Tori Spelling Is Telling All in New Book
Read an excerpt of Tori Spelling's new book about her life and career.
— -- When you're a kid, you don't worry what anyone thinks. Yougo around saying whatever pops into your head or pickingyour teeth, and it never occurs to you that someone might thinkyou're gross, awkward, or ridiculous. That was me — picking mynose, snorting when I laughed, wearing white after Labor Day — Ijust was who I was.
That all changed one day at the tender age oftwelve when I was getting ready for a family photo. We were havinga formal family portrait taken with our dogs (doesn't everyonedo that?), and I was getting frustrated with my bangs. I couldn't getthem to do whatever a twelve-year-old in 1985 wanted bangs to do.
So I went into my parents' bathroom, all dressed up, with my hairdone as best I could manage, and asked my mother, "Am I pretty?"She looked at me and said, "You will be when we get your nosedone."
I was stunned. My nose, as noses tend to be, was right in themiddle of my face, and I had just been told that it was ugly. So long,innocence.
To be fair, let the record show that my mother has absolutelyno recollection of making this comment. I know this because inhigh school I took a class called Human Development, taught byMrs. Wildflower. In it we had to keep a journal (her name was Mrs.Wildflower — what did you expect?), and when Mrs. Wildflower readmy story about the nose incident, she called my parents. That afternoonI came home to find my mother crying. She said, "I never saidthat. I'd never say something like that." I'm sure she was telling thetruth as she remembered it.
Nonetheless, I had my nose done the minute I turned sixteen. Ordidn't you hear? But what I realized as a twelve-year-old was biggerthan that I was destined for the plastic surgeon's chair. I realized thathow other people saw me wasn't necessarily how I saw myself. Feelingpretty or smart or happy wasn't all there was to it. What I hadn'tconsidered before was how I was perceived. And it wasn't the lastcriticism I'd hear about my nose.
Little did I know then how huge a role public perception wouldplay in my life. My nose, and pretty much every other "prominent"body part and feature, would be prey to gossip and tabloids in justa few years. But the unwanted attention wasn't limited to my body.
According to the press, I was the rich, spoiled daughter of TV producerAaron Spelling. They claimed I grew up in California's largestsingle-family residence. They said that my father had fake snowmade on his Beverly Hills lawn for Christmas. They said I was theultimate example of nepotism, a lousy actor who nonetheless scoreda lead role in her father's hit TV show. They pigeonholed me as mycharacter on Beverly Hills, 90210 : Donna Martin, the ditzy blondevirgin. They later talked about my wedding, my divorce, and mysecond wedding. They reported that I'd been disinherited and wasfeuding with my mother. They told about the birth of my son. WhatI learned from my ugly nose was true times a million: The details ofmy life were and would always be considered public property.
Some of what you may have read about me is accurate (my fatherdid hire a snow machine for Christmas), some false (I didn't live inthat enormous house until I was seventeen), and some exaggerated(I wasn't "disinherited"). But all the while the life I was living wasmuch more than that. I lived in fear of my own doll collection. I let abad boyfriend spend my 90210 salary. I planned a fairy-tale weddingto the wrong man. I begged casting directors to forget that DonnaMartin ever existed. I was working hard and shopping like crazy. Iwas falling in love and getting hurt.
My life has been funnier and sadder and richer and poorer than any of the magazines know.Public opinion dies hard. To this day I still look in the mirror andhate my nose. Still, everyone else has been telling stories about mefor decades now. It's about time I told a few of my own.
Here's the part of my book where I'm supposed to say, Sure, myfamily had lots of money, but I had a normal childhood just likeeveryone else. Yeah, I could say that, but I'd be lying. My childhoodwas really weird. Not better or worse than anyone else's childhood,but definitely different.
Part of it was the whole holiday thing. My parents liked to makea spectacle, and the press ate it up. Like I said, it's true that myfather got snow for our backyard one Christmas. But that's onlyhalf the story, if anyone's counting — he actually did it twice. Thefirst time was when I was five. My father told our family friendAunt Kay that he wanted me to have a white Christmas. She didsome research, made a few calls, and at six a.m. on Christmas Daya truck from Barrington Ice in Brentwood pulled up to our house.
My dad, Aunt Kay, and a security guard dragged garbage bagsholding eight tons of ice into the back where there was plastic coveringa fifteen-foot-square patch of the yard. They spread the snowout over the plastic, Dad with a pipe hanging from his mouth. Tocomplete the illusion, they added a Styrofoam snowman that myfather had ordered up from the props department at his studio. Itwas eighty degrees out, but they dressed me up in a ski jacket andhat and brought me out into the yard, exclaiming, "Oh, look, itsnowed! In all of Los Angeles it snowed right here in your backyard!Aren't you a lucky girl?"
I'm sure that little white patch was as amazing to a five-year-old asseeing a sandbox for the first time, but my parents didn't stop there.Five years later they were thinking bigger, and technology was too.This time, again with Aunt Kay's guidance, my dad hired a snowmachine to blow out so much powder that it not only filled thetennis court, it created a sledding hill at one end of the court. Iwas ten and my brother, Randy, was five. They dressed us in full-onsnowsuits (the outfits were for the photos, of course — it was a typicaleighty-five degrees out). According to Aunt Kay, the sledding hilllasted three days and everyone came to see the snow in Beverly Hills:Robert Wagner, Mel Brooks … not that I noticed or cared. Randyand I spent Christmas running up the hill and zooming down in redplastic saucer sleds. Even our dogs got to slide down the hill. It wasa pretty spectacular day for an L.A. girl.