The supermodel appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to celebrate her 25th anniversary in fashion on the eve of her 40th birthday and allowed Winfrey to grill her about the behavior that has grabbed tabloid headlines.
For a change, Campbell exhibited model behavior, not stomping off the set or smacking Harpo Studios cameras when the tough questions came.
Winfrey began the encounter by trying to calm Campbell, who looked radiant in a gold-toned dress but was clearly shaky. "Don't be nervous, it's just me... and you... talking to millions" Winfrey said.
Campbell, who told Winfrey she has been a recovering cocaine addict for six years and quit alcohol 1 1/2 years ago, said she was once not sure she would ever live to celebrate her May 22 milestone birthday:
"I've had a great life and I've had a reckless part of my life, and I just thought... I may never get to 40."
She confessed that she hit rock bottom after the murder of her friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace. His death was followed by the loss of several more friends and when Campbell could no longer "keep up with the grief," she turned to drugs.
Winfrey asked Campbell to explain a series of highly publicized temper tantrums, including allegations that she hurled a jewel-encrusted Blackberry at a housekeeper over a missing pair of jeans, and most recently, smashed an ABC camera during a sit-down interview because she did not like the questions regarding a blood diamond she allegedly received from incarcerated former Liberian president Charles Taylor.
"Tell me what it is about you that makes you think you can throw a phone at someone?" Winfrey asked.
Campbell said she's never owned "a jewel-encrusted Blackberry, just a regular one." but did not deny the allegation, except to say the altercation with her former housekeeper "wasn't over a missing pair of jeans, it was something else."
Still, she said, "it's not a right thing to do... I don't remember what it was she said to me, but I just threw the phone."
She explained that when she's furious, "I see red... then I don't see." Afterward, she said, "I feel remorseful and ashamed" and worried about the people she's hurt.
Campbell sidestepped direct questioning about the blood diamond she allegedly received from Taylor in 1997, saying, "I don't want to get involved in this man's business or problems. I am trying to protect my family here."
Winfrey asked, "Do you think you have an anger management issue?"
"I must... I think it is also a fear issue and anger comes from fear," Campbell replied.
Oprah countered, "Are you just a petulant diva who wants things her own way... and if you don't, feel you have the right to throw things?"
Campbell shook her head and said she does not think she's entitled to special treatment. Instead, she said of her behavior, "I feel it comes from another place. It comes from an emotional disorder... it comes from an abandonment issue... If I feel a mistrust all my cards go down... It's not an excuse. I don't have an excuse for my behavior."
"Is that the person you want to be?" Winfrey asked.
"No, not at all," Campbell said. "I don't know what's going on with me. I'm still in therapy, I go to meetings, I'm a work in progress."
Winfrey also asked Campbell to dish on her highly publicized love life with past boyfriends like actor Robert DeNiro and singer Usher. "I am on good terms with all the men I've dated," she said.
Currently dating still-married Russian billionaire Vladimir Doronin, Campbell told Winfrey she has had a boyfriend who was "a working-class man, like myself."
But, she added, "I like men to wear the pants. I don't want to wear the pants. It hurts when they say, 'Oh she wants them to buy her things.' I can buy what I want."
As for the secrets to her killer bod, Campbell says she regularly practices a workout called gyrotonics, jumps rope, and fasts two or three times a year with a Master Cleanse concoction of maple syrup, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and water.
Now that's something we would toss!