in his business and private life began to leak out. Remember the allegations of bisexuality and his infamous one-nighter with church secretary and future Playboy model Jessica Hahn?

In , Bakker was sent to prison for diverting millions of dollars from PTL's coffers for his personal use and PTL crumbled along with the Bakkers' reputation and fortunes. For a time, the flamboyant Tammy Faye retreated from the spotlight, all the while maintaining her and Jim's innocence and insisting that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had orchestrated their fall for his own gain.

But a few years ago, an award-winning documentary film, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," narrated by RuPaul, was made about her rise and fall and she quickly became a cult figure. And now -- having also survived cancer, an addiction to prescription drugs, second husband Roe Messner's two-year stint in prison for bankruptcy fraud and the deaths of numerous close family members -- she's back and busier than ever.

Not only is she promoting her book, she's also peddling a one-woman play, has just signed on to do a reality TV show, and is fixing to re-enter the world of Christian television with "The Tammy Faye Show," a daily variety program she's planning to syndicate. The afternoon of our Bergdorf meeting, it's not hard to spot Tammy Faye, with a middle-aged man and a woman trailing her like loyal pups, striding past the society women who populate the store in the middle of a workday.

She looks pretty much like you'd expect her to look -- lots and lots of makeup; teased-out, blond-streaked red hair; black-and-white striped outfit with matching black-and-white striped earrings -- only way better and, like most celebrities, much tinier. After we exchange greetings and she introduces me to her companions -- her cousin Phyllis, in to meet her from Minnesota, and Joe, the man she credits with coaxing her back into the spotlight after all these years -- I share my makeover plan.

She digs around in her purse and whips out her off-the-rack eyeliner: Maybelline Great Wear. Eyeliner stowed, we pause and look at the tubes and tubs tastefully arrayed on one of the makeup section's many counters. Tammy Faye looks confused, panicked even. We turn to leave, but she's been recognized. Makeup salespeople and customers begin to swarm. Men and women rush from behind their counters, pressing compliments on Tammy Faye and creams, unguents, perfumes and lotions into her palms.

It's mayhem. Then I switch on my tape recorder, she helpfully props it up between the salt and pepper shaker, and we're off. Because they asked me. They came and found me.

I still can't believe it. I thought my 15 minutes of fame was up long ago. Then the book company came and said, would you like to write a book? And I said, well, I would love to but what do you want me to write about? And they said, whatever you want. So I went home and just started writing from my heart on my old typewriter. The book is a journal of how to survive. I've been through a lot. I mean, I've lost everything in my whole life. I've been rich. I've been poor. I've been through so many deaths. I've had my reputation just ruined and had to build that back again, and husbands and cancer and prison, and I survived it.

I made it through. And I want to tell other people how to make it through those same type of things. So many times I thought it was all over, that I would never get to do another thing, and I'm going back on Christian television again. We're starting over again, and there's nothing wrong with starting over small again.

When people fall down and they feel like they've had it and there's nothing left, they just need to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and say I'm going to start again. Oh yeah. There were many days I thought, "I'll never be able to start again. It will never work. Everything's been too destroyed. Did your faith ever waver? In the book it sounds like it did a little bit right after PTL collapsed and Jim went to prison. Oh, I think everybody's faith would waver in a situation like that.

I was so disappointed that God would allow all that to happen.

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But after the fact I realized that He allowed it for my good. In everything give thanks. Oh, man. Be thankful for losing everything? Give thanks for divorce? Give thanks for two husbands in prison? That's almost an impossible thing. Give thanks when your brother dies, when your mother dies, when your dad dies, when your aunt dies, when your sister dies, when your best friend dies? I lost all of those people within just a few months. And we're supposed to give thanks? That's what the Bible says.

Why in your book did you soft-pedal around the whole Jerry Falwell thing? You didn't soft-pedal in the documentary made about you a few years ago, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," in which you indicate that he deliberately brought down PTL, smearing your and Jim Bakker's reputations, and betraying what you thought was a friendship. Yet in your book you don't name him as the man who destroyed PTL. I don't know. I suppose. But I did it before and there was no problem. I've always been very honest with the Jerry Falwell thing.

I would love to talk to Jerry. I would just say, "Why? I forgive you, Jerry, but why? Can you explain why you put your arms around us and said that you would help us and then you took everything from us? No, I don't have anything against Jerry. I really don't. But I do think that the truth ought to be told.

