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Tanya in reality country: `Tuckerville' another side of the star

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Tanya Tucker has sowed her share of wild and woolly oats.

She scored her first hit, "Delta Dawn," at the tender age of 13. She had a tumultuous affair with Glen Campbell, 22 years her senior, when she was 21. And she acquired a cocaine habit in her 20s.

But the country music icon makes no apologies.

"I've done some crazy things," she said during a phone interview last week from Delaware, where she was performing at a NASCAR event.

"It hasn't always been easy," she continued. "So, maybe people will ... think, `Man, if I was her, I might be out drinking and drugging.' My life was hard. I've had to make a lot of compromises."

Tucker hopes that her latest project, the TLC reality series "Tuckerville" (premiering Saturday at 10 p.m. EDT), will put the past to bed.

"Maybe people will see this and they'll understand me," she said. "I have some of the same problems as everybody else and maybe after this, they'll be able to relate to me a little better."

Tucker is a single mom to three children, Presley, 16, Grayson, 13, and Layla, 7, on a 500-acre estate outside Nashville.

She deals with the same issues every mother faces: getting the kids to school on time; helping them with their extracurricular projects, in Presley's case launching a singing career. And she faces the same battles with her children that every parent does.

In one episode, while she is doing a TV appearance to promote her book "100 Ways to Beat the Blues," son Grayson is buying a python (and a supply of frozen rats to feed it) and sneaking it into the house. Of course, she had previously told him, no snakes.

And daughter Presley and her friends have sneaked off to a bar to sing with a local band when they are supposed to be at the county fair.

Asked if she was concerned about putting her parenting skills on display for all the world to second-guess, she laughed and said, "I'm not sure if you can call them `skills.'"

Tucker knew exactly where Presley was because a friend rang her from the bar to tell her. When she got home, Tucker played the reproachful mom for about, oh, three minutes before asking conspiratorially, "How'd ya do?"

She's also not concerned that the exposure will have a negative effect on her kids.

"I've always shared them with the world," she said. "I told them, `You know once this thing hits the screen, you may have a harder time doing things and some things may be a little easier and you just got to be prepared for it.'"

"Tuckerville" will likely be a good thing for Presley, who has inherited her mother's throaty voice if not her relentless work ethic.

"I told (her), in this business you gotta do stuff all the time that you don't like,'" said Tucker. "My life was constantly filled with stuff that I didn't want to do. Sometimes you gotta go out there (and perform) when your biggest heartache is happening."

Presley, said Tucker, "has not quite accepted that. Of course.

"I was a lot hungrier than she is," she added. "I didn't have a lot of alternatives. The less alternatives, the more you're willing to do."


(c) 2005, New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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