What really happened to Kirstie Alley? There’s no shortage of celebrities who’ve managed to get blackballed from Hollywood for various reasons. Whether it’s legal issues, controversial opinions they broadcast all over social media, or connections to criminal elements, celebs aren’t immune to being “canceled,” for lack of a better word. Certainly Alley has had more than her fair share of issues thanks to the things she’s said and done, but there’s more to the story than that.
To be clear, what really happened to Alley is pretty complicated. The actor started out with a promising career, but because of some legal issues, a controversial religion, and so much more, she’s pretty much been blackballed from Hollywood altogether. Still, Alley hasn’t given up on her career in entertainment, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. She might not be the most criticized celebrity of all time, but her career arc over the years has been declining. So without further ado, here’s what really happened to Kirstie Alley.
Kirstie Alley originally hails from from the midwest
Before Kirstie Alley was an actor, she was just a small-town girl from the Midwest with big dreams. Well, in a way. In 2015, Alley guest-starred on the ABC sitcom, The Middle, which of course takes place in the Midwest, in Indiana. And in an interview with Parade, Alley explained that she loved the show and really understood it, thanks to her Midwestern roots. “I’m from Wichita, Kansas,” she told the magazine. “That’s where I was born and raised. So that Midwest… Your dreams and aspirations can be so small.”
Alley further explained that because of where she was raised, her dream of one day opening a mobile pet grooming salon seemed too outlandish. “I would always put the kibosh on any of my dreams,” she continued. “That, to me, is sort of a Midwest thing.” Alley clearly continues to see herself as a Midwest girl at heart, despite having moved to Hollywood to pursue her career.
Early in her career, Kirstie Alley started out on game shows
Believe it or not, but back before Kirstie Alley even started acting, she was on television; Alley appeared on several game shows back in the ’70s, including Match Game. Yes, just like many an Instagram influencer got their start on The Bachelor (via The Ringer), Alley also got her start on a reality competition show. However, Alley said that it was pretty unlikely that she could have become the actor she did with that kind of background, at least at the time.
In an interview with Parade, Alley discussed how she landed in Hollywood in the first place, and credited game shows with giving her a head start. “With reality shows, and things like that on TV now, people probably feel a little more hopeful that they could make something of themselves,” she explained. “But at that time, 30 years ago, it was just like, ‘How could I possibly dare to think that I could go be a star? How could I possibly think that?'”
Still, Alley did dare to think and dream that she’d become a star, and it happened.
Kirstie Alley got her big break in this sci-fi movie
Kirstie Alley might have left her Midwestern home to pursue her dream, but after appearing on game shows, she might not have made it big were it not for this one sci-fi movie: Alley landed a role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and after that, her career really took off. As Alley told Parade, Star Trek wasn’t just her first big role, it was her first role at all. “I went from nothing to that,” she said. “Literally nothing. That was a big leap because remember it was 1981 and that was a three million dollar film.” (Parade noted that it was actually an $11 million film, but still, the point remains that it was a huge deal for her.)
After that, Alley landed more and more roles in shows like Cheers and Veronica’s Closet, and films like Look Who’s Talking Now. Clearly Alley’s role in Star Trek was an amazing launchpad for the rest of her career, and it came out of nowhere.
Kirstie Alley struggled with addiction
Back in the ’70s, Kirstie Alley was far from the accomplished and talented actor that she was bound to become. On the contrary, Alley has been open and honest about her struggles with drugs at the time. In an interview with Parade, Alley even confessed that the only reason she went to Hollywood in the first place was because of her drug addiction. “The truth of how I escaped Kansas is being high,” she revealed. “I was drugged out of my mind on cocaine, and I got in the car, and I left to go to California.”
While drugs might have inspired Alley to get out of Kansas, she refused to let them control her and got clean shortly after arriving in California. In a 2019 tweet, Alley revealed that she put an end to her drug problems. “For you who don’t know much about me, I used to be a coke head,” she wrote. “I quit drugs in 1979 and vowed to spend the same money weekly on flowers that I’d spent on drugs. I buy and arrange my own flowers as a gift to MYSELF. ” Honestly, whatever works for her!
After Kirstie Alley's mom passed away, things got complicated
Sadly, Kirstie Alley’s mother was tragically killed in a drunk driving accident in 1981, which was incidentally the same year Alley’s career started to take off. Not only did Alley’s mother never get to see how successful her daughter would become, but the drama surrounding her death followed Alley for years, as the woman responsible spoke to tabloids about it years later.
