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Interview With Kirstie Alley

Aired March 7, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Kirstie Alley, why is she turning her notorious battle of the bulge into an outrageous new TV show called, "Fat Actress." What turned her from the sexy prime time star into a plus sized tabloid target. Kirstie Alley tells all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE one of my favorite people, Kirstie Alley, the big screen beauty turned full- figure icon. Her new reality based series, "Fat Actress," premieres Monday night on Showtime. She's the author of "How to Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life: A Diary of the Past Year." She's won one Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a People's Choice Award for her six year role as Rebecca on the classic sitcom, "Cheers."

Why? Why are you...


KING: No, why are you openly dealing with it publicly.

ALLEY: You know, I don't know that I'm dealing with it publicly. I just...

KING: You're doing a show about it.

ALLEY: I'm a doing a show -- you know, I'm a comedian. So, I wanted to do a funny show. And it was right under my nose, literally. So I -- when I thought about it from a different point of view -- when I first thought about it, it was tragic. And then when I thought about it from a different point of view, the fat thing, I thought, oh, come on, this is a show.

KING: Did someone come to you with the idea?

ALLEY: Are you high? No, Larry, who would have the balls to come to me -- come to me and go...

KING: So, it was your idea?

ALLEY: Yes, totally. You couldn't come to me and go look, I have a show about a really fat woman named Kirstie Alley, you know what I mean? KING: Now, how did this happen? How did get to -- and you've lost some weight, right?

ALLEY: I've lost over 20 pounds. A little -- over 20 pounds.

KING: Do you have a goal of getting back to where you were?

ALLEY: I have a goal -- I want to lose about 60 pounds, maybe 70.

KING: How did this start?

ALLEY: The fatness?

KING: Yes, being -- I mean, what did you weigh in your prime, on "Cheers" you were what?

ALLEY: Most of my life I weighed about -- anywhere from 120, which is too little, to about 135, 138.

KING: At what height?

ALLEY: I'm 5'8".

KING: So, that's in the right range, right in there?

ALLEY: That is good. That looks good.

KING: What happened?

ALLEY: I ate too much. I ate too much. You know, I just hadn't ever stopped working since I started working, you know. My career took off. I was older when I started. I started when I was 30. And so my career took off, and I never stopped working.

LARRY KING, HOST: Did you get "Cheers" right away?

ALLEY: I got "Cheers" -- no, I did "Star Trek," then I did a few movies, and then I got "Cheers."

KING: You were the young girl on "Star Trek," right?

ALLEY: Yes, I was -- I was supposedly the young girl...

KING: Young member of the crew, right?


KING: Yes.

KING: So you never stopped. Never...


ALLEY: I never stopped, and after "Veronica's Closet," I thought -- you know, I had two children that were young, and I thought, well, you know -- and I was single then. I wasn't married anymore. And I thought, they need a lot of attention and they need a lot of time.

So I calculatedly plotted it out how I would do that. I wanted to do something commercially, and I wanted -- that's when I did the Pier 1 ads. And I only wanted to leave Los Angeles for about once -- once a year. So I did that. And I would go off to do a movie once a year.


KING: You started to eat.

ALLEY: Well, when you're home all the time and you're not busy, you're not very -- I wasn't very conscious about the way I looked or, you know, what I ate. I had sort of just given myself a permanent holiday.

KING: Did you one day look in the mirror and say, wow? Or was it just ongoing?

ALLEY: It was -- it wasn't really -- it was a little bit of both. You know, when I decided to do "Fat Actress," I thought I was fat. But I didn't think I looked that fat. And so I thought, you know what's weird is when I get on film, people are going to say, well, she's not that fat, and that'll be sort of like a compliment to me, you know?

Well, when I saw it, I was like, wow. You are -- you are that fat and all that. You are just fat, you know? And so I -- I was even shocked. I thought, This can't -- what have you done to me? You've used a wide-angle lens.


ALLEY: So I was even shocked myself. And I know that sounds crazy, but if you don't see yourself on film a lot -- when you're doing a series, every week you see yourself on film, right?

KING: Right.

ALLEY: OK. So, like, you do this show everyday, so you see yourself everyday. So you know what you look like.

But, you know, like I said, I did the Pier 1 commercials and we shot three commercials a year. And I didn't pay much attention to what I was look like. I knew that a year before then I had done a movie and I thought, wow, that's some bad photography.


KING: Did any friends say, Kirstie, you're gaining weight. A friend could do that.

ALLEY: A friend could do that. But all my friends are fat too.

But, I'm serious...

KING: It's a fat farm.

ALLEY: Seriously -- seriously, most of my friends, who never were fat -- you know, we're about the same age, and we -- we have -- for some reason -- we should have grandchildren, but we don't. We have, you know, children -- little children. And about the same time, we all started, you know, hanging out. And we would have, you know, banquets and parties and cakes and cookies and whatnot, you know? And we were all sort of progressively getting fatter. You know, I'm doing this Jenny Craig thing, and 10 of my friends are doing it with me. Well, I could have had 30 of my friends do it with me because...

KING: That many have gained weight.

ALLEY: Yes. And to different degrees.

KING: What was happened to you in the romance department, when you're gaining -- I mean, you are -- let's be honest, you're a beautiful girl.

