Valerie Bertinelli's life has been full of highs and lows.

For nine years, Valerie Bertinelli was America's favorite girl next door on the hit TV show One Day at a Time. When she was just 20 years old, the wholesome sitcom star fell for rock star guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Within months, the good girl/bad boy couple was married. Ten years later, they celebrated the birth of their son, Wolfgang.

Valerie continued acting in numerous TV movies and feature films and won two Golden Globes. She seemed to have it all—but it soon became clear that Valerie's life as a rock star's wife wasn't as glamorous as it appeared to be. When Valerie's 20-year marriage came to an end, she says she hid from the world and consoled herself through food.

Valerie has now gone public with her lifelong battle with weight and is a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig™. Her new book, Losing It, is a revealing look at what she has lost—and ultimately gained. "I've lost my shame," Valerie says. "I've lost 40 pounds. But I don't know that it was the 40 pounds that kept me shameful. I was ashamed of myself, and that's why I gained 40 pounds."
Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips

Valerie says her body image has been an issue for her since elementary school. Even when she starred in One Day at a Time, Valerie says she was unhappy with her body and compared herself with her TV sister, Mackenzie Phillips. "She's always been thin, and I called my hips 'childbearing hips,'" Valerie says. "I felt like a fat thing next to her. I look back and want to shake that little girl and say, 'Shut up. You're a beautiful young woman.' I thought I was ugly."

In an attempt to lose weight, Valerie says she tried taking Black Beauties. "But I started hating the shaking I felt all the time," she says. Six months later, Valerie says she stopped taking the pills for good. "After I got huge, honking zits," she says.

More than that, Valerie says she couldn't stand to starve herself. "I love food so much," she says. "You can't keep me off food forever."
Valerie Bertinelli tells Oprah about meeting Eddie VanHalen.

In 1980, Valerie met the man who would soon become her husband. Valerie says her brothers invited her to a Van Halen concert to help them get backstage. "I took a look at the 8-track cassette that was in the back of my Corvette ... and I saw a picture of Ed, and I went, 'Oh, yeah, I'll be going. He's a cutie.'"

When Valerie saw Eddie backstage, she says it was love a first sight. "You had to peel me off the floor," she says. Three days later, Valerie says she got a phone call from Eddie asking her to meet him. "So I went out and visited, and we never separated from then on," she says.

Despite his bad-boy image, Valerie says Eddie was a gentleman and insisted they sleep in separate rooms when they first started dating. "He was the good one," she says. "I was the bad one." When Valerie and Eddie finally made love for the first time, she wrote about the experience in her book—but now she's a little shy talking about it. "I guess actually saying it out loud, now it's embarrassing," she says. Oprah has no problem filling in the blanks! "You said you made love like there was a hunger that you never filled before."
Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen's marriage

Just months after meeting, Valerie and Eddie set their wedding date for April 11, 1981. Looking back, Valerie cringes at how they prepared for the day and wrote about the experience in Losing It: "The priest we tapped to perform the ceremony gave us questionnaires so he could get to know us better and offer more personal words. As we filled out the forms at home, we each held a little vial of cocaine. Now, if you ask me, those are not two people who should be making decisions about the rest of their lives." Valerie says the way their wedding night ended was a typical night for the couple. "I passed out on the bed in my gown, and Ed fell asleep in the bathroom."

Valerie says she tried to keep up with Eddie's rocker lifestyle on Friday and Saturday nights and during the weeks when she wasn't taping One Day at a Time. "The week off I would destroy my body trying to stay up with him," she says. "It got to a point whenever I heard the birds chirp, it was, "Oh, God, no.' It took me years after stopping the cocaine before I could enjoy a sunrise and enjoy the sound of birds."

Valerie says the picture of her marriage only looked great from the outside. "I'm the wife of this amazing musician, and lots of girls want him, and I got him," she says. On the inside, Valerie says her marriage was sad—she and Eddie didn't connect. "He had his responsibilities of what he had to do, and I had my responsibilities," she says. "And we thought if you just live in the same house there would be a connection, but no."
Valerie Bertinelli talks about the infidelity in her marriage.

As Valerie and Eddie's tumultuous marriage continued, she says she discovered Eddie was cheating on her. "I heard him on the phone talking with [someone who], I assume, was a woman, and he was talking about how he just wanted out of the marriage," she says. "He was done."

Years later, Valerie says she received additional proof of his infidelities when she says she got a phone call from an angry man who said his wife was cheating on him with Eddie. "When I got off, I was crying but I was like, 'I can't believe I just had that conversation,'" she says. "Welcome to my life."

Instead of ending their marriage, Valerie says she was stubborn and thought their relationship would improve. "I probably ate it a lot away and got mad at him," she says. "And we went to therapy, and we talked it through."

