Bret Michaels, Ultimate Survivor

With strength and reinvention, the Poison frontman built a successful new career. Here he talks about his latest album, a planned return to "Celebrity  Apprentice"—and surviving a series of brutal health challenges 

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
bret michaels image
Photograph: Mark Mazzanti/Michaels Entertainment Group

More: You must have nine lives.
BH: All of these health scares have taught me the importance of embracing life. They made me decide not to be scared but to live life to the fullest. I have to learn how to mentally embrace what has happened to me and not be angry but just grateful that I am here. My only focus is to enjoy my life both professionally and personally.


More: Are you happy?
BM: I am happy. I have a beautiful family, I have beautiful kids, plus, Kristi [Kristi Gibson, his ex-fiancée and the mother of his two children] has been an amazing person in my life through thick and thin.

More: Last year you announced you both were calling off your engagement. How are you handling the split?
BM: We are fantastic. We have been through so many ups and downs before and always come out stronger and on top. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I can tell you we are the best of friends, more so than we have ever been.

More: How are the children doing with your new arrangement?
BM: When Kristi and I separated there was never any harsh fighting or using our kids. Although it wasn’t easy and, yes, there were many tears involved because this is not easy to explain, we did work together as a team. We live close to each other so I see my kids every single day when I’m in town, I do their homework with them on the phone, I drive them to school and I make every effort to be there even when I am on the road. We talk about everything, keep the lines of communication open and always reinforce that we are a family no matter what.

More: Is the door open for reconciliation?  
BM: If it is meant to be, it is meant to be.

More: Let’s talk about your career. You released your latest album back in December.   
BM: It is called Bret Michaels: Good Songs & Good Friends and it is 15 songs with everyone from Jimmy Buffett to Loretta Lynn to KISS to Van Halen, and Lil Jon even does rap. Making this album was the most fun I have ever had because it is a combination of all of the music both with Poison and solo.

More: You are also returning to the boardroom to face Donald Trump again. What is that all about?
BM: I love the fight, the business savvy of it all, the competition and making money for my charity, Bret Michaels Life Rocks Foundation. For me, doing All-Star Celebrity Apprentice was a no-brainer. When I got ill, it made me realize the importance of asking your friends to give, to raise money and delegate it to where it needs to go to help those less fortunate.

More: In addition to this show, you are also teaming up with the Travel Channel?
BM: Yes, I am doing a series called Rock My RV, which I did because it took me back to my childhood and the time of my life when all we did was RV, barbecue and camp.

More: You have had one too many trips to the ER. Aren’t you taking on too much too soon?
BM: No. I feel great and am just embracing life to the fullest.   

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