ALLEY: You think?

KING: And "Cheers" -- come on.

ALLEY: Oh my God, thanks.

KING: You were a sex symbol to America.


KING: So it was a shock to see you gain weight.

Did it hurt the romantic department?

ALLEY: I think the romantic department came first. After I had my last breakup, and also after I finished "Veronica's Closet," I just really didn't want to be with any man. I just thought, you know, you have really poor judgment and you're an idiot in this department. So I thought maybe it was a good idea to really work on myself and work on that area of life.

KING: So you just didn't date?

ALLEY: I did not want -- I so didn't want to. It was horrifying to me to have a date, because I thought that I really needed to learn a lot more about that portion of life and how you would choose a mate and what you'd really be looking for.

You know, I -- when I look back on it, I feel embarrassed because I've always been sort of shallow. I've always been sort of -- and I didn't even know it. I was, like....

KING: That's really shallow.

ALLEY: I know. I was just terrible. That's worse than a Barbie doll. I though -- you know, I'd see someone, I'd go -- you know, they're beautiful looking, they're hot -- you know, hot looking and, you know, they're -- they're sort of, you know, fun. Well, that should be my husband.

Isn't that stupid? You know that's, like, bimbo stuff.

KING: Yes, it is.


KING: That is bimbo.

ALLEY: It is.

KING: So -- so you didn't date not because you were gaining weight...

ALLEY: No, no. I wasn't gaining weight -- I just -- I made the decision -- the decision not to date came first.

KING: I see.

ALLEY: I made the decision not to date. And thus, when you're not dating, you know, you're not getting all decked out for some guy. And so I thought, you know -- and I don't have to look good for anyone except myself, and apparently I have a very low threshold (UNINTELLIGIBLE) myself.

KING: Did your children say anything?

ALLEY: My children are very, very sweet. My children are, you know, when the tabloids would come out with something like I weigh 300 pounds, they go, Mama, I know you don't weigh 300 pounds. Mama, they're so mean.

KING: How old are they?

ALLEY: They're 10 and 12. True (ph) and Lillie (ph).

KING: What do they think about the idea of doing this show?

ALLEY: They think it's hysterical. My son is actually in it. He has a recurring role. He plays the leak to the tabloids. He plays the kid across the street who is from a network family who, of course, the parents are never home because they're network executives.

KING: I want to get to the tabloids in a minute.

We'll be right back with Kirstie Alley. The series begins -- "Fat Actress" -- typecasting -- what if she gets all slim, and throws (ph) the show.

Jenny Craig, work -- where did I go right?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kirstie, it's Sam. How's the diet going? ALLEY: Really well, the pounds are just melting off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's good news, because I have an offer for you.

ALLEY: A job offering?








ALLEY: I am an actress. I think -- I think that you're forgetting that fact that I have won, what two -- three Emmys and Golden Globes and many, many People's Choice Awards. And you know what, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that is People's Choice Award, all right. They can chose. They have a choice, and you know what, they choose me. So, you need to choose me. Choose me. Choose me.


KING: We're back with Kirstie Alley. Monday night is the premier of "Fat Actress."

We mentioned the tabloids. OK.


KING: Here are just a few examples here.

"Globe": "Shocker! Kirstie Alley Battles Deadly Disease." We'll find out what that is.

Kirstie Alley in the "Star": "260-Pound Kirstie: Too Fat for Sex!"



KING: Is that true?

ALLEY: Well, you know what happened was, I was on "Oprah" and I said that I hadn't had sex for four years because I just didn't want to have fat sex, right? So now, it's too fat for sex.

KING: Oh, I get it. ALLEY: You see, it has to be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) twisted.

KING: What do you make when you see stuff like this? I mean, what -- what goes on in you?

ALLEY: Well, you know, it's complex. It's a little complex, because you will -- I'll give you an example.

Like, one day I'll be at a barbecue at friends' house and they're all taking, you know, snapshots. Just snap, snap, snap. And you'll get them back, and you'll go, you know, I look a little chubby, but whatever. You don't look like, you know, who shot John, to quote my mother.

And then I'll see one of these, and I think, where were -- you know, I see these paparazzi guys, they're sitting on the ground. Yesterday I was with children, there were 15 cars following us. It was pouring down rain, I got out with an umbrella, and I had the umbrella, like, closed like this, so that they wouldn't get shots of me, because they're just ruthless.

They were -- they had their cameras underneath the umbrella, like underneath my skirt, basically.

KING: So get their shots...

ALLEY: Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, snap.

KING: They get an unflattering shot.

ALLEY: I don't understand why this is legal. Forget the way it looks -- ugly -- I don't understand...

KING: You get a -- an order, can't you? Keep them a certain distance away.

ALLEY: How? An individual, one on each guy? Yesterday there were 15 -- 15 guys on foot and 10 cars.

KING: Now, why do you think they're so absorbed in this?


ALLEY: Because they get paid a lot of money for these horrible- ass photographs. I mean, do you know -- and they go out of their way to make you look...


KING: How do you react when you see "Battles Deadly Disease"?


KING: What -- what was the disease, by the way? I did not read this. ALLEY: I think it was lack of getting laid. I don't know. I don't -- if you put the two together, that appears -- that appears to be what it is.

KING: That's right. One works with the other.

