Rose McGowan spoke about the cult, her parents, and early life at considerable length in an interview with Howard Stern (full transcript). Excerpts follow (I've fixed a few of the many typos within it). --Monger 23:37, 5 Sep 2005 (CDT)
Howard Stern: Well, you had a weird upbringing, maybe this will be good for you, maybe a little stability in you life
Rose McGowan: I've lived on my own since I was fifteen, so yeah, he's actually alot more stable
HS: You grew up in that cult, I read
Robin Quivers: What cult, what is it called
RM: The Children of God , River Phoenix...
HS: That's the one were when you're twelve years old you start having sex for the cult, right? Because your body...the guy who started it was like Moe Guinsberg or something, I don't know what his name was
RM: David Berg
HS: David Berg, and he decided that, hey, if your twelve, your already getting you period so God must want you to have sex
RM: Yeah, well actually, luckily because of my father running the Italian chapter we were kind of protected, but alot of the kids, even River actually say that he had sex when he was four
HS: When he was four, wow
RM: But you know it's always really interesting, and when I was four I remember thinking that these people are promoting some really bizarre screwed up Christian values, I mainly remember like being forced to go to hospitals and like sing on my banjo to sick and dying kids for photo opts, which is like if I were a sick and dying kid the last thing I want is (makes a screeching noise) Killing me, killing me softly
HS: Right, right, right
RM: And ya know, singing for money on the streets
HS: So you never had sex when you were twelve, the cult didn't force you to
RQ: Your parents protected you?
RM: No, I waited till I was 14
HS: You did, and wasn't your job to go out and recruit other people into the cult by having sex with them
RM: No that was the women, they called it Flirty Fishing, isn't that creepy?
HS: The whole thing is creepy
RM: Yeah, I know, I hear ya
RQ: Where are these people?
RM: Well, my mother works for Microsoft (laughs) one could say that's a cult
HS: Oh really, are you friends with your parents
RM: Um, yeah
HS: A little bit, not alot, cuz you probably have no respect for them cuz their in a cult, your like, what's wrong with you
RM: But their not really...their not like that anymore, I mean, certainly it was a different time, ya know 70's, whatever, but I have a hard time, I don't like being around other people, I don't like being forced into situations were I have to be around alot of people, so having to live with alot of stupid people, especially people that didn't shave their armpits or their legs would really vex me terribly
HS: Yeah, it's disgusting
RM: I have a deep aversion to hippies
HS: Is it like a commune thing
RM: Um yeah. Lots of hairy legs, I remember like walking down the street and we'd pick up snails and boil them and that would be like lunch (Howard & Robin make sounds of disgust)...that's what I'm saying
HS: And what was with your parents, what were they thinking putting you in that dangerous situation
RM: Obviously, kids were a little down on the list
RM: So they had six kids to make up for that (laughs)
HS: So are you in psycho therapy...you have six...
RM: They had six kids to make up for that whole thing
HS: Did you go into therapy to try and straighten your head out
RM: Oh yeah
HS: It hasn't worked?
RM: You know, I found out a fascinating thing from my therapist actually, she does alot of work with like ex-cult people and stuff, and there's this thing called the Cult Awareness Network and they were basically people helping people get out of cults or bringing, ya know, attention to cults and warning people, and they did a big thing on Scientology and the Scientologists sued them, made them bankrupt and bought that, so now the Scientologists are the Cult Awareness Network, so when people call to get deprogrammed from other things they're getting Scientologized
[. . .]
RM: But not to...I mean, I really don't know all that much about Scientology or this or that, she seemed like a really nice person, but I thought it was very interesting that they now run the Cult Awareness Network, so don't call if your trying to get out of something
HS: Really, boy that's pretty weird information
RM: But then again maybe if your listening to Howard Stern...(talking over each other)
HS: See, I have a theory that every family is a cult. Now, seriously..
RM: Mine just happened to be 200 people
HS: Yeah, yours was 200 people, but I even say that my parent had rules
RQ: They indoctrinate you
HS: They indoctrinate you, and everything is about making them happy
RM: My rules were my father...I had to sit on my butt all day long and learn how to snap my fingers when I was six, otherwise God wouldn't teach me how to drive a car when I was sixteen
HS: Wow, talk about weird
RM: Even then I was like, that is such a load of crap
HS: Your parents told you hey, sit on the bed and snap your fingers or else
RM: God won't teach you how to drive a car when your sixteen and also that I could never wear nail polish cuz God could see the dirt underneath, just weird little weirdo things
RQ: Boy, oh boy, oh boy
RM: Their funny though, their really smart...
HS: How'd you get out of the cult, like when you were fifteen you just said I'm split'n?
RM: No, we were nine, I was nine, uh, we actually had to escape cuz alot of kids were disappearing into child slavery rings, I know it sounds very fantastical
HS: No, it doesn't
RM: I could be sweeping Qaddafi's doorstep right now, basically
HS: Your telling me, alot of the kids disappeared
RM: Well, what would happen was if there was a bunch people in a family, a bunch of kids and the parents wanted to leave or something one of the kids would disappear
RM: Basically as a warning that all the other ones...and it's very difficult to get out of, and I remember there was this crazy black guy name Peppa that I woke up with when we went to our first kind of escape house thing, and I woke up with him like swinging outside my window and trying to hammer the house down...very strange people
HS: Where are the police in all this
RM: In Italy? (laughs)
HS: Oh, that's true
RM: My mom, when she was 9 months pregnant with me, the Italian police were trying to climb on her, thats what was going on there
HS: But I don't understand something, so when you're 9 you get out of the cult and...
