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The untold truth about Martha Stewart
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19.08.2017

The untold truth about Martha Stewart

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Martha Stewart is a respected businesswoman who transformed homemaking into a massive empire, but behind that cookie-cutter exterior is an icy woman with an interesting past. Stewart famously suffers from a strained relationship with her daughter, she's been to prison for shady business practices, and she's not-so-friendly to other women encroaching on her domestic-goddess turf. Here are the untold truths about this DIY diva.

She has a terrible relationship with her daughter

Being Stewart's daughter is no easy task. So says Alexis Stewart in her damaging and juicy memoir entitled Whateverland: Learn to Live Here. Alexis said her mother was extremely tough on her. "If I didn't do something perfectly, I had to do it again," she wrote, according to ABC News. "I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head."
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During holidays, the self-proclaimed domestic goddess was reportedly a grouch. Alexis claims she was forced to wrap her own Christmas presents and that her mother all but canceled Halloween. "There were no costumes. There was no anything. We turned off all the lights and pretended we weren't home," she said.

Even today, it seems Alexis and her mamma share a somewhat strained adult relationship. In her book, Alexis says her mom is a terrible guest. "My mother will occasionally complain that I don't invite her over for dinner," she writes, according to ABC News. "But can you blame me? Because, sometimes this is what will happen: Whatever I serve, she will sip it, taste it, make a face and push it away." Ouch!

She exhibits not so ladylike behavior
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When fans think of Martha, adjectives like "proper," "domestic," and "creative" often come to mind. Many consider her to be a woman with impeccable manners, but according to her daughter, the celebrity socialite is no expert on etiquette. In fact, Alexis paints a picture of a woman who doesn't even exhibit good manners when using the ladies' room. "Mother always peed with the door open," Alexis shared, according to Fox News. "I remember saying, 'You know, now I have friends over! You can't do that anymore! It's gotta stop! My friends' parents don't do it! Give me a break here!'" Ew! To borrow one of Martha's catch phrases, using the bathroom with the door open is not "a good thing."

She's a shady businesswoman

It's no secret that Stewart's bad business practices landed her behind bars for five months in 2004 for obstruction of justice and lying to investigators about the sale of stocks. But what some might forget is that she wound up back in court many years later over a dispute between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Macy's Inc. and J.C. Penney Co.
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According to The New York Times, the drama dated back to an agreement that Martha Stewart Living made with JC Penney in late 2011 to sell various products in JC Penney stores. Macy's felt the agreement countered a similar deal it had made with Martha Stewart Living in 2006 and sued both companies in 2012. The legal battles stretched out over many years, during which Stewart was forced to testify in 2013, before settlements began rolling out in January 2014. The entire matter was finally over and done with in February 2017.

Awkwardly enough, even though they reached a settlement in 2014, Macy's had to recall two frying pans from the Martha Stewart Living brand in 2015 "after customers said metal discs popped off the pans and caused bruises, burns and welts," according to The New York Times.

She feuded with Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively
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Stewart isn't keen on anyone trying to share in her domestic-diva success—especially those younger Hollywood elites launching their own lifestyle brands. In 2014, Stewart famously took at aim at Gwyneth Paltrow, who curates goop.com, after the actress spoke about her "conscious uncoupling" from husband Chris Martin. According to Us Weekly, Stewart designed a dessert called "Conscious Coupling" for her Martha Stewart Living magazine. It was no coincidence: Stewart also told Net-a-Porter magazine that Paltrow "just needs to be quiet," adding, "If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn't be trying to be Martha Stewart." In retaliation, Paltrow concocted a "Jailbird Cake" recipe for her website.

Stewart doesn't only have daggers for Paltrow. She's also not so fond of Blake Lively. The fashionable actress launched her own lifestyle company called Preserve in 2014 only to have it shutter within a year's time. Stewart didn't mince words, telling The Huffington Post that Lively's endeavor was "stupid" before serving up a backhanded compliment: "Why would you want to be me if you could be an actress?"

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Though she'll turn 75 in 2016, Stewart claims she understands the stress current millennials face when starting out in life, and she wants to attract them to her brand. However, she also thinks the younger generations are lazy. "They don't have the initiative to go out and find a little apartment and grow a tomato plant on the terrace," she told Luxury Listings NYC. "The economic circumstances out there are very grim. But you have to work for it. You have to strive for it. You have to go after it." This chestnut of wisdom brought to be by an ex-con barking orders in her fancy Manhattan offices while counting her money.

