On having sex with all three of her husbands on the 1st night and not being single since 17
A lot of it was me needing a man to define me. I’m finally at a point where I want to define myself.
What part of your life today carries with it lessons for other women?
The most important thing is knowing yourself and loving yourself and loving yourself by you, not by anyone else. What I’ve realized after being married so many times is that I don’t need a man to be happy. That has been my greatest lesson and that’s why I try to teach my children-to love themselves. They don’t need someone else’s approval or definition. They can do that themselves.
I was looking for love. I was looking for someone to love me in order fro me to love myself. That’s why my choices never resonated with who I was, because I didn’t know who I was.
On Posing for “Playboy” at age 40
I felt very proud of my body, and it was a very liberating experience. The photographer captured me in a beautiful way. I’m very proud of those pictures.
Do you see yourself as a beautiful woman?
Of course, I see my physical self and I take care of myself and I do everything that I can to live a healthy life. When I look in the mirror, I look at that. Am I healthy? Do I feel good? How does my heart feel today? How does my spirit feel today? That’s not to say that I don’t put on my makeup or blow-dry my hair (laughs). I do do those things, but those are not the things that make me feel beautiful.
So what makes you feel beautiful?
When I’m being my best self and I’m giving my best self to those around me. If I’m experiencing love in my life with my children, with my family and with my friends, that’s what makes me feel beautiful. Beauty is something that will come and go. It won’t last.
But don’t you get a lot of positive feedback based on how you look? How has that played out in your life?
Yes, but that’s never been enough. The most important thing is when I look at myself in the mirror, what do I see? That has been my journey and that’s something that I work on every single day, and I think every woman has to work on it, whether someone thinks they’re physically beautiful or not.
But beauty does not have its advantages in the way that people respond to you and treat you.
I don’t think in those terms. I really don’t. I don’t walk into a room and think, I’m beautiful; I have an advantage. I also don’t walk into a room and think that I’m not as beautiful; I’m at a disadvantage. I don’t think anyone should ever do that and if they do, they should work on it. That should not be an advantage or disadvantage. It should be about who you are inside and what you have to give to the world.
What has it been like transitioning to single parenthood?
I’ve been a single mother for 20 years. I’ve been married three times so it wasn’t that much of a transition for me. The biggest transition this time after my third divorce was understanding and knowing that I did not need a man to be Stacey, to love Stacey and to feel good about Stacey. And to take care of my children. I did not need a man for that. That I already knew, because I’ve been taking care of my son for 20 years. Your children watch you and they see your strength and your weaknesses, and it’s important that they understand that you’re a work in progress as well.
Would you get married again?
Absolutely. I’ve been engaged six times, married three and I still believe it’s possible.