BAR­BRA STREISAND

Closer Weekly - - Contents - By LOUISE A. BAR­ILE

The icon re­veals sur­pris­ing sto­ries about how her dif­fi­cult past made her the star she is to­day.

At the cen­ter of a bed cov­ered with snacks, soft drinks, pa­pers, old mag­a­zine clip­pings and a cou­ple of doz­ing dogs, sits the su­per­star per­former Bar­bra Streisand, who has been work­ing on her mem­oir. “I write in long­hand with a soft pen­cil,” re­veals Bar­bra. “I like to erase. I can re­write.”

Vol­umes have al­ready been pub­lished about the leg­endary singer, ac­tress and di­rec­tor, but Bar­bra has never been mo­ti­vated to tell her life story her­self — un­til now. At 76, the per­former wants to set the record straight, re­veal her truth about her jour­ney to the top and fi­nally un­leash long-held se­crets. “I kept jour­nals, es­pe­cially in the ear­lier years,” ad­mits Bar­bra, whose road took her from hum­ble be­gin­nings in Brooklyn to be­come an Emmy, Grammy, Os­car and Tony win­ner as well as the best-sell­ing fe­male record­ing artist of all time. A NEW CHAL­LENGE Bar­bra, who re­cently re­leased her 36th stu­dio al­bum, Walls, lives in Mal­ibu in a ma­jes­tic com­pound fronting the Pa­cific Ocean with her hus­band of 20 years, ac­tor James Brolin, 78. It’s where she’s forc­ing her­self to re­live her past. “I find it hard to look back,” ad­mits Bar­bra, whose pres­ti­gious pub­lisher Vik­ing Press hoped to re­lease her stil­lun­ti­tled bi­og­ra­phy in 2017. “They wanted the book in two years!” says Bar­bra, who has been writ­ing for four — and she’s still not done. “She is a well-known per­fec­tion­ist and she is on her own sched­ule,” notes a friend. “She be­lieves she’s earned that and she feels

AF­TER YEARS OF LET­TING OTH­ERS TELL HER STORY, THE

LEG­END IS READY TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

ob­li­gated to do the best for her fans.”

In her forth­com­ing book, Bar­bra plans to clear up some of the most pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tions about her — such as the per­sis­tent ru­mor that she is a diva. She in­sists that she never makes un­rea­son­able de­mands and notes that on the set of 2004’s Meet the Fock­ers, she had only one trailer while her costar Ben Stiller had four! “I thought, These peo­ple, boy, they ask for a lot of stuff! I never even thought of it,” says Bar­bra, who con­fesses that, un­less she is go­ing out, she ha­bit­u­ally wears sneak­ers and sweat suits around her house. “They all want to see me as this oth­er­worldly per­son,” she says, “which I’m not.”

Still, she’s lived a pretty re­mark­able life. To com­plete the colos­sal task of writ­ing about it, Bar­bra em­ploys as­sis­tants to help her with names and dates and to dig up old news clip­pings. “You know, I have to look my­self up,” she ex­plains. “I have let­ters and things that one of my as­sis­tants — who’s been with me, God, over 40 years —started when she was 19. She sends me won­der­ful things that I for­got.” Some of these

old clip­pings can even sur­prise Bar­bra. “I tend to for­get the good things writ­ten about me and re­mem­ber the bad. That’s a crit­i­cal flaw I have,” she says with a laugh.

“I can’t take my voice for granted. It’s a gift. I have to

use it.”

— Bar­bra

SHAR­ING SE­CRETS What can fans ex­pect Bar­bra to re­veal in her mem­oir? Cer­tainly, she’ll ex­am­ine her im­pov­er­ished child­hood, her fa­ther Emanuel’s early death and her dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with her mother, Diana. A semi-pro­fes­sional opera singer with a so­prano voice, Diana wanted her clearly gifted daugh­ter to go to sec­re­tar­ial school in­stead of show busi­ness. In re­sponse, Bar­bra grew out her nails so she wouldn’t be ex­pected to use a type­writer. “She had talent,” Bar­bra says of Diana, who worked as a sec­re­tary. “I said, ‘Why didn’t you do this, why didn’t you go af­ter your dream?’ ”

Diana, how­ever, didn’t have the same burn­ing am­bi­tion that fu­eled her daugh­ter’s rise to the strato­sphere. “You can have a dream, but how do you man­i­fest it, how do you make it hap­pen?” asks Bar­bra to­day. “Hard work, heart, tak­ing chances — that was al­ways my phi­los­o­phy.”

In 1968, Bar­bra be­came a film ac­tress and won a best ac­tress Academy Award for Funny Girl. Just 15 years later, she di­rected her first movie, Yentl, which she also wrote, pro­duced and starred in. “I’ve writ­ten about my movies [in my book] be­cause I like talk­ing about that,” says Bar­bra, who in­sists that de­spite her many ac­com­plish­ments in film she’s fi­nally left Hol­ly­wood and act­ing for good. “I don’t like act­ing. I don’t like make-be­lieve. I like real life,” she ex­plains. KISS AND TELL Bar­bra had the same clear-eyed at­ti­tude about love. Her many ro­mances with bold­face names in­clud­ing first hus­band El­liott Gould, ten­nis star An­dre Agassi, Don John­son and more will be among the mem­o­ries she shares. “I did a chap­ter on Mar­lon Brando, my re­la­tion­ship with him,” re­veals Bar­bra, who ad­mits that she had a teenage crush on the ac­tor but turned down his ro­man­tic over­tures in the 1970s. “He wanted to take me to the desert, to see the wild­flow­ers,” she re­mem­bers. “I was such a nice Jewish girl that I just said, ‘Mar­lon, I can’t stay overnight with you.’” De­spite her gen­tle re­jec­tion, the pair re­mained life­long friends who talked on the phone for hours.

Love, says the star, has been the only thing in her life that can make her put aside her work. “On the one hand, I am — or I was — am­bi­tious,” con­fides Bar­bra. “On the other hand, if I was hav­ing a great love af­fair or some­thing, I’d say, ‘I don’t want to do any­thing else.’ Search­ing for per­sonal hap­pi­ness was more im­por­tant.”

The per­former never ex­pected to find the love of her life at age 54. Her re­la­tion­ship with James, whom she mar­ried ex­actly two years af­ter they were set up at a din­ner party, will cer­tainly be in­cluded in her mem­oir as the most pri­vately re­ward­ing event of her ex­cep­tional life. “It is ev­ery woman’s dream to be some man’s dream woman,” says Bar­bra, who says that Jim com­pletes her. “He fills a void in my life. He makes me feel very safe.”

She feels so se­cure that she can fi­nally re­veal her life story in her own way, even if there is no telling how soon she will re­lease the much-an­tic­i­pated tome on the pub­lic. “I like to live in the present, not the past,” she says. “[But] I have lots and lots of sto­ries.”

— Re­port­ing by Katie Bruno

“[Mar­riage] is much more pleas­ant when you’re older,” Bar­bra says.

The cou­ple with Josh Brolin, his son Trevor and Bar­bra’s son Ja­sonGould.

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