Still, Valerie says she can't place all the blame on Eddie—she was unfaithful, too. When she was 25, Valerie says she cheated on Eddie. "I was infatuated with the drummer of this band [who] was friends of my brother," she says. "I just wanted somebody to touch me and love me. And I wasn't getting it at home. Now, that's not an excuse. What I should have done is dealt with the problems in our marriage, separated, and then if I want to go do something, I can. But it was a big, huge wrong choice."

In her book, Valerie also wrote that she passionately kissed another woman while she was married. "Afterward, I think the next morning I felt so guilty—that I felt like I had cheated on Ed—that I think I rarely talked to her after that," she says."
Wolfgang, Eddie VanHalen and Valerie Bertinelli

After 20 years of marriage and the birth of their son, Wolfgang, Valerie and Eddie separated in October 2001 and divorced in 2007. "One of the many reasons that Ed and I split up is to give Wolfie a better vision of what two people who are supposedly in love treat each other like. Ed and I weren't treating each other like two people that loved each other, and that's what Wolfie was seeing," Valerie says. "So I'm hoping that when he does get married and start a life for himself, that he takes his time and marries a friend and not just someone that he can't keep his hands off."

Leaving Eddie wasn't an easy choice, and Valerie says it took years for her to come to grips with the idea. "We were all very raw from 9/11, and you heard all these stories of people coming together. They hated each other and they were back together and divorces weren't happening anymore," Valerie says. "And I'm like, 'Am I the only one in the world that wants out now because of 9/11? I'm not going to live my life if it's that tenuous. That's not how I want to live my life anymore.'"

Still, Valerie says she hit her own rock bottom after the divorce. For comfort, Valerie turned to food—jalepeño poppers were her drug of choice. "They were my Prozac," she says. "Those were some of the darkest days of my life, and I was eating my way through them. I became a hermit."
Valerie Bertinelli talks about becoming a Jenny Craig spokeswoman.

Valerie's moment of truth about her weight gain came when she sat down to watch herself star in a Hallmark Channel movie called Claire. "I felt the urge to run into my room and cry. The sight of myself was too much for me to tolerate," she says.

A few weeks later, Valerie says she began visualizing the person she wanted to be, inside and out. "There's the weight you see on the scale every morning, and then there's the weight you carry around inside," she says. "One makes you look miserable. The other makes you feel miserable. Beyond the picture I envisioned in my head, I really prayed for a lightness of being."

Soon after using the law of attraction to envision how she wanted to look and feel, Valerie signed on as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig™ and appeared in commercials with Kirstie Alley. "[I thought] this might be just what I need to kick myself in the butt and be accountable because I'm certainly not accountable to myself," she says. "If I'm accountable to other people, then maybe I can finally do this and change my life. And that's what happened."

When Oprah asks Valerie if the photo on the cover of her book is who she envisioned all along, Valerie tears up. "I'm having an aha! moment right here," she says. "That's who I visualized...but naked."
Valerie Bertinelli says she hopes her book will help other women.

For years, Valerie says she tried to hide the real issues in her life. Now, she says writing her book, Losing It, helped her grow as a person. "I can't hide anymore," she says. "And unless I verbal vomit it out, then I don't feel like I'm going to be able to change."

Valerie hopes her book will help other women confront the issues in their own lives. "I really don't think my story is that unusual. ... If it's not the weight, it's the marriage. If it's not the marriage, it's raising a boy," she says.

Oprah says Valerie's book will show anyone who reads it that she is just like them—a real person. "Nobody is living the life that you think they are behind closed doors," Oprah says. "We're all the same."

When asked for a statement about Valerie's book, Eddie Van Halen's publicist said he has no comment.
Valerie Bertinelli

Now that she's lost 40 pounds, we recently visited Valerie and her boyfriend, Tom, at home to see how they're staying healthy.

Watch Take a look inside Valerie's fridge!

When Valerie wants a snack, she reaches for a hard-boiled egg. When she has a sweet tooth, Valerie reaches for a sugar-free Jell-O and adds a squirt of fat-free whipped cream. "It feels so decadent," she says. Valerie even keeps ice cream in her freezer—100-calorie Slim-A-Bear bars.

Next to those sweet treats, of course, are plenty of Jenny Craig™ meals, but she hasn't thrown out all her boxes of poppers. "I think sometimes I need to be reminded not to eat unconsciously and not to eat emotionally."

Together, Tom and Valerie walk at least a mile outside and wear weight vests to burn extra calories. "As a woman, you always want to get your man alone so you can talk to him," Valerie says. "Well, for that mile we're walking around, we have really good talks."
Valerie Bertinelli surprises her Val Pals!

Valerie's weight loss has inspired a countless number of women to start getting healthy—including a group of women who met on the Jenny Craig message boards and now call themselves Val's Pals.

We brought these women to Chicago, and they think they're in town to film a show about girlfriends. Little do they know that Valerie is going to drop in on their dinner! "I can't wait to meet Val's Pals," Valerie says. "More importantly, I can't wait to see what they're eating."

The gals are delighted to see Valerie. "Oh, man, you're all skinnier than me!" Valerie says. "Bravo to all of you."