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Kirstie Alley is literally worth her weight in gold -- cleverly turning her ballooning waistline into a fortune. But the plus-size actress admits she's still unhappy!
The former "Cheers" star has parlayed her 200-pound-plus figure into a Showtime TV series "Fat Actress," and now she's reportedly signed a seven-figure deal with weight-loss giant Jenny Craig.
But Kirstie -- who recently admitted she's gone 4 1/2 years without sex -- wants one wish granted more than anything else . . . to find true love. And the 5-foot-8 star confides when she slims down, she's going to begin dating again.
ONE SMART COOKIE
Her new sitcom is partly based on her own experiences as an overweight, middle-aged actress striving for a career comeback. And as part of that spectacular comeback, Kirstie hopes to drop the 70 pounds she says she's gained since her show "Veronica's Closet" was canceled four years ago.
"Kirstie is one smart cookie. She found a way to make being fat profitable -- even in Hollywood where there is so much emphasis on being thin," marveled a show business insider.
But behind Kirstie's smile and the jokes she makes at her own expense, there's a woman longing to be sexy again.
"I have seen myself naked. I couldn't believe it. I just was crushed," Kirstie, 52, confessed to Oprah Winfrey.
Added the insider: "Kirstie is desperately unhappy with herself. Being fat is getting in the way of her finding love.
"She longs to look in the mirror and see her old sexy self."
The sitcom queen weighed less than 130 pounds before ballooning from a size 2 to a 16. And although the good-natured actress often makes light of the problem, it genuinely hurts her.
"I don't like the way I look," she told a TV reporter. "I'm not the demigod of fatness." Kirstie says her problems started four years ago when she lost her sitcom and her live-in boyfriend James Wilder in the same week.
"I felt like a big loser," she admitted.
"I just did some real soul-searching, and I didn't like myself. I decided to prioritize and the first thing on my list was my children."
The devoted mom -- who was divorced from Parker Stevenson in 1997 -- retreated from the spotlight, and from relationships, and made her children William True, now 12, and Lillie, 10, her priority.
For Kirstie, part of being a first-class mom was baking.
She also indulged her appetite for less than healthy fare -- including fast foods and Mexican dishes.
At first she hardly noticed she was packing on the pounds -- and avoided looking at the evidence. "When I step out of the shower, there is no mirror," she said, " . . . (and) I usually wear pajamas, skinny or fat."
Incredibly, it wasn't until she saw herself in some early "Fat Actress" footage that she realized how big she'd gotten.
Her first step was to take responsibility for the weighty situation.
Then she started to turn a negative into a positive by landing her new TV series, set to premiere in March. She landed in Fat City again with the Jenny Craig deal -- and her commercials were scheduled to begin in mid- January.
Fans will also get to track Kirstie's weightloss progress on the Web.
The actress plans to get down to 140 pounds before she reenters the romance market -- and then it will be open season on men!
"I had a great time getting fat," says Kirstie, "and now I'm going to have an even greater time losing weight."
-- ELLEN GOODSTEIN