May 19, 2008 12:00 PM


Were the guys close growing up?

Robin, 52: They’re identical twins so I put them in the same crib, one on each end. I’d go back later and Joel would be lying next to Benji.

Joel, 29: And that’s pretty much been the rest of our life. He always led the charge and I’d follow him.

Benji, 29: Whatever my mom did, it worked. We’re best friends.

Did you freak out at their tattoos?

Robin: It never bothered me. But kids should break in their parents the way Benj did: He tells me he has a present for me and … [She lifts his sleeve to reveal a ‘Mom’ tattoo].

What’s the most important lesson Mom taught you?

Joel: She raised us to respect ladies.

Robin: [Laughing] They said I ruined their [dating life]!

Benji: The sex talk we got was this: “Every woman is someone’s sister or daughter. So think about me and your sister [on dates].” It was a long time before I had sex!

Joel: If anyone wants a scare tactic….

Robin: I wasn’t trying to scare them!

Benji: But you know what? It worked. Good Charlotte [whose tour starts this summer] doesn’t have any Mötley Crüe stories.

Joel: A dude who can’t be faithful is insecure. We are good men to our women. [Joel and Nicole Richie have a 4-month-old daughter, Harlow. Benji dates Paris Hilton.]

Benji: And we have Mom to thank!

Joel, what have you learned about being a parent from your mom?

Joel: Even when times were tight, she always let us run wild with the Christmas list.

Robin: I let ’em dream.

Joel: We could only get one thing, but she never said anything. I’m going to do that with my kid. I’ll never, ever dampen her dreams.


Has Flav always been rebellious?

Anna, 77: [Laughs] He was a little Dennis the Menace.

Flavor Flav (a.k.a. William Drayton), 49: I was a bad kid. Everything I touched, it broke. I don’t know how! I was always in trouble. I want to thank you, Ma, for putting your all into me … it got me where I am now.

When did he first get into music?

Anna: Our family was always into that arena. In my home, every year, I would buy an instrument.

Flav: She bought my sister an organ, and I experimented with it. Back in the day, I’d sit at the organ and mimic the sounds of Batman, my favorite show. I swear, I thought I was Batman. I used to go outside with my cape on and look up at the moon and play that it was a bat signal.

Does your mom ever borrow your big clocks?

Flav: My mom don’t wear no clocks. For real.

Anna: That’s his lifestyle.

Flav: I remember I came in here one night and I was like, “Yo, Ma!” And she said, “Boy, don’t you come in my house with that Flavor Flav stuff!”

Does your mom visit your sets?

Flav: I had her come to [my new sitcom, My Network TV’s Under One Roof]. I’m memorizing lines so I wanted to show off my skills to her.

Anna: I spent three days there and was fascinated by everything I saw.

Do you use some of his phrases?

Anna: Like, “Yeah, boy!”?

Flav: Nah. But my moms, she’s hip. Remember everybody used to say, “Okay, I’m Audi 5000” [instead of ‘I’m out’]? I turned it into “Yo, I’m 5000!” Sometimes I’ll be like, “All right, Mom, talk to you later.” And she’s like, “All right, 5000!”

Do you call him Flav or William?

Anna: I called him Rico. His father’s friend nicknamed him that.

Flav: But don’t y’all try that. Anyone out there who calls me that and you ain’t from my neighborhood, you’re gonna catch it, trust me.


What’s the best Mother’s Day gift Kat’s given you?

Ramona, 50: One time, she says, “Mommy, this is a gift for you!” I opened it and it was something that belonged to her.

Kat, 20: I was 5 or 6. I acted like I bought her something and wrapped it in a box; it was a shirt she’d bought for me. She said it was the cutest gift because it came from the heart.

So you bake together?

Kat: She taught me how to bake. When there was a struggle [for money], we’d sell her cakes—literally, pieces for one dollar—and made a living out of that. Now she has her own bakery in Newark, N.J.

What makes you most proud of your daughter?

Ramona replies in Spanish for Kat to translate.

Kat: The way I treat people and the way I persevere. She said she’s never seen anybody go after something with such determination.

Ramona: When somebody says no, she keeps going. Every time, with the same love and same devotion.

Kat, can you share the nicest thing you’ve done for your mom?

Kat: We’d never been to Disney World, and I had a performance there, so I flew her and my sisters out. We had a blast. We were like little kids. Our tickets said “My First Time” and we didn’t even do the grown-up stuff—we went to the teacups!

How did you feel the first time you heard Kat on the radio?

Ramona: I was in my house and somebody was driving with the music loud. I heard, “Whine up! Whine up!” I opened the window and yelled, “Oh my God, that’s my daughter!” The guy looked at me….

Kat: Like she was crazy!

Ramona: I cried—I was so happy!


What was Dierks like as a kid?

Cathy, 65: Well, he wasn’t easy.

Dierks, 33: I was a little rambunctious, but I was a nice boy, right?