So, do you laugh at them?

ALLEY: I laugh at them...

KING: Does it bother you?

ALLEY: They bother me because they lie. And I don't understand in a -- you know, I believe in freedom of speech, but it does bother when someone -- when magazines can say whatever they want to say with reckless regard and malicious -- they're malicious.

What is the intention of that? The intention is to destroy my career or to destroy me, you know? And I know people that have fought back and sued them. But it feels like -- it felt like in this instance, it's a better fight to put it into something really creative, you know? It's a better...

KING: But now, kind of like you win because you take advantage of that and do a show with it.

ALLEY: Yes, I win for me, you know. I win for me. Because I don't want their money. They creep me out. I just don't understand why that's -- it's stalking at its finest. How do you know if this guy that's following you for 12 hours is going to murder you or take your photograph?

KING: Yet you write into the show.

ALLEY: Yes, because they always say...

KING: So you use it.

ALLEY: They say, "a close source."

KING: Yes, I know.

ALLEY: There's never a close source.

KING: A friend.

ALLEY: What are your friends that do this?

KING: My arguments always happen in restaurants. "He stormed out."

ALLEY: Always. Always. I just saw one today about -- I was sitting at a party, apparently, in the kitchen, eating all the desserts.

(LAUGHTER) ALLEY: And I'm like -- it does make you sort of paranoid, like, who was it? Was it the people from the catering company? Was it -- who's giving this information that you're sitting in the kitchen eating all the desserts?

KING: Were you a binge eater?


KING: By that I mean, could you go in and eat six boxes of Twinkies?

ALLEY: No. No, no, no. Not like that. Not like that. I was just, like -- you know, I was an athlete my whole life. John says that in the first episode. It's true.

I was a swimmer; I was an athlete and I had a very high metabolism. So, from an early age, we would -- my -- all my brothers and my sisters, we would eat tons of food...

KING: You would burn it off.

ALLEY: Because we'd work out four or five hours a day. And I got a free ride -- let's face it -- until four years ago, I had a free ride. I wasn't working that hard. I kept a really nice figure -- figure, that sounds like a 1950s term.

KING: What do they call it now?

ALLEY: Body.

KING: Body, yes. You're a fox.

ALLEY: You don't say, oh, you have a really nice figure, you know? That's old-fashioned.

But, you know, I had a free ride for a very long time without working at it. And now, I'm having to work at it, which is fun. I'm actually having fun.

KING: Are you -- when you hear about bulimia, anorexia -- Tracey Gold was on the last week to discuss that.

What do you think of the reverse of that? Are you -- when you see people really slim? The Hollywood look. The desire...

ALLEY: Well, you know, I had a few -- first of all, I don't believe they're diseases. That's -- I know that's not the popular belief. But I do not believe they're diseases.

I believe that getting fat is probably symptomatic of something going screwball in your life, and getting too skinny is something that's probably screwball, you know?

But it's odd, because when something's really bothering me, I don't have a tendency to want to eat. So I went through a period, a very long period, where nothing was pretty much bothering me. It was like this holiday mentality, do you know?

KING: The jolly fat man.

ALLEY: It was sort of the jolly fat man.

KING: Ho-ho-ho!

ALLEY: Yes, until I went -- OK, this isn't funny anymore. Oh, no wait -- hold up, this isn't -- because I wanted it both. I wanted, literally, pardon the cliche, to have my cake, you know, and eat it too.

I want -- and I still wish that. I wish that I could -- and you know, doing these Jenny Craig thing, I sort of can, because they have cake.


KING: But there's a danger, health-wise, isn't there? To being too heavy?

ALLEY: Yes. I'm sure there is if you weigh 400 pounds or something.

KING: Well, at 260...

ALLEY: If you weigh 200 and -- 200 pounds, you're not -- no, I didn't weigh 260. That was a lie. And if you look at the one three months ago, I weighed 320. That's all bullshit.

KING: What do you weigh?

ALLEY: Can I say bullshit on CNN?

KING: What do you -- yes, it's cable. If you can't, they'll go bleep it.

ALLEY: I can't say what I weigh now because of my contract with Jenny Craig, but at the end I can say.

KING: Is there a -- is there a time limit? Is there a three- month deal, a four-month Jenny Craig deal? Is it what?

ALLEY: I have about -- we figured out how much weight I wanted to lose, and we figured it would probably take about six to eight months.

KING: Is losing difficult?



ALLEY: No. It isn't.

KING: You don't miss that... ALLEY: No, because I have to tell you -- the first three days, it was hard, because I figured I was eating probably 4,500 calories, you know? And so -- because it wasn't -- I could go to dinner and have a T-bone steak and mashed potatoes and gravy and this and that, and you know, that wasn't that hard for me to eat.

So for the first three days, it was sort of torture. And then when I got used to that calorie -- you know, the reduction of calories, and my energy -- it was funny, because the more I reduced on the calories -- you know, within reason, because I'm doing something reasonable -- the energy level started going up, up, up. So it was a great -- it was a great trade-off.

But also, I'm doing something where, if you were having linguine -- if you were having fettuccine, you know, alfredo, I could have mine with you. If you were having cake, I could have cake too.

KING: But...

ALLEY: No -- I mean, now, on the diet I'm on, I can do that. So it fits the style of life that I have.

