By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
Case in point: Oprah. I met her at a Windy City Wendy's shortly after The Color Purple ended its theatrical run. She was down in the dumps and eating lots of chili con queso when I came up to her and said, "Oprah, cheer up. Everything's gonna be okay." Then I asked her out for lunch. We went to Harry Caray's. It was lovely.
When you see Oprah on her talk show now, she looks fabulous. But she's still overweight on the inside, which allows me to control her. Every time she threatens to kick me to the curb because I won't put a ring on our finger, I say, "Tut-tut, baby, remember Wendy's." Then she cries. Then we mash.
Because I saw what Oprah could be, because I had the foresight, I can now go on Larry King Live pretty much whenever I damn well please. This is where I draw the parallel with Cocker. Little do many people know that he's never actually written a song. He just puts out album upon album of cover songs -- some good, some bad. His latest album, Heart & Soul, is very, very bad. But that won't stop people like Oprah from lapping it up, because Cocker was there at that Wendy's in her time of pain, right alongside El Sted. Except he was on Muzak, and I was actually at the table with Oprah.
This is why I am Oprah's longtime boyfriend, and Joe Cocker is not. If Cocker had been at the Chicago Wendy's to comfort Oprah and I was singing "Tiny Dancer" on Muzak -- which I do beautifully, incidentally -- things might have worked out differently. Thanks, Joe. -- As told to Mike Seely