According to Radar Online, the woman who was driving the vehicle that crashed into Alley’s parents and killed her mother, Cherrie White, expressed remorse. “That night is always on my mind and I’m so sorry for what happened,” White shared. “I wish I could go back and change everything, but I cannot.”
For as nice as those sentiments are, White also requested to meet Alley, which made things a little strange. “I can understand why Kirstie doesn’t want to talk with me,” she continued. “But if she changed her mind, I would tell Kirstie and her father how truly sorry I am for what happened that night and the pain that I caused them.” Alley never responded to White, but it’s clear that night has haunted her for years.
Kirstie Alley's eponymous show got canceled
Kirstie Alley’s acting career really took off in the ’80s, and after that she landed a ton of great roles. But in 2014, her own show, Kirstie, actually got canceled after only one season. The show featured Alley as a star on Broadway whose biological son shows up out of the blue when the mother who adopted him dies.
For a while, it seemed as though Kirstie, which aired on TV Land, might be Alley’s big break back into television after Veronica’s Closet ended. However, that wasn’t the case; as intriguing as that storyline was, it wasn’t meant to be. In an interview with Parade, Alley herself expressed dismay at the show being canceled. “I wish they’d had given it more time,” she lamented. “I just can’t even imagine that you have Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards and you can’t make a show work.” Alas, it didn’t.
It must have been embarrassing for Alley to have her show canceled, especially since it seems that this was her last big attempt at a television career for a while.
Kirstie Alley's family has grown
Though Kirstie Alley’s career was wildly successful for many years, her personal life was a bit more complicated. Notably, she was married to Parker Stevenson for almost 14 years; they adopted two children, William and Lillie, before splitting up, according to Us Weekly.
Family was likely always important to Alley, but one event made it even more so. Yes, in 2016, it seems as though Alley’s family grew even more as she became a grandmother. Alley took to Twitter to share the happy news that she was officially a grandma. “When your son has a son…bliss,” she wrote above a black and white photo of her son holding her grandson. “Yes this is my secret happy news as promised…Welcome Waylon Tripp Parker.”
As Alley’s career had already started to slow down before the birth of her grandson, it would make sense that she’d see this as an opportunity to spend more time with her growing family.
Kirstie Alley's religion has landed her in hot water at times
Scientology must majorly appeal to many celebrities, as Kirstie Alley is far from the first, or the most famous celeb to take part in the religion. Elisabeth Moss, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise are all Scientologists, and Alley is as well. But for Alley, her religious choices really shouldn’t be as controversial as they are.
At one point, Cruise was under fire for his religious actions, and Alley’s decision to stand up for him led to her becoming just as controversial as Cruise. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Alley explained her choice to stand by Cruise and Scientology as a whole. “I think whenever you have articles written that are third and fourth parties’ opinions — it’s like the game Gossip and you don’t get the truth,” Alley said, referring to a Vanity Fair article that accused Cruise and the church of essentially auditioning women to be his partner.
Clearly, Alley has no remorse for her beliefs and is proud of her church. Though Scientology is highly controversial and has been accused of being a cult (via The Washington Post), Alley remains dedicated to the religion.
Over the years, Kirstie Alley has struggled with her weight
In Hollywood, there’s obviously a lot of pressure to look a certain way, and that especially pertains to body image. Sadly, the perfect body doesn’t exist, but Kirstie Alley herself has certainly dealt with weight issues throughout her career. Specifically, Alley has struggled with a lot of fluctuating weight issues and has never found them easy to deal with.
In an interview with Parade, Alley explained that she was constantly confused by how her body gained weight so easily. “I don’t know exactly but it’s more unreal, to me, to gain 50 pounds than to lose 50 pounds,” she revealed. Additionally, Alley added that she’d had to learn how to take better care of herself. “Just as it’s easier to lay on the couch and watch movies than to go work out, but I’ve realized… I’ve gotten a little more responsible,” she continued.
And what, exactly, was the most important lesson Alley learned? “You can’t have your cake and eat it too, every second,” she added. Hey, balance is key.
Twitter attacked Kirstie Alley for her response to #MeToo
Kirstie Alley has never been one to shy away from sharing her opinion. She doesn’t fear confrontation, and in 2017, she had no qualms about making her feelings about the #MeToo movement clear.
