America's perennial sweetheart, Valerie Bertinelli, opens up to TV Guide about her new TV-movie, her dramatic weight loss, her new love and the advice she has for Lindsay and Paris.
TV Guide: In your new TV-movie, Claire, you play a mother with psychic powers. What was it about the role that called to you?
Valerie Bertinelli: I love Medium. It's such a believable relationship. This script had a lot of that in there — the husband, the wife, the way they move around the kitchen, how the children are not just extras but an important part of life. But the main part for me was that it was going to be shooting in town. I didn't have to leave my son [16-year-old Wolfie Van Halen]. That's always my first priority.
TV Guide: What's at the top of your résumé — mom or actress?
Bertinelli: I'm a full-time mom and a part-time actress. In 1997 I'd gotten a role filming in Park City, Utah. Wolfie was in kindergarten so this was the first time he stayed at home. One of the assignments he got was, "If you had wings, what would you do?" Wolfie's answer was, "If I had wings, I'd fly to Park City." After that it was like, "Unless it's filming in town or I can bring him with me, I'm not going to do it."
TV Guide: What runs through your mind when the Jenny Craig folks call and ask you to be their spokesperson?
Bertinelli: That somebody has noticed you're fat. [Laughs] I guess I was just... not horrified. The night before my first weigh-in, I went to Morton's, had steak and lobsters, and raised my martini and said, "The next time you see this in my hand, I'm going to be 25 pounds lighter." It took 16 weeks, but I did do it.
TV Guide: You shot Claire before you joined Jenny Craig. What's it like to see yourself on screen in it?
Bertinelli: Horrible. [Laughs] I'm really hard on myself and I'm trying to get better at that, but all I saw was an ugly, old, fat woman. I was like, "What happened to me?"
TV Guide: You've been with your boyfriend, financial planner Tom Vitale, for nearly three years. Might there be wedding bells?
Bertinelli: If I ever do get married again, it'll be to him. I know I'm in love with this man. But I'm 47 — been there, done that. I don't need the gifts. I have four sets of china. But Tom's old-fashioned. He's like, "You gotta marry me someday," so maybe.
TV Guide: Do you keep in touch with your ex, Eddie Van Halen?
Bertinelli: Absolutely. We just spent July 4th at his house. I love Janie, his girlfriend. She's terrific and treats my son really well. The first thing Ed said to Tom was, "You treat my kid well," then, "If you do anything to Valerie, I'll hurt you." I feel the same way.
TV Guide: You're currently writing a memoir. Details please.
Bertinelli: I found myself identifying with a lot of women I run into — our lives are so similar except mine is in the public eye. I thought I'd try to be inspirational. There's so much negativity out there. Why not put out something positive?
TV Guide: When you were young and starring on One Day at a Time, you were scandal-free. Any advice for Lindsay and Paris? Bertinelli: Just stay home! Rent a movie. Have some friends over. Stop doing things that make them want to take pictures of you, like not wearing underwear. I did all my stupid twenties stuff — and almost everybody is stupid in their twenties — in the privacy of my own home.
TV Guide: Is there a skinny role you fantasize about?
Bertinelli: I just want to get down to this certain weight and not go, "Oh, if I was only this much thinner." I'm so sick of that attitude. So [my answer is] to be content. [Laughs] I don't know if that's a dream role, but that's what I want.
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