Actress and TV host, Kirstie Alley, enjoyed her greatest television success in the 1980s and early 90s but she still hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the decades following her career.
In the early days, best remembered as Rebecca Howe in the hit series ‘Cheers’, she was almost a pin-up model. Her striking looks and slim figure were the focus of many viewers’ attention and she was much sought after because of it.
After the ‘Cheers’ days she enjoyed several years playing opposite John Travolta in the popular ‘Look Who’s Talking’ trilogy and further success with three years in ‘Veronica’s Closet’. But in the years following her pinnacle as a TV ‘hottie’ she slipped into an ongoing battle with her weight and the spotlight shifted from her charm and good looks to her increasing dress size.
After her active TV career ended, Alley ballooned and she was plagued by the paparazzi who were quick to publish very unflattering photos of her in the media (yes, just as we have).
At the time she weighed over 200 lbs (over 90kg) and was declared clinically obese. In 2004 she admitted to battling her severe weight issues by becoming the spokesperson for Jenny Craig, a weight loss and management company.
In 2006, after following the Jenny Craig program for two years, Alley appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show in a bikini to show off her success and the American public lapped it up. Her achievement was celebrated in the United States and gave hope to a growing nation of obese couch potatoes who were searching for a cure to their own weight issues.
Although painful at the time, Kirstie says that one particularly hideous photo of her in a tabloid publication made her realize it was time to do something about her excessive weight and take better care of her health in the process.
The successful weight loss didn’t last though and after she walked away from the role of spokesperson for Jenny Craig piled on the weight once again.
During an interview with Oprah she said: ”When you’re a spokesperson for a weight loss company … somebody weighs you every week. It’s pressure but it’s good pressure. I do better if I have some pressure on me,”
“When I didn’t have that anymore … I just said, ‘I’m going to cut myself some slack.’ Big mistake.”
She stopped weighing herself and it was almost 18 months before she stepped up onto the plate again. The worst aspect was the guilt she felt, thinking that she let a lot of people down, people who looked up to her and admired her strength of will.
She admits that she has never really had control over her weight but says the best thing that came out of trying to lose weight and battling the bulge was quitting smoking.