RM: Come to America
HS: And where do you go, who do you live with
RM: Well, I went to live with my grandmother for a while in Gig Harbor Washington, which was quite a bit of culture shock
HS: Right, but at least you got out
RM: Yeah, well
HS: So you must love your grandma cuz at least she got you, like she put you up somewhere
RM: Yeah, the first day I was in town I had to sit at the organ and learn to play America the Beautiful with a huge like flag over the organ
RQ: Well, you got to realize the grandmother raise the parent (laughs)
HS: Thats right
RQ: So they, there's a problem there
HS: Hey, you poor kid. So when you were fifteen you ran away from your grandmother
RM: uh no, I lived with my, my dad came back and my mom came back and I bounced between both of them, I lived ya know all...
HS: But now your not even in touch with them, probably
RM: No, no, I talk to them
HS: Ya do, a little bit?
HS: Yeah, what a mess, a nightmare
RM: I mean, I have really great brothers and sisters, they're all really smart and really funny
[. . .]
HS: You gotta weird uh (sort of laughs)...so wait a second, explain something to me when your nine years old, tell me how when your nine years old you get out of a cult cuz I'm trying to follow this, for anyone who's listening who's in a cult, so you...
RM: I'm just going with my dad at that point
HS: Oh you did, you ran off with him
RQ: Yeah, they escaped
RM: My mom still stayed in for awhile
HS: Yeah, but don't they try to bring you back and stuff
RM: That's why they sent the crazy black man name Peppa to hammer down our house
HS: Oh I see
RM: That was a convincing argument, I thought
HS: Don't they still contact you, I read somewhere they still contact you
RM: No, uh, like a couple years ago I opened my door and there was box of baby clothes of mine sitting on the front door step which were Italian and only could be from there and their the people who had it
RM: So just kind of like weird little things, but I heard recently that they actually relocated to Glendale, California and they've changed their name, to spruce up their image, to The Family, which I don't think is a very smart name to change it to
(talking over each other)
RM: Sounds a little like Charles Manson
HS: Sounds like Manson to me, the Manson family
RM: Gee, I want to sign up
HS: Hey, what about this though, this is weird, your father wouldn't take photo's of you until you were thirteen cuz he said you were too ugly
RM: No, from around the time I was thirteen
RM: So it's kinda like thirteen on, there's like no pictures of me
HS: Your father said you're too ugly, I won't take pictures of you?
HS: Holy macrole! Come on, don't tell me you still talk to these people! Don't tell me!
RM: I tell ya, ya know it's very funny because my father is a very funny, very brilliant and very retarded or insane person. He's an artist so they get away with alot of that crap under the guides of like, ew I'm an artist
HS: So your confused, you think he's like a good guy on one hand, but he does a lot of bad stuff
RM: Well, when I moved in with my boyfriend he ah...I think in his head he means it from a really good way but it just comes out totally...
RM: He wrote me a letter and the best line of it was, I know I'm going to get killed for saying this, I probably shouldn't, but the best line of it was about uh...he never mentions Manson's name or that he exists, he refers to him as "the man" (Robin & Rose laugh)...some strange man that I picked up from somewhere
RM: So, ah, (starts quoting father in sarcastic voice) "Just remember Rose, it is better to be chased and alone, then soiled and familiar"
RQ: Oh geeze! He's still messed up!
RM: That was nasty!
HS: He was in a cult
RQ: Thats what you call a messed up guy
RM: How would you like to be called soiled, that one took me a little while, and honestly to still, get off
HS: So your soiled because you with a guy?
RM: Yeah, cuz I'm familiar
HS: Oh, thats weird
RM: Meanwhile, this is the person who probably like had massive group sex, tried to have two wives at once. But ya know, those kind of people like Jerry Falwell-ish as long as they have like God to invoke into the mix they can uh..
HS: So if he's sending you letters that means you aren't call'n him, right
RM: Well, this was my birthday letter actually so...(laughs)
HS: Great birthday, about how men are soiling you
RQ: Yeah, tell him not to celebrate it, your stopping celebrating your birthday
RM: I stopped celebrating my birthday (laughs)...I actually didn't go home for Christmas for the first time this year and I have to say it was really nice
RQ: You had a good Christmas
RM: I had a awesome Christmas, I'm not even kidding
HS: Yeah, because you felt relieved
RM: I wasn't stressed out and I didn't...for the first time I realized, why am I paying every year to go and be tortured, not that it's always torture
HS: Yes it is
RQ: Don't relate too much
HS: Please, no, I don't have any idea what she's talking about...
RM: My mom's like a cool lady, who's like a fun friend, she's just like kind of a kooky...
HS: She's like another kid
RQ: Yeah, it would be alright if she wasn't your mother
HS: Yeah, she'd be real nice
RM: Well it does, and I don't know if anyone can relate to this, but it makes you a little sad like when you go to a mall and you see like a mom and a daughter shopping...
HS: And you sit and go, I wish I could of had that...
RQ: Right, that's a mom
HS: I wish I would of had someone that was on my side, someone who protected me, right
RM: Well, the thing thats sad is, ya know, I get engaged but I don't...
RQ: There's nobody to tell
HS: I'm the closest person to you to tell
RM: That's a sad, sad thing... now I'm very depressed
HS: That's pretty bad