KING: But you can't eat the full plate of fettuccine alfredo.

ALLEY: No, and I'm not -- well, not -- I mean, I'm getting enough fettuccine to eat, but it's probably not laced with, you know -- if I made you fettuccine alfredo, I would put probably two pounds of butter in it, thick cream, all this stuff, right? And it would taste good.

But what I'm eating tastes, I think, equally as good, and it doesn't have all those ingredients.

KING: We'll be right back with Kirstie Alley. Big-league lady, funny...

ALLEY: Big league?

KING: And she -- I like that.

And March 7th, she debuts her show, "Fat Actress." We'll get a lot more into that, how the concept works, how scripted is it and the like. More after this.


ALLEY: Jenny Craig, please. This is Kirstie Alley. In regards to me being fat. Can you hold on a second? Hey, you're chubby too. Let's lose weight together. They have really yummy food. That will make it easy for us. They have chicken fettuccine. Fettuccine!



KING: What do you make of this "Fat Actress" as a trendsetter? There's a wave of women in Hollywood comedies now, set to (ph) television this year, Kathy Griffin's, "My Life on the D List," Lisa Kudrow is developing a show about a 40-year-old out-of-work actress playing herself on a reality show.

What do you make of this? Is all -- are you -- all of you in now?

ALLEY: Well, yes.


ALLEY: I think that what happens is -- do you know -- and it isn't just this industry. What happens is you -- you know, when you're 25 years old or whatever you are, you really do -- and -- you get to fly by if you're nice looking. You get a free ride in a lot of ways.

I know as an interior -- I was an interior designer before I was an actress. And I got away with murder.

KING: Because you were pretty and...

ALLEY: I was cute, do you know? And funny. So I got away with murder.

And I think that as you get older, you have to get more creative, because -- you do -- because you're not going to just be the cute girl, because there's a thousand, you know, following you right on your heels. And so you have to get smarter and you have to get more creative.

And, you know, from the beginning you have to be creative. I mean, you don't survive in this business for very long unless you're creative. You won't be successful. And if you want to have a good career after -- you know, a successful career after you're 40, you have to be super creative. But men do too.

KING: What brought you -- oh yes.

What brought you together with Showtime? Why Showtime?

ALLEY: Because I had heard that Bob Greenblatt was very open for innovative things...

KING: He sure is.

ALLEY: Yes. And that he was -- you know, and I knew him and -- you know, he's gotten awards and things like that.

But I just felt like -- I felt like it was the right match, because I felt like this is taking a risk in a way, because this isn't a reality show. This is -- the only thing real is that I start off and I am fat, right? I don't have children in it; I don't have a husband -- you know, I don't have -- it's much more fiction.

So -- and I knew that it was -- it would take someone who was really taking a chance.

KING: And you went to him? You didn't go to other people?

ALLEY: No. I went to him.

KING: He was your first?

ALLEY: He was my first. He was my first love.

KING: Did you do a pilot?

ALLEY: No. I said, Bob, I'm not going to put my ass on the line for a pilot, literally.

KING: He bought it on prospect? He bought it on...

ALLEY: Yes, he did. And he said that they would -- when they picked it up, they said, we'll pick up seven. Because it was too risky -- I mean, come on, that was risky. If I had it out there that I did "Fat Actress," the pilot -- and let's say the pilot wasn't picked up. Come on.

KING: Yes.


KING: All right. So now give me the concept of the show.

Is it fully scripted? How does it work?

ALLEY: It isn't fully scripted. It is fully outlined.

KING: An hour?

ALLEY: No. Thirty minutes.

KING: Once a week?

ALLEY: Once a week. Brenda Hampton, who has a show, "Seventh Heaven," and I teamed up and we -- we -- it's an outline, a very -- a very precise outline. You know when you're doing a scene, you know where you're going in the scene. You know...

KING: Like "Curb Your Enthusiasm"?

ALLEY: Yes. Like that.

KING: They have an outline; they know where they're going, but they let the actors say what they want.

ALLEY: Well, then you get to -- yes. Then you get to go off.

But you know actors. They'll go off and do a monologue in the middle...

KING: Can you do a lot of editing? ALLEY: We do a lot of "Cut!"

KING: How many episodes have you shot so far?

ALLEY: Seven.

KING: You've shot all seven?

ALLEY: We've shot all seven.

KING: Was it fun?

ALLEY: It was the most fun I've ever had in my life.

KING: Because?

ALLEY: You know, I -- after I did "Cheers," it was one of those things like if you married the best man in the entire universe and then he died, and you'd always be going, oh my God, am I ever going to find anybody like this? I haven't had that experience.

But anyway, I had it on "Cheers," where I -- you know, I...

KING: You're never going to find "Cheers" again.

ALLEY: I felt like that. Until this.

KING: Really?

ALLEY: And it came from left field, because it came out of, you know, like the phoenix -- like, the rise of the phoenix. And it just -- it was natural. It's very organic. It just happened. And it was so liberating to do this show, and it's so fun to be able to improv.

And you know, Rachael Harris and Bryan Callen are my co-stars, and they're hysterically funny.

KING: And what's the idea of the script? We know that Larry David and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a very funny show. Here's just a guy who bad things happen to, and he's not the most likable person in the world.