In November of 2017, Alley took to Twitter to let out her frustrations. “What the hell is happening,” Alley tweeted. “We now live in a country where people lose their jobs when accused of something without proof or trial or in some cases with anonymous accusers? Can’t confront your accuser? This is bulls–t. And it hurts the real victims of abuse and innocent people.” Um, okay.
The #MeToo movement was especially poignant in Hollywood where actors and crew members had started to reveal the horrible sexual assault and misconduct they faced from the men in the industry, so Alley’s words weren’t exactly well-received. Celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton even told Alley she was going to hell for what she said in a tweet. Safe to say, Twitter kind of went off on Alley, and she didn’t really win any popularity contests for what she said.
Kirstie Alley had a huge comeback that didn't last long
To take a look back at Kirstie Alley’s career, you might think that she peaked in the ’80s and ’90s. And while she certainly excelled during that time, things slowed down for Alley a bit in the 2000s. Alley had brief guest appearances and two shows that were canceled after just one season, but in 2016 things started to look up again.
Alley landed a role in the Ryan Murphy series Scream Queens for its second season. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alley was cast as the “brilliant and devious administrator” at an interesting institution “where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation.” Additionally, Fox explained their choice in casting Alley, praising her many accomplishments. Their press release read, in part, that Alley is known as “one of the great actresses of her generation, proving time and again that she is capable of great depth and range, as well as possessing a comedic timing second to none.”
Sadly, Scream Queens was canceled after Alley’s season as noted by Variety, which didn’t bode well for Alley’s comeback.
Kirstie Alley has been trolled for her politics
To say that Donald Trump is a controversial figure in American politics would be an understatement. For the most part, Hollywood rejected Trump. But Kirstie Alley praised him, and voted for him in 2016 and 2020. “I’m voting for @realDonaldTrump because he’s NOT a politician,” Alley tweeted in October 2020, unapologetically. “I voted for him 4 years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason. He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly.”
In response to her tweet, some of her fellow actors in Hollywood took a stand and even trolled her for her comments. Judd Apatow responded with a simple tweet, saying “Shelly Long was way funnier than you,” as Long appeared on Cheers before Alley. Others, like Diedrich Bader, were confused. “Also, strange argument. Like ‘I want someone who’s NOT a pilot to land the plane’,” Bader tweeted in response. Well, it looks like Alley isn’t exactly beloved by too many of her fellow actors.
Kirstie Alley has gotten into fights with fellow Hollywood stars
Kirstie Alley doesn’t exactly have a loving relationship with some of her fellow Hollywood stars. In particular, Alley has one ongoing feud with a former Scientologist that will seemingly never die. Alley apparently doesn’t like Leah Remini, or the things Remini has said about her former — and Alley’s current — church.
Since leaving Scientology, Remini has been very outspoken about the religion and how harmful it can be (via The Hollywood Reporter), and clearly, Alley isn’t pleased. In fact, at one point, Alley took to Twitter to call Remini a liar for reporting that a Scientology leader’s wife was missing. “This was done as a PR stunt to promote a book and show for LR,” Alley tweeted, referring to Remini. “It was not done out of real concern.”
Remini, for her part, hasn’t minced words about Alley, either. “Hiding behind your interviews/social media while blocking me and those you attack means you have no balls on top of no integrity,” she tweeted at Alley back in 2018. “You’re spreading false/defamatory info at the demand of your cult.” Ouch. Alley and Remini might just be enemies forever.
Kirstie Alley literally feuded with CNN
As a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, it’s no secret that Kirstie Alley is politically conservative. And in 2020, that meant criticizing news channels for how they covered the global coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Alley took to Twitter to accuse CNN of fear-mongering in October of 2020. “I now Know why my personal friends who walk around in SHEER TERROR of contracting Covid are simply CNN viewers,” Alley tweeted. “I decided to watch CNN myself to get a their 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!” Yeah, she wasn’t exactly pleased with the network.
Interestingly enough, CNN had a pretty scathing response. “Kirstie, you are welcome to change the channel — just like countless viewers did every time Veronica’s Closet came on TV,” they responded. “But don’t downplay the loss of nearly 230K American lives. And please, wear a mask.”
So, what was the weirdest part of 2020? Probably the Kirstie Alley vs. CNN Twitter feud. And clearly, Alley doesn’t care about her reputation, which might explain why her career seems to be slowing.
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