Loudmouth life strategist Dr. Phil McGraw won't be visiting The Oprah Winfrey Show to "tell it like it is" to her troubled guests anymore. No, he'll be too busy berating folks five days a week on his very own talkfest, Dr. Phil (premiering Monday, check local listings). But when America's favorite know-it-all gets real about himself, his confessions about his personal problems may shock you!
First off, Dr. Phil admits he took up psychology "kind of by default, because I was terribly lazy... I was just kind of bored with school, and I started reading all of [my dad's psychology] textbooks. When I got ready to start college, I had read just damn near everything that they had in the courses! And frankly, I thought that would be the easiest way to slide through college."
Shocker number two: Dr. Phil absolutely hated being a therapist. "I just did not have the temperament for it," he says. "[Some patients] would want to sit there and talk to you for six months, and not always, but there were a lot of times I [could] figure this out in the first hour. I'd be sitting there saying, 'You know, okay, here's the problem: You are a jerk.'"
Years after he'd quit his therapy practice to found Courtroom Sciences — his litigation consulting firm — he met his most famous client, Oprah Winfrey. Even as Dr. Phil coached Oprah during her 1998 court showdown with the beef industry, the daytime diva couldn't resist offering him her advice. "She kind of used some of my techniques on me," he recalls. "I was saying that I don't really like the way psychology has gone. She said, 'I'll tell you what. Why don't you stop whining about it and do it the way you think it ought to be done?'"
One more thing the Dr. Phil host isn't too ashamed to tell us: He'd never be brave enough to endure his own feisty brand of televised head-shrinkage. "Surely, it's for some people and not for others," he shrugs. "I would find it hard to do. If I don't have a job to do, I'm a very shy person. I mean, I went to a party Sunday night. It's the first party I've been to in probably six or seven years."