Cathy: You were a great boy.

Dierks: I was always into music. I spiked my hair like Billy Idol for three years—sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

Wait, I thought Mom was strict?

Cathy: We were pretty strict. No gum, no soft drinks.

Dierks: No TV. No cereal other than Shredded Wheat. I’d go to friends’ houses [for] Froot Loops.

Cathy: [surprised] You did?

So Dierks, did you still get in trouble?

Dierks: I had a lemonade stand when I was 18.

Cathy: A vodka and lemonade stand!

Dierks: The cops told us we had to leave and were cool about it, but they came by again and we were plastered. We all went down to the little jail. But it was pretty harmless fun.

Cathy, what’s your favorite Mother’s Day gift?

Cathy: I got to go in the recording studio and sing my guts out!

Dierks: I surprised her. We had her sing “Blue Bayou” in Nashville.

Cathy: I had to do it over and over again. I was dripping, I was so nervous!

Dierks: It was really cool. She freaked out the same way she did when I got her a digital camera and a computer.

Cathy: I cried.

Dierks: But she’s e-mailing me now, which is a first!

What have you learned from your mom?

Dierks: Not putting off till tomorrow what can get done today. She’s an accomplisher. And having a mom and dad who have been married over 30 years. It’s a big deal.

Cathy: That’s so sweet.


Tell us about Jennifer’s childhood.

Carla, 53: She’s always been the sweetest child. We were so close. She always wanted to be touching [picks up Jennifer’s hand]. She was just my whole life. [Tears up] I’m sorry!

Jennifer, 33: [Hugs her mom] Well, you were so young too. She was 20 when she had me. Even from the beginning, she’s been the best friend that anybody could ever have. I always say, it doesn’t matter if I’m married, if the s— hits the fan, that’s who I’m calling!

Did she sing all the time?

Carla: When music came on the TV, especially the theme to Days of Our Lives, she’d stop playing or whatever she was doing—she was just mesmerized with the music.

Jennifer: The radio was always on. I remember eight-track tapes of Linda Ronstadt and Anne Murray. Love some Anne Murray!

Ever think she could be famous?

Carla: I’d hear other people sing on the radio, and I’d always think, “Jennifer can sing better than that person.” But I wanted her to have her childhood.

Did you ever rebel?

Jennifer: It was pretty white bread: When I was 18, my girlfriend and I went up to Atlanta under the [guise] of getting prom dresses—but I wanted a tattoo.

Carla: We were watching TV in your room when you showed it to me.

Jennifer: The Aerosmith “Cryin'” video with Alicia Silverstone where she gets a tattoo [was on]. And Mom goes, “Jennifer Nettles, don’t you ever do anything like that.” I just went white as a ghost. And the jig was up. I remember you saying, “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

Carla: At first, I was shocked, but in my memory I recovered well!

Jennifer: [laughs] You did.


Was Michael the class clown?

Amber, 52: Yes!

Michael, 32: Was I?

Amber: You were always performing since you were 2 in front of the fireplace. You were Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. He told us when he was really young, “I’m different. You’ll see. When I get older I’m going to be really famous.” You knew.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for Mom?

Michael: I wrote you a pretty good poem when I was in grade six.

Amber: I still have it in my drawer.

Michael: What is it? “Poor Mom, you clean up all the time. Mom, Mom, no one is better. She cleans the house and dirties her sweater.”

What’s your best childhood memory?

Michael: She would come during class and pull me out. All the kids would watch, thinking that I had to go to the dentist, and she’d take me to McDonald’s. She was my mom but also my friend.

You guys seem very in sync.

Amber: We are so alike that it’s scary. We’re identical in our—

Michael: —real quick tempers.

Amber: Quick tempers and the way we think.

What do you guys love most about each other?

Michael: I love how kind she is and how generous. And that she lives for her family.

Amber: My kids are my life.

Michael: Okay honestly, her favorite thing about me is my girlfriend [The Devil Wears Prada’s Emily Blunt].

Amber: I do love your girlfriend so much. In fact, if he doesn’t marry her, I might kill him. But we’d find someone [else] in the family to marry her because we’re not letting her go—ever. She’s me in many ways. They’re perfect together!


“I got her a necklace, but Mother’s Day is coming up, so I’m going to have to think of something else soon! Jessica and I always try to think of something.”


“When I moved from Nashville to L.A. none of my furniture worked, and I gave all of it to my mom, like $50,000 worth. She loved it! That was her Mother’s Day gift. She didn’t even want flowers. She wanted that leather couch, that dining room table.”


“I got her a turkey bowl [for] gravy. She collects Royal [Albert Old] Country Roses china. She was real happy.”


“I bought her a house—the childhood home that I always wished I had. We moved around a lot. She’s more settled now.”


“We redid the floors in her house, so I bought her flooring. I always take care of my mother—that’s what I’m supposed to do!”


To watch excerpts from Flav’s interview and photo shoot, go to

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