Why Valerie Bertinelli Was Blasted For Her Jenny Craig Commercial

Valerie Bertinelli has been a public figure for much of her life, as she was just 15 years old when she started playing Barbara Cooper on "One Day at a Time" in 1975. Not only was she on a hit television show for years, but she was also married to iconic rocker Eddie Van Halen from 1981 to 2007. Bertinelli went on to star on TV Land's "Hot From Cleveland," and in 2015, joined the Food Network and launched her own show, "Valerie's Home Cooking." Throughout her decades of being in the public eye, Bertinelli has authored several books and represented various commercial brands. Bertinelli has built a sizable fan base over the years, but one prior brand she promoted did generate some backlash toward the popular star.

In her book, "Losing It," Bertinelli said she started her partnership with the weight-loss program Jenny Craig in March 2007. She set an initial goal of losing 30 pounds, and after meeting that goal, she challenged herself even more. In her book, Bertinelli wrote, "the weight I've lost doesn't compare to what I've gained–or regained–in my life." She added, "The weight loss and renewed zest for life go hand in hand." She continued to represent Jenny Craig for six years, but more recently, she has looked back on that partnership through a different lens.

Valerie Bertinelli Spoke Out About Body Shaming Women

During her time representing Jenny Craig, Valerie Bertinelli wore a bikini on the cover of People magazine and spoke with ABC News about her weight loss. At the time, she felt confident she had lost the weight for good, explaining, "Too many people besides myself are depending on me. So I am not going to [gain weight], because I think I would disappoint too many people." However, over the years, the weight crept back on for Bertinelli. In May 2020, Bertinelli reflected on her bikini cover story and told People, "There's a lot of pride and a lot of shame associated with that cover."

In July 2021, that past partnership was revisited on social media. Bertinelli shared an emotional video on her Instagram page and questioned, "aren't we tired of body shaming women yet?!" She tearfully spoke about someone who told her she needed to lose weight and shared, "If I could lose the weight and keep it off, I would." Bertinelli added she had been fighting weight issues her entire life and noted, "We all could use a little more kindness and patience and grace." Bertinelli's emotional Instagram video sparked backlash from a Twitter user, however. "Sorry Valerie Bertinelli – you spent decades telling the rest of us to get thin, shilled weight loss shakes, potions & snake oil & NOW wanna be a body shaming warrior? You don't get to be a victim when you helped create the problem."

The Food Network Star's Views Have Shifted

Valerie Bertinelli responded to that post by tweeting, "I'm not a victim... I made the video so I could get my feelings out instead of squashing them down and eating them, which is what I usually do." She added, "I have been buying into the diet industry my whole life and then I became part of the problem, so here I am today receiving the karma of my actions." Bertinelli's fans tweeted their support, while the original critic shared additional posts. Another tweet from the same person suggested Bertinelli had gone "ballistic on some dumb-dumb who snarks her weight failing to realize she's no victim." The poster continued, "When confronted over it by me, she doubles down, hides behind 'fans' who fail to see her own mean'ness and irony."

In the years since promoting Jenny Craig, Bertinelli has shifted her mindset regarding her weight. She released her memoir, "Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today," and told People in January 2022, "I'm done judging myself. I want to be kinder and more accepting of myself." She reflected on her Jenny Craig experience and admitted, "I bought into it hook, line and sinker." She has since stepped back from weighing herself and worked to pull away from the diet culture she had been immersed in for so many years.