Betty Ford: An Advocate And An Inspiration Former first lady Betty Ford was an advocate for women's rights and an inspiration to people struggling with addiction. She died on Friday.
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Betty Ford: An Advocate And An Inspiration

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Betty Ford: An Advocate And An Inspiration

Betty Ford: An Advocate And An Inspiration

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Ina Jaffe has this remembrance.

INA JAFFE: And in a 1987 interview, Betty Ford told NPR that the move to the White House made her feel empowered too.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

NORRIS: I suddenly was somebody. I wasn't just the suburban housewife who was taking care of the children and being the backup to this man who was out front.

JAFFE: And, as she said in a 1975 interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," she also wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

NORRIS: I thought there are women all over the country like me. And if I don't make this public, then their lives will be gone. They're in jeopardy. And I think it did a great deal for women as far as the cancer problem is concerned.

JAFFE: In a 2002 NPR interview, she said that after leaving the White House she realized - or rather, her family confronted her and told her - that she had a problem with alcohol and pills.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

NORRIS: I was very upset, of course. I was very hurt because I felt here I'd spent my whole married life looking after my children and my husband and how can they say these things and how can they confront me this way?

JAFFE: In that interview, Betty and Gerald Ford described how her struggle and recovery led to the founding of the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, near Palm Springs. It became as famous as some of the celebrities who sought treatment there, though they've made up only a tiny percentage of the center's tens of thousands of patients.

NORRIS: Ina Jaffe, NPR News.

NORRIS: Former first lady Betty Ford has died. She was 93.

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