'Celebrity Apprentice': Bret Michaels talks about winning, living, and what's next

bret-michaelsHe came. He saw. He almost died. And in the end, HE ROCKED DONALD TRUMP’S SOCKS OFF! Poison frontman and Rock of Love serial dater Bret Michaels used a mix of charm and creativity to best Holly Robinson Peete, and in the process join Piers Morgan and Joan “Cluck, Cluck… Splash!” Rivers as a Celebrity Apprentice champion. We checked in with Bret on the day after his triumphant victory to talk about his “hiring,” his health, and what’s next for the rocker — both on the road and on TV. Read on after the jump for our full interview!

First off, congratulations!
Thank so you so much. I looked over at Trump at the end and I know his pattern for the Boardroom and I thought “This guy is gonna fire me!” He did the back and forth and I thought when he landed back on me, “Dude, I’m on medication, I flew back here, don’t fire me in front of everybody.” And I didn’t know at first if he said “fired” or “hired” so it took me a minute, and then when I realized it, I jumped up and screamed and I figured, even if that isn’t what he said, it’s live TV so screw it — I’m just gonna act like I won anyway.

Now, I heard Trump say those magic words last night with “You’re Hired.” So I guess my question is: Hired to do what? Are you gonna be sitting in a cubicle somewhere crunching budget numbers from now on?
I should have asked! And in my medicated state I forgot to ask one simple question: What exactly does that entail? They’ll have me down in the mailroom, like, mopping.

How touch-and-go was it — especially with the warning stroke you suffered a few days ago — as far as you being able to attend the finale? And was there a contingency plan of you appearing via satellite if you couldn’t make it?
Absolutely. After the first thing, the appendectomy, that was when they first set up the contingency plan because that was gonna knock me down for a little bit. Then with the brain hemorrhage, there was a major contingency plan if I survived it. And then when the warning stroke came, I thought it had completely knocked me out of going back. But my dream was to fly back. I wanted to go back and be a part of the room. It wasn’t about the show. It was about being in the room, I wanted to be there. So we came up with a whole regimen for what to do for the flight. The bittersweet part of it is they threw a huge party after and I just couldn’t make it. I just didn’t have the strength. I was pretty whipped.

Well, I know you’re playing a gig this weekend and were planning on touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd starting on June 10th. Can you really handle that?
Mentally, yes. Physically, I just don’t know yet. Mentally, I’m there and I want to do it, and at the same time, I gotta be honest: I’m sick and tired of even thinking or looking at a hospital, but I’m so thankful to be alive that everything to me is a good day. Man, give me a headache, I’ll take it. Break my leg…not that I want that!

A lot of people I spoke to when the season started were like, “Oh, Bret Michaels. He’s that guy from the skeezy dating show.” But as the season went on they really learned to appreciate not only your work ethic, but the classy way you treated others and your general joie de vivre. Was it nice to be able to both reach a new audience and to show another side of what you’re about?
Absolutely, and I went in there with all the right reasons. Obviously you go there for charity and to raise a lot of money. But for me, I said I want to show people that you don’t just get lucky, especially in the music business for 20 years. I wanted to show that there is more here and in the process just be myself. I would like to think that some of that came across. And I didn’t want to cut someone’s throat to win. I wanted Trump to see that I could win by really working hard and being creative.

One of the signature moments of the season was you learning that your daughter Raine may in fact have diabetes. That’s incredibly hard for any parent to go through, and you had to do it on camera for everyone to see, which I can only imagine made that much more difficult.
They were very respectful because I broke down a few times, and at one point I just went and hid. It was a lot and I didn’t want to lose and I didn’t want to leave. It was very tough for me to deal with.

One of my favorite life-on-the-road-as-super-successful-rock-stars-is-really-really-hard music videos is for “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, so let me ask you this: Which is harder — touring or competing on the Celebrity Apprentice?
Way, way harder on Celebrity Apprentice. When you do Celebrity Apprentice, it is grueling.  They get you up at 4:45 in the morning and you’re going to sleep at 1. I will never bitch about being on the road. I love the road, but I will say this: When I did the Rock & Roll Tour Bus, the first two days it was a f—ing party. Pouring beer on the drivers — insanity! They were going nuts, which is great! I love it! But then after the fourth day of them living out of a suitcase, they were flipping out, like, ” I can’t do this. Where my s—?” They didn’t realize that there is a certain art form to being on the road.

Speaking of being on the road, with all your recent medical maladies, have doctors cautioned you at all against performing your patented Tour Bus Thrust?
I said, listen, I’m running out of organs here. But at least that organ’s still good! They said just be careful the way you handle the Tour Bus Thrust.

Trump seemed very interested in the whole bandanna thing. Have you hooked him up with one yet?
You have no idea! I set him up. I bedazzled it myself. He’s set up, He’s got it all ready to rock.

You have a new show on VH1 called Life As I Know It that premieres on May 31. What can we expect to see there?
These are the roses and thorns of my entire life. It’s life on the road, life with my daughters, my on-and-off relationship with Kristi, and you see it unfold. I have a fun, crazy, up, down family life as well, and no one has really seen it. But as we were shooting the show, I got sick. And I really don’t want my legacy to be that I had a brain hemorrhage. So I just said, I don’t want to be out there with five episodes to be me in the ICU. It’s not where I want the show to go, so we stopped filming for now. So the sneak preview will be just a taste of what’s to come in the fall. And we’ll shoot when I’m better. There will be a little touch of what happened to me, but I said, “Guys please don’t get stuck on that stuff.” Some may say, “It’s great TV!” Not for me, it isn’t. For ratings maybe, but not for my soul. I don’t want three episodes of me going to get an MRI. So we’ll touch on it, but let’s move on and get what else is going on in my life.