ALLEY: Right.

KING: What are you in this?

ALLEY: I'm just an actress who got fat and who's just looking for work and looking for sex and looking for, you know, happiness, basically. And if I lose weight on the show, which Bob -- we were all aware that I wanted to. I said, you know, I want to lose weight and do this, because you can't do fat jokes for years and years and years. But you can do jokes about, you know, no sex; you can do jokes about younger men; you can do jokes about aging. Just, it's endless with women.

KING: How many regulars on the show? ALLEY: Just the three of us: Bryan Callen, Rachael Harris and myself.

KING: And then the others are all guest actors?

ALLEY: Yes, and they're hysterical. Well, we've had the best guests in the world.

KING: Have you had stars yet?

ALLEY: Oh yes. We've had Travolta and Kid Rock and Rhea Perlman and...

KING: Wow.

ALLEY: ...and Kevin Nealon. We've got a whole list of -- I mean, you know, yes.

KING: It debuts Monday night on Showtime, "Fat Actress."

Back with more in the life and times of Kirstie -- we sound like "60 Minutes" -- of Kirstie Alley. Don't go away.



ALLEY: Jimmy, I lost 15. So how are you doing with that New Year's resolution to get thinner, hmm? Oh, Jenny Craig, lets lose weight together. Lets get really, really skinny. Then lets get (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They have really yummy food, that will make it easy for us. They've got chocolate cake.


KING: We're back with Kirstie Alley. "Fat Actress" debuts Monday night.

Why Jenny Craig, by the way? How did that hook up?

ALLEY: Well I had a lot of -- I was sort of a no-brainer, you know? There were people after me -- lots of different groups were after me, because there aren't that many actresses who are fat.

So I had done Jenny Craig I think in 1990 to lose weight to do the first "Look Who's Talking," and I lost 17 pounds. And, I mean, I was nowhere -- you know, I was basically skinny losing 17 pounds to be skinnier.

Anyway -- but I remember that it was easy. I remembered that I liked it. I liked the food.

KING: ... fun films.

ALLEY: They were. Yes, they were. John and I were fun together. KING: And who was the voice of the kid?

ALLEY: Well, the first one was Bruce Willis.

KING: Bruce Willis.

ALLEY: Yes. It was fun, huh?

KING: Now you even do -- so you need someone and Jenny Craig was the outlet you chose?

ALLEY: I wanted them because I thought it was the way I was going to -- you know, I had to think about the rest of my life. And, you know, I like to go -- I like to travel; I like to go to Italy and France. And, I mean, that's the way you're going to be eating. You know, you're not going to never have a cake again. You're not going to never have pasta. Never going to live my life that way. So this -- I can have all those things, and sort of train myself how to live right.

KING: Are you exercising?

ALLEY: I am exercising a lot now. The first couple of -- the first month I didn't at all. I was really busy shooting the show. And then in the last couple of weeks I've started working out hour, two hours a day. I love it.

KING: Are there any things in this show that like -- someone told me, like, a show within a show where you pitch Jeff Zucker on doing the show, the head of NBC? Tell me about that.

ALLEY: Jeffrey's so funny.

KING: He agreed to do this?

ALLEY: He agreed to do it, and he's so funny. That's the other thing, you know. I mean, in the beginning we thought, well, we won't give Jeff very many lines because, you know, he runs NBC, he can't be that funny.

So, as he started saying his lines, we were like, oh, he's really funny. So we started throwing him other lines, and throwing other lines. And then he started making up that show.

KING: What's the premise of that show?

ALLEY: The premise is me wanting to do -- to get a development deal with a network for my own show so that I can develop, you know, a holding deal, where they will hold me until we develop a show for me.

But of course, you know, he says to my agent, don't bring her in here if she's fat. And my agent says, no, I've heard that she's lost a lot of weight. And so I come in and of course I'm fat and I've put him in a an awkward situation. And then it's about what I do and circumstances that happen for me to get that holding deal, which I do get. KING: Do you -- it's all comedy, right?


KING: You don't -- do you ever think, if I didn't get this -- if I didn't this way, God I would have had a lot of roles.

ALLEY: No, I don't think that way.

KING: No regrets, then?

ALLEY: I have no regrets because God knows I certainly didn't think, wow, I'm really going to get fat so I can get my own show. But it took me in a different way. It made me -- you know what it made me do? I had gotten lazy. You know, I had had a lot of success -- and I got lazy. I got, like, you know you got everything you want; you can do some charity stuff; you can do this, you can do whatever you want. And I had gotten really lazy.

And this -- this brought me back around to, no, if you want to continue and -- continue to act and work and be successful, you can't be lazy. And that didn't -- that -- first, it didn't mean you need to get skinny, it meant you can't be lazy. You need to stop that. And you need to be creative again.

So it was great. It was -- it's been the greatest thing that happened to me -- my career.

KING: Are you now dating again?

ALLEY: No. Not yet.

KING: Kirstie, why not?

ALLEY: Because I don't want to have fat sex still.


ALLEY: You know, I've lost 20 pounds...

KING: What is fat sex?

ALLEY: Fat sex is when...

KING: You mean, you're fat and you're in bed and you don't want to show that to a man.