I think people ought to have to live the truth. Because, you know, back in the olden days, when you killed somebody, rather than putting you in prison, they would strap that dead body onto your back, and what that dead body ended up doing was killing you. And Jerry Falwell was strapped on my back. I carried him with me all the time. I hurt all the time. It was all I could talk about. It was all I could think about. That hurt was unbearable.

And one day, I felt like God said to me, "Tammy, lay him down. Lay him down at the cross that I bled and died on. Just lay him there and I'll take care of him. Because, see, holding bitterness and holding unforgiveness only hurts you. It makes your blood pressure high. It makes your heart rate increase. It does all these bad things to you. And why destroy yourself over something they'd be glad about? I mean, he'd be glad to know if I was still hurting.

How can people hear [about how he betrayed us] and so many things like that and they're proven to be true and still it not faze them? I don't know the answer to that question. How can people tell the difference between a Jim Bakker, who you say is an honorable man, and a Jerry Falwell? You know, I really don't think you always can. If people know God you're supposed to be able to tell the difference. But you know, sometimes we as Christians get so busy, that we don't have time to stay in contact with God, and that's when we make mistakes in judgment.

Anybody can come to God, anybody. God loves a person who is not a Christian just as much as he loves Billy Graham. Just as much as he loves Oral Roberts. Just as much as he loves these great men of God, he loves that person that he still wants to bring to him. So nobody has a corner on God. We're all exactly the same in God's eyes.

Oh yes, because it's not by work lest any man should boast, the Bible says. You have to come to Jesus. You have to come to him. And that's a choice. So, he loves us whether we come to him or not, but there is a consequence to pay if we don't come to him and that's going to hell. I believe in hell. He can be forgiven. Jerry Falwell, if he's asked God to forgive him for what he did, then he's right with God again.

But if he lives this cruel and crooked life, which you have experienced, and I, who am not Christian, live a perfectly upright life, then am I going straight to hell and yet he gets to go to heaven? See, honey.. The way God says is if you come to God, he will in no way cast you out. It doesn't make any difference if you're Jewish, if you're Catholic. If you love God and you've asked God to be a part of your life then it's not works, it's not anything else that you've done, or haven't done, it just ends at the cross.

Switching tacks a little bit I didn't know this until I saw the documentary "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," but you really were quite progressive when it comes to the gay rights movement. How do you reconcile that with the fundamentalist Christian stuff? Because I think that's the way Jesus would be. He loves everybody. I think Jesus loves the rascals. Was there any backlash? I mean, the clip that's shown in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," where you're interviewing the fellow who has AIDS and you're crying because no one will embrace him.

When was that, in the '80s? Yeah, that was way back. And people wouldn't even walk into the same room as someone with AIDS. They wouldn't even breathe the same air.

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Wouldn't even hug 'em. That's awful. It is awful. What was the reaction when you did shows like that?

Did anyone ever try to stop you? They never tried to stop me, which was very interesting. I wouldn't have stopped anyway, but they never tried to. Well, I didn't and then all of a sudden my hair began to grow under my wig and when I took it off I thought, "I don't need these wigs anymore. I washed it last night, which was a very daring thing on a trip, because it only looks good if it's real dirty. No, I'm not done with wigs, but I'm not gonna wear one unless I have to.

If it's raining outside, I might put one on because you can take it off and just shake it and put it back on and look great. You can't do that with your own hair. It was sort of an accident. I mean, there are no accidents with God, I know, but people always ask me how I do the will of God for my life and I couldn't tell them, I don't know.

Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: A Scandal of the Self

I think you just get out and start doing something, if it works, it's God's will and if it doesn't Jim and [his new wife] Lori live in Branson, and Jim's back on television also. Not long ago, the grandkids graduated from their middle school and Jim and Lori came and Roe and I were there and we all laughed and had a really good time together. We all get along just fine, which is wonderful because I was married to Jim for 30 years so why not be friends?

Did you ever consider living a very private life after all your troubles and not going back out into the spotlight? Oh, I tried until he [her friend Joe, across the table] came along. He literally pulled me back into my work again. He said, "Tammy, it's not right that you sit back here and don't do anything, because the people need you. They need you back.