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 fathers daughter, and a recent psychic journey during which she chatted with the late Farrah Fawcett. A home-furnishing line may be in Toris 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:Its been great. In my book I talk about how its 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 its great for my kids. And then Dean and I had kind of a rough year and were coming out on the other side. So its been a journey. Its definitely been a journey, but its been a really positive one.
And youve got a bit of an extended family now with the guncles [the gay uncles, family friends Bill and Scott] just adopting
They did. Im so excited. I literally have been praying for this baby for a year and theyre just the most amazing parents -- whenever we need them, theyre 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 -- its your persona and its your brand. How are you ever able to find any downtime? How do you find a balance?
Im still working on that [laughs]. Its 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 its really hard to kind of separate them at this point. So Im really working toward having some more downtime and taking time for myself, but its hard. Im definitely my fathers daughter; Im definitely a workaholic. And Im definitely a people-pleaser. So as long as I know Im putting out stuff that is worthwhile for people, its hard for me to take downtime from that.
Speaking of being your fathers daughter, your life has revolved around TV from a very young age and into adulthood. Do you think its a natural progression, or perhaps a bit ironic, that your life is really out there in the open? How do you see it?
I dont think its a natural progression in anyone elses eyes. I think they would have thought this is the farthest thing from what they would have expected for me. But to me thats 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 Id be doing a reality show or writing books, Id be like, Are you kidding? No! I would never have thought that that would be my path. I guess it is ironic, but its 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 youre 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, Dont worry. Youre going to get out of it. No ones 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 its all these celebrities [including Harrison Ford]. And Im like, Oh crap. Then Im like, OK, this is normal, this what people do. Ill just blend in. And then when I went up to check in, [the court reporter] was like, Im going to have to call your name out loud but instead of Victoria Spelling Im going to give you another name, Im 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, everyones looking at me anyway and they all know who I am. Theyre going to think Tori Spelling is just a stage name.
Youve 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?
Im 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 its perfectly normal for two men to be in love, its 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 thats how its changing. My kids will grow up knowing its all about love. It doesnt matter who youre 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.
Youre such an entrepreneur and a lot of your ideas have come to fruition. Are there any that havent worked out?
Liam [who is sitting on Toris lap] wants you to know that he likes garlic bread. [Laughs] I have so many ideas, I just have so many things on my plate, theres just so much I want to do. But Im still fascinated with the french fry business. We tried to start a french fry business a few years ago. So Im still convinced theres a market there for a restaurant, or Im thinking maybe a truck for french fries and I have all these amazing ideas for sauces you can dip them in. Theres a lot of mom stuff I want to do. Id love to do something with interior design or party planning. And I love home-ware. Anything for the home. I feel like I see these amazing things all the time and theyre so not affordable so Id love to do a home line thats really cool, but that would be affordable.
[At this point in the interview, Liam, who has been repeating a lot of his moms comments during the interview, asserts that hed like to do a home line, too. Tori asks what hed like to name it.]
What was that? I couldnt hear it...
Spiderman and Hulker Home Line by Liam? [Liam confirms -- then gives Tori a last-second addition.] Oh, and Batman, too. Of course. Hes such a boy.
One of the things you talk about on the show is fears -- and getting over them. You talk about your fear of ghosts, your fear of flying. Do you have any advice to people who are trying to get over any phobias?
Oh, my gosh. Good luck to them [laughs]. Its really hard. I have so many phobias and so many fears, but Ive found that when I had kids my fears got worse not better. I thought they would get better because I didnt want them to take those on. And its kind of been my journey of looking inward -- why do I have all these fears? And its kind of about changing your thought process. Its a struggle every day to turn that negative into a positive. Because Im always like, What if this happens? What if that goes wrong? And [instead] its like, Wait. Why would that go wrong? Its really hard to change your whole thought process after 37 years, but thats something Im working on. And fears are just kind of a fear of the unknown and the fear of something bad happening, and I talk about it in the book -- not having your happy ending. We all deserve our happy ending and so we have to start, day by day, to write it for ourselves.
Tell me about this recent experience contacting the late Farrah Fawcett through a psychic?
Yeah, that was a good one. John Edward, the world-renowned psychic, it was with him. I always have to preface it with that because it was with him. If it had been some psychic that Id walked in off the street for five bucks it would have been different. But it came through him. It was pretty surreal. He offered to do a reading with me and I was hoping I would talk to my dad. Id lost a best friend a long time ago and I was hoping he would come through. And then, all of a sudden, [he said] Farrah Fawcetts coming through. And we were neighbors for years. She basically wanted me to give a message to [Fawcetts son] Redmond and to her family and she was doing these very specific call outs for things that they would understand. In the book, I dont solve it. I cant believe she came through to me -- the most nonconfrontational person in the world. What am I supposed to do with this information? Since the book has been out, Ive actually written a letter to [her partner and actor] Ryan ONeal and explained to him in the letter everything that happened. I said, if none of this makes sense, please dont think Im crazy, this literally happened. Im just passing on information but it was pretty bizarre at the time.
What was that experience like with John Edward?
When I did that reading with him it was just over the phone so he literally hes a medium, so he channels people. Ive been to regular psychics that turn over cards, tarot cards, and sort of read your future, that type of thing. But, with him, literally people just come to him and say things that they want the person to hear. Dean did it with me and his mom and his father who passed, and they were coming through and they were saying things that literally only Dean would know, that I had no idea about. So, I dont know, I believe in all of that.
Anything else we should know about the book or the process of writing it?
This book I think is very different for any of the readers who have read my last two books. The title actually came first [before the content]. I came up with Uncharted TerriTORI and, I was like, OK, lets see what I have. I dont know if I have that much to say, its only been a year since Mommywood came out. And, right when I started writing this book, its like everything started happening in my life. It was pretty uncanny timing. I got sick and I had all these health problems, and my marriage -- I started to have all these issues. I reconciled with my mom and the book literally just wrote itself. It turned into this whole emotional journey for me and so I definitely tell my fans this book is more intimate -- it goes a lot deeper and I think it shows a different side of me. And when I finished writing it, it was like, wow, this totally lived up to its name. I totally just entered uncharted territori!
New York Times best-selling author Tori Spellings latest book, Uncharted TerriTORI, is out from Simon & Schuster and available here.