ALLEY: Yes. It's where your attention would be on yourself and your fatness instead of on who you're with. I guess I could have sex with a fat guy.

KING: What's the worst part about being fat?

ALLEY: The worst about is I...

KING: What would you say to people who are beginning to start the binging. Or beginning to start to -- what will they -- what won't they like about this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) how they looked.

ALLEY: What I didn't like about it -- what I didn't like about it and what I don't like about it -- I don't feel so much that way right now because I've lost 20 pounds and that's a significant difference -- is that you lose your agility. I did. I lost my agility; I lost my flexibility and my -- the speed in which I could move.

And I also started thinking, everything seems small, you know? I wrote in my book, you know, about airplanes. I am in a first-class seat and I'm like, this is so not worth it. Look at this little tiny chair and it's first class and I paid all this money for it.

And then I'd go somewhere else and I'd say -- you know, I would -- I'd try on a coat and I'd go, those housekeepers have shrunken all my clothes. Get them up here! What -- don't wash this stuff in hot water. And then one day I went, I think, oh my, oh dear, you know? I've -- the chairs aren't getting smaller.

KING: Agility, that's the thing.

ALLEY: Agility. You know, where -- like children, where you sit down on the ground and you get up and then you run and then you do this and you...

KING: How about -- you're a beautiful film star, TV star, successful. You're used to, in your life, walking down -- walking into a restaurant and having the men look.

ALLEY: Get a lot of attention.

KING: You're looking to walking down that red carpet. Now you don't get the same look.

ALLEY: No, I don't. That's another thing that I didn't like. Because I am used to it.

KING: You don't get ogled anymore.

ALLEY: I'm spoiled where I'll walk into a restaurant and I can sort of feel -- you know, before sort of ooh la la. And now, it's sort of like, oh my God, what -- what did she do?

And so it's a big difference and I sort of got very introverted. like, no I don't want -- you know, I don't want that anymore. In the last three or four days, I've started getting a little ooh la la-ish again. So...

KING: Ah ha!

ALLEY: I like that. I like the ooh la la better. The more ooh la la's I get, the more sex I'm going to have. Do you understand? They go together.

KING: Do you miss that? ALLEY: I don't, because I've never been one of those -- the only time I like sex is if I really love someone. I know. I've tried to be promiscuous. Trust me. I've tried to be...

KING: Did any...

ALLEY: I wish I was! I'm not kidding you. I wish I was one of those girls that could just have random sex and just be, like, you know, have an affair here and an affair there and just be that sort of, you know, avant garde sort of a -- I wish I was. I'm not that.

KING: So you've been in love with anyone you've slept with?

ALLEY: No. Two people, no. Two people, no. But it was a mistake. I mean, I didn't -- I didn't like them. They're in my book.

KING: Was there any depression associated with gaining weight?

ALLEY: I had depression for about 10 days -- well, I'll call it depression. But I'll call more humiliation. I -- one day I woke up and I went -- well, I owed the IRS some money -- my accountant and myself had made a little error, like, a decimal point. And I went, oh my God, now I'm going to be poor, old, and I'm fat. OK. I am done.

So I stayed in the bed under my covers, except for when my kids would come home from school, I'd be like, hey, how you doing? Good to see you. How did you do in school today? But when they were gone, I was just -- I was just hiding. And then one day and I went -- I just woke up, and that's when I created the show.

KING: Really, coming out of that?

ALLEY: I just said, you know what? You either throw in the towel or you know -- and you know, I used to have this option sitting there -- this is so sick, but I'll tell you. OK.

I had this option sitting there when -- you know, if you don't want to act anymore, you don't want to do this, you can marry a billionaire. It's so -- I know, that's so sick. But then I went, OK, you're fat. You're not going to get a billionaire. Billionaires don't want fat girls. So then I was freaking out because I was like, OK, if you don't want to work anymore and the billionaire's out, what the hell are you going to do? So I freaked out. And then I thought, Do you want the billionaire? I thought, Maybe but later. OK. But I do -- I know that I still want to act and I still want to work. So that's when I got creative.

KING: Our guest is Kirstie Alley. The show premieres Monday. We'll be right back.



BRUCE WILLIS, ENTERTAINER: No. No, don't want any milk right now. JOHN TRAVOLTA, ENTERTAINER: Don't force feed him like that.

ALLEY: I'm not force feeding him. Why don't you take a nap.

WILLIS: No, naps.

TRAVOLTA: Doesn't look like he needs a nap.

WILLIS: I don't need a nap.

ALLEY: He's a baby, he doesn't know what he needs.

TRAVOLTA: He knows he's not tired. Are you tired?

WILLIS: No, man. I'm not tired at all.


KING: We're back with Kirstie Alley.

Why did you write, "How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life?"

ALLEY: Because I started -- I mean, it just started as a -- that day that I said, you know, I've got to create something. I actually went out and bought film equipment to make a documentary. And...

KING: About?

ALLEY: About my dreadful life. And about -- I thought, you know what? You are going to change this around.

So I went out and I bought film equipment and I hired this young Blake Webster boy to -- to video this. And I said, Just start. Just roll 'em. We're just going to start rolling. And I started by making a diary of everyday. Like, here I am, I'm Kirstie Alley, I'm really fat, I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you know. And what happened was, all of a sudden I thought, you know, this would make a great book. If there is an evolution here, this would make a great book. So -- because I thought that at some point, you know, all of these things that I was thinking would start coming true, would start happening like this show, and like different aspects of my life.