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Her business practices may be shady, and her fortunes may be less than they were two decades ago; but like any smart businessperson, Martha Stewart has managed to stay afloat, even if it has meant forming a random, if endearing, friendship with the rapper Snoop Dogg.

According to People, their unusual bond dates back to 2008, when Snoop guest starred on her daytime talkshow, Martha. Although Snoop guest starred on subsequent episodes, they did not officially re-connect until the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. From there, they've made appearances on shows like the $100,000 pyramid and, most recently, their own cooking show, Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, for which they were recently nominated for an Emmy.

At this rate, the Grammy Awards possibly be in Stewart's future? It's tough to imagine, but with her savvy skills, you never know.
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She did crafts in prison



Just how did Stewart pass the time while serving five months behind bars? By doing arts and crafts, of course.

According to The New York Times, Stewart revealed at a brunch event in 2016 that part of her stint at a minimum-security federal prison in West Virginia, nicknamed "Camp Cupcake," involved everything from making "jam out of the crab apples on the trees" to a ceramic nativity set.
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"You're allowed to make three things in a year, I think, and I only had five months so I made an entire creche…the entire scene of the nativity," she said. "So I had many figures, something like 15 figures, and you're only allowed to make three, but I persuaded them the whole nativity was one and they fell for it. You couldn't just make three camels—you had to make everything."

The report added that Stewart even taught ceramics to some of her fellow inmates. C'mon, are you really surprised?

She lost a fortune
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While rallying inmates around the arts and crafts table sounds like something you'd see in a movie montage set to a cutesy pop song, Stewart admitted the time she spent behind bars was far from enjoyable. In fact, while speaking to Today in 2013, she said the experience was downright "terrible."

"It's hard to say, 'Good comes out of a bad time,'" she said. "And that saying that, 'It only makes you better'? Oh my gosh. Bull. It's terrible. I lost a fortune."

Stewart's financial setbacks continued through 2015 when Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was sold for what Forbes called a "near-clearance price," at $353 million. Of course, that's more money than any of us will see in our lifetimes, but considering the company was once valued at $2 billion, the sale had to have stung for Stewart.
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On the bright side, during that 2013 interview with Today, Stewart said she had put her incarceration behind her. "I don't want to be defined by a moment in time," she said. "That was a moment. It's passed. I don't think about it anymore."

She's allegedly terrible to work for



As anyone who saw the campy TV movie Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart will tell you, Stewart built a reputation for allegedly being ruthless and cutthroat, especially in the workforce.
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In August 2013, Vanity Fair spoke to a former executive at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia who claimed Stewart was a control freak who was destroying her own empire. "Martha's an omnivore. She just wants more, more, more," the source said. "She has however many houses. Even though she has a million pieces of garden ornaments, she buys more garden ornaments. Even though she has a million trees, she buys more trees. It's her genius and it's in some ways her downfall—that 'always hungry' thing."

Vanity Fair said "top executives found it increasingly difficult to work at her company; C.E.O.'s and C.F.O.'s came and went." Added the source, "The company should be more successful, but it is just limping along, because of her—because she doesn't trust anybody and she has to control everything. Martha is delightful, charming, brilliant, fascinating—if you are in the room alone with her. You bring a third person in and it becomes poisonous. She has to dominate."

She doesn't get why people don't like her
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Despite her reputation for being a domestic diva, Stewart is apparently clueless as to where and why those pesky rumors started in the first place.
"I don't understand it. I write books. I've [published] beautiful magazines. I've done televisions shows that are devoted to…good living. I don't know," she told the Today show in 2013. "Maybe because I'm confident. I think sometimes, 'Maybe I'm too confident. Maybe I should have failed." She added, "And maybe I should have, just, gone away and dug a hole and jumped in. You know—who knows?"
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No, she doesn't watch Orange is the New Black



As Vanity Fair pointed out, the Netflix series Orange is the New Black introduced a new character, inmate Judy King, at the end of Season 3 that very obviously resembles Stewart. But if that was all an elaborate rouse to get Stewart to watch the show, it didn't work.

She told Chelsea Handler's talk show in 2016 that she's never even seen an episode of the Emmy-winning series. "I experienced the real thing," she said. "When you live through something like Orange is the New Black, the real characters are better."
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