Actress Valerie Bertinelli was 15 when she landed the sitcom role that would make her a household name. But, in the years since "One Day At a Time," she has had her ups and downs, most famously on the bathroom scale. Fans watched as she struggled with "Losing It," as she called her first memoir.
Now, Bertinelli is, as a new memoir testifies, "Finding It" -- her own voice, a new perspective on her body, motherhood and her broken marriage to rocker Eddie Van Halen.
"I've been given an opportunity to be, I guess, the poster child for getting your s*** together, maybe?" Bertinelli said, chuckling.
No wonder that she recently appeared on "Oprah" to support her "One Day at a Time" costar, Mackenzie Phillips, as Phillips revealed that she'd had a incestuous relationship with her father, singer John Phillips.
Bertinelli said she had no idea any such relationship existed. Ironically, she'd spent her teenage days on the set jealous of Mackenzie Phillip's sex appeal, on and off camera.
"She was much more [gutsy] than I was," Bertinelli said. "She knew how to get in there first, I was too shy. ... I was 16. Your life revolves around yourself. And if my jeans were two sizes bigger ... than Mackenzie's, I thought I was a fat hog. ... I just didn't think highly of myself. I always felt less-than."
Those lifelong feelings of anxiety and insecurity don't go away easily, even after losing all the weight and feeling the love from her fans. Her new book, "Finding It," shows Bertinelli, 49, dealing with a host of new life challenges, and facing up to the far less-fabulous side of being slim: "maintenance," or keeping the weight off.
"I'm still in it," she said. "There's no past tense with maintenance. It's an everyday occurrence. There's no, like, 'Ta-da' moment during maintenance. It's all like, 'Oh, ta-da, I had another good day.'"
It's a task that is notoriously challenging for Bertinelli, as it was, for example, for her former Jenny Craig cohort, Kirstie Alley.
"I've never kept it off this long," said Bertinelli, who once weighed upwards of 170 pounds. "It's a challenge in a totally different way because I know about losing weight, done it before. Been there, done that, bought a million T-shirts, all different sizes, but maintaining it, that's what I'm going through right now."
Bertinelli was 20 in 1981 when she wed one of rock's greatest guitarists, Eddie Van Halen.
"I love his smile and his eyes and his hands, and, mentally, I love his honesty," she told "Good Morning America" in a 1985 interview.
In 1991, the couple's son, Wolfgang, was born; named, they said, after classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
"I was lying in my hospital room, watching the 11 o'clock news after giving birth to Wolfie and they were making fun of my son's name that night," Bertinelli said. "I'm like, are you kidding me? I just gave birth."
In an "Arsenio Hall Show" appearance in 1994 and elsewhere, the couple publicly delighted in Wolfgang's high-spiritedness. But the marriage was damaged by mutual infidelities and Van Halen's personal demons. Their strife had Bertinelli worried for their son.