‘I listened to the lie more than I felt the love’: Valerie Bertinelli on her journey to self-acceptance
In a Q interview, the actor discussed her honest new memoir, Enough Already
Click the play button above to hear Valerie Bertinelli’s full conversation with Tom Power.
From the age of 12, Valerie Bertinelli has been in the public eye. She became a teenage celebrity on the Norman Lear sitcom One Day at a Time, a rock star’s wife with her marriage to the late Eddie Van Halen and the host of her own Food Network show, Valerie’s Home Cooking.
But as she reveals in her new memoir, Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today, it wasn’t until she reached her 60s that she “took the blinders off” and stopped letting others define her self-worth.
“I finally realized that I just wasn’t living my life because I was so worried about what other people thought of me,” Bertinelli told Q’s Tom Power in an interview. “I was raised to care about what other people think of you…. But you can’t make somebody like you. And the only person you can make like you is yourself.”
WATCH | Valerie Bertinelli’s full interview with Tom Power:
After experiencing some personal losses, including the death of her ex-husband in 2020, Bertinelli is now focusing on the positives in her life and putting her decades-long obsession with dieting behind her.
The actor said she learned at a young age that gaining weight would make her unlovable. “That was a lie, a lie that I was taught,” she said. “Because you don’t grow up thinking that any weight is the wrong weight unless you’re taught that. We are enough, already, just as we are.”
“I listened to the lie more than I felt the love…. It’s warped. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you look like and it shouldn’t matter what you look like. What am I here to offer you? I can offer you love, I can offer you food, I can offer you comfort [and] I can offer you humour.”
My 20s were a train wreck…. I didn’t like who I was in my 20s.- Valerie Bertinelli
While growing up on TV in front of millions of people was challenging enough, Bertinelli said social media has amplified the number of negative comments about her, which makes practising self-love even more difficult.
“All those little trolls, they have a voice now and they can tell you however they feel,” she said. “So it’s easier to hear the bad stuff now. That’s why we have to be stronger in ourselves.”
On the flip side, Twitter and Instagram can be unhealthy sources of validation as well. Bertinelli said she’s thankful social media didn’t exist when she was younger because she thinks it might have also had the opposite effect of inflating her ego.
“My 20s were a train wreck,” she said. “I didn’t like who I was in my 20s. I think it started to affect me that I was on television and people, you know, did things for me. And I think I started to get a little bit big in the head. And [I] reeled that back, thankfully.”
In a few weeks, Bertinelli will re-shoot the pilot episode for NBC’s new comedy series, Hungry, with another former child star, actor and singer Demi Lovato, who’s also had a highly publicized struggle with body confidence.
“People think they can say anything about Demi and it’s not actually going to affect them. They’re a human being, you know,” said Bertinelli. “They are growing up in front of the world, and I’m so proud of what they’re exploring in their life and how they’re trying to make all of this make sense. I was trying to do the same thing. I just, I love the way that they’re going about it.”
But Bertinelli said you don’t have to be a celebrity to understand her battle with low self-esteem.
“We all have our own small town, we all have our own bubble that we live in, we all have people judging us,” she told Power. “The town was just a little bit bigger that I lived in [growing up], but the words still hurt and the words still heal. So it doesn’t matter how many of the words are thrown at you. One word can hurt you, and it takes 100 words to heal you, I think.”
Written by Vivian Rashotte. Produced by Jennifer Warren.