Valerie Bertinelli and Marie Osmond have lived amazingly parallel lives. They both catapulted to stardom on hit TV shows in the 1970s, and 30 years later, they're both are back in the spotlight. Vegas, Oprah, book deals -- but the secret to their recent success, ironically, is usually a career killer in Hollywood -- they both put on lots of weight.
Now their careers have come back along with their figures, and the actresses who went head to head in primetime in the 70's are now going face to face in an epic diet battle.
Osmond dropped her 46 pounds on Nutri-System, and Bertinelli lost 49 pounds on Jenny Craig.
As far as Bertinelli's concerned, there's no competition when it comes to taste.
"Well, please. I mean, have you tried their food?" she said jokingly. "Can I get in trouble for that? But look, seriously, it's known that Jenny Craig has the best tasting food. That's just a fact."
Osmond said Nutri-System was the best program for her. "I didn't want to have to measure everything; I didn't want to go someplace and be weighed in," she said, adding that the plan "was heart healthy, meaning it was low in sodium, and all the things that I had studied and knew nutritionally. And, it worked."
For her part, Osmond said she wouldn't follow in Bertinelli's footsteps and pose in a bikini on the cover of People magazine.
"Good for her, if that makes her happy. That would not make me happy," Osmond said, laughing. "And I am not doing it, you know, I am not. I don't want to see a 49-year-old woman in a bikini. No."
Bertinelli, also 49, said the photo shoot was a motivational tool.
"I need goals," she said. "I need specific goals to keep me going. ... So that's when we started talking and going well, maybe I would put a bikini on because I would like to look good in a bikini, I'm going to be 50, going to be, one day, soon, so I thought, why not? Why the hell not?"
The teasing may be good-natured, but Bertinelli and Osmond are at the center of a high-stakes, hyper-competitive battle, because weight loss is a $40 billion industry in the U.S.
Both Jenny Craig and Nutri-System sell prepackaged, low-calorie frozen meals. Jenny Craig also offers center-based, one-on-one consulting. But to sell their products, it seems to have come down to which celebrity is getting skinny on which diet.
Diet companies are searching for the right formula. An overweight stars that women can relate to, not just because of their celebrity, but their real-life heartaches and struggles.
"I look like your next-door neighbor," Bertinelli said. "I mean, half of this country is divorced. Half of this country has been married. So I've been through everything that everyone else has been through."
Jenny Craig client Cynthia Sparagna, from southern Calif., said she was inspired to join the program by Bertinelli.
"I think because she's my age group, I grew up with her ... also she's very warm and down to earth," Sparagna said. "I just like her energy… I relate to her on many levels."
In her book, Bertinelli wrote openly about all aspects of her life. She even included an experience in her 20s when she shared a kiss with another woman, which we asked her about.
"It was not a lesbian fling," she said. "It was a kiss."