Terry Morrow: Interviews of 2012 — Adam Levine, Pat Summitt, Sarah Palin, Kathie Lee and Hoda

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln)

Photo by Tina Rowden, Tina Rowden

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln)

Here is a look at some of the stand-out celebrities I interviewed in 2012:

ADAM LEVINE ("The Voice," lead singer of Maroon 5). From Los Angeles in January, we talked about how fame from "The Voice" has changed the way he acts in public.

"It allowed me to learn more about who I was and to speak. Everybody knows what I sound like when I sing. Not too many people know me when I speak. People judge you a lot if you don't have a chance to speak up."

SARAH PALIN

(former Alaska governor). There was no "gotcha" journalism when we met at a party in July. She was honest about being whether she was jealous of her husband being on "Stars Earning Stripes" reality show. "Was I jealous because he got to do this? No. (But) if I got to hang out with those (Marine) trainers, and he didn't, that would be a different story."

AL GORE

(former vice-president). A self-described redneck from Middle Tennessee, Gore said his heart is in Tennessee and living as quietly as possible. He even keeps up with the Vols.

"I haven't been happy about UT football since I went to the Fiesta Bowl in 1998," Gore said. "I'm ready for another national championship."

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD AND HODA KOTB (The "Today" Show). During my exclusive sit down in October with the dynamic duo who host the fourth hour of "Today" visiting UT, we talked about their drinking habits. Of the local moonshine, Gifford asked, "Would it put us on our rear-ends? Is it that strong?" And Kotb wanted to know, "What's it taste like? Kerosene? I'd like some! I just like to get there. I don't like the process."

PAT SUMMITT

(ESPY Awards). When she accepted the Arthur Ashe Award in July during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, I was the only local reporter to cover the event. She shared with me what inspired her courage: "Growing up on a dairy farm, milking at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., my brothers made me very tough," she said, Also, Ashe himself showed her courage. "I'm going to be a fighter, like he was a fighter."

ANDREW LINCOLN ("The Walking Dead"). What can scare the actor who plays the fearless leader of human survivors during a zombie apocalypse? He confessed with a laugh, during my visit to the set of the show in September: "When my family is out of town and I'm alone, I go around the lock everything. Then I lock the door to my bedroom before I go to bed." He's clearly not good with being alone.

DIDI BENAMI ("American Idol"). The East Tennessee singer told me in July she's still learning about how to make it in the music business three years after her stint on the hit singing show. "There's kind of this thing (producers and labels) have for people who were on 'Idol.' They don't take you as seriously. This year has put a lot of things in perspective."

MARY-LOUISE PARKER

("Weeds"). A former Gatlinburg resident, she told me in August that she sometimes has to be the food police when it comes to her children and their nanny. "My baby-sitter took my kids out, and my son (later told me), 'Mom, the baby-sitter let us have' — he knew it was wrong — 'corn dog and pizza for lunch in one meal,' and I tried not to scream."

CHRIS CROCKER ("Leave Britney Alone"). The flamboyant YouTube star from East Tennessee, best known for his "Leave Britney Alone" clip four years ago, is 25 years old and calming down: "In real life, in everyday life, I'm really one of the most boring, calm people you'd ever want to meet. When I do the videos, that's the time to let (my outrageousness) out, that's the time for me to perform."

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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