Kirstie Alley’s Public Weight Loss Journey: Struggles With Self Image and Career

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Whether you know Kirstie Alley best from her many Jenny Craig commercials, her ties to Scientology, or even her role as Rebecca Howe in Cheers, there is no denying that the 71-year-old actress has had a very interesting time as a public figure. Maybe even too interesting…

Ted Danson as Sam Malone and Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the American sitcom television series CheersTed Danson as Sam Malone and Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe in the American sitcom television series Cheers (Credit: NBC)

Alley made a rare public appearance in April 2022 when she was revealed to be the ultra-fluffy Baby Mammoth on the hit Fox reality show, The Masked Singer.

Kirstie Alley in a black dress and animal print shoes at the Premiere Of Quiver Distribution's "The Fanatic"Kirstie Alley in a black dress and animal print shoes at the Premiere Of Quiver Distribution’s “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theatre on August 22, 2019, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Sara De Boer / Startraksphoto.)

Her unmasking was largely a shock to the judges. Actor Ken Jeong thought it may have been Reese Witherspoon, while Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger suggested Kirsten Dunst and celebrity cook Rachael Ray. Only fellow diet enthusiast, Jenny McCarthy, realized Baby Mammoth for who she truly was — Kirstie Alley!

“I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but I’ve never gotten to be in the circus,” Alley laughed to host Nick Cannon.

And done a lot, she has!

Hank Azaria and his girlfriend Kirstie Alley attend the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Showtime After PartyHank Azaria and his girlfriend Kirstie Alley attend the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Showtime After Party held at the Mortons Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California, on September 19, 2004 (Credit: WENN)

After being thrust back into the spotlight with The Masked Singer, it’s time to revisit Kirstie Alley’s storied career and why her highly publicized weight loss journey was a Hollywood milestone.

Kirstie Alley’s Career Started With Scientology Cult

Growing up amongst the corn in Wichita, Kansas, it seemed that Kirstie Alley was destined to live her life on the plains.

However, after dropping out of Kansas State University, she decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue Scientology, a religious cult that believes Xenu was the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy”.

You can learn more about Scientology by watching “Trapped in the Closet,” the twelfth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series South Park.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Kirstie Alley as Spock's protege and a Starfleet commander-in-training Saavik in the 1982 American science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanLeonard Nimoy as Spock and Kirstie Alley as Spock’s protege and a Starfleet commander-in-training Saavik in the 1982 American science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Still a relatively new church at the time, Alley wanted to be closer to its roots and worked as an interior designer in Los Angeles.

However, that didn’t last long, as she made her first film debut in 1982, appearing in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as Lieutenant Saavik.

Scientology members prospecting and recruiting people to their religious cult in the streets of ParisScientology members prospecting and recruiting people to their religious cult in the streets of Paris (Credit: EricBery / Shutterstock)

After that, she found roles in titles like Blind Date, Runaway, Summer School, and One More Chance before landing the iconic spot of Rebecca Howe on Cheers, which became the role she is best known for today and eventually garnered the actress an Emmy Award.

Kirstie Alley Has Always Been Open About Her Struggle With Weight Loss

Perhaps even more than her acting roles, Kirstie Alley is well known for her candidness about her weight loss struggle, even using it to cash in with her many Jenny Craig endorsements.

Alley’s weight gain happened quickly, explaining to OK!, “I spent my whole life thin, then one summer I probably gained around 40 or 50 pounds.”

Kirstie Alley carrying a drink from her diet program in New York CityKirstie Alley carrying a drink from her diet program in New York City on June 26, 2011 (Credit: Humberto Carreno / Startraksphoto)

In 2004, Kirstie appeared on Oprah, telling the talk show host that she didn’t even realize how much weight she had gained — or at least hadn’t felt guilty about it — saying, “Honestly, I didn’t know how fat I was. Thanks to the tabloids, I went, ‘Damn, girl, you’re fat!’”

After that realization, Kirstie Alley immediately quit smoking and decided to make some big lifestyle changes.

In 2004, Alley partnered with weight loss and nutrition company Jenny Craig. Signing on as their spokeswoman, the actress lost a whopping 75 pounds, crediting the program as the reason for her success.