I know you’ve grown even closer with your girlfriend Kristi throughout all of this. What does that mean for the future of the Rock of Love franchise?
This is my feeling about Rock of Love. I loved doing it, I had a great time, but I gotta tell you, after the third one, I was ready for a break from doing that. They were ready to go back in and shoot a fourth one and I was like, “I can’t go back in and fake it. I’m not there mentally right now.” And that was it. If Kristi and I can’t work things out, and a year or two from now that’s where it goes, then awesome. If it isn’t, my acting skills are limited. I don’t want them scripting who I like and don’t like.

For more reality ramblings, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

Comments (63 total) Add your comment
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  • cuse

    What a funny, charming and genuine man. Best of luck Bret!

    • Lynne

      He so deserved to win. His commercial was much better than Holly’s. Funny how they keep lauding Holly for raising the most money, she didn’t do it alone. Both teams, and everyone on them, did it. Just because her team won, her charity got all of it. People need to stop patting her on the back, she didn’t do it herself. Heck she lost 2x’s while project manager!! Bret won both of his.

      • Kat

        You are so right. They kept lauding Holly for raising the most money and yet that is what she does for a living! All of her people helped with that task – Lady Gaga gave 25,000 alone.

  • Sara (other one)

    Celebrity Apprentice completely changed my (admittedly uninformed) opinion of Bret, and I wish him all the best.

    • Khristina

      I changed my view of Joan Rivers last season…I have never liked her until then

  • GS

    As a child of the 80’s, I always loved Poison and Bret Michaels. Saw him last summer with Def Leppard and he still has it. He and Sharon are the reasons I started watching this season. I love him even more now! He is utterly charming and totally creative. I’m glad he got the chance to show people that there is more to him than serial dating and partying. I really hope he takes it easy and takes time to get well. His daughters would rather have their dad around for the long haul which is way more important than any gigs he could do. Best Wishes Bret and way to rock the Celebrity Apprentice! I may actually buy some Snapple even though I hate tea.

  • Julie Encinas

    I am SO happy for you Bret and So proud of you in your Celebrity win. I have been praying for you since your first health issue. God listens and HE loves you very much. Please do not forget your Creator, by whose hand you have been saved and given so much. Check out the song, “He loves Us”, by David Crowder Band. This is how God loves you. I’d love to hear YOUR version of this song, Bret. I love you and will continue to hold you up in prayer. I expect to see even greater things from you because of the One that spared your life. God Bless You Always…

    • Audrey Miller

      Julie, I totally agree with everything you’ve written. Can you imagine how Bret’s life would be if he made the decision to turn every thing over to God. He definitely is working in him

      • Christie Kirk

        Julie & Audrey ~ You both nailed it! God is working in his life and praying that Bret will see that. Not everyone gets second, third, fourth chances. Blessings to you, Bret!!

      • guest123

        You stupid idiots. God has nothing to do with it!!

      • @guest123

        How do you know that? And can you prove it?

  • Melissa

    I am supportive of Bret since literally the beginning of POISON and will always be. Bret is an inspiration and idol in my eyes! Keep on getting better Bret

    • missy

      i’ve been with Bret for years, it works out with bret in my life.

  • orville

    I love that with all he’s been through he still has a fantastic sense of humor the whole situation–mopping the floors as his Apprentice job! Personally bedazzling a headband for Trump. Can’t wait to see him come back next season in “advisor mode.”

  • wtfnyc

    I think Bret’s comment about showing people that he wasn’t just “lucky” is really insightful and smart. Celebrity Apprentice gave him the opportunity to show how creative, positive, hard-working and good to people he is, and THAT’S why he’s been successful for 20 years. I’m totally getting some Troparocka Snapple. :)

  • Buzz Collins

    I met Bret backstage years ago during the height of Poison’s success. He was/is a genuinely nice guy. Actually went out of his way to introduce himself to me.

  • Hayley

    Bret has one of the best attitudes I’ve ever seen: be creative, be bold, and when things go wrong, make a new plan and keep going. He’s totally awesome, a true American spirit.

    • Dally

      And can I add: take responsibility for your decisions and be kind to everyone. He rocks.

  • CJ

    I just wish Bret the best of luck with his future an with his daughter..he is a very lucky young man

  • jh

    I’m a 53 yr old grandma that never heard of Bret Michaels untill the Apprentice. I think the guy is a class act and pray that he recovers and lives a long life.

  • Kristen

    I absolutely love this guy! Never cared for “Rock of Love”, but his his honesty and huge heart have just won me over — I’d watch anything with him in it! I guess being a truly good person is great publicity! :)

    • Jean-Ann

      I couldn’t have said it better.

    • odelia

      i have loved bret since day one and i love his will to keep on rockin and rollin and he is one talented man i love you bret

  • E Kern

    I am a 71 year old female and have never had much admiration for hard-rockers but I may have to update my opinions and it is due to BRET MICHAELS. You really do ROCK!!! Praying for a speedy recover for you.

  • heidi

    BRET MICHEALS!!!! Wow!!! He is absolutely amazing!!! He has triumphed both in and out of the boardroom!!! I think the comment by the govenor swayed Donald Trump in the right direction…He said it’s not ALL business, sometimes you have to go with your heart..The Donald’s response was, very interesting…Anyway, he went with his heart, as well as business point of view & hired Bret!!! Continuous prayers to a great rocker, for a full recovery!!! Luv U Bret!!!!

  • Reba Wilson

    I have always loved Bret he is awesome I am so Glad that he won i was huge fan of rock of love. U can look in brets eyes and tell he has a good soul. and what was great about this show it gave everyone a chance to see his compassion Rock on bret i Wish u the best with everything and i hope u rupp arena if u go on tour

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