Miss USA Talks About Tumultous Reign

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky native Tara Conner plans to stay in New York after her reign as Miss USA ends on March 23.

She might return to her home state to attend the Kentucky Derby, but she won't be sipping any mint juleps, she told the Lexington Herald-Leader in an interview.

"I'm always going to be an alcoholic addict," she said. "It's something I'm going to have to live with. I'm going to have to take actions every day to keep a good, healthy recovery."

Conner endured intense scrutiny after reports she was frequenting New York bars. She underwent drug rehab in Pennsylvania for her drinking.

She said her family will be with her at the upcoming Miss USA pageant in Los Angeles. She may return to Kentucky for a week after the pageant, she said.

She's been on the media circuit, talking about her rehab experience.

"Rehab for me was basically like an awakening," she said. "I had troubles. We all have issues we have to deal with. ... It made me truly appreciate the little things in life, made me truly appreciate my job and the role in this society. It humbled me a lot. It taught me how to be honest. It taught me to be the genuine Tara. I didn't know who she was."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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