Kirstie Alley never struggled with weight when younger but started gaining after hitting early menopauseKirstie Alley never struggled with weight when younger but started gaining after hitting early menopause (Credit: Freddie Baez / Startraksphoto)

In 2006, she appeared on Oprah yet again, donning an iconic red swimsuit to mark the momentous occasion.

However, Alley still struggled with her weight and found it difficult to keep the pounds off.

“It’s not in my nature to plan,” the actress told People in 2016. “I’m a very spontaneous person, and that’s how I got fat.”

Kirstie Alley before-and-after: The popular actress lost 50 pounds by sticking to her new weight-loss planKirstie Alley before-and-after: The popular actress lost 50 pounds by sticking to her new weight-loss plan (Credit: JFX Images / WENN / Startraksphoto)

She explained that she fell into unhealthy habits due to her demanding career, which had her traveling almost nonstop, and that she couldn’t help herself when it came to holiday sweets. However, her holiday indulgences lasted almost year-round.

“I always joked that my holidays lasted from Halloween to New Year’s Eve, and maybe even into Valentine’s Day,” she told People. “I would think it was okay for me to eat whatever I wanted during those months.”

Kirstie Alley has been a Jenny Craig spokesperson for several years and has been promoting their product lineKirstie Alley has been a Jenny Craig spokesperson for several years and has been promoting their product line (Credit: Rosamar / Shutterstock)

She continued: “It was very social and joyous, like, ‘I’m going to have a big Halloween party and have caramel apples,’ but then I realized, ‘Wow, that’s your real trap zone,’ so I still do the holiday thing, but I’ve learned something that wasn’t in my vocabulary before, and that’s ‘a little bit of discipline.’”

Kirstie Alley is still working with the Jenny Craig program and says her consultant helps her maintain her weight.

Where Is Kirstie Alley Now?

Despite her surprise appearance on The Masked Singer, we haven’t seen much of Kirstie Alley in the news… at least, nothing all that positive.

Even though she is a two-time Emmy award winner, Alley believes that she has been “blackballed” in Hollywood due to her political beliefs.

Kirstie Alley made fun of her weight gain in the American comedy television series Fat Actress that aired on Showtime from March 7 to April 18, 2005Kirstie Alley made fun of her weight gain in the American comedy television series Fat Actress that aired on Showtime from March 7 to April 18, 2005 (Credit: Showtime)

“You can be cooking meth and sleeping with hookers, but as long as you didn’t vote for Trump…” she lamented on Tucker Carlson Today. “I feel like I’m in the Twilight zone a bit.”

However, it can’t simply be her political leanings that have ousted her from public favor, right?

Perhaps it has something to do with her unfiltered musings on Twitter, like this tweet, which callously poked fun at the (very warranted) fear during the pandemic.

She writes: “I now Know why my personal friends who walk around in SHEER TERROR of contracting Covid are simply CNN viewers! I decided to watch CNN myself to get a their [sic] viewpoint and oh my God DID I EVER!!!! IF YOU TOO WANT TO LIVE IN TERROR WATCH CNN!! FEAR OF DYING IS THEIR MANTRA! OMG!”

Kirstie Alley at the premiere of Showtime's "Fat Actress" held at Arclight Cinemas in HollywoodKirstie Alley at the premiere of Showtime’s “Fat Actress” held at Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California, on February 24, 2005 (Credit: George Brandon / WENN)

Or perhaps it could be her unwavering faith in the Church of Scientology, a highly secretive organization that is consistently under fire for its cruel and manipulative practices?

In fact, fellow actress Leah Remini has been on the warpath to expose Scientology and has even set her sights on Kirstie Alley herself.

“Kirstie tries to discredit Leah at every opportunity,” The Underground Bunker blogger Tony Ortega told Us Weekly.

“Leah is a very big problem for the church and for Kirstie. She just isn’t going away. Kirstie has been given permission to attack [Leah’s claims].”

Leah Remini left the Church of Scientology and has had a tumultuous relationship with Kirstie Alley ever sinceLeah Remini left the Church of Scientology and has had a tumultuous relationship with Kirstie Alley ever since (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

Another reason Kirstie Alley may be absent from the news may be the simplest: she has threatened to sue writers and publications for posting stories about her for a number of reasons. With any luck, she won’t take offense to this story!

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