So, you know, I decided to -- the show came first. And then I -- you know, we called around and said, do you want to do a book deal. And they went, yes, yes, yes, we do. And then some people called us, and said, do you want to do a book deal?

KING: Is this a comedy book or a biography or...

ALLEY: Oh, it's funny. It's funny. It's mainly about the last year of my life and what I went through in diary form. But it's all these reflections of -- you know, people think when they're thin or if I was just thinner, I would have a happy life. Well, I have all these stupid stories that happened to me when I was so, you know, rocky, rock body, and they're dumb, dumb stories. So it's really not true. If I had just had this money, I'd be happier or if I just had this. You know, you're happier, in a way for a short period of time. But it's really not what makes you happy. So, anyway, it's about those -- those stories in my life.

KING: You grew up in Kansas, moved to L.A. in 1979, were open about cocaine use.


KING: How did you beat that?

ALLEY: Well, I started...

KING: It's very addictive, right?

ALLEY: Yes, it was addictive.

I started -- I came to Los Angeles, actually, to do Scientology. And I had some Scientology auditing, which is just -- it's sort of a process that you would do with another person. And I did that, and then all of a sudden I went, oh, it revealed to me why I had started doing cocaine in the first place. And I never wanted to do it again.

KING: Are you still a Scientologist?


KING: People in that really are in that, huh? I've met with Tom Cruise a few times.


KING: I mean, they become proselytizers of it.

ALLEY: Really? I think what happens is -- I find that if -- if you have been in some condition that was pretty awful, like drug abuse is, and something has helped you out of it, you want to help other people. So you can always speak from a point of view of, what you know to -- that really works, or really helps people, you know?

With my life, I never would have been an actor, I never would have made it if I hadn't done Scientology. Because I was on a real downhill spiral in my life, you know? I was doing drugs and -- when you're doing drugs, that's not all you're doing in your life. You're destroying a lot of things. You know, you're not going upward, you're going downward.

So I never would have been an actor; I never...

KING: Do you know you're going downward when you're going downward?

ALLEY: I didn't right at first, but I certainly did -- there was a day when I was at my friend's house, and I had camped out on their floor in a tent for a week, because I had become so paranoid. And I thought to myself, this isn't funny anymore.

I had always been the girl that everyone said, oh, you're crazy. You're funny, you know? And I was crazy and funny. But I was seeing where I had finally gone over the line. Now I was crazy. Now I was insane. And I knew it. And I was horrified that you've taken it over the edge now.

So I feel, you know, indebted to Scientology for, you know -- for changing my life. For helping me -- I mean, you know, Scientology doesn't change your life. You have to do it to change your life.

KING: You have kept close to the "Cheers" cast? Have you?

ALLEY: Yes. You know, they're kind of like those -- with people that I really love, I could talk to them once every six months or once every year and it seems like -- you know what I mean?

KING: Who are you closest to?

ALLEY: I -- oh God. Well, Rhea, definitely.

KING: She's terrific.

ALLEY: But with the guys, I don't know. You know, they're all -- I love all of them. I always had a little bit of a thing with Woody -- I mean, like, you know, like I always felt like he and I were little kindred spirits.

KING: Kelsey?

ALLEY: Kelsey I adore. I think Kelsey is just...

KING: He's had his share of problems too.

ALLEY: He's had his share of problems, but he is just a magical being, seriously. He's very amazingly talented, smart -- he's so smart.

KING: Was Ted the core of that show? Ted Danson?

ALLEY: Absolutely.

KING: He was the rock, right?

ALLEY: Absolutely. He was the alpha and omega. The omega when he ended it and we all wanted to kill him, and the alpha when he would -- you know.

Yes, he had such a wonderful spirit about it, do you know? And so he made it very gamy and very easy to be there. And the leader is always the one that, you know...

KING: It was very sad when it went off, wasn't it?

ALLEY: I thought it was sad. I don't even know why we went off.

KING: Why did you go off?

ALLEY: Ask Ted.

KING: You were at the top, right? You weren't down in ratings?

ALLEY: No, you have to ask Ted. We were in the top. You have to ask Ted that question.

He -- I think, basically, it wasn't a mutual decision because -- well, we weren't asked, actually. You can't do "Cheers" without Ted. You could do "Cheers" without me, you could do "Cheers" without certain people. But you can't do "Cheers" without Ted.

So when he said he -- you know, he was finished, then, you know, he was finished.

KING: Couldn't hire a new bartender?


KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Kirstie -- no.

ALLEY: I was thinking about it.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Kirstie Alley right after this.


WOODY HARRELSON, ACTOR: I don't mean to insult you, but you're looking kind of puny. Have you lost weight?

ALLEY: Is this a set-up? Did Sam tell you to say that?

HARRELSON: No, ma'am, I told myself to say it.

ALLEY: Thank you, Woody. It's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all week.

HARRELSON: Your hair has been looking kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).





WOODY ALLEN, ACTOR: You're overreacting.

ALLEY: I'm not overreacting! You're trying to tell me that every week the last four months, that you've been with her in a hotel?

