For Tori Spelling, Motherhood Brings Renewed Career, Identity

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"We are doing Old Hollywood," said Tori Spelling, describing the photo shoot happening in her living room. "I'm gonna be a very pregnant Jean Harlow."

A crew for her reality TV show "Home Sweet Hollywood" captured it all. It was Spelling's life imitating art imitating life -- just another day in Mommywood.

"Mommywood means being a mom, doing it like everyone else, but kind of being in that fishbowl," Spelling said.

Despite living in that bubble, Spelling insisted she was just a normal hands-on mom.

"We are backyard farmers," she said, giving a tour of her vineyard. "My ultimate dream would be to live on a farm. … It's not the way I grew up. I grew up in the lap of luxury."

You could say that. Spelling's father, Aaron Spelling, created "Fantasy Island," "Dynasty," "Charlie's Angels" and "Beverly Hills 90210." He built the biggest house in Los Angeles County.

Tori Spelling has spent her whole life in the white-hot glare of Hollywood's spotlight. Her divorce, her weight, her affair with a married man, and her family feud have filled the glossy pages of gossip magazines.

As have her money problems. When he died, in 2006, Aaron Spelling was worth $500 million. He left Tori $800,000. Tori, whose job starring in "90210" had ended with the show's demise, was deeply in debt.

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"I'm grateful that happened," Spelling said. "I think it gave me that extra push at a time when maybe I needed it."

The scandalous affair became a successful second marriage that has changed her life. With husband Dean McDermott, she turned it into a hit reality show, "Tori and Dean in Love."

With the show's success came financial stability. So the cameras kept rolling after she had her son, Liam, and daughter, Stella. The show was retitled "Home Sweet Hollywood," and it allowed the whole world to watch Spelling's intimate family moments.

"My first ultrasound with Liam … I looked back at that footage, and I was like, I have five chins," she said. "I panicked, and I was like, All right, calm down. This isn't '90210.' ... This is what you signed up [for]."

Her own appearance was one thing, but Spelling was criticized for putting her young children in the spotlight. Spelling said it's better than if she were still acting, with a nanny raising them. Or than if she had pushed them into being actors themselves. "To me it's a great [family] video that they'll have," she said.

Candy Spelling, Once a Critic, Now a Grandma

One critic hit particularly close to home: Spelling's mother, Candy Spelling. In 2009, she wrote an open letter to TMZ slamming Tori for making her kids "reality show props."

The show catapulted Spelling's career, and now she's a true Mommywood mogul with businesses based on her passions. She has three best-selling books, a jewelry line, a kids' clothing line, a new reality show, and a store featuring her favorite things. She also plans weddings.

Ironically, the artificial "reality" of a reality TV show is Spelling's way of showing the world that she's a regular working mom, and someone who for years felt misunderstood by the public and trapped by her fame.

"I'd be in tears in my twenties, when I was doing '90210,' and I was known as the girl that lived in the big mansion, had all this money. I thought, I wish they just knew me, but I'll never be able to show them that. Well, now I can," she said.

She called this wish her "hang-up that I constantly am trying to get past because I think … as a celebrity, you are viewed differently. … The greatest thing about having a reality show and writing books is, I could tell it like it is. And the people go, 'Oh, you're kind of like us.'"

But the show magnifies Spelling's fame, making it harder to be real and exposing her family to the dark side of celebrity culture. Last month, while dropping her kids off at school, she crashed her car trying to prevent a paparazzo from photographing them.

At least she doesn't have to worry about her mother's criticisms anymore. They have made up, brought together by the children.

"You get to have a whole new relationship with your parent through your children," Spelling said. "No matter what has happened ... you still love your parent no matter what. The parent loves the child no matter what."

ABC News' Edward Lovett contributed to this report.