Catching Up With Tori Spelling
By Joseph Hassan
To anyone who turned on a television set between 1990 and 2000, the name Tori Spelling is synonymous with Donna Martin, the shy, unobtrusive and awkwardly chaste blonde high-school student the actress portrayed on the original Beverly Hills, 90210. Now a star of her own reality television show, Tori & Dean, Spelling is a wife, mother, best-selling author and, at heart, an entrepreneur. Out took the opportunity to catch up with Tori about her latest book, Uncharted TerriTORI, why she sees herself as her father's daughter, and a recent psychic journey during which she chatted with the late Farrah Fawcett. A home-furnishing line may be in Tori's own future, but as we learned during our interview, she may have some serious competition from her three-year-old son, Liam, who seems to be planning his own line inspired by Batman, the Incredible Hulk, and Superman.
Out: It sounds like things are really going well for you right now -- the relationships with your mom and with Dean -- and your new book just out. How have things been recently?
Tori Spelling:It's been great. In my book I talk about how it's been a rough year in certain areas and the past year has been a blessing in so many other areas. Having my family back has just been amazing and it's great for my kids. And then Dean and I had kind of a rough year and we're coming out on the other side. So it's been a journey. It's definitely been a journey, but it's been a really positive one.
And you've got a bit of an extended family now with the guncles [the 'gay uncles,' family friends Bill and Scott] just adopting'
They did. I'm so excited. I literally have been praying for this baby for a year and they're just the most amazing parents -- whenever we need them, they're there for our kids and our kids love them so much and I just' it was kind of just everything for me for them to have a baby of their own. I knew that they deserved to be parents and all of our dreams came true when little Simone was born last week.
One of the things that you talk about in your book is that your reality is your show -- it's your persona and it's your brand. How are you ever able to find any downtime? How do you find a balance?
I'm still working on that [laughs]. It's a really fine line because my personal life is my business. My business is my personal life. So the two have really blended for me and it's really hard to kind of separate them at this point. So I'm really working toward having some more downtime and taking time for myself, but it's hard. I'm definitely my father's daughter; I'm definitely a workaholic. And I'm definitely a people-pleaser. So as long as I know I'm putting out stuff that is worthwhile for people, it's hard for me to take downtime from that.
Speaking of being your father's daughter, your life has revolved around TV from a very young age and into adulthood. Do you think it's a natural progression, or perhaps a bit ironic, that your life is really out there in the open? How do you see it?
I don't think it's a natural progression in anyone else's eyes. I think they would have thought this is the farthest thing from what they would have expected for me. But to me that's a blessing because although I would never have changed anything about the way I grew up, it was hard kind of getting away from that persona that was created for me and inside, I felt like everyone else. I felt like a normal girl. I wanted to be a wife, wanted to be a mom -- to do everything that people do in their everyday life. And it was hard to break away from that perception that was [placed upon me]. So if you asked me 10 years ago if I ever thought I'd be doing a reality show or writing books, I'd be like, 'Are you kidding? No!' I would never have thought that that would be my path. I guess it is ironic, but it's been unbelievable.
One of the funny stories you tell in your book has to do with a pseudonym that you were given by the court clerk when you reported for jury duty. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Yeah, that was a pretty funny experience. You know, no one really wants to go to jury duty. When you're working, sometimes you can get out of it. It was my last hurrah [after several postponements], I had to go in. So I went in. I was in the courtroom. People were staring at me thinking Why is Tori Spelling here? and I just remember my husband kept telling me, 'Don't worry. You're going to get out of it. No one's ever going to put you on a jury.' And then as I sat there I looked around the room and I saw a sign that said 'famous jurors' and it's all these celebrities [including Harrison Ford]. And I'm like, 'Oh crap.' Then I'm like, OK, this is normal, this what people do. I'll just blend in. And then when I went up to check in, [the court reporter] was like, 'I'm going to have to call your name out loud but instead of Victoria Spelling I'm going to give you another name, I'm going to call you Victoria Spellman.' I was so nervous to be there, I was like, 'OK, thanks!' and I walked away. And then I was like, 'What? No!' First of all, everyone's looking at me anyway and they all know who I am. They're going to think Tori Spelling is just a stage name.
You've got a huge gay following and a lot of gays in your life -- the guncles, [best friend] Mehran -- what do think about Prop. 8 right now?
I'm all for same-sex marriage -- obviously. I often refer to myself as a gay man and all my friends are gay and I would like nothing more than for them to be able to be married. I think the good news is that things are changing, generationally. My kids will grow up in a house knowing that it's perfectly normal for two men to be in love, it's perfectly normal for two women to be in love. They might even think it odd when they grow up for a man and woman to be in love and that's how it's changing. My kids will grow up knowing it's all about love. It doesn't matter who you're with and everyone should have that experience. Being able to be in love and to commit to each other if they want to. I feel like that is changing.