ALLEN: That's so crazy, of course not. You know, I've rented an apartment.

ALLEY: Get out!


KING: Did you want more of a movie career? I mean, your movies were hits, right?

ALLEY: My movies were hits -- well, I have a thing about movies. I love, love, love movies. I love to see them. I always feel when I'm doing them they're a little painful. The schedule of a movie, the lifestyle of a movie, is very difficult for me.

KING: Because?

ALLEY: I'm very impatient, and they're very slow. You know, you shoot over and over and over and over this angle, and then over and over and over that angle. And then you sit in your trailer and you wait for three hours where they light this and they do that.

It's not conducive to how I live my -- you know, that's why sitcoms are great for me, because they're like this, you know? I want to shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. So...

KING: How did you like working for Woody Allen?

ALLEY: I loved working for Woody Allen because that was a big dream of mine, do you know? I saw so many Woody Allen movies and loved all of his movies. And, you know, if you had your dream list, it would be, ooh, do Woody Allen movie.

So when he asked me to do that movie, oh my God. I will never forget that day. I was standing in New York. I had just met with him, and he only said like two words to me, and I thought he thought I was an idiot and sent me packing.

KING: "Deconstructing Harry," right?

ALLEY: Yes. And I thought he just, you know, get out of here, you're never going to work for me.

So I walked back to the hotel, and right when I walked in the door, the phone rang -- and this never happens in movies. And he said, he wants you to do the movie. And I have a picture of me, standing there like this, "He does?" That's, like, one of my favorite pictures.

KING: Was he easy to work for?

ALLEY: He was. He was funny, you know? I said, "now, Woody, in this scene, could I ad-lib?" And he goes, "if it's funny. If it's not funny you can't."

And I thought, oh, no pressure there.

He doesn't talk to you very much while you're filming, do you know? But he -- if you do something he likes, he's very validating.

KING: All right. What's the deal with "Fat Actress" now? You've shot seven.


KING: Let's say they go well. Showtime likes them.


KING: Ratings good. What's after?

ALLEY: Well, I would come back -- when I come back, I wouldn't be fat. But there's a reason...

KING: Will you call the thing "Slim Actress"?

ALLEY: I will be "Fat Actress"...

KING" "Formerly Fat Actress."

ALLEY: Formerly known as. If you -- when you see the last episode, you will see that when I come back, I have an even bigger problem.

KING: Oh. So we have a hook.

ALLEY: We have a hook. This show is about all of the introversions that any woman could ever experience. And that's what I think is the beauty of it, because women are introverted about just about everything.

KING: Going to write another book?

ALLEY: They've asked me to. I'd love to. I had one of the best -- I had so much fun writing. I did not know that, because I am not a solitary individual. And you know, when you write a book, you're over here on your own.

But oh, I loved it. I loved it.

KING: You did, because it's the loneliest place in the world, as a writer.

ALLEY: But it wasn't. It was, like, animated, do you know? You're thinking about these things that happened in your life and these -- and at the end of this book I thought, oh my God, I've had the dumbest, craziest life of anybody I've ever heard of. I can't believe I'm alive, A. And it's like, I'm like a cat. I've had nine lives and...

KING: Have you got a target in mind when you will date again?

ALLEY: Yes. Not only date, have sex. OK. I'm going to Italy this summer.

KING: Ah ha! You will meet Marcello Favrionne (ph)

ALLEY: Well, I know a few people already.

KING: Ah ha!

ALLEY: But...

KING: Is there someone...

ALLEY: I think I'm ready to put out.

KING: Is there someone we're targeting?

ALLEY: Maybe.

KING: Because we're seen in Italy. Maybe he's watching.

ALLEY: There is maybe somebody we're targeting.

KING: Would he know who he is?

ALLEY: He will probably know who he is. He'd probably be glad to hear I'm ready to put out.

KING: And he will take you as is?

ALLEY: Oh, yes. But he won't get me as is.

KING: Because you must be light.

ALLEY: He'll get me the best. The best that I can be.

KING: You must be lighter.

ALLEY: Well, I don't want to be -- I don't want my attention to be on my ass where I'm making love. Do you?

KING: No. I don't have one, so...

ALLEY: Well, then you're lucky. Then you'll see.

KING: Was "Cheers" the happiest time in your life?

ALLEY: No. I think now is the happiest time in my life, definitely. Now.

KING: Really?

ALLEY: Really. And I wouldn't have said that to you a year ago.

KING: Because of all you've come through and because of where you are now?


ALLEY: I am so -- you know, no matter what happens with my career, it really -- I have to say that whatever I evolved into now is so much more of a swell human being than what I was then, that I just feel on top of the world.

I have -- you know, I have wonderful children who are just healthy and happy and I -- it was cathartic. Whatever happened here was cathartic. So I've never been this way.

KING: I'll bet you're good mom.

ALLEY: I am a good mom. Thanks.

KING: And you're a good guest.

ALLEY: Thanks.

KING: Terrific lady.

ALLEY: You're good too.

KING: Thanks. "How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life" is the book. The show is "Fat Actress." It debuts Monday night, March 7th on Showtime.

Our guest is Kirstie Alley. We thank her very much for being with us.

And remind you to stay tuned for Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT." That's next on CNN.

Good night.


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